Entrepreneurship has become the buzzword ever since Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Zuckerbergs of the world have made it to our lives. Such glorious success stories came as a relief and also an inspiration for the grade-chasers’ generations who woke up to the fact that success can be achieved even without the top grades and Ivy League colleges.
The impact was evident all across India where top B-school graduates opted for their own startup instead of some cushy jobs in banks and MNCs. But is entrepreneurship all that easy? Is it a cup of tea for anyone and everyone? Certainly not! So let’s get into the ground realities of becoming an entrepreneur.
Unfortunately, even a decade back, starting a business was not considered to be a very creditable way of going about one’s career in India. Mostly for the middle class, a secured 9-5 job was more of a safer option that the parents pushed their kids into while starting a business of the last of all options. However, thanks to the changing mindset, more and more educated youth are now seen taking up entrepreneurship with a lot of confidence and motivation.
Some Encouraging Facts and Figures
- There were 50,000 startups in India in 018 registering a year-on-year growth of 12-15%.
- 8,900-9,300 tech startups 1300 new tech startups in 2019
- Women entrepreneurship registered a growth of 14% as compared to 10% and 11% in the past two years.
- The new entrepreneurship ventures created fresh employment for 40,000 people.
- Total jobs created by startups – 1.6-1.7 lakh
The Moolah for Running the Show
- Indian startups are being supported by various domestic as well as international funds.
- Facebook has partnered with Startup India to provide $50,000 cash grants to the top 5 startup enterprises.
- Goldman Sachs is promoting women entrepreneurship at a global level. They are equipping them with management and business know-how, skillset, and access to the seed capital as well.
- Microsoft Venture Accelerator Program has funded 16 startups in India
- The Indian government is also encouraging Indian startups with several financial aids.
- Small Industries Development Bank of India is providing assistance to Small and Medium Enterprises for capital investment.
On the Hind Side
Entrepreneurship meaning is different for different people. And this is precisely where the scope of success also varies from one another. In the past half of the decade, India has experienced a spurt of startups. However, only a handful of them have been able to sustain them.
This new crop of entrepreneurs had disruptive ideas and great marketing strategies. Yet some of them failed to sustain. As good as 90% of the startups shut shop within 5 years of their operation – says IBM Institute for Business Value and Oxford Economics.
Several promising entrepreneurial ventures with disruptive business ideas had to bring their curtains down too soon. The likes of Bangalore-based Wooplr, Doodhwala and LoanMeet, Mumbai-based RUSSSH, and Koinex are some startup enterprises that closed doors in 2019. These were all very promising entrepreneurial ventures that had garnered many accolades as well as funding. Yet they could not sustain.
Many co-founders are seen making exits from the startups at the early stages. This impacts the funding impetus of investors. The alarming rate in which Indian startups have experienced the dropping out of the Co-founders as if they were switching jobs – concludes that the entrepreneurial mindset is still a far cry for such opportunity seeking individuals.
Should You Start A Venture of Your Own?
What is entrepreneurship to you? Why at all do you want to own a business? Is your entrepreneurial venture crucial for your survival? Are you ready to give it your all? The answer to these questions will help to reveal whether you should own a business or not.
What is your entrepreneurship motivation? People get into an entrepreneurship venture with diverse motives. Some do it as a side hassle just to get their money rolling. For example, if you have a property in a prime location or portion of the property that is not in use, you could rent it out or take a franchisee of a café to create an extra income.
Some people make investments in a business to achieve financial goals. They drop out of it once they achieve their goals. For example, you invest in an asset-light business model, let’s say a tour conductor. You continue it for a few years, have fun going around the world and then sell it off. If you get your company registered and complete all the legal procedures, you are likely to get a good price for your company.
Thus, there are several entrepreneurship types with varied goals and motivations. And then some people want to establish a cult. They are the ones with the fire in their bellies who venture into a business with bigger goals. They are the ones who aim to sustain, survive, and grow.
The definition of entrepreneurship is completely different for them. It is beyond the monetary goals or day-to-day survival concerns for them. They are ready to go to any extent to make their entrepreneurial ventures thrive. Such people are the ones who deserve to own a business.
In a world that is getting more competitive with every passing moment, it is crucial to find your edge above others. You need to identify your niche, do thorough market research to understand the entire demand-supply trajectory, and identify the gap that you can fill in with your product or service.
Maintaining the Cash Flow
One thing that is crucial at every point for a business is the cash flow. Several brilliant business ideas fail just because the team fails to maintain steady cash flow. Business loans, funds, or grants can help to kick start your venture. But sustaining it and making it grow will depend on how you can create, retain, and grow your consumer base. And this is where patience and perseverance come into play.
Continuous monitoring of customers’ behaviour, product innovation, and improvisation as per the market demands are a few practices that new companies have to keep doing ceaselessly and untiringly. At the same time, one needs to focus on reducing overhead expenditure.
Entrepreneurship gives you a lot of freedom. But it comes with a lot of responsibilities as well. But for individuals who take it as their calling, entrepreneurship gives them the drive to propel success.
Q. How much capital should I put into my business at the very beginning?
A. Every business has a gestational period – a time when it is minimal or potentially no income at all. You would need enough money to sustain yourself and your company through this phase. Do a market survey on the niche you are venturing into and evaluate the gestational period. Besides, it also depends on how much seed capital you can afford to arrange.
Q. When can I get Venture Capital Funding for my business?
A. Certainly not in the very initial stage. Every entrepreneurial project needs to show some spark to attract the attention of venture capitalists. Hence, it is advisable to focus on team building and product innovation in a way that you can prove your worth in the market.
Q. How to find my niche?
A. Ideally, it is the culmination of what you are passionate about and how you can fill a certain demand gap with that.
Q. How to make sure nobody steals my idea?
A. ‘Think fast, think bigger, think ahead. Ideas are no one’s monopoly.’ - Dhirubhai Ambani. And if that is difficult, think of innovative ways to deploy the same idea differently. You never know, a different approach might give you the edge over others.