30 things : Part 4/7 - The execution - 30 things I learned from my startup experience


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The previous parts of this series dealt with the structure, the Idea state and the starting of your organization and getting your idea on the ground. This part of the seven part series has to do with executing your idea including
- starting the company
- financial planning
- managing tasks
- external support functions
- getting to the market
- setbacks and recovering from them

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30 things : Part 4/7 - The execution - 30 things I learned from my startup experience

  1. 1. PART 4 – The Execution things that I learned from my startup experience Suhas Dutta
  2. 2. “ “ Tony Hsieh, CEO Zappos
  3. 3. So far… • We went through the basics of starting and planning. Idea Starting Executing Funding Marketing Selling People Emotions Learning Results • Lets get into executing and running the business.
  4. 4. Starting the company • Do not be in a hurry to incorporate unless you are looking to – File for patents – Receive investor money – Start the sales process • Be aware and well versed in the shape that your company will take – as in partnership vs. LLP vs. sole proprietorship vs. Pvt. Ltd. etc. – Each of these have various differences in terms of stipulations, requirements (statutory type) that you will need to follow • But get your agreements with co-founder(s), if you have one, done up front and in crystal clear fashion. Otherwise this will come back to bite you in the a**. • When you do incorporate, the registered address should preferably not be the same as your residential address.
  5. 5. Starting the company…be prudent • Don’t be fixated to have an office with bright walls, stylish furniture, coffee machines, foosball tables etc. – An open plan space is okay – A good work environment is essential, but do not throw money just as yet. There will be plenty money for these types of things later. – Question frivolous spending at the start ???
  6. 6. Starting the company…be prudent • If you can exist for a while without specific office space, do so. – • If you do have office space, it might not be a bad idea to rent furniture for the initial some months. This will keep your liabilities low. Look for shared office space – – • TIE provides shared space Lounge access in Regus (along with free wi-fi, and beverages) is all of Rs 900 a month Meeting people. You can always: – Rent a conference room at Regus – Meet people at coffee shops
  7. 7. Starting the company…vendor research • Do a bit of research while picking up vendors – either for infrastructure, marketing, or your base technology – If technology is your mainstay, do not outsource it • Cheapest is not necessarily the worst, and the costliest is not always the best • Create some level of redundancy in your infrastructure and systems. That will cost a bit of money, but it is worth the spend.
  8. 8. A bit more planning …financials • You need to have a close sense of this. Have a financial plan for the first 6-12 months. Treat this as your budget. • What financial planning will do for you: – Ensures better management of money and cash flow – Helps understand risks and priorities to be able to invest wisely – Helps manage assets and liabilities • Ensure there is financial longevity. You can’t be spending time scrounging for money right from the start. • But do not throw money at problems. Do not create just workarounds around problems – fix the problem.
  9. 9. Managing tasks • Yes, you are the founder and maybe the CEO. That does not, unfortunately, put you on a high pedestal. • If you are looking for someone to delegate work to, so that you can think strategy…then, you should be in a regular job and not be building on your own. • Get down and HANDS ON! dirty, and • If you have the luxury of a team, you should be interdependent and complement each other. That is what teamwork is about.
  10. 10. Manage tasks like a project • Convert all non-super-small tasks, be in technology development, marketing, sa les, people related etc to short projects and track them to completion. – This will create accountability and a way to keep a handle on the million things that you will have running all the time. – Even if you do not want to spend money on a regular scheduling software, use one of the many available on the cloud. TIP: If you are not the project manager type, and hate even the concept…well, tough luck. Learn up, quick!
  11. 11. Of Lawyers, accountants… • There are some tasks which are not the core function of your endeavor, and you need to get help doing those. • Get an accountant, inhouse or outsource. • • Get a CA who will help set up the basic accounting processes and show you how to be prudent about money. Ensure you engage a CA who has experience in your area of business. • Get a corporate lawyer who you can tap from time to time. • Get an IP lawyer (if appropriate) too
  12. 12. SMART
  13. 13. Get to the market • It is important for you to get the market asap …especially if your service / product is very different from what is available currently. • You will need to have planned for this during your startup and continually after that. • Create phase gates for your product / service so that that when you release it is not an incomplete product / service.
  14. 14. When there is a setback • Not an IF, but a WHEN • There will be setbacks once in a while. Some due to: – Mistakes that you company make or your – Underestimating a situation – Other business factors beyond your control • Your success will depend on: – How quickly you can work out a get well plan – And how well you execute to that • Time to re-engage with mentor as well.
  15. 15. Mistakes, problems • At the risk of sounding philosophical – Confront problems. Being an ostrich will not help. – It is okay to make a mistake, but don’t repeat at least the same one. – If you made a mistake, own up, fix it to the best of your ability, learn from it and move on. Do not mope over it.
  16. 16. Maintaining the balance Customer The startup entity Employee Business • You invariably will get tugged in three different directions all the time. • It is for you to determine where that point of equilibrium will be for you. • The tugs will be around ethics, making money, customer centricity, speed to market, employee friendliness and transparency.
  17. 17. • Planning, of some form or the other, comes up in every other slide, doesn’t it? Because many startups are run a seat of the pants operation with little planning and resulting (often) in setbacks. • In the next deck, we will cover the very basics of funding and soliciting investment that we learnt from our experiences.
  18. 18. • Have questions or feedback? Write to me. • If you need a little help in terms of mentoring, reviewing material, vetting a plan or the like…I would be happy to help a fellow entrepreneur start her/his journey. It will cost you just a cup of coffee. • If you have already started and could do with some strategic advice, helping create your business plans or your investment pitch, marketing strategy, fulfill your company’s training needs, need advice on the pitch etc, please feel free to reach me. • My coordinates are: – reach@delhigate.com – linkedin.com/in/suhasdutta/