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Important Tips for Startups

This article is written by Amira Ibrahim, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.

Emilian Popa is an Investor and Entrepreneur with 10+ years of successful launching, fundraising, growing, and exiting more than 20 technology ventures in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Russia. He used to run a couple of companies across the globe.

Emilian Popa was the key speaker of this session, held during Startup Istanbul 2018, giving insight to the audience from his past experience as an entrepreneur. He talked about a few tips that lead to startup success.

Try to Focus:

We have only one brain and it is very difficult to allocate and launch more than one startup in the same time, so focus on one company and don’t start three or four companies at the same time, because this is a big red flag for any investor.

Do your Homework:

Always be ready and prepared, always do your research. When Emilian started in rocket internet he remembers his boss telling him that they want to build an AirBnb company in China, they went to China without doing any research and they started to build the company, but after a while, they realized that don’t rent rooms in their apartments. The company survived for a couple of years but then it died and that was a big mistake to go to a market without any previous research.

Don’t look too far ahead of you:

Emilian says “When I look at companies as an investor or an entrepreneur, all I want to see is their plan for the next year or two years maximum ” So most of the investors don’t want to know your next 20 years plan they need a precise plan for the next one year or two and that will be enough.

Prepare a financial plan:

It is very important to have a plan especially a financial plan to know how much money you’re going to make and to know The KPIs of your company.

Execute your work right:

When you build a house you start with the foundation and the first floor and the second floor…etc.so execution is very important while building your startup and the most important thing is how you will start (the foundation). Because a lot of people build companies with no foundation and that is the number one reason why companies fail.

Count and calculate the money :

Emilian worked in a bakery in Paris, where he used to wake up by 4 am to bake the bread before customers come to buy the bread during the day and they counted the money during the night. The moral of the story is the importance of counting every penny you spend and counting every penny you make, to know if you are on the right track or not.

Don’t hire too many employees at first

Emilian shared a story about one of his biggest failures in business. Emilian said “back in2013 when I was in Cape TownI started a company(mobile-first platform for events) and I was coming from the concept of rocket-mindset where we hire a lot of people and we think big, so I did hire a lot of people before even launching and one year later the company died.”

Never stop learning:

Keep studying and searching, read and learn a lot of things and never stop learning and take advice and mentorship from people who have experience especially in your field of startup.

Be ready to change:

As Emilian said, “if things don’t work, you need to adapt and change your concept” Emilian has a lot of examples of failed companies where he turned this failure and started to sell other things.

Accept rejection

Failure is part of success so rejections happen, and actually you learn from failures more than you learn from success and it’s not the end of the world to fail you might start again better than ever.

─ April 30, 2019