There is an excessive amount of focus on speed, when it comes to building startups. One of the advices that is often provided to startups is to get out of the blocks really fast.
The #FailFast philosophy has probably pushed more startups towards failure than towards success.
If you were building a house, would you want the foundation to be laid really fast? Or might you prefer that time is taken to ensure that the foundation is really solid?
A business is a marathon, not a sprint.
You can get out of the blocks fast; but then, what is going to keep the customers coming back to you? Continuously making yourself better is critical; that is what keeps them coming back. Customers will stay with you when you delight them, keep offering them something better and better to look forward to.
You get paid for showing up and making the product/experience better everyday.
A fast start is like a spark, continuous improvement and delivery is the fire.
I have been working with startups for a fairly long time now. The fun part of working with startups is that there is absolutely no way to anticipate what would come next. You have to be fast and nimble, constantly adjusting to the changes that are happening around you.
This is precisely what makes building a startup really challenging as well. There are those who thrive under these circumstances and then, there are those who don’t. The trouble is that as one proceeds through the life cycle of a startup, the things that are an asset at the beginning turn out to be a liability later on. Founders need to constantly adapt and change to the changing realities of their business.
Working with startups, I have come across three distinct phases of building a business. I am going to focus on product businesses since most other businesses cannot be deemed startups according to me, simply due to the challenges posed in scaling such businesses rapidly.
Building a Product
The first phase of embarking on a startups is to build a product. But even before you build a product you need to verify that the problem you are looking to solve is real and that the customer you are going after feels it.
Every business is built on the basis of a keen insight into human behaviour, businesses exploit the behaviour to make a profit.
The need to test the behaviour hypothesis and ensuring that it is correct is extremely important to ensure that the product does not fail once it has been developed. We have worked with startups that have used all kind of tools including whatsapp, Facebook page and groups, Pinterest, etc. to build the quick and dirty manifestations of what the product is likely to do. In certain cases, we have had startups run the product like a service before taking a dive towards developing it. Running it like a service tends to be people heavy and hence cousins, friends, siblings, etc are exploited to pitch in from time to time. Once the same can be tested with small groups of 100 to 200 people, the proof of the behaviour is surely in place.
In the case of hardware related products, prototyping the product is crucial. Thanks to the advent of crowdfunding, it is possible to gauge the demand for a product in the market fairly quickly, sometime even before the prototype is ready.
At this stage it makes sense to take the time and invest the resources necessary to build the product. If you have a founding team that is solid on the tech side, it is possible to build out versions of the product that are extremely simple and addresses 2 or 3 of the most critical features that the end product will have. Trying to get all of the features or functionality of the product into the first version is difficult and dangerous.
Apart from establishing the hypothesis, the advantage of doing the quick and dirty product is pure insight.
I tend to compare most things to mathematical equations and if you were to look at a business as a mathematical equation, there are several variables that you may know but several that you cannot even foresee when starting out. This process gives you an insight into many of the variables that you would have normally missed out on.
Building a product is hard – You need to take all of these insights and turn it into a workflow that would be well suited to the use case that you are building for. The product has to be able to accommodate all of the exceptional requirements that would arise and function intuitively.
Building a Business
Now that the product is done, one needs to build a business around the product.
People only spend money on something when they believe that the value that they get would be greater that the cost they must incur
Value is a belief – This is exactly the reason why some people would go and spend 1,00,000 rupees to buy a trouser at Prada and others would stand around haggling for a 1000 rupee trouser at the local market.
Building a business involves instilling the ‘belief’ that the product that you are selling is worth a lot more than the cost that they would be incurring.
Steve Jobs was neither a hardware guy, nor a software guy. What did he bring to the business?
Well, he brought this thing called belief.
Making money is all about making the other person believe that there is value in what you are looking to offer them. This comes down to two things.
Firstly, how well has the pain been understood. If you understand that pain felt by the customer well enough, you would have a clear understanding of how willing or unwilling the customer is going to be to get rid of it. The bigger the problem, the easier it is to perceive value. Secondly, how well is the solution being projected. Most luxury businesses are just projection alone.
I had written another post on the art of selling here.
Turning the product that you built into a torrent of money is challenging because this is where being fast and nimble has a huge role to play. As an entrepreneur you need to get constant feedback from the customer fine tune your product repeatedly and iteratively in order to reach the state of perfection investors like to call the ‘Product-Market Fit’.
According to me, you reach product-market fit when you have clarity of what the market requires. Most often the consequence of this understanding reflects in being able to tell the returns one can expect from investment in marketing.
‘If I spend $10 Million in marketing, we should be able to triple our user base over the next 18 months and gather a 5% share in the category that we are targeting.’ When you have ‘Product-Market Fit’, you can essentially express scaling-up in the form of an equation.
Building an Organisation
The final stage is to move towards organisation building. If you thought building a product and the business was hard, this is far and away the hardest.
A successful business is one which has a high degree of predictability of Income.
In a startup things tend to be rather impromptu, most of the decisions are taken in response to the market. Strategies can flip in a matter of months.
Once the company has established a market position and a certain degree of predictability has set into the business, the focus of strategy has to shift away from exploring many pint sized markets to addressing fewer barrel sized market. This involves building an organisation that can take care of certain repetitive functions. You must first of all define these functions, these revenue units, these business vertical and hand them over to appropriately talented individuals.
In my experience it is important to think about organisation building, when you pass the product stage. Thoughts on organisation building has to begin simultaneously with the process of developing the business.
What would a 100 people organisation look like?
What roles are people going to play?
What are the kinds of skill sets may be required?
Recruitment is a long and arduous process, especially in today’s world. If you find someone who is talented, make a mental note of what role you would want them to play in your business and where you would see them fitting in. Its like a game of chess where you are setting up your pieces for the right time to come along.
Some founders have a latent network available to them which is quite powerful. Some have to go out and build them. Preferably bring in people who have equally strong networks in their area.
At the end of the day any organisation is only as good as the people who are a part of it. Bringing together people who are consistently better than yourself, and nurturing them, is the best way to build an organisation.
The best organisations are ones where the job of the leadership is only to provide direction.
I meet entrepreneurs regularly; I often come across a self-development question that I find really hard to answer. They ask me how do you do so many things? How do you manage time better? I have no clue, partly because I myself was unaware of what time management really meant.
‘To Do’ lists are the best way to put together the list of things that need to be done and get through all of them. Having said that, anyone who has ever done a ‘To Do’ list would tell you how difficult it is to get through the entire list and make sure that all of the items on it are checked off.
I wondered why.
Often, once we make a list of things to be done, we start by getting all the easiest things done on the list before we cut across to the harder ones. The reasoning is simple, if there are 10 things on the list and 5 are hard and 5 easy, I can check off 5 of the easiest things in just an hour and then there will only be 5 things left for the rest of the day. Instead, if we pick up the hardest thing first, we might be stuck with it for a couple of hours and at the end of it, we would still be left with 9 things to and a lot less time left.
The variable that one misses out on is mental energy.
In order to complete tasks that require hard work, the amount of mental energy required is much greater than that to complete tasks that require little effort.
In an experiment conducted in the US, they took two groups of students and put them in two separate rooms. Both rooms had an oven baking fresh cookies and the smell of cookies was allowed to waft all over the room. The first group of students were told that they were not allowed to eat any of the cookies but the second group was allowed to eat all they wanted. Both groups were kept in the room for half an hour. After this, both groups were given mathematical problems to solve. The second group performed a lot better than the first group. The reason? The first group had spent a considerable amount of mental energy willing themselves against eating the cookies; while the second group had an abundance of mental energy, having been allowed to do whatever they wished to do.
We all have a finite amount of mental energy at our disposal, and each and every activity that we perform through the day eats into it. Is it not better that we undertake the hardest activities on the list when we have the greatest amount of mental energy at our disposal, rather than when it is flagging?
There were some things that I had put on my To Do list, which I had been pushing for the last 2 weeks. This morning, I started with those tasks and finished them first. Interestingly, I was able to get through them faster and more efficiently. I was left with a lot of time on hand during the day since the easy things were completed in no time.
The simple things can be done when you are low on mental energy, but the difficult things definitely can’t. Every activity dips into a finite pool of mental energy and takes some of it away from you.
If you look at some of the most effective leaders, they are often people who take the bull by the horns, and face and resolve problems as soon as they appear. This is a very important leadership trait.
Hence, the key to managing time well is to optimise the utilisation of your mental energy, and to make sure that you can make the most of the time that is at your disposal.
Problems are a part and parcel of life. They pop up at strange times and strange place. They are usually very uncomfortable to deal with, and take up a lot of mind space. How quickly you are able to dispose off a problem, depends on… the problem.
As a startup, you will have problems. Guaranteed.
In business and in life, it is important to be resourceful to be able to solve problems. The dictionary defines resourceful as “having the ability to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties”. I think it is knowing and having the resources to overcome challenges.
Money is but, one resource, that most people have. It is most certainly not the only resource that you have. Often people who are described as resourceful find solutions which do not involve money.
YOU choose the type of resource that will solve your problem. You can either choose to throw money or you can choose to throw people at a problem.
A lot of the problems can be solved using the power the perseverance and conviction. Is it easy? No, it is not. Is it possible? it certainly is.
I always choose to throw people at problems.
If you are using money to solve a problem, eventually at some point of time, you will run out of money or the incremental value of that money is going to disappear. (Law of Diminishing marginal utility)
To the contrary if you were to treat perseverance and conviction as currencies, their marginal utility increases as you expend more of it.
Most problems in life involve people. Invariably solving a problem comes down to convincing the person at the other end, that the solution that you are offering is the best one. A resourceful person generally ends up coming up with great barters and convincing offers that all parties involved can agree to. At the end of the day there is a person at the other end of the problem and it is possible to negotiate a solution with that person.
Whether the problem is securing time to make payments, or of negotiating a price, or getting something done the way you would prefer it done; there is a person that is causing this problem. Dealing with this problem implies dealing with the person who is the source of the problem. To convince, cajole and persuade the other person is all is needed to make certain the problem is solved. This requires an innate understanding of human nature, patience and calmness.
Quite often the problem is that something is not selling the way you expect it to. Marketing is about getting people to behave the way YOU want them to. Throwing money is not the best way to get people to behave the way you want them to. Convincing them that your way is the best way IS. More often that not, this involves a great deal of human effort on a very personal level. It seems to be very convenient to put a billboard out or run a radio ad; but how many times have you been convinced to buy something because you saw a hoarding or heard a radio message.
A startup requires people who can think on their feet and figure out the way to convince problems away. These people are the ones who make success possible for startups. Every time you look at a startup, instead of the founders, check out the team. These are the people who are putting out many small fires all the time, in order to make it possible for the CEO to put out few large fires.
Recruiting RESOURCEFUL people is a pre-requisite to building a successful startup.
If, in the year 1411, you had been able to circumnavigate the globe, you would probably have been most impressed by the quality of life in Oriental civilizations. The Forbidden City was under construction in Ming Beijing, while work had begun on reopening and improving the Grand Canal; in the Near East, the Ottomans were closing in on Constantinople, which they would finally capture in 1453.
By contrast, Western Europe in 1411 would have struck you as a miserable backwater, recuperating from the ravages of the Black Death – which had reduced population by as much as half as it swept eastwards between 1347 and 1351 – and still plagued by bad sanitation and seemingly incessant war. The Anglo-French Hundred Years’ War was just about to resume.
Much of what is USA today was wilderness inhabited by the tribes who came to be known as the ‘Indians’.
By the end of your world tour, the notion that the West might come to dominate the Rest for most of the next half-millennium would have come to seem wildly fanciful.
One of the primary reasons this became possible was because of Western Exploration. During the next 300 years, the European explorers set out to explore every corner of the earth and in the process augmented their knowledge. China and the rest of Asia was averse to sea-faring and did not voyage beyond their own domains. Exploration led to great riches and this pushed the western civilisation forward, far ahead of the east.
If we were to look at the equivalent for western exploration in this day and age, it is research. Our knowledge expands as a result of research and application of this research, results in innovation. Innovation that has the potential to change human lives.
Much of the scientific development that humankind has seen has been registered during the past century. One of the main reasons for advances being registered in this century was the World Wars. War brought funding projects such as the Turing Machine that Alan Turing dreamt of; which otherwise would have had no hope of getting funded. But war is not the only way to advance sciences and spur innovation.
Across the river from New York, in New Jersey, there was a facility where some of the brightest mind of the generation worked on complex problems. They collaborated on projects and their collaboration led to some of the defining inventions such as the transistor, which made the digital revolution possible. This place was called the Bell Laboratories. But more than the building, it was the idea. The idea of bringing together extraordinary minds, to enable collaboration, to find a solution to complex problems the world knew not exists.
Hello Tomorrow is an initiative built on that idea. A community to bring together extraordinary minds, who can collaborate with one another. A competition to push these people to achieve things that have not been done before and a conference to enable sharing and development of ideas.
Our entire existence in this world hinges on survival. As we survive, we learn.
We pass on what we have learned, in the form of education.
Our education system is structured in a manner where we need to pass tests to prove our proficiency. Unfortunately, it is fairly simple to game the system. In a test all you need is for the examiner to believe that you have learnt.
Since we use examples to teach, we use examples to test. It is rather easy to learn up the examples and ace the test. You do not need to be a genius. (I am not saying that the same questions are used, but the same structures are used)
Coming from the background of having gamed tests, it is only obvious to seek to game the business as well. Take the best example that fits what you seek to do and solve the puzzle in much the same manner. We feel that if we are able to looking at sufficient examples, we would find a solution that fits. In the real world, this does not work.
When your maths teacher puts together the problems, he/she limits the number of variables that you need to deal with. The real world unfortunately has far more variables; some visible and some invisible. When one tries to study another business as an example they figure out the visible variables but for obvious reasons miss out the invisible variable.
This is what they mean when they say – “Don’t look at the success of another person; their story is different from yours”.
Customers seek value for their money. It is far and away the ONLY thing that the customer is seeking. That value may be delivered in the form of a better product, service, packing, feeling, etc. This is where the story of each startup differs from that of the other and gaming the system becomes extremely hard. It is the hardest test to pass.
A customer will not consistently put money in your hands unless he/she feels value delivery is actually taking place. The variables which lead to the perception of value are very complex to understand. Hence, it is dangerous to look at someone else’s success and use that as a template for your own.
There is no gaming the customer here. No examples. No shortcut. No optimum solution (which is part of the reason disruption occurs).
As Paul Graham puts it – The customer is like a shark, there is either meat or there isn’t.
The only gauge is to see, if the customer is happy after having paid for the product or service. That should be the only focus at the initial stages. Do people love using what my business offers? What do they love? What don’t they love? How to improve?
Drop-outs are usually not burdened with the baggage of learning how to ace the test. They respond to the movement of the market, they are more flexible and look to solve problems in their own way. They do not seek to do the things that others did to be successful, they just do their own thing. They do not know how to study examples, they only know how to respond to a given situation.
They trust their intuition, spend a lot of time understanding their customers and do the best that they can; which is the best way to run any business.
Beats, the company that is famous for their headphones and who also have a fledgling music business recently got acquired by Apple. I have been absorbing all of the commentary surrounding this right from the time that the deal was still a rumour. I really do not know if this acquisition is a good thing for Apple or not. But I do have a few thought about Beats which might be useful for most people to keep in mind.
These thoughts came to me while I was having a recent conversation about career planning and job-hunting, but the same applies for any startup that is looking to develop themselves.
Be Focussed – First and foremost; the eventual goal that you wish to achieve through what you are doing is extremely important. Our performance is extremely dependent on the degree of focus that we maintain on the goal that we seek to achieve. If you are focussed on achieving a goal, all of your efforts, all of the connections that you make are towards ensuring the goal is achieved. Find the one goal that you wish to achieve and chase it.
Persevere – Success does not come easy to all. Also, you never know when success arrives at your door. If you believe in something and have the passion to pursue it, you need to persevere. It is important not to give up the moment challenges seem insurmountable. If you lack the knowledge, learn; if you lack the ability, prepare; keep cracking at the problem.
Keep seeking opportunity – While you focus and persevere, keep looking for opportunities. Keep seeking ways by which you can get in the track you want to drive on. If you wis to get into a particular industry or if you are seeking out a particular kind of partner, keep your eyes open at all times. Keep meeting people, keep asking for opinions, keep seeking.
Don’t stop doing what you are good at – While doing all this, it is very easy to think; ‘Let me finish learning and them I will get to work on this’. When it comes to focus, perseverance or seeking opportunity; there is no finish line. It is a life long job of an entrepreneurs to do these things. If you have a skill or a passion, pursue it even though you may be learning, preparing or seeking out opportunities. There is never a better time to do what you love, that time is now!
Blablacar is a French startup that recently scored a USD 100 Million in funding to expand beyond Europe. One of the countries that the company is considering entering is India. India is a large market and has a huge number of cars on its roads. Blablacar is a company that allows for car-pooled rides over long distances (100 Kms to 500 Kms). Let us say I am driving down from Bangalore to Mangalore alone, I could put out an invite asking others who might like to join me at a cost. I get to subsidise my ride and those who are looking to travel, would be able to hitch a ride. The ride might cost as much as the bus but would be more comfortable and faster.
The idea seems very slick at the outset but deploying it in India is nevertheless going to be fraught with challenges and the need to overcome certain fundamental issues.
It is easy to assume that a company of this nature would find a huge market in India, since India had about 21 Million cars on road as on 31st March 2012. We can easily add another 12 -15% to arrive at the current figure. With so many cars, there are bound to be people who are not driving their vehicles filled to capacity. Blablacars offers an interesting way to monetise these empty seats while at the same time doing a little, in terms of helping the environment and reducing fuel burn.
Yes. But they are not going to have it easy in India.
In India, cars represent a status symbol. They are not just a means of transportation, because the best means of transportation for Indian roads are the two-wheeler, given the congestion and poor state of the roads; not to mention the huge gap in terms of mileage. Indians do not like to share their cars, They buy it to show off and that they do by waiting for hours at the traffic lights. I know several families who have cars but use a two-wheeler for most of their moving about. This has been part of the reason intra-city car-pooling has not taken off in any meaningful manner in India.
Coming from Europe, you might be very tempted to say; “Yes, but you cannot undertake a long distance travel in a two-wheeler”. True that, you cannot.
India is not a country of highway loving people. Highways are seen as unsafe and it is assumed that you need some kind of training (which only taxi drivers have) to be able to drive on the highway. Yes we might travel on the highway once in a while, but we won’t put our own cars on the highway and much less drive them there. Highways are fundamentally badly built (barring a few segments/routes) and considered rather unsafe. Unlike in Europe not a lot of people take to the roads during vacations, and even if they do, they hire a cab. Most of them prefer bus and train.
Watch this Canadian driver get a load of Indian road.
There are certain segments which tend to travel by road. But the only reason for doing that is for the purpose of flexibility. When you travel by road by yourself, you get to stop where you like, take the trip at your pace, fast/slow as you may like and also the trip can be more impromptu. Most importantly, you need not follow somebody else’s time table.
There are four segments of people who take to the highway:
Business people who want the flexibility.
Students who do it for the thrill of a road trip. (18 to 25 years of age)
Vacationers who are used to driving on road. (Very small segment)
People who work in a city very close to their native place. (Bangalore to Chitradurga over the weekend)
When you look at it like this, the market shrinks very rapidly.
It not all bad.
If Blablacar has to successfully enter India, it has to do it very strategically with focus on very targeted segments instead of going to the entire market. You would start by making a list of highways that are most well suited for drives. Highways which have some of the best roads in India and get frequented often, such as Delhi-Agra, Delhi-Chandigarh, Bangalore-Chennai, Mumbai-Goa, etc. These highways are a pleasure to drive and increasing numbers of people are beginning to use these roads. Focusing on these markets help define the segment that you most wish to cater to and also increases the possibility of closing greater number of transaction.
Like buses, in India there are a large number of taxis which serve a certain route. You would mostly find these taxis parked near Interstate bus terminals (ISBTs). When I used to study in Agra, I would often take these taxis, which were often Tata Sumos which would load up 9 others and drive from Delhi to Agra. They were invariably quicker than the buses would not stop as often and cost slightly more than the bus.This segment is completely disorganised, it would take someone with a keen eye and with experience to even spot these guys outside bus stops. Blablacars can do for them; what Redbus was able to do for bus operators.
Over the years, roads have been improving in India and that will continue and probably convince more Indians to take to the roads. At such a time, Blablacar might be well poised to take advantage of the growing market.
I feel currently, this route would be best way to enter India for Blablacar. What they do, how they do, if they enter India at all, remains to be seen.
As the french say, “Nous verrons”.
I drive a lot on the highway. So during my recent trips I have been noticing another things. I have finding the many individuals who rent a car from Zoom and driving by themselves on the highway. The simplest explanation for this is since they charge by the day, it works out cheaper to rent the car and drive it by yourself rather than to take cab. Since this segment of crowd would be cost conscious and by default are not using owned cars, would be much more willing to share their ride to drink the cost down further. Should be a sweet market for Blablacar.
Steve Jobs is considered one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our times. He was involved in three ventures, Apple, Next and Pixar; of which two can be considered bonafide successes. Next was more of an acqui-hire and we really do not know if it would have been a hit, stand-alone.
But if we were to consider the other two enterprises; Pixar was eventually acquired by Disney making Steve Jobs the largest shareholders in Disney. Apple, well I do not think that I need to detail that out.
Pixar was one of the biggest bets which Steve Jobs made post Apple. For those who love to study pivoting, Pixar made the mother of all pivots going from being a high end computer maker to being a animated movie studio. The value that they were able to unlock through the pivot was extraordinary.
Roll back to 1994, all of the three ventures that I have mentioned above seemed to be on the verge of failure. Apple had not delivered a single hit in a long time (agreed Steve himself was not a part of the company). Pixar had successfully chewed through $50 Million and there was little to show expect for a Disney deal to distribute the movies it made, and it is said that Steve Jobs himself was looking to sell the venture. Next had faced failure upon failure and the entire tech world was certain that the latest operating system which the company had been developing was not going to be any match to Windows.
It was sheer perseverance which pulled these ventures out of the abyss that they had got themselves into. The patience to wait and see through the release of Toy Story in 1995 changed the fortunes of Pixar. Next was bought by Apple and Steve Jobs embarked on a slow an painful march towards revitalising Apple and putting out products that the consumers would love to use and admire.
I write about Steve Jobs because I have read plenty about him; although the same argument can be made for some of the biggest successes in business including Richard Branson, Thomas Edison, Sam Walton, Bill Marriott, and many more… More than anything else, it is pure perseverance that has resulted in these successes.
I feel creating a business is like preparing a dish whose recipe you do not know. So if you add a thought like “Fail Fast” to the mix what is going to be the likely outcome? The idea is to iterate with the absolute minimum ingredients to be able to realise whether a model works or not; ‘Fail Fast’ is by far the worst term coined to describe this. ‘Iterate fast and learn from failure’ should be the actual term that should be used.
Don’t put everything that you have at risk, the first time around.
Develop a business on the basis of firmly grounded insights.
Don’t give up if you fail. If you had to give up, might as well have not started in the first place.
It is not wrong to fall, it is wrong to not get up after the fall. It breaks the human spirit.
Last week, we hosted the Startups Club meetup at Chennai. We were fortunate to be joined by Mr. J Krishnan for the meeting who shared some of the wisdom that had been shared with him by the likes of Kanwal Rekhi. I just made a note of them and put them together in this blog.
You are alone in this journey. During some the hardest times faced by an entrepreneur, there is invariably nobody around to fall back upon. In fact many problems are such, that even if others wished to help you, there would not be much that they would be able to do. An entrepreneur should be able to cope with the emotional needs by himself.
The only thing certain is uncertainty. One of the entrepreneurs said “Morning I am up and upbeat and evening down in the dumps”. Your promotion will not be pulled back next evening unless you do something rather questionable. Client can refuse to sign up for no apparent reason whatsoever. You should have a heart that is strong in order to be a entrepreneur.
Failure is not bad. Failure is to your credit. Just as any job experience contributes to the experience that you have gained in the period, a failed venture or a failed pitch is just contributing to your experience. Don’t make decisions with the fear of failure in mind. It is important to leave the fear aside at all times.
Execution is more important than all else. You might have the greatest idea at hand, but unless you realise what you are dreaming up, it will remain just that, an idea. It is important to make sure that you execute and do that to perfection. Getting too bogged down with vision setting and activities of the sort at the initial stages, is not going to take you far. Your product may flip 7 times before it hits the market. Have a goal in mind and execute tirelessly to reach that.
You get early insight on customer needs if you start meeting customers before your product is even finished. Customers are the best people who can help guide your product or service into a shape that they want. Gets your validation. In the process you may find your first customer.
Entrepreneur is at all points of time a salesman. You have a story which you have to be constantly telling at all times. You have to live the business that you are looking to build each moment. You are the biggest asset that your company has got and the work that you put in initially is what is going to reflect in terms of value when you go in to raise money.
Belief is needed in order to get converts. Three beliefs that are essential for an entrepreneur. Belief in yourself, belief in your company and belief in the product or service which you are building.