Building a startup is a personal journey for every entrepreneur, and everyone’s experiences, failures and successes will be different. Nonetheless, Rapelang Rabana, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of South African edtech startup Rekindle Learning has distilled four practical hacks to help entrepreneurs based on her own startup experiences.
Ensure you have a diverse founding team
A startup’s founding team needs to be formed of multiple individuals with differing skill sets – covering all the major expertise areas the proposed business relies on, Rabana says.
“If your founding team isn’t reflective of the core competencies needed, you need a new team.”
Identify incentives for target market
Rather than expecting customers to flock to buy their new product or service, entrepreneurs should make a concerted effort to understand how to incentivize uptake of their offerings. The attraction to consumers could be financial or non-financial in nature, but needs to be more than being a “good idea”.
“Take a step back and see what would be the incentive for people to use this. People won’t just use [your product]because it’s good, or it’s pretty,” Rabana says.
Content before marketing budget
Entrepreneurs often allocate a proportion of their budget to marketing spend, unnecessarily. Rabana says. Creating engaging content, engaging with journalists around topical issues and events, and being available to comment in an expert capacity, all provide free routes to publicity and media attention.
“There’s a huge dearth of credible content that journalists are looking for,” she says.
Move past fear of failure
Finally, Rabana says founders need to look for ways to move past the fear of failure that is inherent in being an entrepreneur. Real failure only happens when you stop moving forwards, she says.
“Look at life as a series of moments. That helps me get past my mental fear of failure.”