Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Nurturing the Entrepreneur in you

Being an Entrepreneur isn't a small thing. For one thing all the people applying for the various MBA entrance tests want to become entrepreneurs and start a firm of their own. It's a good thing for a country like India where we have a huge population in the working age group. So if many individuals start their ventures it'll be a great burden off the shoulders of the already overburdened government. But then jumping onto the entrepreneurship bandwagon without knowing its consequences is a foolish decision. So one should know all the risks and benefits of being a entrepreneur. Unlike many states, Kerala in spite of its high literacy rates still is a place where we don't see many individuals becoming employers. Always one is interested in doing job for someone or getting into a government agency. Its sad that even professionally educated people like engineers and doctors would go and follow this path. Maybe it's the way we are brought up, maybe its the low risk low pay remuneration route that's being traditional followed by our forefathers that's being followed by us.

Nobody tells us the bad things about being in a govt job, the endless routines, the stupid system of time bound promotions, the hierarchy system where one always is a junior even if he's intellectually superior to his seniors, a system where he's always supposed to follow while his brain loses all its creativity and he too gets into the system and becomes unproductive.

All parents want their kids to take up some good paying job with a cushy chair in the home town. Nobody wants their kids to venture the dark street all alone and get to the heights from which you can't see the bottom. I don't completely blame the parents, our educational system, our society as a whole has made it so. I came to realise this because most of the Keralites i know don't actually think in Money terms, we think in value terms. But if you've ever met a Gujju or a Marathi, they'll teach you to think in terms of the money. I happen to know this coz the head of the plant where i work is a Gujju and he always tells me the cost to the company due to some fault in my department. At the same time a Mallu would've fired me for the bad policies and the faulty maintenance practises, but never in terms of the money.

There are many reasons why one takes up the Entrepreneurship route, some are dejected with their present jobs(hell am one of them), some are having that one idea in their minds that'll revolutionise the way the world works(or so they think), some are doing it for proving that they're not part of the herd, some do it just for the heck of it; not knowing why they actually did it.

So i'll say first identify why you want to do it, why you want to start a company and have something run in your name. This is important because we can't have more Raju's running around with 50000 employees in the fray. So think of all this and then choose the route. The route will be MBA/Non-MBA, Technical/Generic, Small/Big etc etc. Then the next thing will be to look out for funds, if it's a small startup there are many banks out there to provide the moolah. But if you're going to go full steam then the fire will have to come from some venture capitalists, which unfortunately isn't that easy to come by. That's where contacts come to play a crucial role. If you're sure that you'll be an employer, then make contacts with anyone and everyone you come across. That'll help you in some way or the other when you're gonna need the funds. It helps in having more people say "Hey i know this guy, he's good"; rather than having people say "Who the F*** are you?".

So now you've the route, the money; what next. Well what next, find the right time to launch yourself. The time is the crucial factor, coz if someone launches the same thing before you did or even on the same time as you did, then you lose a BIG thing in the marketing world. Something starting with I called as IDEA. People will not trust you and will think you're a thief and then that's the last we'll hear of the Start up @ Technopark.

So time's right, money's there, idea's there. Now what we need is constant work to keep the thing running and the NEVER SAY DIE attitude, because some statistics say that 95% of all startup's die in the initial 2 years of their start-up :). So we need to cross that HUGE hurdle and then make ourselves good.

So now you've got my two cents, what're you waiting for? Join the Herd of Entrepreneurs or the Herd of Employees, or choose something totally different and own the world and enjoy your small time on god's sweet earth.

PS: This post had been under draft for a long long long long time and it was the pathetic state of the blog with no posts for a long long long long long long long long long time that made me publish it. More to come up soon how i was abducted by aliens(yeah that's my alibi) and where i get to write this post from :)


Viajero said... are back :) Your post was published 9 hours ago and I read it wrongly as 9 months ago...I had to check the link to make it sure :)

Venture capitalists, angel investors....good networking helps, and if one is in good b-school it comes with it....

Would venture capitalists care to venture and invest in a political party? As my first start-up :-)

Think, aliens are conspiring to takeover the blog world ;)

Hari Vishnu said...

hmm.. nice post.. absolutely true about entrepreneurship in kerala being very less.. we were brought up that way, as u mentioned.. then again, not to speak of the fact that anyway a fairly large startup cannot survive in the land of labour unions for long, which will scare away not only mallu entrepreneurs but even investors from outside kerala..

thanks for ur '2 cents' :).. but i dont think that much capital wil be enough to start a venture :).. nevertheless, it was truly inspiring, and who knows, might push me into techno-entrepreneurship one day !

aliens story again eh.. looks like thats the in-fashion non-blogging-excuse :).. ill keep that one for later :)

~==[[[ Abhi ]]]==~ said...

@ Viajero-Abt the political party, well why don't you present your idea to :). Maybe they'd be the angel investors and sponsor you :D.

@ Hari-Feels good to know that i can still inspire people :). God knows who'll inspire me to quit this job :D.

@ Both-Well the aliens are quite good at picking the best of brains from the blogosphere to study for their forthcoming attack :)

Corpus Gray said...

We like to live risk-free.
Very few like to jump and leap ahead. Walking seems the normal thing to do, and people like to walk.
What you said is cent percent true. :-)

And, alien-abduction?? :-O

amalbose said...

this is my first visit to your BLOGS and it was really informative..
and i have to agree with you regarding the case in kerala, the first thing that came to my mind after reading the post is the malayalam film in which Mohanlal plays the role of a gulf returne who struggles to start a small business in his home land..

manoranjini said...

after such a loooong time dude,good to see you back in action!So ,are you going the entrepreneur way?being bored n all with that handsomely paying current job?Know where you can get a good programmer,if you needed one?Just hop across to my place .. ;-)

Hari said...

I ought to have done this before, and I badly wanted to be the first one commenting in this post, but dude Viajero... you broke my heart! :(

Fantastic comeback bro!! It's been a LONG LOOOOOOOONG time since I read some sensible stuff. I'm goanna rate this as THE BEST post in this blog till date, period. :-)

Now, to serious commenting...

Being a guy who's actually worked in an enterprenurial start up and has been talking about them since God-knows-when, that was food for thought, indeed. I've a few points to make here.

1. "I came to realise this because most of the Keralites i know don't actually think in Money terms, we think in value terms."
Hmm... true! But I feel that's one among the MANY reasons. In fact, I feel the lack of enterprenurial spirit among Keralites is JUST because of that easy-going attitude ingrained within us. That makes us deaf the lack of self-appraisal in the mundane govt. job and we accept it JUST for the pay packet!

2. " If you're sure that you'll be an employer, then make contacts with anyone and everyone you come across."
The best way to realize this is when you organize an intercollegiate fest. It's SO hard to get some sponsorship! You of all, will know that. However, if you have some contact with someone working in the company you're goanna bait in, there's a fat chance that you'll walk away with some green.

3. "ow what we need is constant work to keep the thing running and the NEVER SAY DIE attitude, because some statistics say that 95% of all startup's die in the initial 2 years of their start-up :)"
This IS the biggest problem EVER! Many lack the 'never say die' attitude. All problems have solution! People refuse to see them and call off their ventures for good. If they'd fought against the odds for some more time, they might've succeeded.

And yeah, this is THE longest comment I've EVER written. Hope it doesn't look like spam. :D

~==[[[ Abhi ]]]==~ said...

@ Akhil - Thanks for the poem. I hope it was a poem. I liked it a lot.

@ Amal - You're most welcome to visit again. I hope to keep you entertained. I also love that Biscuit factory startup movie. There was another one where Lal shows the struggles of a bus owner. I forgot the names of both the movies. But they really show the attitude of the Keralites towards startup's.

@ Lekshmi - I know wher to look for the dashing young, slim programmer if i need one :). I'm not bored of my job, but i'm bored of the place i live in and that's why i need a change :)

@ Hari - Thanks for such a long and useful commment. Many of the so called lessons in my post are actually inspired by your lessons from your 1st venture. Hope TS Inc. will be a grand success. Good luck bro. Never say Die

Yzah said...

To become an entrepreneur means you have to take the risk without knowing if you will make it or not. But once you do, you'll find it so rewarding. It provides you with a long term security that you may never get from being employed.

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business consulting philippines said...

I chose to become an entrepreneur not because of the money, but the freedom to do what I like. Now that my business had succeeded because I had fun doing it, I am also reaping quite a good amount of money from it.

Aditi said...

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