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Start-ups: Five steps to sureshot success

Last updated on: May 18, 2011 12:52 IST

Start-ups: Five steps to sureshot success

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Shradha Sharma

Two years of observing close to 1,000 start-up entrepreneurs have given me some insights (or so I think!) on what makes one start-up entrepreneur succeed vis-a-vis another. While there are many views circulating in the market, I have attempted to put my learning based on real interaction with these entrepreneurs.

1. Be shameless

Being shameless is one of the biggest assets in your entrepreneurial journey. Don't forget to ask incessantly, call your prospective client again and again till he/she is forced to pick your call, don't give up if your e-mail is not replied to. Write again.

Many a times what we presume as indifference on other party's side might just be lack of time. Give anyone and everyone benefit of doubt.

Many of the deals that get closed in the start-up world are a result of persuasion, patience and undeterred follow-ups. Do it, you will not be the only one; I have seen some of the most successful guys doing the above as a practice.

Shradha Sharma, Founder, YourStory.in. YourStory is India's largest entrepreneurship web site in India. She can be reached at writetosharmashradha@gmail.com.


Image: Be shameless
Photographs: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com
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2. Be super flexible

A key differentiator between success and failure is flexibility. How do you take feedbacks, speaks a lot about you and your venture's future.

Do you say, "Hey, this is a great feedback, let me work on it" or "I don't agree with your views, but I may be wrong. Let me think this through and get back to you" or "I am ready to change".

Most importantly ask yourself if you are open to change based on feedbacks from investors, clients and employees?

Some of the guys whom I have not seen growing one bit are the ones who are very inflexible, opinionated and view feedbacks as personal criticisms. Closely observe all success stories, all of it has a twist and entrepreneur's flexible response to it.


Image: Be super flexible

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3. Be a star but try to create super stars

All of us like to be a star (yes in hearts of heart me too), somewhere it is enmeshed in an entrepreneur's DNA to want to be known, loved and admired by people all around. But please don't forget, successful guys find glory in making super stars.

Don't treat people working with you as lesser than you. Your employees are and will be the scriptors of your venture's success. Make them successful and nobody can take away your success.

If as a start-up you need to madly love someone, love the one who works with you. And yes, don't fake it it shows. 


Image: Be a star but try to create super stars

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4. Communication still very much matters

Yes, you have a start-up story. But how you speak, share and sell the story is the key factor on the time it will take you to succeed. Without getting into specifics, some of the most successful start-ups have one or more glib talkers as their founders.

They have a way with words. They are always ready with their two minutes elevator pitch. Practice and polish your communication (both oral and written) everyday.

Take time out from your busy schedule. Trust me on this one: an entrepreneur may come and go but a good communicator is always in fashion.


Image: Communication still very much matters

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5. Be hungry

Please be hungry to achieve each day when you get up and go off to sleep. Work round the clock (as a start-up you have to, nobody else will do it for you), network everyday, and think of your goal everyday.

Yes, you have to want it most, it's not your partner, family, eco-system; it's all about you. So want it desperately everyday because you can only get it.

These are few of the most common traits that I have observed. I have seen it working. What do you think? What has worked for you? Tell us, we are eager to learn.


Image: Be hungry

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