Here are 10 things that can help your startup sail in first 365 days!

At a time when the e-commerce and IT industries are reaching heights at lightning pace, young entrepreneurs with great business acumen need a platform where they can compare notes and egg each other on to do better.

Such platform was provided by TiE Mumbai’s ‘Smashup’, which captured the pulse of new generation startups.

The IIT Bombay campus, the venue of the event, was buzzing with new ideas and refreshed zeal as the event saw over 900 attendees with 11 of India's most successful names in among entrepreneurs, multiple accelators, VCs and angel investors since last 5 years.

There were no big VCs making tiring speeches nor there was any suited-booted crowd. The audience heard plenty of startup tales​, experiences and lessons​ from​ some of​ the most successful startup founders in the city, with rapt attention.

One of the major highlights of the event was ‘first 365 days of an entrepreneur’. First one year of any startup decides the life of an entrepreneur.

The panel called up entrepreneurs who had successfully passed first 365 days in their startups​. From experiences and insights, we have zeroed on 10 things that are important for startups. Take a look

Building perception
During the first year, business analysts rule that three out of 10 startups expire, never to be revived. And if the first 365 days don’t have smart learners leveraging on the lessons learnt, half of those startups eventually bite the dust.

Brand value
Fix your brand and platform with clarity. Do you want to be in the virtual world of internet, or ride the mobile wave and be an app? Most of the successful startups have been through umpteen iterations and phases of correction and have survived the test of time and volatile business atmosphere.

Hire fast, fire fast
Like MyDentist founder Vikram Vora says, it is time to “Build the right perception, know your audience, hire fast, fire fast.”
Time is crucial, but so is the collective spirit and sharing similar passion. If someone in the team is not working and meeting the desired expectations, part ways immediately. It may leave you with a smaller team and result in overburdening. Do it now, and thank yourself later.

Analyse-learn-analyse-set it right
The initial 12 months is that magical time when you are going through phases of self-doubts, learning and steering ahead; all happening at once. Make sure to take some time out to analyse where you are headed, and set the mast in that direction. Not reading vital signs through this phase can be hazardous for the business.

Read data, learn fast
Learn from other people’s mistakes. But, remember, you need to apply them only after understanding its relevance to your business.
Aseem Khare, the founder of TaskBob, says data is god. “You should be extremely data focused. Real life learning from experienced entrepreneurs help more than reading books. For a considerable amount of time, the work should be much more than you can handle.”

Factor in problems
Anyone who has ‘been there and done that’ knows that problems crop up at regular intervals and at most challenging times. Have Plan B ready, but also factor in some problems so that you ‘fight’ them well ahead of time.

Lean isn’t mean
When you are doing business with people from different walks of life, it is better not to reveal all your secrets. Cut the losses. Forget cheap clients. Build a lean product to save time and resources till you seal the deal.

Sachin Bhatia of Truly Madly has a very valuable suggestion. He says “Be ready to sell your ideas to stakeholders efficiently and convince them. Go out, connect with the masses and figure how to make business viable.”

Control expenses
Thinking big doesn’t mean spending big. Keep expenses down till you get someone to invest and grow big. Startup time isn’t about partying harder every weekend. Pay decent salaries and keep the fire burning till you can have your period of glory.

Be your own salesman
Hold on to your dreams and live them every moment of your life, till you see them getting to a space where they were meant to be. When you do branding, make sure you have all the ingredients to make it a success. Follow your instincts and be your own salesman. Let the world see your passion.

Live life as well
You are not just your dream. You are a social person. Remember to cut that work related umbilical cord and socialize. It does good to your soul.

(Image: Thinkstock)
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