This is the story of my life for the last two years. I have started my full time entrepreneurship journey last year. I am not saying i have learnt it all or have the most exquisite experience of all, but it was great. It is a journey worth sharing. So planning to write it down today. So fasten your seatbelt and enjoy the rocky ride.
While having my coffee, i was thinking what went wrong that drive me to this radical decision of my life :). By the by, don’t think i am regretting or something rather trying to give a heads up to the new and excited young guns before jumping into the sea full of sharks.
Let’s talk about how it started. Back in 2014, i was super frustrated with my job. That time, I was working in the top MFS of Bangladesh and dying to put my mark there. But for some reason, the company failed to use me properly. I was free and searching for work all the time. Then suddenly met with the founders of Chorki and we clicked. I left my job with a dream to make something meaningful and good for the society [yes man, this is true]
We started looking for an investor and fortunately we got one. Officially Chorki started the journey from March 2015. We launched our first product Search Engine [Chorki] in April followed by Ecommerce Engine [Ghoori] and Ad Engine [Lateem] in the same year. In this 20 months of journey i came across many issues which i think every entrepreneur should consider while forming a new venture…
- Investment: This is one of the most important elements of any venture. In my opinion, if you do not have the money to kick start your own project then wait till you have it. Do not raise money while you have only an idea. A great idea is awesome when you have data to back it. So run your business for a while with your own seed money have some positive results then look for investment. Two things will be ensured by this… 1. You have a reality check with your idea, whether it is a marketable product or not and 2. You have a strong voice when you raise capital to expand your company. If you run a company successfully for a while, then you can able to maintain the control of your company. Trust me, if you loose it then your startup will never shine.
2. Have a good business plan: Let’s think, you have full control over your company and you have decent amount of capital, now the most important thing is to have a good business plan for the next 3/6 months. Most important thing is, when you have locked a plan you must stick to it. You should not change it overnight. And if you think the plan is a crap , then you should not pick it in the first place. Constant change in the plan will ruin your business for sure. Another thing, do not make a long term plan. Make a plan for three months only. Have some KPIs and try to achieve that. Small steps will lead you to big numbers. But running for big might give you nothing but zero.
3. Deadline: Most of the tech companies failed because of missing deadlines. There is a say, developers don’t understand the value of time. Sometimes, it is true sometimes not. As a CXO, your duty is to make things moving not matter what, so that you can maintain the timeline all the time. Missing a simple deadline might delay your product launch, which will delay everything. Tech word is changing everyday, nothing is constant. So delay even a day can cost you huge fortune and your startup.
4. Market Research: Your investor might give you the run for your life to bring the service/product in the market, but as a Founder/CXO you should have some sort of market research before launching your service. This is very important, without doing it you will never understand what market is thinking about the industry or what they actually need. Sometimes, as a company we are so busy developing cool features, that we forget to make the simple things. It doesn’t matter how advance your product is, if your customers do not want it. With a very little investment you can have your research ready. So keep some money for it. Make sure, you do this at least twice a year.
5. Marketing Budget: I have another article on this issue: Promotion for digital product and services, you can have a look. Investors will give you a tough time to fix marketing budget for your products or services. For any technology product “BOOM” is very important. You need to start with a bang unless you have a product which is entirely new or not exists in the market. If you miss your shot you miss everything. There is no second chance. Your idea will be copied and launched by a big brand in the very next day. So make it huge, give a big ad in national dailies, have consistent presence in Digital Media to secure that the idea is yours. Trust me, your investor won’t understand this and will try to force you to cut off your marketing budget. Don’t let them ruin your service/product.
6. Entrepreneurship is not a hobby: If you think, leaving your job will give you the freedom you are looking for, you are wrong. Entrepreneurship is a Jail in disguise. You need to work around the clock to make the difference. If you can not do that don’t come this way. Don’t take this as another hobby.
7. Partners: Partnership is very important for a successful business. You have to be very careful to choose your partners. Your investors are your most important stakeholders. So choose them well. Make sure they understand what you are doing and why you are doing. If you don’t get the equal value from your investor, your business will suffer in the long run.
These are the important learnings I have since the inception of my entrepreneur life. I will never ask or motivate anyone to choose this path. This is not for everyone. You need to sacrifice your social life, your hobbies and free time to get things moving. But one thing I have to say, this is fun. With so many hardships and difficulties, when people will say good things about your service or product, you will feel something else. So the journey is worth.