5 Success Tips for Student Entrepreneurs That are Just Starting Up
Oscar Wilde once said, “Experience is the name we gave our mistakes”. And when it comes to startups and student entrepreneurs, that is quite a true statement. For newly-found startups and newbie student entrepreneurs, the road to learning is a rocky ride coupled with meandering curves.
However, it is an exciting one. Hackquarters, a Turkey-based startup launchpad, knows that the best way for new businesses and new entrepreneurs to set foot on the path to success is to learn from experts.
In this interview, Kaan Akin, Founder and CEO at Hackquarters, shares his top 5 tips for student entrepreneurs who are hustling to set up their startup and the benefits and perks on offer for startups that wish to become a member with Hackquarters.
What inspired you to start Hackquarters? Tell us the story.
Before founding Hackquarters, we worked with several different startups and witnessed their struggle. We learned that if we helped them structurally, they could reach their full potential and which is why we wanted to be a focal point in the startup ecosystem.
This is how we kicked off Hackquarters. Looking back to 2015, we have come a long way after empowering over 120 startups and partnering with over 40 corporates.
Naming your startup is one of the most important decisions you'll have to make along your entrepreneurial journey. Your startup name is something you will carry for a very long time. Most startup founders plan their brand name depending on the availability of an exact match on conventional domain extensions such as .com or .net.
How does Hackquarters help student entrepreneurs?
Fantasizing about an idea and falling in love with it is very common amongst new startups. But the key is to execute that idea well. At Hackquarters, we help student entrepreneurs visualize their idea and make it applicable to the real world.
We help startups create a viable business plan and help them pivot to a more applicable solution if needed. Our team and a friendly pool of experts provide startups with mentorship. We also provide our startups with access to our vast network of corporate professionals, VCs, and more.
What makes Hackquarters unique and different?
We provide office space, mentorship, funding, and of course, our friendship. The Turkish startup community knows well that if you become a family member of Hackquarters as a startup, you are destined for greatness.
Hackquarters model is very different from that of most Silicon Valley programs. Since our startup entrepreneurs vary in their skills and maturity, we try to teach them how to be good entrepreneurs and unfortunately this takes more time and energy.
What are your top 5 tips for student entrepreneurs who are hustling to set up their startup
- Hustle. It is not the technology or the development that determines your success as an entrepreneur. At the end of the day, you could be delivering the best technological solution in the market but, you should have a hustler’s mindset.
- Learn quick. You will fail many times, maybe more than you can count, but it is all part of the game. The only thing you need to remember is to learn from your failures. If you can do that quickly, you are going to be a good entrepreneur.
- Local fences. If you want to change the world, you should focus on world problems, not a city or a country. Dealing in a small market can be a good stepping stone, but you need to think about the larger picture. Most entrepreneurs trap themselves in a small market.
- Team game. Most businesses need different skill sets. Even the most talented founders need a great team. If you need a great team, you should be scouting for the team players even before you have a legal entity. Find and flirt with them because a great team always wins.
- Traction, traction, traction. You’ll always be looking for clients, investors, partners, and recruitments. These four could seem different, but for all of them, you need to sell your company. For anyone to buy what you are selling, they need some sense of proof. And traction is the proof of future success. If you are in the early stages, don’t spend time on investors or anything else, spend your time on customer development. When you have it in place, everything else will follow.
As the owner of a cutting-edge startup, you often spend endless hours crafting the perfect marketing campaign that will propel your startup to blossom into a promising brand. This primarily involves planning heavy social media marketing strategies, smart SEO tactics, and out of the box advertisements.
Could you share 3 key pieces of advice with startups that are looking to participate in startup events?
- Network. You never know who you will come across at a startup event. If you are lucky enough to get a place of your own, even if it is a single tablespace, you need to greet visitors, exchange cards and try to pitch your startup for possible partnerships.
- Panels and Training. Most startup events have great panels or training given by experts in different verticals. New entrepreneurs can gain a lot from other entrepreneurs’ experience and mistakes.
- Insights. Talk to your prospective clients, talk to your competitors, and try to learn from what the insights they offer. Spend most of your time to get relevant insights from people who matter to your business.
What are your future plans for Hackquarters?
Hackquarters is growing at over 100% every year. In the future, we’d love to create a smart platform to take care of our learnings on some of the startups. To be honest, %50 of the things we do for a startup is applicable to other startups as well.
If we can automate this part, it will give us more resources for our next steps. We are planning to expand our presence in Berlin, London, Dubai and a few cities in the US.