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7 Practical Lessons From Misha Ali Of Bikroy For Early Stage Entrepreneurs

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Mar 27, 2017

Misha Ali, the Marketing Director of Bikroy, has seen it all. He attended school in the US and worked there during and after the first dot-com bubble that left tech industry crippled for years. Upon returning to Bangladesh after almost fifteen years, Misha worked in pharmaceutical industry for a while before moving to Bikroy as a Director of Marketing while also working on a handful of ideas of his own on the side. Most of those ideas failed. Misha saw the successful startup go bankrupt in the US during the bubble, as he recounts to FS in a recent interview, “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”.

We had the pleasure of sitting down with Misha and ask him about lessons he learned. Here are a few of the valuable lessons he learned throughout his journey.

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Enter Misha Ali

1) Don’t build a technology solution without proving your assumptions.
For Oi Khali, a CNG hailing startup I tried, I 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.

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2) 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.

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3) 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.

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4) 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.

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5) 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. 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.

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6) You have to have people who are dedicated hundred percent and are willing to put in their everything.
Startups usually have a number of co-founders and none of them want to be full time. In one of our ventures, 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.

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7) 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.


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