Startup FAQs answered by those who have started up and learnt the hard way

Young women entrepreneurs 2 SheThePeople, Tech Mahindra Niti Aayog

When you have a startup idea in mind, talking to entrepreneurs who have already set up their firms gives you perspective and vision. Not everyone’s startup mantra is same and these variations are what help startups grow. Here’s a compilation of startup FAQs based on advice from several women entrepreneurs.

I’m supposed to have ‘a passion’ for what I do. How do I tell if this is actually an obsession, or just a temporary love? 

The “want” to start your own business arises from your passion. But it is always good to know if you are absolutely sure about your business idea. Gauri Devidayal, founder of ‘The Table’ and ‘Magazine Street Kitchen’, says:  “Hard work is nothing without passion. You need to believe in what you are doing and do it for the right reasons.”

How will I know that I’m on the right track in my business? 

Before we answer your question, here’s a question for you to answer: What is the kind of work that will spin you to your feet as soon as the alarm goes off? According to Melissa Dawn, CEO of Your Life, you should always look for work that energises and excites you. Dawn told entrepreneur.com that this is the kind of work that will bring out the best in you.

I have big ambitions. What size should my startup be?

Not every startup needs to begin with a large chunk of funding. It is completely okay to give your idea time to grow. Tanushree Rao, founder of Metodo Chic, says: “Everyone’s start-up mantra is different.” She put only her own savings into her venture and is happy with the pace of its growth.

I seem to be facing one problem after another in my startup. Help!

With business comes challenges. You cannot feel threatened every time a new problem comes up; instead, be prepared for it. Lucy Gadkari, founder of Moodoo, says: “Challenges are part of the business. It can be as internal as navigating and picking up feedback from your teammates and working on those ideas”. Prioritising which problems to work on first will help you move swiftly.

I love my business idea, but why isn’t it isn’t growing the way I want it to?

Sure, your idea is your baby and no one else is allowed to mess with it. But reality often gets in the way, leading to stress and frustration. Being open to other ideas is always good for your business. Experimenting will help you grow. Payal Bhuptani, founder of Don’t Give A Fork, has a new idea for every new pop up she organises. She even collaborates with her chef friends to bring variety and expertise on board.

How niche can my business be? Wouldn’t it make more sense to offer a wide range of products or services?

Choosing a particular niche may sound scary, but it is actually good for your business. This is not the time to play safe, but instead, use your unique skills to impress your audience. Remember why you are in your field of work, remember that you know better.

To end with, here’s some advice from Gauri Devidayal: “Have a clear vision, without constantly changing it based on people’s opinions.” Stay focused and true to your vision!