1)A Soulmate : Entrepreneurship is a lonely job, things are so volatile, you never know what reaction or comment can throw you into a negative wave. It is always advisable to start with a partner who is as passionate as you. But, at times it is hard to find one, so I suggest that instead of going with a lantern in your hand to find your partner, its better that you start and keep your options open. Just make sure you know how to separate the wheat from the chaff. Just dont listen to people who bog you down and keep motivating yourself. Remember your point of view and that of your peers will never match, if it would have been that way then you would have taken their advice and never started up right after college, in the first place.
2) Forget Venture Capitalists :It is very likely that you would be thinking that the VC community is right there to fund passionate dreamers like you. You will gather their email ids and mail your executive summary to them and sleep like you will be getting an appointment the next day, after all it is a $ 50 million idea. But soon you will realise that, that day never came. What went wrong?? VCs are entrepreneurs too, they have to raise funds like us and make difficult choices like us and trust me it is very hard to put your money on a rookie. SO FORGET VCs!!! Borrow from your colleagues, friends and family and build a prototype asap and circulate it in your alma mater and see the response, make corrections, and keep increasing your user base. Which is at times more important than your ‘never been done’ before idea. Just dont wait for the perfect product to be built with “n” functionalities. Take up small projects, do free lance writing,SEO, teach kids in your locality or whatever suits you to pay your monthly bills, or like in my case just pass on the dinner cheque to your girl friend.
3) Prepare an elevator pitch : You should do this on day one itself. If you have a team, great, keep every thing aside and do brainstorming on your pitch first. Your product may take months to go live but in that time you will meet people who will ask about your work and your venture. You might not meet them when your product is launched or your service is out there in market, so that first meeting is your chance of leaving a lasting impact. Even if you dont have a team, discuss your venture with your closest friends, see their reactions, keep them in mind and when you get home (or office, it is the same mostly) put it down on a whiteboard and see whether did they buy your story and if they did how much time it took you to drive the point home, if not then you have to create one. Rehearse by saying out loud. This is the best way.
4) Networking : The first thing you should do is get the visiting cards ready. Make it a point to attend all the events ,no matter how big or small, that have anything to do with your venture, you never know, may be you meet your first client there, or a hot shot VCs who wasnt even bothering to reply to your mails. A conversation is always better than an email. And dont just carry your cards, you are going there to spread them, just feel free to talk to people, make your elevator pitch and exchanging cards. You never know from where you find your first client. Follow up is even more important, dont forget to drop in an email to show that how much you appreciate the time of people you met at the function and put their email ids in a separate group and stay in touch, just dont pester them.
5) Be good and be humble : One thing that an entrepreneur can afford to have is “ego”. Never say no to anything, you should be crystal clear about what you want to get and how to get it. I mean at times, people will dictate terms to you, but as long as it is not hurting your venture you should abide by them without being hesitant. Developing relations is an art and many a times the success or failure of your venture depends as much on them as on the product/service itself. The world is getting smaller, you never know from where you get your first client, your VC, or your employee. Everyone in the entrepreneurial community has a strong network so you dont want to piss any one off. And respect people who are not entrepreneurs, not every one can do what Steve Jobs did neither can every one do what you are doing.