It has become fashionable to be an entrepreneur. Anybody who can do a bit of coding or can come up with an idea (needn’t be original) fancies himself as an entrepreneur.

I advice a lot of entrepreneurs and I can assure you that three out of four aren’t going anywhere. They are just good people who fell for the fashion statement and will end up going through an entrepreneur’s struggle for 12-18 months before they decide to get a another job.

Mind you, I am not against entrepreneurship. I am all for it. I just want the entrepreneurs to be smarter about it. If you are an entrepreneur or want to become one ensure your startup has as much chance of succeeding as possible.

Here is how you increase the chances of your startup’s success:

Do only one thing

Identify that one thing that is required and offer JUST that. By nature humans are risk-averse so we end up stocking up our product plan with every possible feature. Within all these features we also tend to handle all possible use cases. Remember, more than 80% of the users are going to use less than 20% of your features. Don’t believe me? What percentage of the features of Whatsapp or Facebook do you use?

Don’t get too attached

Entrepreneurs tend to see the rosy side of the picture – they tend to be overtly optimistic about sales, about funds coming in, about users registering etc. This tendency to see only the rosy side is due to the fact that you are too attached to the idea. In short, entrepreneurs only see what they want to see and when they want to see. One way of introducing a reality check in place is by empowering your team to speak its mind out. This will lead to healthy debates, difficult-to-digest truths etc coming out thus making sure you see the negatives of your idea.

If you are NOT part of the idea, it is much easier to evaluate it.

Try NOT to introduce too many variables

Variables are things that can change and affect your business. Keep these items to a bare minimum.

If you are a first time entrepreneur and don’t have much money skip the online-offline business model and instead choose only-online model. Online-offline models have far too many variables and all the offline variables are NOT in your control. For example, Whatsapp, Facebook, Quora are completely online models while Uber will be an example for an online-offline model. Ensuring success of a service like Uber will be difficult to pull off due to its offline dependencies such as Cab Agents, drivers, quality of cars, quality of service etc.

Be Flexible – spot & change

If you are an entrepreneur, you can’t plan enough. Even if you had opted for the Only-Online business model for your startup, the variables will keep changing. Be attentive enough to spot these variable changes – and change your plan accordingly.

It is not just the variables that change, your users themselves may be telling you something by the way they use your product – be alert enough to pick up the insight and change your plan. Else, you will be left with an offering you think is cool but nobody wants to use.

Take advise from industry people

Always be in touch with folks from the industry. Having spent a decade or two building Internet products they will know in an instant where you are going. If you are lucky, they may have even worked on something similar and can alert you in advance of the pit falls.

As they see you progress, they may start believing in the idea and become one of your first investors. The best early stage investors are the CXOs of Internet companies who have the money, the knowhow and the contacts to help you.