8. Forget the stock markets – they are irrelevant
In today’s world, the stock markets, especially Nasdaq, have a big bearing on attitudes towards technology. TV Channels like CNBC and financial websites provide near instantaneous and round-the-clock coverage of what is happening. In times like these when the markets are down, there is doom and gloom around. It is easy to get swayed listening to what people are saying. Yet, what they are talking about is the near-term and the challenges their businesses face. For a startup, it is important not to get swayed or overly concerned about what is happening on the stock markets. The markets only come into play when one wants to sell some stock, which is only a distant possibility. The focus should be on thinking about the impact of technology on businesses, and how consumers lives or enterprise processes can be better.
9. The First Mistake can be the Last
Running a startup is a “life-and-death” business. An entrepreneur is perhaps no more than two or three mistakes away from business death. This makes it very important to weigh decisions carefully when they are made. Some decisions, especially in the choice of customers, need to be balanced so as to meet near-term needs with the desire to build a long-term business. For example, an important customer might demand significant product customisation. While there is no doubt that this would be of great short-term value, if it impacts the company so as to take away all its key development resources, then care must be taken before committing to the customisation. In these cases, there is no right or wrong answer: every scenario is different. These are the kinds of decisions which an entrepreneur has to make constantly, and especially in the early stages, every decision has the prospect of being the fatal one.
Once the initial thinking and planning has been done, it does not mean that the process must stop. The cycle of Reading-Thinking-Writing must be continuous one. This is the source of new inspiration and new ideas. It also serves to evolve the business in the right direction, not something which is frozen in time at the start of the business. The time investment for this read-think-write cycle has to be made by the entrepreneur; it is not something which can be delegated. No one else has the same frame of reference as the entrepreneur. It is important to keep imbibing new knowledge to continually revisit and make modifications to the map and therefore the ensuing strategy. The Internet offers access to the best of content resources – it is for the entrepreneur to make the time investment. Reading needs to be combined with Thinking to see how things may need to be done differently, or how the future is evolving. Writing helps in putting things in perspective, and in sharing one’s thoughts with a group of people for further inputs.
11. Faith in God
Above all, one needs Faith in God. There are many times an entrepreneur will feel that all doors are closed and there is no escape from the difficult situation one finds oneself in. It is at times like these that God shows the way – it is for us to see it.