What Is Next For Bikroy: An Interview With Misha Ali, Director of Marketing, Bikroy

What Is Next For Bikroy: An Interview With Misha Ali, Director of Marketing, Bikroy

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Misha Ali, Director of Marketing, Bikroy, reflects on his early life and career and how we are always a work in progress, current state of Bikroy, the evolution of the largest classified marketplace of the country over the past years and how the startup is slowly monetizing its fast growing platform by implementing ingenious ideas like ‘Buy Now’, membership option for small business and introducing myriad of products, challenges for Bikroy, how Facebook is the biggest challenge for every online site in Bangladesh, how Bikroy is tackling fake products problem, his take on ecommerce industry in Bangladesh and the importance of having a mentor and why taking risk is overrated.

Future Startup

We want to start at the beginning of your story. Where did you grow up? Tell us about yourself.

Misha Ali

I was born in Bangladesh but when I was about one year old we left the country and I did not come back to live here for the next fifteen years. My father was in the pharmaceutical industry, he was posted in many countries around the world and we used to move along with him.

When I was a year old, we moved to Egypt, when I was eight we moved to Indonesia and when I was twelve we moved to the US. Finally, when I was fifteen we moved back to Bangladesh. I finished school here. I graduated high school in 1993. Then I went back to the US again for the university.

After university, I worked in the US for a long time. I attended university from 1993-1997. So if look at the history of technology, internet really became open to the public around that time. The early 1990s were when Netscape first came out and first web sites came into existence.

I think my freshman year was the first year we had email at my University, the University of Pennsylvania. You can say that I’m one of the last generations to have a non-internet life and then internet in our lifetime. I have seen all of it.

I studied history in university but I used to fool around a lot with technology, web pages and eventually I landed my first job as a software developer, an HTML front-end developer.

One of the mistakes I think people make is that they develop the technology before developing the business model. That is a common mistake tech entrepreneurs make.

Future Startup

You studied history and then went on to work in tech. How did that happen?

Misha Ali

You know, there are people who are strong in math and then there are people who are strong in verbal. I was good at both. Although I did not pursue science or math for whatever reason in college but jumping into the field of math and tech was comparatively easy for me. And I was always interested in tech and science stuff.

However, it was I think when you graduate with a history degree you don’t get a job very easily compared to other science or social science discipline or business discipline. So I thought since I have a knack for web development and technology, also worked in the space with friends and stuffs like that, and as it was an emerging field at that I thought okay I would get into it.

I joined a firm initially in Princeton, New Jersey. I worked there for a year and a half doing front-end development and CD-ROM development.

Internet was very slow back then. Things that we take for granted now were beyond imagination. I worked on a video-streaming project as well. So that was a couple of things I worked on back then.

After that, I decided to move to the New York City, so I found a job at a startup in New York City in 1998 or so. It was a company called US Interactive. We mostly did web and ecommerce development. There I got experiences with CSS and web development and also some of the back-end technologies. I worked in a much bigger team. Then we went to IPO, everybody had stock options and we were kind of super rich.

But within the six months of IPO, the share market tanked, the first tech bubble burst, and our stock option were worth nothing and everybody left the company. The lesson for me was: if you don’t have a business model and you don’t generate value, no matter how much hype there is around you, you will go down.

Luckily for me, at that time I got a very stable position at one of the largest advertising agencies in the world, Ogilvy and Mather. They had their digital division and I joined there as a project engineer specializing in front-end development. That was more of a project management role with some technological aspects to it.

I was at Ogilvy for six years total. Three years in that role and three years I moved to another role. Back then there were thousands of newspapers in the US. So clients used to ask us to design ads for all these newspapers and the different newspaper had different size for ads and you had to design each one differently. Illustrator skills were expensive and not widely available.

We had an application where you just put the size and then the content and our application automatically created a print ad within those parameters, for the said size, with a headline and everything and then it would generate a PDF that could be sent to the newspaper for print. I worked there for another three years.

At that point, I decided that I want to do my MBA. I went to Spain. After staying in the States for seventeen years I also wanted to experience Europe. I went to business school in Barcelona. I was in Europe from 2006 to 2008. And right after my graduation from business school, the second market crash, the recession, happened.

It was a really bad time to find a job as an MBA graduate, so I decided to come back to Bangladesh around 2009. I started working in Pharmaceuticals. I joined Renata Pharmaceuticals as their international marketing manager. I did that for a good five years.

Then I decided that I want to do something of my own. I have always been entrepreneurial. Part of the reason is probably my father. He always did a job and then he also had this thing that I want to do business. Later he left his job and tried different businesses but he never made it big. But I think that has always been in me – that my father could not do it but I’m gonna do it.

So I quit Renata and started Oi Khali. I hired a team of developers, made an app and everything. I invested money from my own pocket. It was my first try, so obviously I made mistakes. We made an app which was not scalable but it was good.

One of the mistakes I think people make is that they develop the technology before developing the business model. That is a common mistake tech entrepreneurs make.

At Oi Khali, we made a video with Oi Khali that received a lot of attention. My current boss at Bikroy saw the video and he was looking for someone to head the marketing team at Bikroy. He found me and we had an interesting conversation and that was that.

It has been two years at Bikroy. I can tell you that when it comes to startups the way things are done here are in a different level. The processes they bring, the way they look at problems and the way they operate is at a different level than any Bangladeshi company I have ever seen. We are a very data-driven company where everything is measured. Decisions are made based on data and numbers, not gut feelings. It has been an amazing journey for me.

When I joined Bikroy, we were already in a leading position in the market. After my joining, we consolidated our leading position and started working on monetization; we have been working on revenue growth since 2015, and focusing on marketing products that generate revenue for us.

It is also interesting how marketing works in a startup such as Bikroy. When I joined, marketing budget was considerable. We did ATL, we did BTL, digital and everything. As the years went by, as we started monetizing and revenue started to increase we realized that we are already in a dominant position and we don’t have to spend so much – at least not at the moment.

So our marketing spend has decreased but we have continued to grow because I think our strategy has been to really come in a strong position at the beginning and then capitalize on that. Take the market in terms of traffic, and once you become a dominant player then slowly focus your marketing activities on revenue growth.

When I joined Bikroy, we were already in a leading position in the market. After my joining, we consolidated our leading position and started working on monetization; we have been working on revenue growth since 2015, and focusing on marketing products that generate revenue for us.

Future Startup

You have years of experience in Pharmaceuticals Industry, Advertising Industry and now tech helping companies to grow while also starting your own ventures, (The Break, Oi Khali, Cookups). What are the biggest lessons from all those years?

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Misha Ali

I’m a very people-oriented person. Looking at the numbers and becoming very data-driven was not the way I did things in the past. Coming to Bikroy was very good for me from that perspective that I got to keep my nature as a people oriented person but at the same time I now look at the data and make decisions based on the numbers as well as my instincts. There is a delicate balance there and I have come to understand that. I have become much more analytical.

There is a methodology called critical thinking. Martin, my boss, Managing Director of Bikroy, is a critical thinker. He is someone who questions everything. The advantage is that when you question everything you don’t take things for granted – you continue to push the boundaries of your understanding. That means you are always able to find if there is a problem with your assumptions.

Everything we do at Bikroy, we measure against the objective we set for that activity. Every penny we spend on marketing, we try to measure the return and see if it was worth it.

We try to be objective about things. For me, that is one of the key lessons. It is important to have a big picture view but at the same time if you don’t know the details and can’t be objective when making decisions, it is not a good sign for your organization’s long-term future.

You should be able to tell what’s happening in your company and team and then objectively judge that what’s bringing you the result and what’s not. I have learned that sometimes you need to be very detail oriented and then sometimes you should be granular and get down to the specifics.

Then and again, you can be a very detail-oriented person, a perfectionist, but you should not be such a perfectionist that you hold back decision making and delay moving forward. I try to follow the Pareto Principle and believe that we should try to be as perfect as we can up to 80% of where we would REALLY be happy with the outcome, but then we should move forward and get onto the next task at hand.

Having an entrepreneurial urge itself is a risky thing. Starting Oi Khali was a risk. I was part of another venture called the German Butcher, a supermarket for expatriates. In fact, it was my first venture and it failed. The Break, the restaurant we started in Jamuna Future Park also failed.

Farmers Market, another restaurant we started, was doing good but we had to stop it. One of the reasons I joined Bikroy.

I think failure is where you gain the best understanding.

For German Butcher, we partnered with other people, my partners and I and the original owners. We had a 50-50 split with the owners. After a while, we had a misunderstanding or difference of opinions between us and the owners and because of that, the whole thing was on the verge of failure. So we decided to pull out of it. That was an example of not taking enough control when you are acquiring a company and leaving it to everybody’s good will to make it happen. Goodwill is not enough. Someone has to have the power to make the decision. So that was the lesson from that.

For the Break, we opened a restaurant in Jamuna Future Park. We thought new mall opening up, so it will be successful. We had the prime location – well, we thought it was a prime location, inside the bowling alley. The restaurant was not in the normal food court, we were separated. But what happened was that they started charging people to enter the bowling alley, number one and the mall was empty for three years, number two. The lesson there is, when making projections, you can be very optimistic about your business plan if you want to fail quickly, but it is better to get as pessimistic as possible because that’s probably the real picture.

I think the best way of starting a business is to start it with the most conservative assumptions because you prepares you for the worst and at the same time if things get better that’s great.

The next business was Farmers Market. It was running quite well but there were some problems as well. Startups usually have a number of co-founders and none of them want to be full time. We’re all friends and families, we still are, as a result, what happened was one person would come in at 5:00 pm, another would at 8:00 pm and another would come and take the money. That’s not how you run a business. You have to have people who are dedicated hundred percent and are willing to put in their everything.

For Oi Khali, I thought people want CNGs and there are so many CNGs, so I will build them an app to get CNGs. Done. It is as simple as that. But what I did not do was that I did not check before building the technology whether my assumptions were correct. For example, my assumption was that most CNG drivers have smartphones or will get them to join the service, which was not the case. That was a wrong assumption. My learning from there was don’t build a technology solution without proving your assumptions.

With, Cookups, which is run by my partner Namira Hossain, they did not make the same mistakes. They did not start with developing an App – instead, Namira started with creating a Facebook group. Cookups has more than 10,000 members and almost 100 cooks. I think they generate around 2500-3000k orders per month already. Namira tested the idea in a free marketplace and now that it is taking off, technology is the next step.

There is a methodology called critical thinking. Martin, my boss, Managing Director of Bikroy, is a critical thinker. He is someone who questions everything. The advantage is that when you question everything you don’t take things for granted – you continue to push the boundaries of your understanding. That means you are always able to find if there is a problem with your assumptions. Everything we do at Bikroy, we measure against the objective we set for that activity.

Future Startup

Give us an overview of Bikroy. What is Bikroy now?

Misha Ali

We are the largest online marketplace in Bangladesh with millions of users per month. We specialize in C2C but we have a large and growing B2B component. About 25% of goods traded on Bikroy are new and are sold by our partners, mostly smaller brick and mortar retailers.

We have four verticals we focus on: the general vertical, which means everything from mobile phones to clothes to other personal items, we have cars & vehicles, we have property and we have jobs. General by far is the largest vertical. The vast majority of our traffic and content comes from there, followed by cars & vehicles and then jobs and property.

For a long time, Bikroy was free for everyone, and individual users could post unlimited ads at no cost. We have changed that policy over time while also making sure that it is still suitable for individual users. The number of free ads you can post is limited now. You can only post a few mobile phone ads per month, because our thinking is that if you are not a store you don’t need to post more ads than that. If you are a store obviously you have hundreds of mobile phones and you have to post more ads so you can pay us for that service.

For jobs, and services we have implemented listing fees – we believe we have a dominant position that we can start charging private users to post even a single ad in those categories.

Initially, the way we monetized was on advertising such as promoted ads or banner ads, since we attract a lot of traffic from users with a buying mindset. Today, our corporate sales team works at bringing more banner ads and our category management team deals with generating revenue from retailers and our other small business partners.

We launched our Membership model early last year, with which a small business can have their own shop on Bikroy along with their own URL. When anyone goes to a particular shop URL they see only products posted by that Member. Now businesses can use our vast marketing power to promote their products rather than building and trying to have their own e-commerce site which is expensive to build traffic for.

For last one and half years, we have been growing our membership base and they are paying us a monthly fee which varies depending on the category.

For instance, mobile phone is the cheapest because we know a small mobile shop owner can’t afford much. So all the pricing is done taking into account the value of the goods the merchant is selling in that category, so that for a car Membership the pricing will be higher than for mobile phones, for example. We have two levels of memberships: Business Plus and Business Premium. For each level, the pricing is different. We also have different pricing tiers based on location. In Dhaka, our Members will pay more than in other cities.

We launched our Membership model early last year, with which a small business can have their own shop on Bikroy along with their own URL. When anyone goes to a particular shop URL they see only products posted by that Member. Now businesses can use our vast marketing power to promote their products rather than building and trying to have their own e-commerce site which is expensive to build traffic for.

We now have over three thousand paying members and that’s the biggest source of revenue for us. We are also expanding our banner advertisement sales since we have increased traffic and therefore have more impressions to serve. Those are the two major revenue generating streams.

We have also recently added “Buy Now” – a one-click buying option. Let me explain. Previously, if you wanted to buy something you had to call the seller, meet him somewhere and then if you liked the product you could buy it, if not it was a pointless trip. If the buyer didn’t end up buying the product, it was a complete waste of time and effort for both the buyer and the seller. We thought, “how can we solve this problem for our customers?” and so we introduced “Buy Now.”

With “Buy Now,” we handle everything from taking the order and then contacting seller, pickup up the product from the sellers and then delivering it to the buyer and then collecting the cash and returning it to the seller. For the buyer, he sits at home, the product comes to his door and also for the seller he sits there and the money comes back to him. That’s the idea. For that, we take a commission from the seller, and our logistics partner Go Fetch handles deliveries.

Going forward, as I mentioned, we are launching listing fees for several categories, including jobs, cars and property. For those verticals, users will have to pay for posting even a single ad. This should grow into a good source of revenue for us in the future.

We are the largest online marketplace in Bangladesh with millions of users per month. We specialize in C2C but we have a large and growing B2B component. About 25% of goods traded on Bikroy are new and are sold by our partners, mostly smaller brick and mortar retailers.

Future Startup

How much has the company evolved over the last two years?

Misha Ali

If I talk about marketing when I first joined, it was all about getting traffic. It did not matter to us whether those people were serious users, repeat customers or transacting on the site or not.

The biggest shift from a marketing standpoint has been that we started to focus on the quality of traffic over quantity of the traffic. We now focus on conversions, the number of people clicking on items and placing an order. We now put importance on page views over mere traffic.

Now we are measuring both the amount of traffic and the number of people who are converting. That has been the biggest shift in terms of traffic metrics in the last couple of years. It has also helped us in creating quality content and quality user experience as well.

Another difference is that when I started at Bikroy two years ago there were over 400 thousand ads on the site whereas now there are around 120 thousand ads. This looks like our traffic has come down but that is not accurate – in fact it’s the opposite.

If you look at our interested buyers and conversion data, it has gone up by a large margin; more than doubled in the last two years. Previously, the quality of the ads, content and product was not where it is today. We have made a marked shift towards inventory quality. We ensure that price is okay, there are several good pictures, and that the exact product advertised is the one being sold.

In fact, we now have automation in place that can detect if you use an image from the internet, so that we can ensure that ad posters use pictures of their own product for second-hand goods. We have automated many of these quality functionalities which required manual intervention before, and through that, we have been able to improve our inventory quality leading to more users converting. This is the second major shift.

The first shift was from mere traffic metrics to conversion metrics and the second one as I mentioned to inventory quality.

Lastly, a few years ago, a large part of our marketing efforts was branding-related. In the last two years, we have come to know through our brand surveys that when it comes to online classifieds we are comfortably ahead of the competition by a large margin. With that insight, the focus of our marketing has shifted towards a more pragmatic approach to generating revenue and making our partners happier. For example, providing our partner’s shop signboards, business card, and the likes.

For instance, if you look around the city, any car dealership with us has our branded signboard. We give our partners what they want whether its shop signboard or free business card and for stores, we give them personalized store sticker with store name and URL on it. These are high-cost expenditures for us but revenue is coming from there so we need to focus on that.

Another example of this revenue-based marketing is that now we do weekly deals focusing on ‘Buy Now’ because it increases sales for our members and when their sales increase because of our marketing efforts they feel okay to pay the membership fees.

These three points have been the major shift in marketing over the last few years.

The biggest shift from a marketing standpoint has been that we started to focus on the quality of traffic over quantity of the traffic. We now focus on conversions, the number of people clicking on items and placing an order. We now put importance on page views over mere traffic.

Future Startup

How much has Bikroy, as a product and platform, evolved?

Misha Ali

In the last 5 years, we have evolved from being a free platform to one that monetizes, and I think we are pretty unique among the classifieds players in doing so. We’ve done so gradually, so as to give our business partners a chance to reap the benefits of the platform for free, at first, and then adding products by which they can realize additional value on the platform — not just raising price arbitrarily.

We’ve also come to understand our users much better, and this comes from having a development team close by, in Bangalore, who can understand and connect to our local culture. It’s this cultural understanding of the situation on the ground that has really helped us take our product forward the last year or so.

We have a lot of new things coming up that I can’t talk about right now but 2017 is going to be the best year for Bikroy in terms of product.

Future Startup

What are the key metrics for you now?

Misha Ali

Our key metrics have evolved from just traffic figures to converted users, pageviews and revenues. We are more interested in the quality of traffic, whether that traffic is engaging, converting, and whether we are able to monetize that traffic.

As long as these numbers grow we know that we are on the right track. For our advertising investment, we mainly look at the cost per acquisition.

Future Startup

Product-wise, what are the plans going forward?

Misha Ali

The smart thing that Bikroy did is that they rolled out many important product enhancements early on. For example, Membership – giving a storefront to customers, one click purchase or “Buy Now” functionality and chat functionality, all these things are on Bikroy now. From a product standpoint, we feel that we have done a lot.

One thing that is coming up is that we plan to improve our platform for non-javascript phones. Even these days, a huge number of new phones sold in Bangladesh are feature phones. A significantly large number of people still use feature phones to browse internet. Many companies and people are not considering these people when building technologies. As a result when they come to your site, they don’t get a good experience and as a result, they become dissatisfied and don’t convert. We want to make it easy for those people to use our platform.

Future Startup

What are the major challenges for Bikroy?

Misha Ali

I would not say the challenge for Bikroy alone. I think one of the major challenges for any online site in Bangladesh is to make people use sites other than Facebook. The growth for Facebook and others is way different. Since I started here, Facebook users went from mere 15 million to above 30 million. It is more than double in two years. It is crazy. Bangladeshis know the internet as Facebook.

There are segments of educated users who do think beyond Facebook but the people who are coming online now Facebook is the internet for them. How do you convert these people and bring them off of facebook and to your platform? That is going to be a challenge for everyone.

The smart thing that Bikroy did is that they rolled out many important product enhancements early on. For example, Membership – giving a storefront to customers, one click purchase or “Buy Now” functionality and chat functionality, all these things are on Bikroy now. From a product standpoint, we feel that we have done a lot. One thing that is coming up is that we plan to improve our platform for non-javascript phones.

Future Startup

What’s your take on the competition? How do you think about competition?

Misha Ali

In the local market, we are quite confident about our position in the market. So we don’t worry much about competition as long as there is not a major international player coming into the market and we keep doing the work we do well.

But how do we collaborate with Facebook and other international giants and grow together – how do we make them work with us, or even notice what we are doing? We’ve made large steps with our partnership with Facebook for Free Basics, and the release of two TVCs featuring Bikroy last year, but this continues to be a major challenge for us.

I would not say the challenge for Bikroy alone. I think one of the major challenges for any online site in Bangladesh is to make people use sites other than Facebook.

Future Startup

Tell us about the culture at Bikroy? How do people work here?

Misha Ali

I think Bikroy is the flattest organization I have ever worked in. My Managing Director and I share the same table with my team in the middle. Nobody has an office, we all sit together in an open office.

Every week we have meetings with the management team and with our respective teams and we plan for the week. Everyone has the same targets and we work on them together. If you need to talk to someone or collaborate you just go and talk and get things done. There is no physical or psychological barrier in doing that.

We make sure that everybody works with ownership over what we are doing. Nobody says that that is not my responsibility because everybody is working towards the same goals, which are clear for everyone.

Future Startup

How does marketing work?

Misha Ali

The marketing department is very similar to the rest of the organization. We have digital marketers and creatives but we all help each other to complete each other’s work.

Our department is also very flat and everyone does everything and help everyone else to get things done.

We do all our digital marketing work in-house. We don’t have an agency because we do so many things on the go that we can’t afford to outsource to an agency – it would decrease our reaction time and therefore, our efficiency.

Future Startup

There are complaints against online sellers including Bikroy about fake products and subpar service and more. How do you think about it?

Misha Ali

It is true that there is online fraud in Bangladesh but we have introduced several mechanisms in order to stop it from happening on Bikroy. For instance, before if multiple ads are posted against same phone number with the same content, our system blocks that ad. Now we have automated the entire process and you can’t post the same ad from the same phone number anymore. So that’s there and these automated features are also improving every day so that we can prevent fraud before it happens.

Then there are other challenges like clone products. Since Bikroy has become known as a buying and selling platform in the international arena, we are very sensitive to copyright infringement and the likes. Previously, we used to allow copy or replica phones if they were marked as clone or replica, but from February 1st, we don’t allow these products on our site anymore.

Another feature we have to prevent misuse of our site is SMS verification. Before, people could post ads with other people’s phone number but they can’t do that anymore because now we send a verification code to your number when you submit an ad and when you enter your code only then can you finish posting the ad. SMS verification has made it difficult for people to post an ad with someone else’s number just to harass them — something that occurred quite often in the past.

The fourth is our “Buy Now” service. It is also contributing to security and safety while also saving our customers from potential harassment hassle. When you click “Buy Now”, we take care of the rest of the process. So the customer does not have to take risk of going and meeting an unknown person.

Future Startup

What do you think about ecommerce industry in Bangladesh?

Misha Ali

If you don’t have budget and investment, it is going to be increasingly difficult to survive. It is going to be very tough for local players to compete again well funded international players that are coming with huge investment and expertise. Having said that, I don’t agree with protectionism – I believe in a free market.

There are rumors that the government is talking about limiting foreign ownership in e-commerce, which I don’t think is a good idea given that it might deprive us of having access to knowledge and expertise from international players and also deprive users of having good service that comes out of a competitive environment.

The another big challenge we face is with talent. There is a culture of freelancing, particularly among tech people which makes it hard to retain talent. Kids don’t want to work in companies because they can earn easy money doing freelancing. And the few good people who are available always switching from one job to another for a small salary hike. So it is very difficult to build a technology product when you don’t have people who are willing to work consistently. That’s something we need to address.

Future Startup

What does a typical day look like for you? How do you work? How do you prioritize and manage time?

Misha Ali

I have my goals for the quarter and month and then for the week. I try to align days with the goals. My team plays a big role in day to day operations. I engage in difficult and big problems or opportunities.

I give people a lot of freedom but I also expect that they would give me the results. I give people KPIs and goals on weekly basis or in meeting and expect them to get those done by the next time we meet. I don’t like to micro-manage and push people on a daily basis.

I come in the morning and look at my list of to-dos and concentrate on achieving them for the first couple of hours. There are things that we get to do on a daily basis like overseeing social media management, doing things that are important for the day, so we do that.

At Bikroy, we are meticulous about things that we do because everything that we put out there reflects our brand. All of our marketing materials and communication have to be top-notch and I check these all on a regular basis.

We try to achieve daily goals and if we can’t achieve those we try to understand what happened and why we failed. Then we do planning for the week and month, if there is an event coming up or a campaign coming up, we try to plan it ahead.

Future Startup

Have you had any mentor along the way?

Misha Ali

One of the things I regret the most is that I have not had a mentor consistently throughout my life. I think it really held me back. I would be further along if I did have a mentor. Luckily, Martin, My Managing Director here, has been a great mentor to me in these last two years. Other than that, my brother-in-law, Adnan Karim – he is not in Bangladesh right now – the Managing Director of Interspeed, has been a mentor to me.

If I had a mentor when I was young, I think I could have done a lot more. For anyone who is out there who wants to succeed, I think it’s important that you have a mentor.

Future Startup

What advice would you give to people who are starting out?

Misha Ali

Ideas don’t matter, execution is what matter most. I think everyone knows this by now but it is critical to revisit it often. Make sure that you have a working business model. Don’t make assumptions without testing them. Don’t do things without backing your assumptions up with data.

Another thing is, you should not be scared of sharing your idea with people – people don’t buy into an idea, they buy into a person and if you can get some solid feedback you should share your idea openly with customers and peers alike.

Also, taking risks is overrated. Take risks but don’t take a stupid risk. Check what you are doing at every step. People who manage risk well are more successful. When you are starting out, make sure that you see a realistic picture of where you want to end up.

Lastly, cash is king for any startup. Make sure that you have your cash flow numbers in the back of your mind at all times. If you lose track of that, your business is going down.

Ideas don’t matter, execution is what matter most. I think everyone knows this by now but it is critical to revisit it often. Make sure that you have a working business model. Don’t make assumptions without testing them. Don’t do things without backing your assumptions up with data.

This story is made possible in part by our friends at G&R. G&R, the leading platform for advertisers and publishers in Bangladesh, empowers brands in the digital age and helps entrepreneurs and companies to tell their stories to 65 million internet users in Bangladesh through sophisticated targeting and its wide publisher network. You may know more about G&R here.

Lead image: Bikroy/The Daily Star

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