According to a rough estimate, nearly 60% of startups are forced to shut down their shutters within first year of operation itself, while nearly 30% startups follow the suit in the next 2 to 3 years. These statistics reiterates what is actually already well-know: That surviving during those initial years is toughest thing to endure for most startup companies. However, if startups managed to come unscathed from these tumultuous time that mark the initial years then they stand a genuine shot at success.
Startups ability to come out unscathed from these testing times is largely dependent on their survival instincts. These instincts can be sharpened by practicing some of the must-do-things, something that is often dubbed as ‘survival hacks’. History has invariably shown that these survival hacks come in handy for most startups to whether through tough storms during those initial years.
So here are the top 5 hacks that will keep your startup floating and help to emerge stronger after successfully overcoming the hiccups of the initial years.
Your MVP has to be as good as final product:
Although the term minimum viable product (MVP) is applicable to even large companies, over the years the term has been closely associated with startups. MVP basically means that product should be viable enough to launch into the market and get some necessary traction from the potential customers. It is absolutely given that your MVP will lack some basic features that are usually compensated few months after the launch, mostly with the help of customer feedbacks.
MVP’s scope for further improvement is what makes it so suitable for startups as they are usually devoid of huge funds and R&D resources. However, this also invariably sets a trap of complacency for many startups, leaving too many gaps to fill in their products for future.
Startups must bear in mind that margin between MVP and final product must be possibly very minimum. After all, a successful MVP can prove to be the ultimate confidence booster for any startup. Even a naïve entrepreneur knows that when a product manages to make customers happy then it becomes lot easier for small companies to cope with uncertainties. This invariably increases any startup’s survival rate to a great extent.
To cut it short, no startup should allow complacency to set in while making their MVP. Work hard now and you’ll reap the benefits in matter of few months.
Always keep an eagle eye on cash burn rate:
With limited cash reserves in hand, it is always advisable for any young startup to avoid over-excessive spending. Those fancy furniture’s and coffee vending machines can wait until your business starts some sort of genuine cash flow. This financial discipline with utmost devotion is a pre-requisite to successfully overcome all the uncertainties of those initial years.
Make sure that every penny that is spent on your business is counted for. Any expense that can be avoided or curtailed must be done away with immediate effect.
It is a proven fact that startups with tight control on their cash coffers are most likely to withstand any pressure during the preliminary years.
Never allow your ego to inflate:
Ego is just like salt. Salt is necessary, but too much of it can easily spoil the entire dish. Simply put, little bit of inflated ego is all it takes to wind up an ambitious startup in matter of few months. This is especially true about startups with multiple founders; where doubts and suspicion over trivial issues can easily flare up ego issues between the founders and can make young startup sink in no time.
However, if all the founders have genuine respect with each other, ego problems over trivial issues can be easily avoided. More importantly, each founder should respect abilities and capabilities that his or her counterparts offer to the startup. A unanimous view should exist among all the founders that these diverse capabilities is what will help to fulfill the great vision that eventually binds them all. It is equally important that founders should not interfere too much in each other’s responsibilities.
All said and done, whenever founders step inside their office. They should keep two things outside: their shoes and ego.
You got to be jack of all trades:
There is nothing really glamorous about being the CEO of a startup, considering that CEO may most probably not have enough money to hire enough employees. A startup CEO usually has to dabble between tasks that he may be completely unfamiliar with; In turn this is a test of CEO’s multi-tasking skills, which demands proficiency and utmost professional attitude. If the concerned CEO fails to rise to the occasion then it may very well directly impact the survival of his or her startup.
To give a rough idea about CEO’s multi-tasks then he may have to dabble into administrative, finance, HR and other tasks that are completely alien to him. It a complete one-man-show, where sometimes chances of driving yourself crazy are tad higher.
But this is no excuse to leave the battle midway. If you do then you risk the survival of your own startup. Hence be well prepared to fight the battle all alone to ensure that your startup survives in the midst of calamities that are waiting to strike sooner than later.
Focus on things that really matters:
The power of focus and concentration is like a lethal weapon that can help solve even the greatest of problems. Startup founders, who will be behest with problems from day one, will have to nurture the power of focus to ensure that their startup’s survival chances increases by every passing day.
But more important is to focus on things that really matters. Focus on gaining market traction, on making your product further better, on increasing the efficiency of your employees etc.
Focusing on these things is far more important than on things like relentlessly chasing investors, trying to make everyone happy or all those things that don’t augur too well for startup in the long run.