Have you wondered, why do 90% of startups or businesses fail in the first three years?
Entrepreneurship is not taught anywhere. Students pay huge money for MBA programs in the top colleges but they have no idea what real life is all about. They are taught successful case studies of Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, IBM etc. but in real life starting a business with no resources is a different ball game. I demand change!
Today’s world is full of scaling opportunities, people are now open-minded, technology has evolved, the world is moving at a very fast pace. Today we see young entrepreneurs becoming billionaires in less than 5 years. During our times it used to take whole one generation to become successful and rich, forget about becoming a billionaire. Though certain basic fundamentals of doing business remain the same. And the failed businesses lack these basics. Those basics are the same as they used to be. I’ll share a few in this article.
I would like to share a bit about myself. My entrepreneurial journey started at the age of 21 with a job of 300 rupees. I had no capital, no education, no mentor and no one in my family ever did business, moreover, I had a huge complex of English language. I used to shrink in front of convent educated boys and girls. By 37, my company had the biggest oversubscribe IPO of all times. It was oversubscribed more than 300 times. If I could do it back in the 80s when there was no internet, no VC funding and no ecosystem in India for the startup (The word startup didn’t exist). If I could do it then YOU CAN DO IT TOO. Today the majority of youth is start-up driven and want to be entrepreneurs. 40 years ago, when I started the only options available after doing graduation were M.B.B.S, B.Tech, CA, Civil Services, IPS, and NDA. All others used to stand in a queue and register at Employment Exchange. Yes, we had employment exchange those days.
Recently I was traveling via Jet Air to Mumbai, the passenger next to me was a little uncomfortable as it was his first air travel and didn’t know how to tie the belt etc. I helped him with all the nitty gritty like telling the food choices to the air hostess etc. We started the conversation and I asked him what he does. He said he owns two Mango Shake Carts (making and selling) in West Delhi. One he manages himself and the other is managed by his employee who hails from the same village as his. After the success of the first cart he welcomed and trained an employee on board to manage the second cart and he was planning for five such carts in coming one year, he added. I curiously asked him, Mango is very seasonal and available only in summers to which he replied that we make and sell Chicken Soup in winters. I reluctantly asked him what is his profit from each cart to which he replied, after all, the expenses he makes, around RS 50,000 from each cart a month. I was flabbergasted, today a middle-class young student makes his parents spend lacs of money on courses like MBA for which he gets a job of RS 25,000-50,000 per month max.
The start-up vibe is all over the world, including our continent. I see young MBA pass outs running food trucks and stalls all over India without feeling complex. I recently met another startup who has set up Chai Carts all over the city named “Chai-Thela”. Another Chai Chain outlet startup making Starbucks run out of money in India is ”Chaayos”. EXCITING! Entrepreneurs are new age warriors for the country. I believe entrepreneurs can save the country from the most prevailing problems like poverty, hunger, and shelter. Startups will create new jobs. Save the country from corruption: creating more tech-based solutions which bring transparency. Save the country from illiteracy: creating a solution by which poor can have access to high-quality academic resources. Most importantly some of the entrepreneurs are creating a solution for the goods and services that are being outsourced from ages.
If you work for someone else you make THEM rich by your hard work. Entrepreneurship is not easy. If someone doesn’t want to go through the pain and adversities of entrepreneurial journey, the job is great for him or her. It provides security and takes care of your family. These days some jobs are very high paying. Some jobs with multinationals and big corporations are paying in crores. If you are doing a job aim for that top slot, just don’t do mediocre jobs. When you are doing a job you are selling your time and we all have just 24 hours a day. No matter how high paying the job is but it has limitation.
FOR BUDDING ENTREPRENEURS
Before we go any further some qualities and habits are very essential for any entrepreneur to be successful in his life. In fact, these are the main pillars or foundation on which the whole entrepreneurial journey stands. There are 10 of them which I will share with you. These qualities every entrepreneur must learn and develop. In fact, it’s the inner wireframe which must be strong before embarking on this journey. These are the foundations of any entrepreneur. These are the principles and habits if not developed can hurt an entrepreneur later in life. I have seen many super successful entrepreneurs failing later in life because of not following any one of the above principles. Let’s get in touch with each of them-
“Enthusiasm is the greatest asset you can possess, for it can take you further than money, power or influence”. Dada Vaswani
In my daily journal, the first line I write every day is “Start this day with great enthusiasm and energy”. In life whatever you do, do it with great enthusiasm. During your job hours show your enthusiasm towards every work assigned to you. Come back home with enthusiasm. Go out with your wife as if it’s your first date. Serve your customers with enthusiasm. Meet your team with enthusiasm. It’s infectious. You will see people around you are charged up. Your family, customers are charged up. If you are having a bad day, there can be situations not in your control but how you react to it is 100% in your control. Here is a Ted Talk by Amy Cuddy, a must watch
Your body language may shape who you are
In this talk, she has explained how your body language can shape your future. Have a body language of winners. There is saying “Fake it till you make it”. She is one step further and says ‘Fake it till you become it”.
I once checked in to Sheraton, New York where I noticed a bell boy who greeted me with a broad smile and was talking to me while guiding me to my room with luggage. All this while he kept asking me questions about my journey and India. He told me how happy he is working in this hotel and how great is the management. He left a very good impression on me and whenever he used to see me in the lobby, going out or coming in, he always greeted me with my last name “Hello Mr. Mansharamani! How was your day? Have a fantastic day ahead. Out of many bell boys there I noticed only him and remembered his name. I wrote a testimonial for him on a paper and handed over to the lobby manager during my check out. This is how little voices make it major. If you are enthusiastic, it’s reflected in your body language.
I was a member of BNI Gurgaon India for about 5 years. At times BNI meeting used to get quite boring for a senior member because of the same routine every week. But I always kept my energy and enthusiasm. Every Wednesday morning I made sure I was dressed well and went for the meeting with positive thoughts that I am going to meet my fellow BNI members after a week and there will be a chance to meet and greet 15-20 guests, learn something new from education slots. We were a chapter of 70 plus members. Every visitor remembered my name because of my “Good Morning” full of energy and enthusiasm. If you have unlimited enthusiasm everything is possible to achieve. Your customers like you, your team likes you and you get noticed where ever you go and you motivate people around you. Whenever someone asks me How are you, my standard reply is “Always good, celebrating life” or in Hindi, I say “bahut hi jyada badiya”. It brings a smile to people’s faces. No one is interested in knowing what we are going through in life. They have their own troubles. With my positive answer, they feel happy and inspired for that moment.
I haven’t met a single successful person who doesn’t have a great amount of discipline in life. It’s essential to have the self-discipline to keep promises and commitments. There are two kinds of people, one who says I don’t feel like doing it and the other who says I need to do it because it’s essential. You can’t live your life by emotions. All successful athletes and sportspersons have discipline. People in armed forces practice discipline day in and day out. But a lot of entrepreneurs think that because they are their own bosses they are not required to have discipline. They can get up at any time they like, they can take off any day they like. Well, it doesn’t work that way. If your work requires you to be up the whole night you have to be up the whole night. If your work requires you to be at your workplace at a particular time you got to be there at that time every day. If you have a fixed time of workout morning or evening or during the day as per your schedule you do it every day. When we were into the garment export, every morning I and my wife used to open the factory ourselves. We had to reach there before the staff. We couldn’t afford to be late one single day because whole staff will be waiting outside if we don’t reach there before them. If there was an order to be shipped I used to be there with all the workers whole night, in fact, I did that for many nights because every order had a deadline, the last date of shipment. It’s about following a set routine of doing everything. Whether you get up at 4 am or 8 am, you get up at the same time every day. It doesn’t matter what time you get up and it becomes your habit and you can plan your day efficiently. Same goes for eating, going to work etc. It’s best to get up early. There is a saying ‘Early bird eats the worm” but what about people who work late nights. Today the world has become small. If it’s night in India, it’s daytime in the USA. And if your work requires communicating with your associates late night you don’t have to get up early. The only thing I am saying is to follow a set routine.
I learned the true meaning of discipline in BNI. Every Wednesday we had to be there before 7.29 am and meetings started sharp at 8 am and finished before 10 am. It is there that I learned how to conduct a great meeting start on time and finish on time. Every member and visitors liked this. In the 5 years of my membership, I had zero absent and 2 late entries only by 5 minutes.
This is one characteristic which every person should have. All successful entrepreneurs live and die for integrity. An entrepreneur can’t be successful in the long term if he doesn’t have integrity. Suppose you go to a grocery store and at check out the clerk gives you some extra money by mistake, what do you do? You return the extra money or keep it? If you have high integrity you don’t lie to your team, customers, friends, creditors. Once an elderly gentleman went to a grocery store to buy something. He gave a hundred dollar bill. The lady gave him the change back. Later she realized that the ink on the note was a little wet. On close scrutiny, she found out that the note was hand painted. The man was a great artist. He used his talent to hand paint the currency notes. After his arrest, some work of art found at his residence was sold at thousands of dollars. If he had used his talent to in the right way he could have made much more money than counterfeiting the currency and could have got name and fame instead of jail.
I was working as a factory manager for garment export house, managing a small factory of 100 stitching machines. The factory was closed after about a year due to some labor problems. That factory used to manufacture trousers for export around the year. We used to get imported YKK zippers with every order from our head office store. It so happened over the years there were some short shipments and accounting errors. When the factory was closed, we had around 30,000 zippers and at that time the value of those zippers were around 1,00,000 rupees. I remember we used to live in a 2 bedroom rented apartment which the owner wanted to sell for 30000 rupees and we didn’t have that much money. If I had kept those zippers, no one would have known and I could have easily sold those zippers for half the price in the market and pocketed the money. When I returned those to the head office store everyone was shocked. I immediately got a 50% raise in my salary. But more than that my integrity helped me achieve unbelievable heights in my business and later we could buy an 800 sqft bungalow for a few crores from our hard earned money.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Edited by- Rajat Babbar Connect