Trait and Tactics for Startup founders

The New Year holds a lot of promise for the startup community in the country. An ecosystem that is gradually maturing, startups would need somewhat different qualities and approach when going about their business.

Traits

Focus on the idea and not on funding – Early last year was a dream year when it came to funding. Suddenly, every startup seemed to be raising nothing short of a million dollars in seed funding. This enthusiasm, however, was short lived as investors pulled back and lofty valuations came crashing down.

The scenario today is different, not so much for the seed stage, but certainly for Series A and B. It will be a difficult year to raise money so concentrate on your idea, polish it, make it work and ensure you have a solid revenue stream. At the same time keep a check on your expenses and conserve cash.

Patience – There is so much happening around startups and there is so much buzz that it is easy to get carried away. Startups may be all about speed and execution, remember it is important to do it right.

Have the patience to do things right and understand that there is a difference between swift execution of a plan and having the patience to first come up with one.

Out of the Box – The word is used so often that it tends to get jarring, but is often not completely understood. Out of the box is not limited to the idea of the business alone. A level of innovative thinking will be needed in 2016 to execution of the business, market it, tackle expenses, approach investors and probably every facet of the business.

Tactics

Align with emerging trends – There will always be sectors that are hot and others that are past their prime. For example, a startup in the e-commerce space will find the going tough when considered to current favorites like IoT, M2M , Cloud and SaaS. If your startup is in sync with what is popular and hot, your chances of doing well are that much stronger. This, however, does not mean you forsake the core beliefs for your business to merely exist in a sector that is doing well.

Think Global, stay local – The world economy is not doing well and while it is vital you think globally, it may make more sense to stay local. Operating on a global scale also calls for money, resources, and bandwidth, but by staying local you would not spread yourself too thin. Focus on your home market, gather the experience of operating in a tough market and expanding to other countries will be a lot easier.

Year of consolidation – In 2016 look to consolidate your business by making sure you have a compelling story for your consumers, investors and employees. If you have been operating in the “garage” or incubator mode, start consolidating and building your systems, processes and human resource.

Consolidating your workflow will streamline your business so that you can provide the best service or product. It can also mean identifying and collaborating with your peers (competition) for a stronger holistic story about the sector you operate in. A strong narrative around your sector will help build a good investor interest.

(Source : This article is also published in Entrepreneur February 2016)