India, in the last few years, has witnessed the development of an eco-system of young entrepreneurs, angels, and venture capitalists. More of the younger generation are aspiring to start their own ventures, hoping to make them successful and rake in their millions. One aspect which is becoming increasingly evident in the younger generation - there seems to be a hurry to succeed, and immense pressure to deliver on unreasonable goals to “get there quickly” and “if you don’t, someone else will”. But business rules don't change. Nor can you get an egg to hatch faster than it normally does. The rules that apply today are no different than those that applied to traditional success stories of the past.
Here’s some perspective that a young entrepreneur may want to ponder upon:
1. Patience is the key: An extremely small number of ventures are able to get into a high growth trajectory very quickly. Those are perhaps blue ocean ventures or have an early bird advantage. Some ventures have a gestation period and then they accelerate growth. Some ventures deliver a normal growth rate. Don’t let it frustrate you as long as you are running the ship profitably. If you are not growing fast enough, you need to fix the core issue. And also remember - not all businesses will grow at the same pace
2. Should money come first? Ensuring that your crew is highly motivated, passionate and self-driven, needs to come first. They will drive customer value and customer satisfaction, while you as a founder stay focused on the top and bottom-line. If your focus is constantly to exit, and you’ve set unreasonable expectation with your investors, you lose focus on your core business and you’ve set yourself on a downward slide
3. Give it time: According to S&P, the average lifespan of a company has shrunk from 67 years in the 1920’s to now 15 years. No matter what, it will take a minimum of 5 – 10 years for a business to reach a relative level of maturity and to become attractive to an investor or a buyer. Rome was not built overnight. Sustenance is key and with that staying profitable and generating cash is of paramount importance to stay in the race
4. Raising capital is just a means to an end: Raising capital from investors is not an achievement! It’s just the beginning of your most stressful journey. Raise money if you really need to. Money does come with a lot of caveats, timelines, and steep goals to achieve. Being prudent in spending, conserving and optimising resources and judiciously investing in growth are key to your success. There’s no magical formula. Take advice from those Advisors that you look up to, whenever you have to make any strategic decision
5. Resting on your past laurels: We’ve often heard this story. Whether you come from a premier institute or you might have successful past record, the point to remember is that you’ve put in a tremendous amount of hard work to get there, and be successful. Now, running your own venture, you need to work multiple times harder than you did before, to get your venture to success. The dynamics are completely different.
There’s no shortcut to success. Those who have succeeded have consistently worked hard for years and implemented their plans well. They have been patient and have given it time to come to fruition. They have gone through the trudges and celebrated the victories. They have bruised themselves badly and emerged stronger with experience. Remember, you have to go through the lifecycle of the entrepreneur, and in the end, the experience that you gain will prove to be far more valuable than the money that you might make.