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Persistence Could Save your Business from Risks Being the founder of a startup, one has to be aware of the mistakes they can afford to make and take calculated risks

By Sanchita Dash

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


Quitting a 9-5 job to take a plunge into the startup world, raising money from investors while others place bets on your idea, handling employees who count upon you for their daily wages... an entrepreneur's life is not one without risks. Being the founder of a startup, one has to be aware of the mistakes they could make and take calculated risks while keeping their fingers crossed, hoping it pays off.

We spoke to some of the entrepreneurs who have built successful startups and they shared the biggest risks they have taken as well as their secret mantra of tackling those situations.

Starting Up – The Biggest Risks

For any entrepreneur, the biggest risk they take is starting up. Leaving behind a comfortable lifestyle with a guaranteed, end-of-the-month salary and moving to a lifestyle where the timings are uncertain and savings may also take a beating, is not an easy job. That was also the case for Archit Gupta, founder and CEO, Cleartax. "Everything post that has been a wonderful validation of our hard work and faith," he said.

Jumping Into a New Pool

While starting up in a field that you have experience in can be an easier task, moving to a field that's completely new for you becomes a mammoth of a task. The risk you take is then not just to build a business but to first learn everything about the business. For Harshil Mathur, CEO & Co-Founder, Razorpay, that was the bigger risk. Both he and his co-founder were engineers, who stumbled into the banking domain.

"We had no knowledge of banking functionalities and we had to start everything from scratch. But we were clear from the beginning that we wanted to build something that solves a core problem that a lot of people around us are facing. We went ahead and took the plunge of shifting from building a crowdfunding portal to a payments platform and worked day and night in making our dream a reality," said Mathur. Their risk definitely paid off, for today Razorpay has over 50,000 merchants, which Mathur dubbed as the power of their passion and perseverance.

Persistence is Key

For every entrepreneur the mantra of their success is different. When it comes to handling risks, they all have different philosophies that have helped them get through difficult times. Nithin Kamath, Founder of Zerodha, said he has taken too many risks and "blown out a few times in life — trading the markets and starting up." But he lives by this Larry Hite quote, "I have two basic rules about winning in trading as well as in life: 1. If you don't bet, you can't win. 2. If you lose all your chips, you can't bet."

Taking any risk requires guts, but to follow through and survive it, requires persistence. For Mathur at Razorpay, persistence has always been the key to success. "It's relatively easy to persist when things are going well and we see progress, but finding ways to keep going despite major setbacks and a lack of evidence that you are moving closer toward your goals is what eventually drives successful businesses," said Mathur.

While that keeps you going, it's also important to convey the message to your team and ensure that they too are aware of how to handle the risks that come their way. When Gupta started Cleartax, he had a big task ahead of him – to try and simplify taxes for the common man and make compliance simple. He shared with us his mantra that he has also shared with his team, for that's what keeps them going, "Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible."

Sanchita Dash

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Senior Correspondent, Entrepreneur India

In the business of news for 5 years now. Making my way across India thanks to my career. A media graduate from Symbiosis, Pune, I have earlier worked with Deccan Chronicle (South India's leading English daily), T-Hub (India's largest incubator) and Anthill Ventures (a speed-scaling platform). 

Stories, movies and PJs are my thing. 

If you hear 'The Office' opening score randomly, don't worry it's just my phone ringing. 


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