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How to Choose the Right Startup for You

If you are not schooled in the Hogwarts of Harry Potter universe or anything; choosing the right startup can be a bit of a quandary for you. It is a quandary in any case but mostly so if you don’t have any idea, trickery or anything under your belt – prior to this.

Part of the reason why Harry is so successful is because he knows when to gamble, on what to; whom to trust, whom not to; and where exactly to fall back on when he eventually meets a crossroads in life.

Decision making is pivotal to the success of a business goes without saying. And, much like for the Harry who putters: Startups also need so much of guidance initially no matter the expertise involved in the personnel.

Right from inception to hurtling past the break-even point and realization – business is one long stretch. I don’t want to refrain from saying it can be or it may be – for it is the case given any situation. Business starts from making a giant leap, but how could one even surpass the Shakespearean conundrum of to be or not be? That is where most people often tend to struggle – call it starting trouble if you may.

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Here are some useful tips to help you overcome the starting trouble and whittle down your plausible options into doable portions. We cannot guarantee you any magical results as for the Hogwarts alumni, but certainly, these tips can be applied to your business life if you choose to carefully dabble your feet into water i.e. (Note: This is either boiled water or cryogenic)

Tips for choosing the right startup:

Tip #1. Know your strengths – Follow your heart!

When Steve Jobs started Apple Inc. he was clear in what he wanted to achieve first and foremost. Being a disciple of Calligraphy, Jobs’ vulnerability towards stylizing vocabulary had once helped him create the fonts for iMac air. The point is not the scion’s repertoire; it is his decision-making prowess instead.

‘Steve’ knew where ‘Jobs’ lied and being an intrepid, a firm believer in his own his skills – he wasn’t going to trade them for workmanlike jobs.

You don’t want to start a venture just for the perfunctory sake, do you? And then later discover to your own shock that it wasn’t even your cup of tea as such? The old gospel says – You can’t make emotional decisions in business. Which is true to some extent. But, end of the day, starting a business with great visions of changing the world or earning billions – is personal and emotional.

Tip #2. Look around you – Look for Opportunities.

The greatest of ideas come from the unlikeliest of places so they say. And, how could you even find one? You just look it up. Not in Google or Yahoo, mind you, but in and around your own society itself. I say that not out off with my head for there is a credence or two to validate this as usual.

Often it’s the sheer lack of resources or the constant protuberance of a problem that may convert into creative ideas. Which you know, I know. But did you know – Ratan Tata, for instance, decided to conceptualize Tata Nano – the most affordable passenger car once – mainly because he saw an opportunity to cash-in on? He did so because he saw an Indian family consisting of 5 people or so traveling on the roads of south India. I haven’t seen what Ratan Sir saw but even a dummy like me could imagine what must have unraveled. A driver and maybe two passengers both front and back. And, further two fiddling on either of the sides. The rest is history… Opps only a story for ‘hi’ is amiss.☺

Tip #3. Take advice – But ‘ACT’ accordingly.

Even the best advice won’t work in case if it is not in-sync with the business you are planning to do.

For people of a certain vintage, I could share another story here. Once an Indian FMCG manufacturer, the name of which I don’t want to quote here, took the advice of its emeritus for granted – to explore foreign market i.e. – only to later discover their native stokes fell down like nine pins. Want to know who that person was or what the advice was? To launch a facial cream in the African Market. Goodness me!

Tip #4. Read Self-Help Books – Take cues from the who’s who!

That the best entrepreneurs/the who’s who spend time in fine tuning their craft is known to us by default. But what we may not necessarily know is that the who’s who of business are also voracious readers themselves.

Did you ever think ‘reading’ is a part of their job description in the truest sense of the word, at all? Not necessarily so, if you are an average grown-up like I am. They do that instinctively because reading expert opinions in the net or falling back on self-help columns would shed some light on the latest trends in the world of business. Or a pertinent problem that is costing businesses dearly now or make them go haywire come the future. No big deal? Well, you must be a reverie techie of Silicon Valley who watch movies, movies and movies alone – one after another after another. And gorge on the endless buffet too. (Be my guest!)

Tip #5 – Apply Strategies. Or, may I say – “Blue Ocean Strategy?”

When you make a foray into new realms of business with a trailblazing product; You create Blue Oceans, not Red Oceans.

In simple layman terms – Blue Oceans are uncontested marketplaces where monopoly is latent. Whereas Red Ocean, for lack of a better word, is the marketplace where competition is high, demand may or may not crumble down or rise up like ninepins, price sensitivity is there and there about, and entrepreneurs go to bed with the thought of a perilous tomorrow.

The concept put forth by Kim & Mauborgne, two professors at Harvard, may seem like a spin-off of Porter’s Five Forces theory. But for its sheer effectiveness and universal value; this is being seen as a tool which the Start-ups often tend to rely heavily on whenever they start anew or diversify business i.e.

To quote from the book itself – the only way to conquer competition is to STOP trying to beat the damn competition. Or, in other words – to simply stop worrying.

Examples are aplenty – Cirque De Soleil, which combined Circus and Theater into one single masterpiece for instance. Or, Uber – the recent ridesharing start-up concept that more or less took cues from the conventional/unorganized auto-taxi service of the southern parts of India.

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Credits must be given to them and them only for Uber negated the concept of pre-booking, and instead cashed in on the call-for-taxi or instant taxi aspect call it if you may.

Blue Ocean is the ideal method to start something because – different products can satiate what you may consider as the same need. Same need? Not necessarily so if you decide to put a spin on it.

NOW is the TIME

There are many intrapreneurs’ out there who occasionally dabble in their own mini ventures from time to time, within the vicinity of the corporate office itself. In case if you have a pet idea or a revolutionary concept which you are holding onto forever; this is perhaps the right time to test your luck.

With e-commerce and cloud computing firmly in place, you may not even require an office space and/or hire employees as it was the case hitherto. Technology i.e., revving up at a rate of knots – has allowed us space where even a dummy can do business, and ensure a second shot at redeeming themselves. The best part? You may not even require capital for there are lots of free services out there which people with a certain skill set and/or core competency can invest on. Like, what many of us poor souls (writers) are doing at the moment – selling words by means of ghostwriting. Or what the cyberspace babies out there make do – movie torrents – at the other end of the creativity spectrum. What say – ready to bootstrap? Or dabble in your own out-of-the-box business ideas? Share us your opinions in the comments section.

P.S. Please feel free to share your suggestions, comments or opinion regarding this blog. Was it of any value? Did you find it engaging throughout? All I have to say is – whether you are a businessman or a Jackass; Snowden or Mr. Bean – nothing beats the sheer pleasures of a freewheeling chat in the comments section. Thank You.

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