7 things you (don’t know) you knew about startups
28.01.2019 | Startup
In order to be successful as an entrepreneur, you need to be very focused and careful about details. Since this tends to make you neglect the big picture, here are seven things you always have to keep in mind:
- The development cycle of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP – in simpler words, something close to a prototype) may be of up to three years. You should add a few more years for the transition to a cyclical business model to see why a company may be called startup even after 10 years since founding.
- If your startup is in Romania, you may access various business accelerators/incubators. You may find a relevant list at romanianstartups.com, where there also are directories of incipient entrepreneurs and businesses, which may help you realize in what phase you are. The alternative is the governmental program startup-nation.ro, which offers financing of up to RON 200,000, although it has been criticized for various reasons. Do not dismiss these resources outright. By accessing them, you may get, if not resources, at least knowledge.
- “The rich get richer”. You may have heard this saying, which also goes for startups. On the one hand, you cannot start only from work and passion: you would also need some minimum funds. On the other hand, the successive financing stages of an incipient business mean exactly that you will access a bigger financer based on smaller financers. To be listed from the very beginning is as farfetched as creating a corporation from own funds, assuming you are not the heir of a family like the Rockefellers or Gettys.
- You have buried a startup? Do not hide yourself into a convent. According to Forbes, 90% of startups are failures. According to a study by the specialists in Berkeley and Stanford, the ratio is 92%. , It may seem strange, but the failures by those who have already failed are far less, expressed in ratio.
- Why would you invest in marketing, if you have little resources as you do? There is a reason: If you have somehow started to learn on your own how to use social networks and Google ads, think about how many hours of work you have done just to get poor results or even to make a fool of yourself. Do not think that the alternative to doing it yourself is tens of thousands euros: there are specialists who get good results with far smaller budgets.
- “I have 10 years of experience in corporations, I can always start work as an entrepreneur”. Yes, but do not forget what human resources specialists say: the qualities of the business innovators are mostly different from the ones of a successful manager in a big company. The latter has to be conservative and precise considering the hierarchy of the company itself, whereas the former needs vision, leadership and the ability to take risks. Thoroughly knowing a market is, in principle, the main asset of a founder. However, to this, you should add the qualities of an entrepreneur.
- Do you think that a startup is a solitary battle that you will have to fight for a long time? This is not at all the case. Even in Romania, there are enough entrepreneurs. Just look and you will find them, the possibility of encountering a direct competitor being minimal, In exchange, you will be able to profit from their energy and advice, as this means, as you probably know, networking. In order to evolve as an entrepreneur and to access funds, you need exactly that, networking.
Octavian Pătrașcu | 28.01.2019 | Startup
25.04.2019 | News | Startup
The quality and efficiency of an employee mainly depend on their professional qualifications, but the modern human resources theory refers to this only through a partial term, namely "hard skills". In terms of evaluations and professional management, these “hard skills” are supplemented by a range of different qualities defined as "soft skills", such as the motivation that an individual demonstrates or chooses to develop.
Hard Skills: Easy to identify, necessary, but not enoughThe term "hard skills" applies especially to fundamental professional knowledge, skills, and abilities, but not only. For example, if a programmer has to write code in Java, he will obviously have to know the programming language. In the field of hard skills, however, complementary skills such as foreign languages or driving licenses also come into play. If the job description is not IT-related, the computer skills - quasi-generalized today - are also in the same complementary category. Upon hiring, hard skills can be easily tested or proven. Basically, all the skills in this category can be certified through a diploma or a certificate of qualification. These skills are the basis for the future work of the employee, but in the vast majority of cases, they are not enough to ensure good performance at the workplace.
Soft Skills: harder to test, especially required for higher positionsThese are somewhat social qualities, relating especially to people-interacting abilities. Soft skills include teamwork skills, communication skills, leadership qualities, and the ability to solve problems as they come. From simple politeness to a nonconflictual attitude, a whole range of attributes can be added here, including good time management or the desire to conform to strict professional ethics. If hard skills are easy to identify, in the case of soft skills, the stereotype enumerations present in CVs are never enough proof of their existence. They can somehow be felt when hiring, during their interview or, possibly, through psychological tests set up by human resources specialists. As they mostly focus on human interaction, soft skills are increasingly needed as the position of the employee in the hierarchy is higher, but the situation differs from one job description to another. If the programmer we had as an example earlier does not necessarily need soft skills when writing code, a sales or marketing specialist will interact with the top management and thus cannot work without them.
Motivation: differs from case to caseMotivation is a problem that concerned psychologists way before Maslow's Human Pyramid of Needs. There are many hypotheses and models that relate to this theory. I will just state that a first classification refers to financial and extra-financial motivations. The former refers to material compensation and are accepted unanimously. However, since the beginning of the 20th century, it has become clear that there is no direct link between payment and the efficiency of a person. 100 years ago, however, besides the famous $5-a-day salary, Henry Ford offered land lots, kindergartens for their children and, in the case of immigrants, English courses to help them integrate into the mass production processes. Today, large companies provide health insurance, relaxation areas, various educational classes, physical activity facilities. All of these include career plans and contract terms that offer job security and much more. Perhaps, the first thing to remember is that motivation differs greatly from one employee to another. Effective management should be as flexible as possible, in accordance with the needs and incentives of employees, beyond the standard packages.
The Employer’s PerspectiveFrom what we described above it seems that that the employer will consider the three components as we’ve structured them. Hard skills are easy to identify and absolutely necessary to ensure performance in a particular position, so these are the first ones that will be tested. Soft skills can be identified to a certain extent in the midst of the employment process, but initial perceptions can be confirmed or denied later on. What’s more important is sustaining them at the workplace, often as a necessity for promotion on a higher hierarchy level. As final words, motivation has qualitative rather than quantitative aspects. Employers should be less concerned about the answer to the question "how motivated is an employee?", but rather show concern towards the type of motivation that employees are most responsive to. Schematically speaking, if hard skills are mainly the employee's concern, soft skills relate to a process that takes place between the employee and the company, and in the case of motivation, it should meet the needs of the employee. Only by paying attention to all the three components, the employer and the employee can have a mutually satisfactory and productive relationship.
25.02.2019 | Startup
An investor receives far more funding requests than the ones he can actually get involved in. Even the proposals that include a good pitch and business plan have to go through a screening procedure in which the potential investor obtains his necessary clarifications. We do have such procedures in our companies and they’re not secret – but, instead, they are highly relevant about any investor’s expectations and steps that entrepreneurs have to follow through. This is the reason I’ve chosen to present our procedure in brief. (more…)