“How to’s for a successful startup” By: Hassan Iqbal

A primary goal of this article is to build students’ life skills so they can succeed within innovative, product-focused, cross-disciplinary teams. It is designed for students majoring in engineering, business, or IST (Information Sciences and Technology), who aspire to be innovative leaders for new technology-based products and companies. This article outlines a couple of necessary components to meet core competitions in which students exhibit their products and ideas.

Ask yourself three simple questions before you make a commitment or start on any new project:

  1. Am I the right person?
  2. Is this the right time?
  3. Do I have enough information?

Omissions that eliminate successful startups – For technology students

  1. Solo founders:
    Don’t do it alone. The management demands of a startup quickly exceed the capacity of one person. And when you inevitably need help, you want someone who has the “owner” mentality. Find partners, and treat them as such.
  2. Employing poor programmers:
    Yes, you cannot always hire first-class programmers, but you should be hiring the best you can get. Plus, it’s good to know what level a new employee is at when they are joining. Hiring overpriced developers is bad business too. You want to get the most value from your programmers for the least total cost. It’s well known to anyone that understands software development that there is a  huge difference between average programmers and bad programmers.
  3. Indicating the wrong podium:
    Platform is a vague word. It could mean an operating system, or a programming language, or a “framework” built on top of a programming language. It implies something that both supports and limits, like the foundation of a house.
  4. Slow in launching:
    Before you actually launch, you are in the dark about whether your startup should even exist. The longer you delay the launch, the more you delay getting the answer. If you are afraid to know what the answer is, you might want to ask yourself why.
  5. Have no notable users:
    Somewhere, someone will surely be interested in your product, you just don’t know who. It’ll feel like those people may not exist. Be sure to check.
  6. Not wanting to get your hands filthy:
    You can’t solve all your problems with just coding. Businesses are built on relationships. Go out and meet other people. If you get your hands filthy, you become involved in something where the realities meet competitions. It also means that a person isn’t just stuck in a task, but is prepared to put in the effort and hard work to make the details actually happen.
  7. Fights between Founders:
    Founder conflict is too common. Founders, being single-minded people, are almost sure to disagree. Make sure you share a common vision, for both the business and the partnership. Do this going into the business, and revisit it regularly as the business progresses. Document this vision, and make sure everyone agrees. Often, a dispute arises out of nothing more than a different sense of where the business should go or what you are trying to accomplish.
  8. A half-hearted effort:
    A lack of determination to see the startup through to the end is not rare. If you feel like you have other options in life than building your startup, you will probably, mentally, hang on to them.

By: Hassan Iqbal

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