Dr Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, Co-founder & MD, 9Unicorns

Dr Apoorva Ranjan Sharma is the Co-founder and Managing Director of 9Unicorns. He is a seasoned veteran in the startup sector and a serial investor. Dr Apoorva Ranjan is a seasoned veteran in the startup sector and a serial Investor. He is a globally acclaimed angel Investor, speaker and previously been a speaker at RISE conf. Hong Kong, Web Summit Lisbon, TiE Global SF and many more.


If the ‘I wish to become an entrepreneur’ bug hasn’t bitten you yet, do not fret; at least not yet. Before you begin brainstorming ideas on how to take the leap of faith, it is important to understand some basics to sail through the first phase. Entrepreneurial pursuits are now being viewed favourably, owing to the buzz generated around emerging startups and the changing worldview of India’s budding professionals.

While it is commendable that popular culture is finally idolizing innovation and initiative, ambitious individuals mustn’t look at the prospects of startups through rose-tinted glasses. The process is an arduous one, filled with roadblocks, sleepless nights, and austerity measures. It often takes first-time entrepreneurs almost a year to two, to stabilize a business. Keeping these challenges in mind, we have listed five hacks for new-age startups.

1. Preparing a mindset during the ideation stage

Before the ideation and planning stage of founding a startup, it is important for the team to share a collective vision about what they wish to achieve. Disagreements and discussions are a part of the process, however, preparing a mindset can make or break the company’s future.

Be it setbacks, mistakes, successes, or monetary constraints, you must outthink the consequences around you so that it becomes easy to redress problems. This approach helps in keeping calm during a successful growth phase, as it is important not to get disheartened or overtly jubilant during the initial phase.

2. Broadening your horizons and opening oneself to fast developments all around

The Indian startup ecosystem is getting increasingly competitive, and your idea is likely to be replicated by other players. It is essential to keep ourselves open to developments taking place around us, as keeping oneself updated can provide the elbow room to plan for contingencies. Furthermore, interacting with young entrepreneurs and accessing ideas from around the world can help you make structural changes during the initial months.

Startups have to undergo strict budgeting to tighten loose ends and have control over expenses. India has a blossoming startup scene, with a plethora of new-age services on offer. You can think our of the box to meet your needs to offset additional expenses.

3. Developing a sound funding strategy

Receiving funding is about various other factors beyond just the money. While an infusion of capital can pour extra life into a firm, it isn’t a cakewalk by any means. Building a funding strategy involves long months of preparation, including investor specific plans.

Several startups that possess exquisite ideas often fall short when communicating their objectives. They either pitch a standard fare proposition or approach Venture Capitalists and investors without conducting the requisite research to understand them individually. It is important for budding entrepreneurs to keep adjusting to developments in the VC world and remain clearheaded.

4. Practicing patience and time management

Running a business for in the hope of quick successes is a futile and counterproductive approach. Entrepreneurship is a strenuous and long drawn out process, with several interconnected elements associated with the economy, which often fall in place due to external circumstances. As clichéd as it may be, patience really is a virtue for stable growth. A meteoric rise is often unsustainable, and it must occur out of its own volition, and not as a substitute for quality work. At least during the first year or two, entrepreneurs will do well to focus on delivering services efficiently.

Managing your time well is important, as you’d rather spend it on more pressing issues. The less essential aspects of the business can be outsourced to other upcoming small and medium business, which usually offers inexpensive services. This could allow the company to cut costs while allowing the team to refocus the energies on more important concerns.

5. Eyes and ears everywhere

Finally, companies that incorporate feedback readily, and those that try to understand the experiences of the users, stand out among the crowd. They are more likely to succeed and receive appreciation for tweaking their service offerings.

Additionally, good ideas come free, and the onus lies on the listener to identify the right ones and filter the rest out. People who belong to this pool are most likely to follow-up on implementation. While being attentive might seem like a daunting task, it comes with practice and diligent work ethic, both of which are beneficial to an entrepreneur.




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