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10 Things Young Entrepreneurs Should Know

13/02/2015 8:16 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:24 AM IST
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1: You are only as good as your team: A company is at its core a collection of individuals striving towards a common economic and social goal. Invest in the right people, not just in terms of money, but effort and time, they will be your biggest strength.

2: Culture starts at the top: The founders and the executive team set the tone of the company. Companies are reflections of the personalities that make them. Decisions you make on everything from expense accounts to work ethic are symbolic of culture and what you want to build as a company.

3: Building for resilience: Failure is the default state of all startups. Building a business is hard work, it takes a toll on the best of us and even then, success isn't guaranteed. It's important to have a core team that knows the ephemeral nature of things and can deal with change, both good and bad, comfortable with the knowledge that neither success nor failure is permanent.

4: Reasons: Passion is an inexhaustible source of fuel. There will be trying times and during those teatimes of the soul, having an internal compass and engine will help you find a reason to get back up. Seldom is only economic incentive enough to continue to keep the embers burning. Trends and 'hot' businesses will come and go. Have or find a reason to want to keep the lamp aflame.

5: Hiring away weaknesses: Hire people smarter, better and more capable than you. A-players work with A-players. Stay away from assholes who are awesome, they may make great mercenaries but armies win wars.

6: Persistence: At the risk of going into preacher-man mode, dumb luck is sometimes just sheer persistence. Only the pain of lost opportunities can hone both determination of not knowing how to give up and the art of knowing when and what to give up on.

7: Economics and control: Two things that matter when fund-raising. Sweat the details on these, everything else is relatively small potatoes. Don't let the lawyers run the show, it's your company, you need to know and consciously agree to what the mechanics are.

8: Put the company first: Easier said than done, since every individual will default towards their own gain. Having the interest of the company at the altar as the ultimate arbitrator of decisions will help hard choices be easier and align interests.

9: Work/Life: The truth is, no company ever got built by doing a 9 to 5, or not being disturbed on weekends. You are either on the bus or off it. You will make sacrifices. If you truly love what you do, no single day at work ever feels like work.

10: It's a ride: Someday, you are going to die. The biggest investment you make is your time. If entrepreneurship is a choice you find uncomfortable, don't rush into it, but don't sit around too long mulling it either. For every entrepreneur who takes the jump, there are many others who harbour dreams, talk and never do it. At the end of the day, it's what you want to do. What do you want to build?

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