StartupGuy

I am StartupGuy
I start a fire with ice

Born: 29th July 19XX

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November 15, 2019 StartupGuy0

We all love to craft our own ideas in order to build a niche, and that very much requires making some hard decisions. I mean…. Starting your own business is more than projecting numbers and looking at profits.

It could even mean leaving your current job. We may often crib about our boring work and horrible bosses. But are we driven enough to do something new out of boredom or passion?

If you’re confused and curious, consider these 10 important points to definitely add substance to your contemplation. Things to ponder over while quitting the job to start a business:

 

1. Are you ready for the bumpy ride?

Leaving behind the corporate league with one foot in the entrepreneurial journey is certainly a risky encounter. Are you actually ready to face the roller coaster ride of this new life? Business means that you will be on your own with nothing to fall back on. Are you ready for that?

2. Are You ready to take on multiple roles?

You’re soon going to be a boss, and that means wearing multiple hats. You will have to carry out several functions with or without resources at your disposal. This is until you start making those leaping gains. The experience of self-employment can prove to be more challenging than that of being an employee. Are you ready for that?

3. Are you willing to burn bridges for a better tomorrow?

Don’t resign abruptly from your current job until you’re sure that’s what you really want to do for the rest of your life. What if your employer could help launch you? You need to pull off a few stunts heroically. A new venture requires a breakthrough idea, support and effective execution. Are you ready to stake it all?

4. Are you ready to brush up on your skills frequently?

The market dynamics in this current scenario changes within a fraction of a second, calling for changing your strategy as and when. How comfortable would you be to rework on your own products, ideas and services, so they level with the brilliance prevailing in the market?

5. Are you ready for a new routine?

Starting a business from the scratch is going to surely take away most of your time, thus keeping you away from your family, friends and barricading your social life. You will have to evaluate and measure up the odds of risking your personal life to a certain extent in order to make it work. Are you ready for that?

6. Do you have enough resources for your new venture?

Having an idea is never enough but you are going to need efficient planning, implementation and adequate resources to run the show. Ask yourself the kind of resources that you have so as to push your venture ahead. Are they enough?

7. Are you ready for the grueling sessions?

Get ready for the grill. From selling the product to monitoring accounting and even advertising, you really gotta have all the answers!

8. Are you open to constructive and destructive criticism?

As an entrepreneur, you’ll need to be assertive and otherwise be able to accept other’s opinion about your work and products. Are you willing to take in the destructive criticism with grace?

9. Can you ignore euphemistic people or opponents?

Your success may bite your opponents hard. If people provide you with devastating information or hinder your vision, work and career, can you bypass them? Can you actually not give a damn?

10. Do you want this MORE than anything?

If this is what gives a kick, then you must invest in your venture and importantly, your future too. Ask yourself if you’re willing to let go the fancy frenzy of the corporate, and live a more rigorous but fulfilling life.

Are you sure about removing the corporate badge and entering the entrepreneurial space? If you’re not still, then reconsider your options again.



April 20, 2018 StartupGuy0

Buying products online has become second nature to us all. Gone are the days when we are restricted by opening hours, parking fees, congestion and having to be in crowded shopping centres. The online world of consuming has opened the world as a shopping marketplace, but with this newly discovered shopping landscape, new levels of frustrations and restrictions that were previously unheard of have been created. Here are 3 top online customer grievances, and the solutions you can provide for your business.

Online consumers

1. When will it be delivered?

With the digital age, people want things immediately, and at a time that suits them. You need to have a very clear message of when your customers can expect their goods to be delivered. It is essential that you use reliable courier companies to deliver your goods, and that you are in close contact with your suppliers so that you are up-to-date with their lead times. This is especially important around key calendar dates that may be relevant to your products such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day or even school holiday dates.

Solution: prominently display your last order cut-off date for guaranteed delivery for a certain date. Never make promises to customers that you can’t keep – honesty is the best policy.

2. Is the website safe and company genuine?

Online fraud and security breaches make big news. The data that companies can potentially mine from their customers is vast. You need to take every step you can to reassure your customers that you are legitimate. If your website is regularly crashing and unavailable to consumers, you will not be instilling the customers with a great deal of trust for your company. Your IT needs to support you in being able to deliver to your customers what you say you can, you may be a start-up or a young enterprise, but that does not mean that you can’t have the IT infrastructure of larger corporations.

Solution: clearly display on your website your company’s contact details for your customers to get in touch with you – a landline number is a great sign of authenticity!

3. What if the product isn’t what I wanted?

Consumers shy away from buying online if they feel that returning the goods is going to be a hassle. People inherently want an easy life, and returning goods, either because they are unsuitable, damaged or faulty, can feel like a mission. A solid returns policy will reassure concerned consumers that they can easily return goods to you, and at no cost to themselves. Obviously, some products such as intimate products or those sold as clearance cannot be returned, but as long as you have a very clear policy, consumers will be placated.

Solution: you must spend time clearly describing the products that you are selling. If you give a product description that accurately portrays the product (measurements, colours, best use for, etc.) and include images where appropriate, you will reduce the number of returns that occur.



March 14, 2018 StartupGuy0

“I love startups. I hate the startup scene.”

I was having lunch with a friend of mine, and he was mad.

He’s founded and sold two companies, and he’s a sought-after advisor for young companies looking to break through the noise.

Day in and day out, he told me, he’d see founders that were more interested in playing startup than actually being one.

Startups are a beautiful thing; they create value where nothing existed before, and the best of them succeed despite the unimaginably high likelihood of failure.

And while I love to defend, celebrate and encourage startups—after all, we wouldn’t be here without people doing the same for us—I couldn’t help but agree with my friend.

I spent the next few days thinking about what he said, and then I began to see it everywhere I looked: too many startups like to play startup.

Too many startups are willing to go to great lengths to look like a business, far more than they’re willing to actually do the work to become one.

I’ll admit: I’ve been there. There have been times when I started to fall in love with feeling like I had a successful business. The reality is that I wasn’t even close, but I’d look for clues—vanity metrics, mostly—to reinforce my perception.

It was during those times that we made the least progress as a company.

Now, if you want to play startup, and have the money to do so, go for it. But ultimately, you’re playing yourself—and your team—out of any shot of real success.

Today, I’ll share you 7 examples to help you figure out if you’re spending too much time playing startup, along with the best advice I’ve ever been given to get out of that trap.

7 Signs You Might Be Playing Startup

Below are some of the most common behaviors of founders and teams that are more concerned with acting like a business than being one:

1) Meetings, meetings and more meetings

“I’m in a meeting”, for many, feels nice to say.

It signals that you’re important enough that your input is required by a group of other people.

It signals that you’re working on stuff. Big, thoughtful strategy stuff that needs to be “hashed out.”

More often than not, meetings are a waste of time, leaned on by people who don’t want to make a difficult decision and would rather punt it to a group.

Jason Fried puts the true cost of meetings into perspective brilliantly in his TEDx talk, where he points out that a one-hour meeting with eight people isn’t really a one-hour meeting at all; it’s a meeting that just consumed eight hours of productive time from your team.

Meetings might feel like you’re doing business, but most of the time, you’re just costing your business precious resources.

2) Having multiple people doing a jobthat one person can do

The bigger your team is, the more serious your company feels.

This leads some startups to hire more people than they need.

If you’re bootstrapped and have an email list of 1,000 people and want to grow that list, you don’t need a full-time email marketing manager, a writer, a designer and a junior marketer to execute on a content marketing strategy for you.

You need a motivated, scrappy content marketer who can do all of those jobs at once.

Sure, it feels nice to “need” a team of specialists to execute on your grand plans, but save it for when you really need it: when you become a much larger business. And even then, question whether or not you really need that person, or whether you can make a smarter use of those limited dollars.

3) Worshipping vanity benchmarks

In the same vein, a number of employees is not a metric to measure success by.

Anyone can over-hire in the name of building something that looks like a “real” team.

Unfortunately, many startups that fall into that trap—seduced by the dream of looking like a bigger business than they are—end up dealing with one of the most painful parts of the real business: layoffs.

4) Spending a lot of time at meetups

Most people at networking events are talking about work.

That makes sense; after all, most people are there to make professional connections.

But that’s also very dangerous because it makes you feel like you’re actually doing work.

Networking feels like work. And you can make the argument that it is.

But what other work are you trading off to do it?

Could your time be better spent talking to your customers? Or working on your marketing strategy? Or doing high-level thinking about your business? Or trying to make connections with influencers in other, more targeted ways?

Or spending time with your family or friends? Or working out? Or playing?

 

Or getting some sleep or anything else that will help you better balance your life and be more productive in the work time that you do have?

Don’t default to going to networking events just because it feels like doing business. Think carefully about the tradeoffs, and decide if it’s worth it.

5) Sponsoring conferences

I cringe when I see early-stage startups buying R25,000 conference sponsorships because they see FNB doing it and think that it will make them look like a big business.

FNB, and even much smaller companies, can comfortably spend R25,000 on a trade show booth because it’s a small part of their larger marketing strategy. It makes sense for them because they can afford to buy booths at every relevant conference and get consistent face-time with their market over the long-term.

Most startups don’t have that luxury and don’t end up with much more than an Instagram photo of their team at their branded booth. The comments will say things like “congrats!” and “you’ve come a long way!”, but the truth is often far from it.

6) Overspending on swag, business cards, and office space

Look, I get that it’s nice to have stuff with your company’s name on it…

… or to work in a futuristic open office space.

And it does have value to make your employees feel good about where they work, and to make a good impression on your customers.

But this is another thing that many startups do before they can actually afford it.

If you’re struggling to afford hosting or negotiating for discounts off of R500/month tools, then you’re probably not ready for premium business cards or an arcade game at the office.

Especially in the early days, spend your money where you can actually see a return, even if the rest of the world can’t see you doing it.

7) Having more conversations with people outside of your market than people in it

Want to take coffee meetings with other founders, advisors or executives?

Great, do it. You can learn a lot from them.

And you should. It’s a valuable thing to do. But it’s also a dangerous thing to do, because it can be very, very addicting.

Soon, you’ll begin spending more time sharing stories with other founders to learn about their journeys than you spend talking to your customers and your prospects to learn about their needs.

And that’s how you lose sight of what’s important, and it’s how you derail your business.

Do Any of These Describe You?

There’s a good chance that one or more of these resonated with you.

And that’s okay; it doesn’t mean that you’re going to fail in business.

In fact, depending on the day, I often catch myself stumbling into one of these traps. I can’t help it… in a world full of tough challenges and setbacks, it feels great to look for anything that makes us feel like we’re not failures.

But when you let these habits go unchecked, they become dangerous.

So I asked my friend—the one from the beginning of this post who pointed out the problem to me in the first place—what he suggested startups do about this.

His response, I think, was perfect:

“It’s important to recognize these behaviors for what they really are: proxies for the real work we all need to be doing to actually grow our businesses.”

My goal with this post isn’t to shame anyone. It’s to offer a helpful reminder to ask yourself a simple question about everything that you do: is this going to help us BE a great business, or just play one?

You’ll find that you do fewer and fewer things that aren’t real work, and understanding what’s important will become much, much easier.

I’d love to add to this list. What other behaviors have you caught yourself or others doing that constitute “playing startup”? Let’s help each other eliminate these distractions and focus on doing things that matter.



March 9, 2018 StartupGuy0

Do you know why startups fail every single day around the globe?

There are several reasons like over-hyped stories everywhere, over-promising and under-delivering and various others.

Over 90% of startups disappear before they see any traction in their business and over 51% of all businesses die within a period of 5 years. And most of them don’t even make any buzz and mysteriously vanishes into thin air.

Report from CB Insights shows that over 42% of startups fail because they do not solve the real market need.

Other than that, over 29% startup fail because of lack of funding or running out of cash. Whereas over 23% startups fail due to not having the right team in their corner.

The marketing team from Presitely did an analysis on a report on the reason behind the failure of 156 startups from CB Insights and divided those reasons into 20 different categories, where in many cases startups failed for that reason. Then Presitely crafted an infographic, shared below.

Check if your business vulnerable to one of these factors or not.