Startups are a lot about patience and learning a lot from peers. At NextBigWhat, we strive to bring actionable insights to the entrepreneurs and make things *easy* for them!
NCR based startup, WeAreHolidays (raised funding from Blume/GSF and MMT cofounder, Sachin Bhatia) crossed $1mn in its marketplace revenue this year and cofounder, Deepak Wadhwa shares some of the key #startuplessons learnt along the way.
StartupLessons from things that worked
1. Cash is King
Hold on to cash till you have absolute clarity on what is working what isn’t. Most startups start out with a hypothesis that is often proven wrong as you execute. Have enough in the bank for you to carry out experiments and put muscle behind something that shown signs of success.
2. Spend equitably on various functions
Never have a situation where one function is overfed and the other is wanting more resources. Once you figure out what is working, make sure each function that impacts the growth and success of what you are doing has enough resources. Never have a situation where you don’t give enough to a function, if left in lurch for long, the function becomes your weakness and takes a long time to come back on track.
3. Have faith. Bet on attitude & gut always.
Some of the best people we have in-house are the ones who loved us more than they loved what we were offering them as a role or compensation. We took bets on those people and they have by far been our best hiring bets. A fresh B-Tech graduate wrote all founders the same mail four times over. We gave him the job of collecting some data for us at a meager stipend; today he heads our analytics function.
4. Watch out for something that is working
While for startups, most experiments fail, keep your eyes open to certain matrices that may show growth even with you not putting enough weight behind them. Identify them as soon as possible and just run with them. Put your best resources behind them.
5. Keep people super happy
While you may be getting sleepless nights thinking about where the money to pay the next month’s salary will come from, keep people super happy. Birthday celebrations, pot lunches, milestone celebrations and even small off-sites. They don’t cost much but they help in keeping the moral and happiness quotient really high.
StartupLessons From Things That Did Not Work
1. Hire best at 3X than average at X
Good resources come at a cost. If you identify a good resource trust me, the same has been identified by others as well. So even if the compensation is outside of your comfort zone, try closing it. Because a really good guy will deliver far more value than average ones and will justify your investment. A good guy delivers exponentially better than an average guy.
2. Fire Fast
If you identify someone who is losing focus or going against the tide, immediately spend time with him, address his issues and make him feel motivated all over again. Even if after that you see him de-motivated, ask him to leave. As a founder of the company, its’ your job to get rid of folks who aren’t sharing the same vision as you do. Do that fast, don’t wait!
3. It’s a marathon not a dash
Always understand that a startup is a marathon and Murphy ’s Law will apply to you as well. Don’t lose your sleep on every small thing, don’t be restless, create a comfort zone for people and be willing to accept logical delays. When you start becoming extremely intolerant, it is most likely going to get drilled down into your team and they will begin to feel the heat.
4. Be more Visible
While running a startup takes a toll on you and you never seem to have time to stop and communicate with the ecosystem at large, do make sure you are visible and more vocal of your achievements and aspirations. Attend those startup conferences once in a while. You may not realize, but you may bump into a great tech guy you always wanted to hire or an investor who gives you a meeting.
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