Continuing from where I left yesterday, there are many ways to make a system that can help you manage the start-up costs at least for some time. Please do remember that you have to finance your family as well as start-up.
a) Look for quick ways to make revenue come your way. If a part of service offering has a market, launch it. This gives valuable feedback plus gets something going. Nothing matters more for a start-up than the first revenue. This could be in the form of getting a small outsourcing piece from someone you know to develop or launching training for some technology that you have mastered. Think out of box. Lots of people out there can use some of the things you have built. Delegate as much of the work for these revenue enablers as possible to your staff. You never know, one of this small offering might turn out to be a major branch of your business.
b) Moonlighting is easier said than done but is possible. I have seen successful start-up owners continue to moonlight till they get financial independence. This could mean taking your boss in confidence and/or working part-time. In India specially, it is possible to launch at-least the initial part of the business while moonlighting as your initial costs are low. Having a working spouse also helps a lot in meeting household expenses.
c) In India Fixed return deposits interest rates are very high (you get nearly 10% in fixed and guaranteed returns. If you have substantial savings, keeping a bulk portion of money initially in bonds etc. with monthly interest options and taking monthly income from them is also a viable way to manage expenses.
d) Go for financing when you have the initial work done and have a good grasp of business. You will get a better deal from investors and everyone (including yourself) will have better visibility and confidence.
e) DO NOT take BANK LOANS: Especially in India. Interest rates are very high and interest pile up so quickly that it will add lots of pressure. Try and look for family/friend loans if you cannot avoid it.
2. Delegating work
For hands on technical guys who get into start-ups, getting into the delegation mode is tough. They are so used to doing things themselves, solving issues themselves that they jump into tech challenges the team faces and try and resolve the same. Definitely this is required sometimes when major bumps come in the way. Try and avoid it. Two major disadvantages of this are:
a) Your mind gets diverted into these issues and not able to focus on huge challenges of running a business, marketing, strategizing, connecting, recruiting, planning, etc…
b) The team starts depending on you to solve issues rather than do it themselves, and gain the required confidence and learning.
3. Go To market strategy
How do you launch your product? How/When do you test the waters are essential questions plaguing all entrepreneur. This is also one of the major economic decisions as sales and marketing are sure to burn a whole in your pocket while being unavoidable. I will suggest if your business idea can be launched in small scale, please do that now. Do it slowly and use the feedback to continuously make improvements. Going for a bigger launch should wait till you have captured your local market first, especially when you are in your first start-up.
4. 1+1=11 and not 2:
Kept the best to last. One basic requirement for a start-up is to have a partner (Not 3 or 4 or more but just the 2 of you). Partner need not be of same wavelength but you should feel that he is reliable and honest and together you should share the vision for your start-up. This is crucial as it helps in all areas from dealing with stress, sharing workload, sharing cost, sharing connects to sharing ideas. You should have trust in each other and should have some deep, old connect (could be family, alumni, domain knowledge etc.). Complementing each other’s strength and weaknesses is an essential part of start-up. You are almost guaranteed success in some form if you can get the above kind of partner.
Wishing all my start-up friends a very exciting and fruitful journey ahead. Best of luck.