Aug 21, 2016

How I got the first client for my startup

Saurabh Chawla | 0 Comments|


getting first client for your startup

Everything I ever wanted to know I just ask a search engine and there's the answer. So the least I can do for my clients is share what I've learned. 

                                                                      - Derek Sivers

 In the journey of setting up a startup, it's essential to get it going. No business can survive without a client availing your services. In my previous post How I failed and managed to rise again in my startup!
I listed the reasons that led to my failure and how I managed to pick up again. But a business has to start from somewhere. For this start a client is needed who avails and trusts your business services. But client acquisition can be taught from any of the books and several articles are also available which you can refer to. According to my experience, acquiring your first client has nothing to do with the hard coded rules. I would like to share the tips which led me to get my first client.

1. Don't get too touchy

I don't build in order to have clients. I have clients in order to build.

                                                                        - Ayn Rand

It's often usual to get touchy over your first client. If he discusses the project with you, you leave everything aside and focus every bit of your energy on your first potential client. I also did the same. One time he said anything bad, I felt like a loser. I stopped looking for more opportunities and concentrated all my energy only on one client. 

The bad thing that happened was that at the end he didn't gave us the project. He simply left a message for me that 'we have gone with some other company at this time.' I had to start looking for more opportunities. I learned from this incident to never get touchy. Always keep looking for opportunities.

2. Keep client's needs above your own

Your ability to communicate is an important tool in your pursuit of your goals, whether it is with your family, your co-workers or your clients and customers. 

                                                                                  - Les Brown

Most of the times, it happens that we fail to understand the actual needs of the client. Same thing happened with me. I focused on what I wanted instead of what my client wanted. One day, I visited a store to buy a shirt for myself. The shop owner was busy on the phone. I ignored him and headed to find someone to help me find the shirt. To my surprise no one was there. The boys were busy gossiping and having tea but nobody was willing to attend the customer at their shop. At the end, I simply walked out to another store nearby.

I went back home after the purchase and thought about the incident. Then I realized that what I was focusing on was taking me in the wrong direction. I simply hanged my strategy from the next client I got. Things are getting better after that.

3. Believe in yourself first

Clients say, 'What's your strategy,' and I say, 'Ask me what I believe first.' That's a far more enduring answer. 

                                                                                           - Ginni Rometty
 
Nobody will believe you until you believe in your own self. Clients will show interest in your services once you believe in your own self. Client needs to have trust in your offerings and how they can benefit them. In my case, that was not happening in the beginning which led them to turn away from our services. If you feel any doubt about the client's behavior towards you, try to sort the issue out as early as possible.

 4. Following the hard coded rules

Leave no stone unturned to help your clients realize maximum profits from their investment. 

                                                                                        -  Arthur C. Nielsen

I already mentioned this earlier and would like to mention it again. Use of rules to acquire your clients may help you somewhat in your startup's journey but you have your own identity and so does your startup. So follow your heart's instincts to deal with your clientele. The same happened with me when I followed the hard coded rules. I still remember the client telling me,' You are no different than others, why should I give my project to you?' I was baffled with such a reaction. I noted down the similar questions asked by my clients and prepared a possible list of answers. Now I am more than prepared every time such questions are asked. 

What all steps you have taken to get your first client? Do share your story!

Aug 15, 2016

How I failed and managed to rise again in my startup!

Saurabh Chawla | | | 7 Comments|

fear of failure

In every success story, you will find someone who has made a courageous decision. 

                                                                         -- Peter F. Drucker


Every individual has his own journey. The journey takes him to a life full of successes and failures with a number of failures more than successes. How could be different then?  I started off with a venture of my own last year, managed to build up a decent clientele and a not so boastful fan following. But sky dawned up on me. From my past experiences my life, I have failed a lot many times. I managed to get up again as I failed and start off again from scratch. But that was in studies, in sports or in any other regular things which happens in every other person's life. I wanted something else from life; life had planned something else for me instead. Encapsulating the sanctity of the entire discussion in two words, 'I failed' and I failed miserably. 

From the point of view of how I see myself, I was just another big failure in my own eyes. I had two options, whether to continue and forget what happened or give it all up and barge into my own shell of comfort zone. All I did was nothing of the either. I simply paused and looked back to all the series of events that led to the biggest failure of my life (well until now, the biggest). I started taking down notes from the life which I enjoyed as a regular employee to the one I lived as an owner of a startup. I would like to share my experience with you all today. Maybe it can help you out in some way or the other in your life.

1. I ignored my health

To keep the body in good health is a duty... otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. 

                                                                                                     - -Buddha

The worse of all, I started ignoring my health. I had this 'sab chalta hai' attitude and got carried away with all the bad habits that one can possibly fall into. I drank less water and more alcohol, slept even less than a worm, food was kept unattended for hours, only to be returned because of the coldness and worst of all never moved my butt off of the seat at all! I suffered from severe lower back spasms as well.

All this led to only one thing, severe weight loss with lot of vitamins and minerals loss.  My thoughts got suicidal and I was thrown off of the roof of my home in my dreams. I would call them nightmares. The most creepy feeling of all which I suffered extreme crawling feeling in my legs which didn't let me sit or stand or sleep.

The good thing, I went to the doctor at the right time, no sooner or later. If I would have gone sooner, I would not have understood what it meant at all. If I would have gone any later, I would have been paralyzed by then with severe damage to my nerves which would have been irreversible. (These are my doctor's own words).


2. I became arrogant

Like a fool, I became arrogant in every aspect of my life. I behaved as a moron who thought of being the supreme, above all and I felt like the king. Later on I realized that I was phony, a fake. Arrogance will lead you to nowhere but downfall. I left all the chances that came across my way, missed all the opportunities. I was foolish.

There are two kinds of pride, both good and bad. 'Good pride' represents our dignity and self-respect. 'Bad pride' is the deadly sin of superiority that reeks of conceit and arrogance. 

                                                                                          - -John C. Maxwell
The attitude was changed with immediate effect as I found out that I was heading straight down the hell. It helped a lot to understand of how the things are done when they are needed to be done.

3. I chose the wrong team members

The best teamwork comes from men who are working independently toward one goal in unison.           
                                                                                      --James Cash Penney

This was the second worst thing that happened to me. But I don't regret it. I learned something out of it. The people I was working with were only after the money without doing any work. Half of their work I did for them and they needed full money and full credit. I want to ask all of you, which company pays the employees the salary in advance or without any work? 

Nobody is a superman or superwoman who can take up all the tasks and deliver on their own. One needs a team to move ahead. The key point here is that the team members should have the same vision as yours. Sometimes as happened in my case also, they fake it. But it surfaces sooner or later. I thank god that I came to know about these people earlier in my startup journey and I didn't get a big blow from them. 

How I got over all this?

All the above factors contributed to my failure in some way or the other. I took immediate steps to correct all these. My health took over six to seven months to recover. To the arrogance I had already said goodbye and I was open to more chances and opportunities life threw at me. My team members, how I can forget about them? They would be busy somewhere in their own small world where I have no intention to disturb or communicate with them at all. 

Now, when I look back at all the failures that I had previously, I ask one question to myself that when I can deal with them, why I can't deal with this one? I took a break to think about these and it took me a while to correct these mistakes. But in the meanwhile, I didn't stop doing what I did and continued my journey. Yes I am awake and more prepared than before.

Aug 8, 2016

Are you ready for starting a business?

Saurabh Chawla | 2 Comments|

businessman

 Starting a business can be a daunting task. You require courage, determination and confidence in doing so. There may be thousands or even millions of startup ideas that would encourage you for starting your own business. The question is not that you straightaway jump into an arena mindlessly. It takes a moment to decide a good thing but several moments to decide what is the best thing for you. 

You could join any of the several business startup programs and learn the tricks of the trade. You could also rely on your inner conscience for taking the big leap. I prefer taking the latter approach. This is because I believe in the fact that experience is the best teacher. Whether you are stuck in a boring job or your personality doesn't allow you to work under somebody etc. Whatever may be the reason, you must be ready for starting a business right?

Below mentioned is a checklist which would help you in getting answer to the question:

1. You are confident of your skills:

First of all, you need to be absolutely confident about your skills. The industry in which you are planning to jump into and become an Entrepreneur, you must fit into the picture absolutely. You can research in detail about the industry to understand the know hows of the functioning of the industry you are planning of building a startup in. Just dig deep and research your business sector in order to strategically plan your business venture accordingly. This will boost your confidence as you would be aware of your knowledge and skills.

2. Commitment

While starting a business, you would be able to show a full commitment and dedication to your business. You might be tempted to start multiple businesses at the same time. You cannot chase two rabbits at the same time. If you focus on the single business, the probability of  succeeding would be higher. Commitment is the key to succeeding as a startup and  as an Entrepreneur.

3. Get along with like mined people

Alone, you won't be able to develop a business. You need a team of like mined people who believe in your passion and your way of working. Same is with the collaboration with other businesses. Make a strategic alliance with the businesses having businesses in the similar field like you. Competition should also be there but in a healthy way. So collaborating with businesses or companies in similar industrial domain.

4. Be clear. Develop a Business Blueprint

You just can't move around without having a plan in Business. You need to be clear about what you plan to achieve through the business. For this, you need a blueprint that will define the short term and long term aspects of your business. Make sure that the roles and responsibilities of each team member is clearly listed including yours so nobody deviates from the actual purpose the business is serving.

If you feel that you have fulfilled the above points satisfactorily, you are ready for starting a business.
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