Starting up in India? Entrepreneur Saurabh Khathuria doles out these nifty tips for making sure you do it right the first time around
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become” – Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs understood that your starting up journey, much like any other dream, requires not just a smart MVP or a good business plan; it requires courage and willingness to follow the path less trodden.
It is now close to three years since I started my entrepreneurial journey and it has been a very fulfilling experience so far. I am by no means an expert in giving professional advice to budding entrepreneurs, but would just want to share some of my experiences so far.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while you begin your bootstrapped startup.
Do not compromise on hiring the best
This comes first. Hire the best people. We learnt this lesson the hard way that you do not compromise on the quality of people. Yes, good employees come at a very high cost that one cannot afford (especially in the initial days), so look for people who can work on a contract basis. Hire them as vendors on a project basis, if you need to. Though you might have negligible savings initially due to high resource costs, delivering good quality will help to build the client base.
It is absolutely true that “quality delivery is the best sales one can do!”
Keep a check on the finances
Your cash reserve is like oxygen; you use up more than you expect. Expect only 50 per cent of your due payments to come in on time. Payment delays can happen with even the best of the clients. Plan expenses/investments based on 50 per cent realisation of payments.
Adopt strategies like billing clients some percentage of invoice at the time of delivery and not just on signoff. In instances where you have a long project, make your invoice milestone-based in such a way that it enables you to raise invoice on a monthly basis and cash flow is intact.
Fixed office location leads to fixed costs
Decide your office location keeping the employees and fixed cost in mind. We decided to keep our office in South Delhi instead of Gurgaon and Noida. Though the look of office building is not very contemporary from the outside, it has these advantages:
- Comparatively less commute time than Gurgaon/Noida and easily accessible to everyone staying in Delhi NCR.
- Walkable distance from the metro station (No need of spending on daily cabs).
- Low maintenance cost due to less power disruptions in Delhi.
- Facilities like power backup (generators/inverters) are available at a cheaper cost.
Outsource non-core/supporting functions
Hire the accounting/HR/IT/legal people as consultants instead of full-time employees. While setting up companies abroad, you can also use the services of companies (a lot of them are available online) that work as consultants (they provide quality services at a very reasonable rate).
And so, through trial, error and experience you too can have a fruitful journey on your way to realising your intuition.
This article first appeared on LinkedIn.
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