Written by Neel Patel, the Co-Founder at Klippers, on-demand hair styling service.
Building a market place comes with its challenges. There are a few things that need to be considered before starting one.
In early 2017, I was in a restless state. I could not sleep, and I was not able to concentrate. There was a surge of energy coaxing me to do something on my own. I still remember those days. I used to go to my friends with all these crazy ideas that I had. My friends were supportive. They would support me with whatever I decided, and then I would go ahead and evaluate all those ideas. I conspired to see how I could make it big. I would assess how much of it was scalable. Most importantly, I would ask the question of: “How am I solving a problem in society?”
Did I ever mention that I am a night owl? I usually love to think in the night, because that’s when it is quiet, and I can tap into my inner creativity. Artistic moments are different for everyone.
When I was on a rampage one night, I was thinking to get a haircut, and a week later I found myself still thinking the same thing. Then, something struck my head, “What if someone comes to my place, on my time to give me a haircut?”. This thought instantly converted into an idea, and of course, I told my friends about it. I ran the idea through my brain and assessed its creativity.
Right after that, I was on the street interviewing hairstylists. I asked as many questions as I could to help myself figure out whether this was something that was needed in society. After a few interviews, I found out that hairstylists working in a salon are underpaid. My thought was: “Hairstyling is a profession. Lawyers and doctors charge accordingly for their time and expertise. So, how is hairstyling any different? Is it not a service that is still being offered?”
With this, I knew I had to come up with a better business model so that I could cater to hairstylists in the industry.
My goal was to help them to earn more money. Many hairstylists pass out of the school does not have the job in these industry and they struggle to complete their apprenticeship.
I knew I had to solve these painful realities that many were facing in spite of being professionals.
After interviewing hairstylists, I proceeded to interview potential clients that would want these services in-home or office. After talking to many people, I understood that going to the salon was dreaded. On the other hand, many enjoyed services from the same stylist. However, the commute posed an issue.
Again, this was my moment of realization. I learned that people would enjoy the pleasure of receiving styling services in the comfort of their home or office. With this, I decided to get a team together. Collectively, we worked on the building the product and bringing it to reality. However, there were a few things I realized after making many mistakes while building a marketplace.
1. The Right Mindset.
As a visionary, when you are starting with any idea, you require the right mindset. Many people often undervalue this requirement, and it is the absence of this approach that influences many to live a mediocre life. With a proper mindset, individuals can achieve what seems impossible. Hard work and perseverance are fundamental. As you are in the process of building your dream, there will be moments of difficulty. Whether it is a founder’s issue, customer acquisition strategy, or a marketing budget, various issues can arise. However, not having the right mindset can thwart your success.
2. Great Team.
I am sure I am not the first one to talk about the importance of a dependable team. A reliable team stands at the foundation of a company’s success. However, it is quite challenging to find the right people who are capable of working in a start-up environment. As a start-up, it is essential to hire people that understand your vision behind the idea and are willing to put in an equal effort as you. While working with a team, there will be challenges. Everyone has their own opinion; hence, views will clash. Some may wish to leave, and others may want to continue with the process. The important thing is to embrace the process and have fun.
3. Technical Co-Founder.
Okay, this is very important if you are a tech company or a tech product. Outsourcing your product to someone else has its concerns. The problem is, another person will not treat your idea as their own. Instead, they will work solely for the money. Having a technical co-founder simplifies the process. It is much easier to get things done correctly. A co-founder provides a lot of value to the company as they treat the company as their own.
If it is your 2nd or 3rd start-up, you are probably ahead of this portion of the article. If it is your first start-up, you need a mentor that can help guide you in the business and also help you grow to your maximum potential. Mentors are tough to find but not entirely impossible. You can always go on LinkedIn and connect with people through cold messaging. Another great way is to engage with others in the start-up community. Check out events where you can network with different people. By attending these events, you may find the person you are seeking. This action has worked very well for me.