It's all About Testing and Re-testing: Things that Every Entrepreneur Must Know
You need to have a knack of ticking all the boxes for a successful venture- the product, the team, finances and more
Entrepreneurship is quite a buzzword, not just in India but anywhere you go today. The reality is that the entrepreneurial journey is less glamorous than it seems, and needs more blood and sweat than talked about. If you are passionate, have strong start-up instinct and have the heart to take risks, then it just becomes slightly easier. However, be prepared for a roller coaster ride, and success is not a guarantee.
While businesses take shape every day, it is always tough to make the right choice and sometimes, one has to be prepared for setbacks too. But you need to have a knack of ticking all the boxes for a successful venture- the product, the team, finances and more.
So what does it take to be a successful entrepreneur?
An Idea Can Only be the Tipping Point- In a time when pursuing a startup is hip and cool, it is very easy to get into the trap and starting a ‘me-too’ (no pun intended) business. Until the business has a differentiated value proposition, it will run the risk of getting lost in the crowd. Unicorns like Flipkart and Paytm made it big because of a strong idea whose time had come. However, a creative business idea alone is not enough. It can only trigger thoughts. The journey from drawing board to shop floor needs feasibility check, building team and execution capabilities, and most importantly, a backup cash chest to see you through the early days.
Execution and Implementation is the Key- For every successful startup, there are 1000 failures. The difference often lays in the expertise and operational capability to make the idea happen, every day. Of course, there would be bumps along the way. This is where a founder has to wear multiple hats (from CEO to CTO to COO to the technician) to keep the engine going. Hire the smartest people available in the market (even if costs in the short term) and invest in their career journey. In the long run, they might prove the best decision you ever made.
Test and Retest Until You Get it Right- The real nuances of a business idea are known when it moves from drawing board to the shop floor. This is the time an entrepreneur needs to be true to himself and test the hypothesis with which he started. There could be service issues, product failure, design reviews, policy changes, and much more. Hence, an agile approach, staying nimble on your feet, and continuously improving the prototype is critical. Think of Gmail which continues to be in Beta testing, after all these years of market dominance.
All Fingers in One Pie- As far as my personal experience as a serial entrepreneur goes, this has been an eye-opener. You don’t have to be everywhere at the same time. You need to build your forte first, in one industry or vertical rather than jumping from one to another. At times, it is difficult to apply learnings of one industry to another business. Today, space is a multi-million-dollar industry in the world.
At the End of the Day, Patience and Persistence are the Keys – While an entrepreneur may need to run around in different directions to keep the pieces together, focus from big picture should never slip. A new business venture isn’t established overnight, and patience becomes essential for success. If you have invested in a venture, you need to give it time to prosper and grow. This also means not playing with too many ideas and lacking right execution- and the next thing you know, you are busted!
An entrepreneur’s journey is full of learnings every day. Each story is different and my biggest take away is that your expertise and education in a space helps you identify gaps, which could be an opportunity. Insights could be stepping stones to something successful if carried out in the right manner.