By David Keane, Managing Director and CEO, bigtincan
Working at a startup company during this age of the mobile revolution presents entrepreneurs the opportunity to experience the kind of excitement that occurred when the Internet was born in the 1990s. Many of us believe the advancements in technology that have taken place during this ‘mobile revolution’ will have the same impact, if not greater, on the lives of billions of people around the world.
Steering through the process of building a startup has its challenges, and whilst recognizing every startup encounters unique obstacles and circumstances, there are some universal rules to live by that might provide entrepreneurs an advantage when dreaming of a product and market dominance.
1) Keep focused: When pitching a product or idea, others will certainly provide feedback, whether it is valuable or not. Listening to the opinions of others is crucial, but remember they likely don’t know or understand the market like you do. Improve the product or idea by listening to the feedback of others, but consider the criticisms of others carefully. When first starting a company, it’s essential to display confidence in your convictions. It’s possible to change the world through a startup idea.
2) Maintain control: It’s important to keep a wary eye on your money. Being successful in a difficult market often means learning how to be a ‘better sales person than the sales team, a better accountant than the finance team and a better lawyer than the legal team.’ It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a broad skill set at the onset—you can (and should) learn it. As a startup, you cannot leave it all to ‘the experts,’ who are not only expensive to employ, but also don’t have the risk profile you do.
3) Find good people and stick with them: A common challenge faced in a startup environment is finding quality people who will serve as partners, employees or even mentors. Finding these invaluable team members can prove difficult and is practically impossible to predict, so once you have them, try to hang on to them. Because starting a company is a stressful process involving countless challenges, good working relationships are essential and should be maintained. On the other hand, regardless of personal relationships, if a team member shows signs they’ll be difficult to work with or hard to handle, steer clear. You’ll need people you can work with hassle free.
4) Make sure you are in the right market at the right time: Although it seems incredibly obvious, those invested in a startup idea are often so focused on the idea they have difficulty keeping a level head. Just remember to slow down, lift your head up from the keyboard and take a look around. Think about the market and be prepared to adapt. Your market and audience may change—sometimes for the better—but if it’s for the worst, you just need to be prepared.
5) A unified team is the key to success: Once an amazing team is built, they need to work together, pulling in the same direction with the ultimate goal of achieving success. Keeping the crew rowing in unison could be the difference between success and failure. A small startup company must be nimble, where all team members help each other.
Lastly, when creating a startup, remember that in order to be successful, luck can be as important as a brilliant idea. As the company grows, differentiating between successes born from clever work and those resulting from luck will make it easier to formulate predictions about the future. And of course, make sure you enjoy every moment—that’s what creating a startup business is really all about.
David Keane operates as the CEO/managing director of bigtincan, a company whose content management application for mobile devices (bigtincan hub) helps enterprises maximize the profitability and productivity of its remote workforce. Before joining bigtincan, David served as the founder and CTO of Veritel Wireless, where he successfully grew the wireless broadband leader from inception, to sale and public listing. Prior to Veritel Wireless, David established Quadtel Asia, a broadband telecommunication distribution and consulting company, and worked as COO of KRGIND.