As a scientist, entrepreneur, and founder of the tech start-up, Mind The Graph, I’ve had quite an eventful journey through these years.
Through wise decision-making and overcoming hurdles along the way, I’ve been able to scale Mind The Graph to over 250k users across 60 countries today.
I’ve had quite the learning curve to reach this point, and that is what we will discuss today. Read on if you want to know about the learnings I’ve had from my entrepreneurial journey of building and scaling a tech start-up.
1. Delegation can be Empowering
As a start-up owner, you may have the urge to do everything yourself. Right from financial management to marketing, you may feel that it is your responsibility to get everything done.
But just like me, you’d soon realize that delegating tasks instead of trying to do everything yourself is the best decision to move forward.
The major factor that usually stops you from delegating tasks is perfectionism. We feel that we need to take care of all the tasks so that all the activities are as perfect as possible.
But, you should understand that getting things done sooner is more important than getting caught up with perfectionism.
So, hire a management team and delegate tasks that can be handled by others. This will give you time to focus on your vision for the product, make important business decisions, and focus on the start-up’s growth instead of getting into the nitty-gritties.
2. Time Management is Crucial
Things can get easily overwhelming when you are managing a start-up. If you don’t use your time wisely, you may end up burning out. This cannot be a good sign for both you and your start-up. Hence, time management is crucial. The sooner you realize this, the better.
Instead of micro-managing your team and trying to attend every little meeting, use your time wisely. Think beforehand and try to decide where you should dedicate your time and where you shouldn’t. Have a strict schedule planned out and try not to waver from it.
Time management is essentially energy management. So think twice before getting yourself involved in a task or an activity that doesn’t really need your energy. This trick will help you be more productive and make wiser decisions for your start-up.
3. Be Open to Constructive Feedback
When you are just starting out, you’ll find yourself surrounded by feedback. Some of these may even be unsolicited and unnecessary. But instead of taking offense, try to filter out the constructive ones and use them to your advantage.
You should try to encourage a culture of giving and receiving feedback from your team members. Having an open mind will help you improve and foresee many gaps in your products. Your team will also value you more for this quality.
You should also get regular feedback from your customers. Keep an open mind and try to inculcate their feedback to make your products and services even better.
4. Remove Hurdles One at a Time
Obstacles and hurdles are inevitable in any entrepreneurial journey. And the effect of these hurdles will be even more profound when you are starting up.
What do you do when you are overwhelmed by all the obstacles stopping you from achieving your goals? The best way to tackle this is to handle all the hurdles one at a time.
Take your time, think long-term, brainstorm with your team, and try to come up with a solution for the first hurdle. Similarly, go about the other ones.
The key learning here is that instead of trying to solve all your problems at once, resolve them one-by-one to avoid overwhelm.
5. Be a Good Leader
Being a good leader is extremely crucial for building and scaling your start-up. As a startup owner, your team is your primary support system. Hence, leading and managing them well is the only way to grow your startup.
Be committed to your work, stick to your values, and do not stray away from your vision. This will encourage your team to follow your lead and work together towards the growth of your startup.
You should also try to be more empathetic towards your employees and encourage everyone to have a good work-life balance. This will ensure increased productivity and retention of your employees.
6. Design a Scalable Business Model
If you have a big vision for your start-up business, you should act accordingly from day one. Thinking long-term is significant for the scalability of your business.
You should design all your products, processes, and systems so that you would be able to easily scale them in the future. Failing to do so may restrict your business in the future and stop you from reaching your fullest potential.
7. Attract the Right Customers
Finding and attracting the right customers during the initial stage of your company will ultimately decide its fate. This will definitely be challenging as, initially, you wouldn’t have many customer success stories to showcase. Hence, building trust with your prospects is key.
Try to find the right buyers by qualifying your leads. You can do this by creating the right content that will grab the attention of the right buyers.
For example, content that we create for Mind The Graph plays a major role in getting the attention of the right prospects. Our content on Elsevier latex template helped us get noticed by the right people, thus increasing our customer base in the initial stages.
8. Perseverance is Key
At the end of the day, what matters is how determined you are to achieve your mission. How focused you are on your goal.
As discussed above, you are going to face unforeseen hurdles every step along the way. You are going to feel discouraged. You may even doubt your startup idea. But, the entrepreneur who survives through all this and moves on to the other side is the one who successfully scales his/her startup.
To sum it up, we can say that building and scaling a startup is not everyone’s cup of tea. You need dedication, perseverance, and a strong team to tread forward towards success.
The struggles and challenges I faced during the start-up phase are nothing compared to the wins we’ve seen over the years. So, get inspired and inculcate these learnings, and you’ll soon scale your startup to great heights.
Fabricio Pamplona is the founder of Mind the Graph – a tool used by over 400K users in 60 countries. He has a Ph.D. and solid scientific background in Psychopharmacology and experience as a Guest Researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry (Germany) and Researcher in D’Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR, Brazil). Fabricio holds over 2500 citations in Google Scholar. He has 10 years of experience in small innovative businesses, with relevant experience in product design and innovation management. Connect with him on LinkedIn – Fabricio Pamplona.