Start-up Guide is a publishing and media company that produces guidebooks and online content to help entrepreneurs navigate and connect with different start-up scenes across the world. As the world of work changes, its mission is to guide, empower and inspire people to start their own business anywhere.
About our book :
Start-up Guide books are just like traditional guidebooks in that they can be carried everywhere and provide you with helpful tips on your entrepreneurial journey.
Each book is packed with essential information about doing business in the city or region, as well as profiles of start-ups, coworking spaces and programs based there. Each title also contains insightful interviews with local experts and inspiring stories of entrepreneurship.
Start-up Guide goes digital :
Since the first Start-up Guide book was published, we’ve learned a lot and now feel confident exploring new formats to reach a wider audience. By producing online content, we can take a deeper look at local ecosystems across the globe and stay up to date on innovative initiatives. Just like our books, our media website strives to guide, empower and inspire people to
“Our VISION is that there are talented people everywhere whose potential can be unlocked to make an impact on the world through entrepreneurship.”
“Our MISSION is to empower communities of talented and motivated people to build technology businesses that positively impact the world, no matter their location, background, race, age, or sexual orientation.”
We believe that :
• Great companies start with great people.
• Great companies can be built anywhere.
• Great companies are not built alone.
• Anyone can change the world through entrepreneurship.
• Focus is one of a founder's greatest challenges.
• Start-ups are much harder than you think.
Assessing Risks :
An entrepreneur needs to identify the various risks that confront the venture and make an assessment of their importance to his or her specific situation. The act of starting a business is inherently risky:
1. There is no guarantee that customers will like your products or services enough to purchase them.
2. Entrepreneurs frequently borrow money to finance their venture in its earliest stages; there is a chance that they will not make sufficient profits to be able to pay these loans back.
3. As a business expands, the founders will invariably have to delegate responsibility for certain tasks to employees whom they do not know well. The employees bring uncertainty and risk related to their skills and performance.
4. Entrepreneurs do not know the correct price for their product at the beginning; they may have to raise prices or change their business model, running the risk of alienating customers.
5. Whenever a business ventures into a new market or launches a new product line, there are risk involved with the logistics and geography.
6. Business owners also have to face risks that are external to the day-to-day operations of their companies. These risks include natural disasters (earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanos), freak accidents (plane crashes, car accidents) and long-term environmental changes (global warming, freshwater depletion, etc).
Entrepreneurship involves accepting those risks that are necessary or unavoidable, while taking steps to mitigate those that can be controlled. Given that reducing down to zero is impossible (or extremely expensive), individual entrepreneurs must decide where on the spectrum of risk-taking they stand. What kind and how much risk are you prepared to accept? The answer to this question will depend on your specific situation; good entrepreneurs are the ones who can successfully answer it. In the rest of this article, we will outline the risks faced by most businesses and offer some strategies for mitigating them.
Talent Risk :
There are two major risks that every start-up confronts regarding its team: (a) the risk of hiring the wrong team members and (b) the risk of losing good team members. These impact of these risks to the business are highest during the early stages of the company when it is dependent on a small core team; as the firm grows and is able to hire more staff, these risks get diversified and are reduced. However, there are good mitigation strategies in place to manage them.
During the early stages, the survival of a start-up rests to a large extent on the industriousness and talents of the founding team. Risks include unskilled co-founders, disagreement amongst founders over money or direction of the business, and the departure of a talented founder. One good way to mitigate these risks is by choosing someone you already know well as a co-founder, as opposed to rushing into an ad hoc arrangement with someone you meet online or at a Meetup. To reduce the chances of knowledge gaps, make sure that you choose co-founders with skills complementary to your own. Think about drawing up a written founders’ agreement to minimize the probability of disputes about ownership and responsibility for individual aspects of the business. Once you have a good team, you can reduce the risk of losing them by providing them equity that vests over time. In other words, tie the individual success of your team members with the success of your business.
As your business grows and you delegate responsibility to employees, part of the success of your venture will rest in their hands. The earlier the hire, the more critical an individual is to the success of your company. To minimize the risk of working with the wrong person, hire slowly and fire fast. Multiple interviews with core team members are useful for getting a second or even third opinion on the hiring decision. Give applicants practice assignments as part of your recruitment process; those that are successful should be placed on a trial period as a further way of testing their suitability. Employees who do not perform as expected, who are persistently negative, critical or abusive are a threat to your business and should be let go as quickly as possible. Assuming the employee has a good attitude, some knowledge deficits are inevitable; you should cultivate such employees and provide them training to overcome any skill gaps. In general, a smart and hard-working employee should be retained even if there is a gap between his or her specific skills and your needs.
To prevent key employees from leaving, offer adequate financial compensation and add clauses to their contracts that prevent them from joining competitors. An options plan whereby employees are awarded equity that vests over time is also a strong mechanism to retain good employees. Similarly, spreading an annual bonus award over a period of time (such as four equal payments each quarter of the following year) is also a good strategy to retain good employees.
Below is a list of common legal risks that businesses face; successful management of these risks is essential to the long-term health and sustainability of the business.
Businesses that get on the wrong side of government regulations can face fines and even prosecution. To avoid this problem, companies should ensure that they comply with all the regulations that affect their business, including business licenses, employment laws, corporate governance, and tax compliance. Depending on your chosen industry and jurisdiction, compulsory insurance might be required for certain aspects of your business.
Errors & Omissions
Businesses run the risk of loss and legal liabilities resulting from inadequate or failed internal processes, fraud, human error in processing transactions, etc. These risks can be minimized by establishing standardized operating procedures and adding control steps at appropriate points in the process workflow. Furthermore, businesses should obtain a professional liability insurance that protects companies and individuals against claims made by clients for inadequate work or negligent actions.
To discourage competitors from stealing your innovation, consider investing in copyrights, trademarks and patents. Very small businesses should assess whether the costs of potential litigation (including opportunity costs) justify the expense of IP protection.
To protect your employees and avoid falling foul of Health and Safety legislation, entrepreneurs should formulate contingency plans for emergencies such as fires and explosions.
"A STARTUP IS AN ORGANIZATION FORMED TO SEARCH FOR A REPEATABLE AND SCALABLE BUSINESS MODEL"
BUSINESS" IN 3 MONTHS
80% Start-ups failed last year, which is a bleak statistic for aspiring entrepreneurs. This consulting sessions is dedicated to those who have just started, or would like to start a new business. Your dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur can become a reality, but it's going to take hard work. Start your path to success by attending this consulting sessions and learning how to develop and execute a winning start-up module. Agenda is:
1. How to validate your business idea?
2. How to create prototypes business model of your idea?
3. How you choose the best legal structure of your start-up?
4. How to create a magnetic web presence?
5. How to create creative logo and slogan for your start-up?
6. How to protect your creative?
7. How to choose right banking partner?
8. How to choose consultant for compliances for your start-up? 9. How to create good corporate profile?
10. How to create a good marketing plan?
11. How to create good social media presence of your start-up? 12. How to create good business networking?
13. How to choose office space that suits to your audiences? 14. How to create performing team?
15. How to gain trust of your audiences in your business?
"THE TYPE OF BUSINESS STRUCTURE YOU CHOOSE CAN HAVE AN IMPACT ON MULTIPLE ASPECTS OF YOUR BUSINESS, INCLUDING THE DEGREE OF CONTROL YOU HAVE, TAXES, POTENTIAL PERSONAL LIABILITY, COMPLIANCES AND RELATED COSTS, ABILITY TO RAISE FUNDS AND YOUR EXIT STRATEGY. HENCE, THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT CHOICE WHICH CAN BE CRITICAL TO THE LIFE AND SUCCESS OF YOUR BUSINESS!
There is no clear-cut answer as to which legal structure is more suitable. That would depend on what you want from your business, and how you want it. Therefore, you have to ask yourself certain questions before you proceed with comparing different legal structures:-
1. How much of funding will you need for the business, other than your own investment? Can you arrange it privately, or would you need external assistance?
2. What do you want your ownership share to be? If you are willing to share the ownership and profits, how much of it and with whom? Your relatives and acquaintances? Or complete outsiders?
3. How much control do you want to retain over your business decisions and management?
4. Are you too focused on presenting a strong image to outsiders?
5. Are you okay with bearing higher tax, ongoing administration and compliance costs and more paperwork for the sake of other benefits?
6. Do you plan to up your business scale significantly in coming years? How much growth potential do you look forward to?
7. Will you also need significant amounts of outsider funding to carry out your expansion plans?
8. Do you want the business to continue the way it is, in case something unfortunate happens to you?
9. How much ease of transferability do you want?
"IN A COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT, DISTINCTION & MEMORABILITY IS EVERYTHING"
STATUTORY NAME APPROVAL
Test 1 :- Whether the name is prohibited? Certain terms, such as those indicating governmental association, are either downright prohibited or allowed only after special approvals.
Test 2 : Whether a Company with same name exists? This would involve conducting a search on Ministry’s database to ensure that your proposed name does not entirely resemble that of an already existing company.
Test 3 : Whether the name is actually a ‘distinct name’? Some additional principles may deem a name as non- distinguishable, even if it does not completely resemble another company’s name.
Test 4 : Whether a Trademark is registered with the proposed name? This would involve conducting a search on Trademark Department’s database to ensure that there is no registered trademark with the same name in concerned business class.
"YOUR WEBSITE IS THE WINDOW OF YOUR BUSINESS. KEEP IT FRESH, KEEP IT EXCITING"
All websites for start-ups should be:
1. Have a solid domain name. The competition for good domain names is getting fierce, so be a little flexible, but use good sense!
2. Responsive, agile, easy to use with well-constructed pages.
3. Optimized for mobile visitors, as mobile browsing has now surpassed desktop browsing.
4. Branded with your business logo, taglines and colors, but not be excessively graphic either. A clean layout is required for offering better visibility.
5. Informative, engaging and creative. Incorporate an FAQ section into it.
6. Frequently updated with news, updates and promotional offers.
7. Accurate; consumers will want accurate product information and full details of your services, without which they may take their business elsewhere.
8. Created with the business and target audience in mind. Banks and nightclubs can never have similar looking websites!
9. Encourage some curiosity and interest.
10. Be convincing. Including testimonials is recommended.
11. Be secure.
"THINK YOUR TAGLINE AS THE BIGGEST CLUE, IN THE SMALLEST AMOUNT OF WORDS INTO WHAT YOU DO & HOW PEOPLE CAN BUY OR HIRE YOU"
1. It must capture the essence of the business. You cannot be a financing institution and have a glittery and gaudy logo!
2. It has to be memorable and impactful.
3. The color scheme should be bold and eye-catching, but not overwhelming or awkward. Strong but simple is the key
4. Don’t use design tools that enable easy copying (eg. Clip Art).
5.Analyze the logos of your competitors and decide how you will differentiate yours from them.
6. Don’t be a blind trend follower. That defeats the primary purpose of a logo: giving you an identity.
1. Be reflective of your business mission/ give a tiny glimpse of what you promise to deliver.
2. Be customer focused and attempt to evoke emotions.
3.Be short and simple, so that it is easily memorable. No need to use complex and uncommon words that are likely to require a reference to the dictionary!
4. Be distinct from others in the industry.
"APPROXIMATELY 90 PERCENT OF NEW PRODUCTS FAIL AND IF A STARTUP CAN’T GAIN AT LEAST A PORTION OF THE CREDIBILITY THAT AN ESTABLISHED COMPANY HAS, IT COULD EASILY FIND ITSELF AMONG THAT SAD MAJORITY"
BUSINESS = TRUST THE TWO SIDES OF A COIN
HOW TO GAIN TRUST
Think about the start-up entrepreneur who is trying to convince a team of stakeholders and investors to pursue a new and innovative idea without a proven concept. Or the entrepreneur who runs into production problems and needs his business partners to extend credit for a few days, weeks or even months.
Sure, there are many great characteristics that can be attributed to successfully maneuvering these situations, but having the credibility will help the entrepreneur to encash instantly.
Basically all start-ups are born from a person or group of people and an idea. Young organizations require customers and it can only be attracted if credibility is gained at the nascent stage.
"CORPORATE PROFILE IS A SOUL OF YOUR COMPANY SO KEEP IT PURE."
The word “profile” itself means a face, a portrait, a description or we can say a story! A profile explains the entire story hidden behind pictures, representations and brief descriptions. It is the face of something which gives the small idea of bigger plans.
That is why, each corporate also needs its profile. A torch that can throw light on its vision and mission is what a corporate profile means. No matter if your business is small or large, long term or short term, your idea always needs to be recognized and corporate profile gives you this recognition.
As we make individual profiles on various social sites, show our interests and achievements, likewise a business also needs to have its profile that can show its objectives, its activities, its values and its interests. A corporate profile is a collection of all this information, organised in a way so that you can be empowered to get more value from this data. Your corporate profile builds an image on viewer’s mind and provides answer to hundreds of queries already. It is an attractive way to pull customers towards your business, bend people towards your idea, create the goodwill,
increase the credibility, grow with your values and ultimately achieve your vision and mission.
"IF YOU DON'T HAVE A SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE, YOUR COMPANY IS AT A COMPETITIVE DISADVANTAGE."
A CREATIVE IDEA PLUS A FRESH NETWORK IS THE BEST WAY TO GO FROM ZERO TO
No matter what you sell and who you sell it to, using social media as a marketing tool can help you grow your brand and pad your wallet. Lacking social profiles on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest would be a strategic miss for those companies looking to reach greater exposure in the digital market. Handling a strong social media presence is an efficient way to build your company’s reputation and showcase your business. By regularly updating your prospects on all the brand and social happenings, they subconsciously start to view your company as an authority. From a marketing perspective, it delivers the best chances for brands to create a massive community of loyal and active customers. It delivers instant information in the digital marketplace, thus giving businesses the ability to advertise their products, going beyond distance. Social media marketing is one of the most affordable ways to brand your business. Promoting your products on social media platforms will increase your return on investment (ROI). With a strong social media strategy you can achieve business miracles in the market.
"YOU DON’T BUILD A BUSINESS.YOU BUILD PEOPLE, AND THEN PEOPLE BUILD YOUR BUSINESS."
The combination of a great idea, a solid business model, and high financial resources are not enough to achieve success. Hiring the right team is therefore extremely important for any start up business, since it is the team that plays a vital role in understanding and executing the founder's vision. The thought process is of founder however converting the idea into reality is entirely on the shoulders of good team members .A successful start-up in one sentence is simple: Great people build great products, get great customers and eventually will build a great company. As simple as it sounds, doing it right is incredibly difficult. You will face a lot of challenges in the early days of your start up and the more successful you are, the bigger your team gets, the harder it gets to keep your team members aligned and your start up on track. The one thing that you should keep in mind is that at the end of the day, everything, good or bad is caused by the people in your team.
“NEVER START A BUSINESS JUST TO MAKE MONEY START A BUSINESS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE”
We appreciate your interest in Alfa Guide Team.
Shweta Upreti MBA
Manager HR (Internship InCharge)
Aircrews Aviation Pvt Ltd
Swarnima Singh (MBA)
AirCrews Aviation Pvt. Ltd.