3 start-up lessons I’ve learned the hard way

We always desire for more than what we have today. When I was in college, I desired a decent job, a wonderful woman, and a good car.

I got the woman first, she is my wife now. Right after college, I got a low paying job, and worked hard, bought a decent car. Soon after, I had this urge to be an entrepreneur, so I left my successful, high paying job after working for 5 years and took a leap of faith.

After bootstrapping the business for 1 and a half years. I failed miserably and haven’t really completely recovered since then.

Learned a great deal from that experience. Here are the top 3 lessons from my experience.

Jumping to catch the butterflies

When you are working as a full-time employee and this Idea of being a startup founder strikes your mind, you feel butterflies in the stomach and you think it’s time to take a leap. Well, it might really be that however having a concrete business plan is the first step of the way.

I realized very late that my business plan needed a better structure/plan. I learned and tried to pivot, every time I did that I lost the sight of what the mission is.

The light bulb went on!

Any idea could be amazing and potentially change the world. However, there is a huge possibility that might already have been realized and tried on. A clear and correct execution is more important than a GREAT idea.

An idea that’s amazing in your head, could be useless for your target customer and usually, we are blind to this fact when we have those butterflies in our stomach.

I had this great idea of a virtual hiring workforce for small-mid businesses which could revolutionize because it had the potential of saving thousands in hiring cost.

It turned out the end customer was reluctant to make a decision to hand over their hiring process completed to an external supplier when they could simply hire an employee at a little bit higher cost + they already had other systems in place where we were saving them the money.

A great idea which has no practical use is useless. Hence, substantial market research for the viability of your service or product can potentially save you a lot of money and pain.

I can kick start my business, and find a client later

Often, we start with registering a business, setting up a website, hiring some employees, buying all the resources (some times for 6 months or a year, because of the magnetic discounts), only to realize we need a client to use all that.

I’m guilty of this one and it might be the biggest factor in my failure. I invested a whole lot in setting up a business in the US and one in India. I tried getting to local companies, met some of the directors and C-level people. Pitched my idea, they were all keen to hear and gave constructive feedback.

I learned that you have to start with a client. Unless you have a customer, what’s the business for?

Stay tuned for more!

I made several other mistakes too, but these are the biggest of all. I hope this helps you. Have you failed? Share your experience and learning in the comment section.

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