From hundreds of ideas that come up every year, not each of them will become a unicorn or even achieve a decent size and scale. The journey from idea to IPO has lots of hits and misses, tweaks and pivots, but what matters eventually is the entrepreneur and his team. Overall, there are still broader areas that need more emphasis.
Tap the Untapped
To be ahead of the curve, it is important to enter opportunities which are untapped so that there is no competitive intensity. Entrepreneurs should see opportunities earlier than other people so that they have an unfair advantage over others. This is what we do at GrowthStory to increase the success rate of our startups.
We don’t follow the herd mentality instead we go for contrarian bets so that entry barriers are created for others. By this, other companies have very less time for learning by trial and error, or by the time they do that, we go significantly ahead in the market. This can help entrepreneurs to perform without pressure and people don’t compare them with other players.
For example, four years back when we started BigBasket, we approached eight VCs but no one invested. Today many are into grocery business and if an entrepreneur starts a grocery business, the chances of getting funds are less because there are too many funded players.
Getting into the market early and becoming the de facto flag bearer for the category entrepreneurs serve also means that they can get disproportionate valuation for their businesses. For example, the reason why Flipkart is valued so highly is that it is the bellwether in the Indian e-retail market which is worth billions of dollars.
In technology-led businesses, entrepreneurs have to always be on their toes until they monetize and sell their businesses. The fear, not of competition but of being made irrelevant or inconsequential in overall scheme of things is almost every day because the environment is extremely dynamic; Nokia is a great example of that.
The fear may be lesser when you reach a stable maturity while growing rapidly in a not so stable industry. In the Internet, the cost of disruption is very high.
People genuinely underestimate the role of luck in success. In my opinion, people confuse success and luck. There are lots of things that need to fall in place which are out of your control to be successful like timing, market forces, etc. So, entrepreneurs should always have the humility to understand that while they toil their way to build their businesses, 80 percent of things involved in that are out of their control and luck.
To be able to win, making sure of starting a business not too early or too late, getting the right model at the right time, etc. are extremely important. For example, we started TutorVista when the broadband was just starting, if we had started earlier it wouldn’t have worked and if we had started later, the web model wouldn’t have worked, and it would have been an app model.
So to have the right opportunity at right time, you have to be lucky that obviously comes with hard work.
Today, a lot more people are taking a lot more risks in entrepreneurship without worrying about failures as the entrepreneurial ecosystem is getting more robust with the availability of risk capital from VCs and angel investors. As more people are taking up entrepreneurship, more of them are failing as well.
Earlier, it was extremely hard to become an entrepreneur so few people were starting businesses with hesitation as fear and stigma of failure was high at that time. Hence, failure was also less. Today, people have ambitious plans and so they have no hesitation in taking risks