7 Lessons I Learnt While Building a Travel Startup

This post is by Kapil Goswamy, Founder & CEO,

Travel Startup Lessons

We launched in early 2016.  A comprehensive and user-friendly travel portal, the startup is a sort of travel super market. It offers online bookings for domestic and international flights, holiday packages, hotel bookings at over 50000hotels in India and across the world.

Setting up a startup is not easy; it needs imagination, creativity and hard work.  You need to live up to competition and prove yourself.  But it’s also a great learning experience. Here are 7 things I learnt trying to set up .

Hire people with talent and commitment

This is crucial. No matter how tempting it may be to hire friends, they may not be right for your startup. Getting a team that knows how to deliver fast should be your priority.  I got together the right mix of talent for various jobs that needed to be done. I looked for commitment and offered reasonable salaries. Hiring people with potential who seem likely to stick around for a while is important.

Be judicious with your money

Spending out of your pocket is unavoidable in the beginning, but learn not to splurge, it can be risky. You have to grasp the importance of budgeting and be able to understand profit and loss.  Balancing your budget is crucial. Track expenditure and make note of things that depleted your resources; minimize them and think up less expensive alternatives.  Confining yourself to basics, in the beginning, pays dividends.

Adopt a do-it-yourself policy

No one can do a job as well and as inexpensively as you, since you have a personal stake in seeing your business flourish. So whether it was capital, time or energy, I adopted the do it yourself policy. It has helped us in the long run. While hiring, we looked for enthusiasm and customer-centric attitude. In the end, it’s the customer service that sets you apart from your competitors.

Learn to multi-task

You’ll be surprised by your ability to learn new things. If your business involves doing something you have not handled before, don’t immediately hire somebody for the job. See if you can learn to do it yourself.  Most things (except highly technical stuff) are not too difficult to learn. You get a hang of it, if you give it a good shot.  This way you not only save resources, but also gain the confidence that you will be able to manage things in the future on your own strength. This is valuable.

Save on small things

It helps. Opt for functional over fancy – whether it is office space, equipment or advertisement. If you are really strapped for cash, consider buying second-hand stuff. You can replace them slowly with new ones once business starts looking up. That’s being pragmatic and realistic – useful prerequisites of successful business.

Avoid risky investments

Once your company has taken off and started giving returns, it might be okay to take risks, but at the nascent stage, steer clear of any risky investment even if it looks promising in the long run. Your goal should be to get the fledgling company off the ground, so avoid tricky opportunities that could derail you. Weigh the pros and cons cool-headedly before making any business commitment.

Don’t let failure deter you

There will be setbacks. Don’t get disillusioned or disheartened. It’s part of the learning process. Dig in your heels and carry on. It pays to be persistent. Establish a good reproach with business associates. Build personal connections with people who matter. It might help your business in the long run. You have to persevere to succeed.

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