Four key principles to kick start your startup

Think big, start small and scale fast

Planning your business is one thing, but building it fast is another.

Most startups are short on the financial and management side when they begin – making the need to develop framework that is lean and efficient all the more important.

With a wealth of experience in the private sector, managing partner of BizAdvize Services Ambrose Nathan recently deliberated on the “Business Lean Canvas” – based off principles popularized by Eric Reis – at Darussalam Enterprise’s (DARe) Industry Business Academy (IBA).

In case you missed the class – here are four key principles that will help your startup.

1. Entrepreneurs are everywhere – standing out matters! 

Admittedly, when starting out the success of your business plan isn’t guaranteed – doesn’t matter the size of the company, sector of the economy or industry! But think back of how the best startups of our time started in a college dorm or in the basement of someone’s house.

Today, access to knowledge and resources has been fast tracked with the availability and widespread use of the internet. So the key challenge now becomes – how do you stand out from the crowd?

The harsh reality is most startups fail, and to stand out you have to figure out what is your competitive advantage is.

Ask yourself:

How can I solve people’s problems? How can I take advantage of my team’s strengths and compete within the resources I have? What does my start-up do differently for the customer? What added value service do I offer? How can I achieve this within a short amount of time?

2. Be able to pivot around your concept

“Startup success can be engineered by following the process, which means it can be learned, which means it can be taught,” said Eric Ries, in his seminal book The Lean Startup.

One thing all successful startups have is the ability to evolve. This stems from having the ability to pivot – which means to change directions whilst staying grounded in what was learned. Instagram, for example, took on Snapchat and Periscope putting a twist on video streaming and direct messaging – to become Instagram ‘live stories’.

Principally, if startups can be fast and responsive enough between pivots, it increase the odds of your success just in time for profits to come in. For Instagram, they realised the importance of users rather than focusing on social media personalities. As modern companies go, they depend on innovation for growth.

3. Validate your idea 

As an experimental startup, you are bound to get into hiccups. You have to make sure that you get the right products and services for customers that want them. You have to assume responsibility for the success or failure of what you are offering. If it isn’t selling, then you are the problem. “The customer is the most important part of the production,” said management scholar W. Edwards Deming.

If there are still issues with the product, you have to use these failures to mold it into the next best thing of what a customer might want. Don’t just seek out the advice on family or close friends over your product or service. Don’t shy away from the public’s and customers opinions.

This will help measure how customers respond, and then learn whether to pivot with your product or persevere.

4. Build – Measure – Learn

Good management practice is to measure your own progress, set milestones and prioritize different work throughout the company. To hold yourself accountable is another big challenge being an entrepreneur. But you can do so by following an outline of these three-learning milestones:

First, establish the baseline by building a product or service developed with basic features to satisfy early adopters – and measure how customers behave and respond. This is called a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

Next, tune the engine: experiment to see if we can improve the performance of the initial product by working towards an ideal goal, for example, to expand the customer base.

Lastly, to decide whether to pivot or persevere with your product. Here, a decision on a pivot can be made based on experiments where the product does not reach its desired goal.

With all these milestones, it should help you reach thresholds in your business as best as possible on less resources.

To register for IBA, you can send an email at or contact the DARe hotline at 8363442 expressing your interest and personal details. We’ll shoot you back a simple registration form to fill up. We’ll email to notify when the next upcoming classes is happening.