The Indian startup ecosystem is on a roll right now. Right from students finishing their college upto experienced CEOs, we have and will continue to have people from diverse backgrounds starting up in coming years. Speak to any founder and they will summarize their journey as one which is draining but rewarding at the same time.
Running a startup is a project in itself. A project with width and depth of scope, tossed with limited resources, and unpredictable future. I have been running a startup myself and have met many entrepreneurs over the past two years. There is a growing trend of leaders discussing more about failures. Nothing teaches you more than a failure. People want to and should read more about failures than success. This write up primarily reiterates how failure is inevitable, and how one can plan to fail, minimize risk, and build your startup.
A product startup is a journey with a series of business hypothesis-driven experiments, iterative product releases, and validated learning. Being a startup, one has to and should focus on reducing the product development cycle by iterative building and thus hedging the risk. This is the approach also emphasized under the lean startup philosophy. The lean process enables identification of possible reasons of failures at an early stage, corrective steps and thus saves a lot of valuable resources.
Now when you go lean it is very important to review and analyse the iterations and pluck out whatâ€™s not working. If you do not identify and take corrective actions at regular intervals, the core purpose of being a lean startup is defeated. Today through this article, I am summarizing some of the most obvious, but important things to keep in mind while running your lean startup.
We all make decisions every day, day in and day out â€“ strategic, non-strategic. You know best about any problem you set out to solve. We generally are indecisive because we fear failure. So tackle it well in your head and take a stand. As an entrepreneur, you will have to take many decisions every single day.
I have come across many instances, including myself, where we stick to a decision just for emotional reasons. For a non-extravagantly funded startup, time is of utmost importance. Thatâ€™s the real money. If you are a 15-employee company, and you work eight hours daily, you are spending 120 hours a day â€“ thatâ€™s your real asset. When you identify failure in one of the sprints of the project, and immediately take corrective course, you save a lot of future hours, which you would otherwise spend in something you identified was not going to work. Remember, resources are thin. So itâ€™s important to accept failure, fail fast, and learn faster.
We all have our own patterns of thoughts â€“ introspection is about analyzing those patterns. One who can introspect knows that their own biases, distortions, and assumptions sit in between learnings and actions, and they have a dramatic influence on our interpretation of reality. Strong, unbiased introspection is an acquirable skill, or rather, like I call it, a super power.
For an entrepreneur, introspection is his super power. Your ability to introspect has a direct impact on your ability to learn. I strongly believe experience shouldnâ€™t be counted in years; it should be counted in â€˜introspected yearsâ€™.
In one of my annual performance review discussions, my CEO told me that I need to learn faster. As a company, we were making many experiments and mistakes, but he didnâ€™t mind making them. As this was the cost to find the right strategy. He specifically emphasized on not making the same mistake twice.
Building your dream startup or a product is a multi-step project, a series of logical experiments, based on a theory, achieved after a number of iterations, consumer trials, and channel trials. It is important to learn quickly â€“ a typically agile way is the best way to go â€“ plan, run, evaluate and improve. The faster you learn, the quicker you can correct your course, and the probability of success is higher.
This piece has been written by Chinmay Bhatt, cofounder of Shopholix