“Business is serious business”. If you are considering entreprenureship as a non-passionate, part-time, let-me-try affair, I strongly recommend that you stay away. I might sound a bit discouraging, but this is a hard truth. Doing Business is not about making, procuring, selling and making loads of money. There are a hundred thousand details which comes attached to it. Your money lies in those details and you need to have a patient head to recognise those details and attend to them. The purpose of this post is to share my mistakes and learnings on those details with you:
MISTAKE #1. IF IT WORKS IN THE U.S.A, THEN IT WORKS HERE TOO…
This is probably my biggest mistake. I have been awed by the success of the Online Tax Preparation Companies in the Western World and blindly assumed that Online Taxes will go big time in India within the next three years. What I failed to do is to spend some common sense on what big value an online filing adds to an individual, when he can find a nearby tax consultant to do the same work faster for a much lesser fee. I would recommend that you stay away from books like ” How to become a millionare in 7 days using the Internet” if you intend to do business in India, for India. It simply doesnt work that way.
MISTAKE # 2. BECOMING BIG IS BEING BIG
I failed to realise that you can actually become big by having a small number of staffs! Everytime, I intended to scale, I started recruiting aggressively and before the planned revenues came in, I had build enough fixed costs to erase the entire revenue for a year.
MISTAKE #3: THAT BIG CORPORATE IS MY COMPETITOR
I repetedly got into the Cats mind, by observing what my competitors did and trying to replicate them in my business. ID cards and Attendance swipes for employees, Expensive gifts for Customers, Big Media Plans …etc. Actually, That Big Competitor is never your competitor. Being a small business has some inherent advantages over the larger corporates. Our Services is more personalised, We have a much lower price point and have faster response times. Many of my customers choose me because I’m more accessable that my larger competitor. I realised this late.
MISTAKE #4: IF YOU ARE A GREAT PROGRAMMER, THEN YOU ARE A GREAT ENTREPRENURE TOO
You might be the top programmer in office and you always wanted to be a entreprenure. Most Welcome! but being a great programmer does not necessarily mean that you will automatically be a sucessful entreprenure, unless you have the desire and patience to give enough mileage to the venture.
Let me share the wise words of my advisor, Indus with you:
LEARNING #1: Fail Faster, If a project is doomed shut it down quickly
If getting your first customer is difficult, I assure you that getting the second is equally the same, it doesnt get any better. Ive waited for the first breakthorugh to happen, dreaming that the sucess stream would flow after that, You will do well to move on and find a business which can your first revenues even before you get into it.
LEARNING #2: Dont tie your ego to any project, if it fails you will be unable to move forward
A failed business venture does not mean the failure of entreprenureship, Entreprenureship is rather a calling or an itch which naturally comes to you (just like sex). The more you are exposed to it, The intensity of the feeling gets even higher. Dont associate this feeling to a particular venture or business idea.
LEARNING #3: Fail a lot, but enjoy yourself along the way
As I said, enjoy the process of creation, the end doesnt really matter. The joy of creating companies, products, businesses, ideas, markets everything give you a kick by itself, so high that failures never doom on you. This is my 4th Venture now, Ive had three failures in a row. what Ive learnt to do is differentiate the failures of my Business Ideas from my Personal Failures. Ive wondered what keeps me really going..The Money? I hardly made any; The Popularity (being on top of the list of fools who failed)? Not really; The Passion? What’s that; …Ive wondered what.
“I THINK WHAT KEEPS ME GOING IS THE JOY OF CREATION”.
In this interview Rita McGrath, Professor, Columbia Business School speaks about what business failure means and how it can eventually help you suceed. She definately brims with knowledge…