Hardware: Buy, Don’t lease.
Most folks who are starting up in the valley would ask you to lease and not buy. But with most hardware and computers, it would actually work out to be cheaper to just buy them, since you can. The Depreciation factor actually helps you out.
For God’s sakes, find a mentor.
I dont know what you will do. But if your industry, vertical and idea is frozen and you have started working on the prototype, you need to find yourself a mentor before its too late. It would be ideal to find someone who knows the industry and its painpoints quite well so that he can provide some insight into the industry that you are trying to tap into.
Keep a safety cash stash.
Don’t run from hand to mouth. Its good habit and practice to always keep a month or twos expenses as a secret stash (hopefully in a bank account) and try not to touch it unless absolutely essential.
Don’t be stupid and finance your venture using a credit card.
It’s simple as that. Credit cards are just money sucking systems and if you are planning on financing your venture using a credit card, lets just say that I have no faith in your financial planning or business sense anymore.
Use the Social Media platform Effectively.
Build the buzz from the beginning. Keep them curious, but satisfy them a little once a while. Manage your marketing, and balance your hype. Keep them swarming, but let them peek once a while. Given the low entry barriers to marketing and being in a connected world, you do not have an excuse to wait till you grow big so that you can hire a PR firm to do your marketing.
Plan your first hire.
The first hire of the company essentially is the royal diadem, if I may say so. The attitude that he or she posses will make a lot of difference. It is perfectly okay to reject 99 people to hire the 100th right candidate. Be picky, choosy and you can even afford to be a jerk, but not to make a bad hire.
Get back quickly.
One of the things that I get oooh-ed and aaah-ed running Proto.in is as to how quickly I do get back to them. I rarely let 10 hours – let alone a few hours get by before I get to anyone. I make sure that I respond to even the silliest queries in the nicest manner possible. Considering that you are just starting out and someone has actually taken the time to write, its the least you could do. Given that most of the guys from the startup sector are the ones who are in awe, I am actually a little scared. But learn, and remember. Get back to them as soon as possible. Do not let your customers hanging.
Get a sensible lady onboard.
I’d totally go with Guy Kawasaki on this one. There is a major difference between a venture that is run by all-men and one where there is a lady who is an equal partner and has a say in things. Women do have a way of looking at details and trust me, the perspective will definitely help. Also, considering that you will have a higher chance of women who will join startups – they are more daring than men, and will possibly spend long hours in the office, a lady around provides a safe and comfortable environment.
Exploit every opportunity you get to talk.
As Sanjeev Gadre of Subex Azure said in a talk, there is nothing that builds a brand building excercise than the opportunity given, to talk to a targetted and focused audience.
Create a work culture.
startups are a lot of work. But it can also be fun.
Invest in smart and cool ambience.
Get a bean bag. It is ergonomic. It is stylish. And its a statement that this startup is cooler than the other one. Enough said.
More to Follow…