As a first generation entrepreneur, what I have seen, witnessed and practised finally is, to break all rules as the first rule for success! In a series of events in my first couple of years of entrepreneurial journey after a successful two decade corporate career, all myths are blown and I could only see naked truth when the realism opened up. I am starting all over again, for good! Well, I am one another example set out to prove Gallup Organization’s publication, “First, break all the rules”!
Like many new entrepreneurial kids on the block, I have kept lot of hopes (rather blind faith) on my so-called past friends & past colleagues that my journey would be successful with my relationships…. A BIG MYTH. There is no correlation what so ever, for your past associates and colleagues to back you in a big way, though a small percentage of people would appreciate your journey and pat on your shoulder from time to time and lend a hand to support you… an outlier exception from statistical view point! Big reality is, you make more enemies by stepping out of your regular job to start some thing on your own. Say what ever…but that’s the truth I found the hard way :-). I see converting my exposure to business, by hitting un-known turf land is much easier than the land where I have burnt my mid-night oil!
An old saying is, you are successful when you venture with like minded functional expert partners. ANOTHER BIG MYTH. Majority of start up companies fail, due to partnership issues (some percentages are related to as high as 60% on this!!!). To be successful, you expect yourself to go SOLO in business. Your chances of success are higher! Don’t bog down with a fear that ‘the so-called functional expert’ might take away the knowledge from the business, when you let him/her go. If you know basics on the function, know how to run your business, how to get clients, spend monies and how to retain your accounts & key employees… you are better off to a right start…voila!
Never trust the rational approach, just because ‘X’ had succeeded by following the same path! You never know what are all, ‘X’ had done to achieve that success, which you may or may not able to replicate. The best approach I have seen is, go irrational and be original! This world still has more number of people appreciate & accept your ‘JUGAAD’ (an Indian way of creating inventions at grass roots) ways of doing things in an irrational way. History had proven many times that you are more successful by following a path which is less traveled and original. What I have seen is the ‘low hanging fruit’ in this path, fully camouflaged with fear of BIGGER FEARS!
There is only one career plan! Remember, if you want to taste the entrepreneur fruit, give yourself, beyond what you can…which means 100% and more! Do not ever plan a safe route of working part time and trying the venture as a partner to create a safe bet. Majority of the occasions, this plan is doomed to fail. Remember, you can never replace yourself…no matter what and it is very critical for you to give your attention without any side tracks.
Trust your guts…not your degrees…not your experience! It is very critical being an entrepreneur to trust your guts and move forward as there is no path laid out. Fear not…there are no angels to give you a direction of courage or advisory. Just trust the same instinct while you struggled to get your first job (if you are not one of the lucky ones getting job in the campus interviews). Take a brave front, when it comes to taking tough decisions…be it clearing the toxic members, as they instil the fear and doubt of failure in your mind or tough stands in running your own operations.
There is no angel investor in India, as conceptualized in Silicon valley! The concept of Angels in India is, to have an idea, ready product, an executed client, a road map for the business, secured IPR, right partnership team and the list goes on… wondering, where the VCs or PEs fit-in, if an angel takes away all this credit (and credibility)! Out of every 100 people knocking on the doors of angels community, a handful of people are lucky enough to get their funding. That doesn’t mean the rest are not successful! Infact, the most successful businesses have struggled and ignored the angel funding in the initial days. It is a fruit which comes at a height…the best way to survive is, put that time in making the quality product and winning your clients than running after the angel funding. You might rather do justice to your business and await the moment when VCs / PEs call on you. Till such time embrace your funds for survival, and create the necessary pull factor for VCs/PEs to take your venture jump start to the next level!
Trusting your own basic instincts to drive through the entrepreneurial jungle, will always help you get the best!