Completed one year of our startup today!

26th Dec, 2004 – was the day when our first store was inaugurated. Many things have happened in last one year. We started as a 2 person team having one store with 300 SKU. One year past we are 2 store and a warehouse facility, 5 people team, with 1300 SKU, and double the sales. We have graduated from being a new comer in the market to becoming the most well known retail brand here.

But that is not the most significant thing to happen in last one year. The more important thing has been the learning associated with this venture. I will share it with you. Any startup is a high-risk, high-velocity, high-adrenalin atmosphere. I think four skills are crucial for an entrepreneur who hopes to strike it right.

Think Ahead: Yes, you are the navigator-without-maps. You have to steer the future course of direction for the company. You need to decide left or right. Just left or right. But that may be ALL the difference between success and failure. So think ahead. Look b-e-y-o-n-d the obvious.

Prioritise: At any point of time, there can be so many things that you can do. There is a huge number of things, all seemingly important, that one could be doing, be absolutely busy, and yet achieve nothing in the sense of “creation”. Its easy to get lost in details, in nuts and bolts – there are so many of them in a startup. You need to prioritize, to find only the most important task and do it before the less important ones.

Delegate: Delegation is multiplying yourself. Maybe the person you delegate to will not do as good a job as you think you can, but if you try to do everything yourself then you will simply run out of time. Decide the wireframe structure, and hand it over to someone else to hammer the sheets and nails. Its difficult to believe that someone else will do the job as good as you, but an essential part of being an entrepreuner is to have faith in your team. Its difficult to tear yourself away from something you think you can do best and leave it to someone else, but it has to be done. You only have one mind, 2 hands and 24 hours – delegating to your team will overcome that limitation.

Do: There is NO substitute for action. There are no right ways – what may be the “best” strategy today, may become wrong tomorrow, and a blunder the day after that. It is better to do something now (even if it is not-so-right) than to do it perfectly right much later (and waste time preparing for that). Yes, there is something called “killing through the speed of action”. There IS no substitute for action

Surely, there would be many more “must-have” skills. My learning is far from over. Its just one year, and we have lots to cover. Miles to go before I sleep…