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When I was in college, I got to know for the first time what entrepreneurship is? Like every other student, I studied that thoughtful definition
“Entrepreneurship is the activity of setting up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.”
Those words invoke a small idea in the mind of a youngster, who always dreamt of doing something out of the box. And as usual, I become very hopeful from it and started planning to bring some change. But all this was more from the business mindset, rather than the innovator’s mindset.
During my three years journey of entrepreneurship, I realized one thing whatever we have studied and whatever we perceived for the instances around about start-up is a myth when it comes to implementation. What we see is the picture from outside. We all know a picture is more than a thousand words.
For me “Entrepreneurship is about converting big NOs from everywhere to a big YES for yourself.” Why this you will get ahead.
In reality, launching a start-up is much more than just an Idea. It’s about a lot of things working simultaneously. It’s about
Your Idea: It should be creating some impact at the end and have to innovative enough to be considered start-up from the outside world. A typical IT company is not a start-up, a business with profits is not a start-up.
Good Team: It is easy to pronounce, but way more difficult to get one. In a start-up, team is everything. If you don’t have a good team to execute your idea, your billion dollars’ idea is gonna die soon. A founder alone isn’t sufficient. It's hard but true and committing an error in hiring individual should be avoided. So, having a start-up is a 24*7 challenge of getting right team to work right.
It’s About Paying Salaries: Having an idea only is not sufficient. If you want to take off, have money in your pockets either earned or funded because you have to pay at the end of the month. No matter how good is your team, they need money to survive, so you have to pay them. Founders, by the time, become so resistant to all the harshness that they can even survive without money, but you can’t let your team suffer.
Raising Funds: If your idea needs a support of funds at the seed stage then you need to pitch, attend events and conferences meet investors to raise funds. By this time you yourself become the start-up investment experts, coz you must have answered thousands of question.
Following Compliances: Despite a lot of efforts from our government to Start-up India initiative but the fact is you have to follow compliance without a miss. You have to pay service tax, sale tax, TDS, registration to n number of places, follow labor law, government mandatory salary structure, having CA (Whether you can afford or not). If you don't you are liable to penalties.
Social Acceptance: We all are very fond of reading lot of motivational stories of entrepreneurs. But a thing which is common among all the stories is the fight for the acceptance by our society. For readers story is motivational, but for the entrepreneurs that were their life before the story. Some struggled to be accepted by their families as entrepreneurs, some struggled to be trusted by investors, some struggled against gender biases and some struggled for their idea to be executed.
Perseverance: Start-up is the constant battle of ups and down. An entrepreneur's strong desire to go ahead is checked at every point. It's a real test how much ready you are to bear with the challenges. It's not a one to years game. It's about the year-on-year game of checkpoints. You have to keep yourself motivated and ready to rise again every time you fall.
It’s About Many NOs: That’s the most interesting part of getting a big ‘NO’ all the time when you need ‘YES’ the most. May be it's about a monetary help from your friend when you have to pay the salary, may be it's from the bank for a loan (bank can't give you loan before 3 years of your business entity), may be it's from your girlfriend/boyfriend from supporting, may be it's from your parents, may be it's from investors to invest. A reality check of your patience and passion is needed.
Self-Motivation: At the end, you are your own motivational leader. No story, no video can motivate you more than your own passion. Believe in yourself, your vision, your passion and solve pain point of your customer, nobody can stop you from going ahead. But that doesn't mean you can skip above points.
It’s About Making Money For Yourself: If you successfully cleared the above 9 steps, then you can think about making some money for yourself. If you are ready to give first priority to these factors more than you, then yes you can be an entrepreneur for sure.
The start-up is full of insecurity and challenges, where founders strong passion for bringing an impact is the only strong force to give it a shape. This is a message to all the entrepreneurs and wanna-be entrepreneurs, do consider all these facts before starting up and gear up. It's not about the beautiful picture, it's about the thousand words behind it. It's not only about the motivational story everyone reads, it's about the life lived and fought for creating a story.
Entrepreneurship is beautiful so are the challenges associated. Don’t give up, it’s the journey or perseverance.