10 things no one will tell you about starting up

Rohit Gawli, who co-founded The Lokal Kitchen in the lockdown, shares some interesting career lessons.

Setting up your own business can be a tough game.

Almost no college or university level education can prepare you for it. Most of the learning will always happen on the job.

When I first started working way back in Miami, little did I know that I will end up starting my own business.

I launched my company, The Lokal Kitchen along with my childhood friend Rohit Mhatre with one goal in mind: to provide affordable and hygienic food to everyone around the city amidst this pandemic.

Simultaneously, I wanted to tap into the potential of talented home chefs by providing them with a platform to not only showcase their talents but by also giving them the opportunity to grow their ‘Home Based Business’ with zero Investment.

The unprecedented turn of events witnessed this year (2020) impacted economies and businesses gravely.

However, I firmly believe that irrespective of the situation, the spirit of the people of this country is hard to dampen, especially those with entrepreneurial dreams.

Here are 10 lessons I wish I knew when I first started:

1. Map your finances 

Do your research and make a plan on how you will fund your start-up. If you are short of funds, check and confirm with your family and friends or find an investor.

Post-launch cash flow is Number 1 priority.

Make sure you have a few clients, and some cash flow coming in, before you can even say you are in business.

2. Determine your target audience 

Spend time considering who your target audience is. This audience will be the driving force in each decision you make.

Understanding who needs your product or service can help fine-tune your offerings.

3. Be flexible

Once you have your business plan and idea firmly set, it can be tough to make changes later.

This is understandable as one puts immense time and effort into developing these ideas although it is important to be open to change to ensure overall progress.

4. Bring in the professionals

Business is all about people.

Your team members are the ones that can make or break your dream.

Without efficient manpower, no business can ever succeed.

You must try and personally interview all your senior team members to ensure your thoughts are aligned, and at the same time, trust them to make decisions that will benefit the whole organisation.

5. Invest in the right technology

Technology is something you can never compromise on when it comes to starting a new business in today’s world.

Whether it is office equipment, plant and machinery, or the software required to monitor your business, you will have to make sure it helps your business to perform well in the long-run.

6. Get the paperwork in place 

Sort your business registration, licenses, and tax identification.

There are various resources to assist with various things like business names, filing incorporation paperwork, obtaining necessary licenses and registrations with your local municipality, etc.

7. Leap of Faith

Of course, there will always be a level of risk with launching a new business venture.

Calculating, understanding and planning for risk is an important step to take before you start working on your business.

8. Find a good mentor

Having a good mentor is like parental guidance.

You want someone to hold you accountable for your actions, and provide guidance through your journey.

9. Fail Fast, Succeed Faster

Be prepared to fail, be prepared to learn from your failures.

Perspective is important, and you will need to accept the fact that not everything you try is going to succeed.

Make sure you have the resilience to fail a couple of times before you lose your company.

10. Build, Measure, Learn and Adapt

Anything and everything you build, should be measurable. And if you can measure it, you can change it.

Focus on building the best, and then measure the results, learn from them and tweak.

Look at what your business is trying to tell you, be open to change, and adapt to the market requirements.

Through the course of my career, I have managed and developed scalable businesses, with deep understanding of the global technology market and enterprises’ growing digital needs.

If you follow even some of the above lessons I learnt over the course of my career, I am confident that everything will be smoother than you anticipate. You can thank me later.

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