Startup-up weekend: Ensuring your Startup survives

The knowledge and skills you have after participating in a 54hour startup boot camp is nothing compared to what you will learn from any book you will read, (There are few exceptions). My career as a project manager, recruiter or idea owner, I would say has taken a different turn after a 54 hours intensive startup business Bootcamp. Having participated in the digital startup weekend organised by borek digital and Startup weekend there were certain key important lessons and insight I got which I would be sharing. First of all,  Start-up has been in existence for a long time, from starting a business in the garage to grow to become a 500 employee business. Whatever the idea may be, start-up focuses on finding a problem and providing a solution to such identified problem. Startups are not only problem-focused, but they are also continuously focused on making the world a safer place, environmentally and technologically.  Having the right people work on an idea can be one of the greatest asset a start-up business. With the proper benefits also, people that work at start-up can benefit a great deal from the business.

startup weekend

We started the start-up weekend with over 21 people pitching different ideas from building educational apps, to find people who are interested in cooking locally made food and hanging out with strangers who would be eventually become friends. The ideas were endless, innovative interesting and eye-opening. However, only 11 of these ideas made it to the next round. After these ideas were voted for, each team had 54 hours to develop their business model, revenue stream and come up with a presentation to sell their business ideas for possible business investors. At the end of the weekend, some team survive, some dropped out of the program while others will continue to develop their idea whether they got an investor or not. However, at the end of the 54 hours here are my insight on how to build and ensure that you sustain your start-up. 

  1. People are not your asset, only the right people                                                          One of the most popular questions always asked during an interview process is the question where do you see your self in 5 years? While some have the plan to build their career in an organisation, some people just want to earn money. While that may not be bad, getting people to buy into your idea is a more strategic business plan that just hiring someone who just wants to while away time. That makes a big difference. During the revenue planning process, a certain amount was budgeted for paying salaries and the question of how management would be paid came up, while some people wanted salaries, others wanted a form of equity, others wanted to partner. While there is nothing wrong with wanting a salary, it is always best to have people who are interested in the “idea” and “earning” rather than just the profit the business will make. Having a handful of people work on your startup is good. However, hiring the right people with the right skills is your greatest asset. 
  2. Adapting to reality                                                                                                             There is a huge difference in developing an idea and implementing it. The discovering of an idea is always very exciting until you discover that the first year of your business, nobody is buying your products or using your services. These are the reality for every start-up business. However, throwing in the towel would not get you anywhere. This is the point where you need tenacity, endurance and the strength to survive the desert period ! it will pass away. Some ideas were fantastic but I quickly learnt that some team leaders simply could not continue just because they lost the motivation to continue. Been a founder of a startup, you must have at the back of your mind that you are not only responsible for a business, you are simply going to be responsible for people this includes helping them discover that talents at the same time, providing them with a source of livelihood and income to feed their family. 
  3. Understanding how timing affects your business                                                          Woking on a project with different people means that each person or the team has an area of expertise, it could be working on the user interface design, conducting market research, designing revenue streams and communicating with your suppliers or customers to ensure the right supplies or tools are available. Consequently, these functions are usually time-bound. Meaning, except one part of this project, has finished, the other cannot start. Hence, timing has a way of making or breaking your business. Knowing what to do, or having a program or product schedule made available for everyone in your company can help eliminate confusion and prevent scope creeps. Manage your time wisely. 
  4. Transparency should not be vague   When you start hiding information from your company, especially if you have made an equity agreement. Sooner or later, your employee or partner would find out. Unfortunately, it might be too late to salvage your reputation and gain trust once again. Try to be as transparent as possible, if you get x amount of funding from investors, do not try to manipulate the amount. It is better to lose A team members because you are transparent rather than lose people because of been dodgy.    

While the list is inexhaustible, I hope there are a few things you have learnt from this write-up that can help your business. See you next time.   

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