Armed with his war stories and a few tricks of the trade, entrepreneur Sanjay Parekh made the trek from Atlanta on Wednesday to meet the GigTank teams.
Parekh is the founder of Startup Riot, a day-long conference and career fair held in multiple cities. He also is a co-founding partner of Shotput Ventures, a seed stage investment firm. Previously, he was the founding CEO of Digital Envoy, which launched in 1999, and invented the company’s patented technology.
Still fully immersed in the world of entrepreneurship, Parekh touched on some key observations that he’s made in the past 13 years.
“It’s all a matter of getting the right people to show up.” Whether you’re recruiting a business team, building a customer base or creating a public event, focus on people who are excited about your story and willing to share it with others. If they’re vocal about what you do and how you do it, your company will benefit and grow.
“You’ll always have to convince someone to become a customer.” You want customers to shout your name from the rooftops (see above), but that’s not to say you won’t have to sell yourself to them initially. If you’re looking for your first few customers, you “just have to get out there” and prove yourself. Parekh said he sent no less than 10 cold emails a day to potential customers when Digital Envoy first launched.
“Raising money is a dance, and it’s a long dance.” It’s not about how much money you get – it’s about whom you get it from. Choose investors wisely and understand that you’re entering into a potentially years-long relationship with them. Be sure you’re comfortable working with and making decisions alongside them. If your investors care solely about monthly revenues –Parekh said that’s “like watching grass grow” – you could be in for a bumpy ride.
“If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it.” Tom Hanks’ famous coaching advice doesn’t apply only to baseball. Entrepreneurship isn’t easy. The lows are very low, and at some point, you’ll lose faith. But entrepreneurs are “adrenaline junkies,” Parkeh said. No matter how tough things get, keep working toward the next high.