Founder, Safal Partners
Entrepreneurship means asking questions why something has not happened and has happened and how things can be made better. Raising questions over things happening around us helps to develop entrepreneurial thinking. Asking questions is the best way to learn and develop deeper understanding.
Entrepreneurship is a high-risk/high reward game. The game is not for everyone. Different people find their entrepreneurial skills at different ages. Nor it is not bound by any educational backgrounds. We shouldn't compare ourselves to other countries in terms of success and starting business. Being successful at your native place is a great thing.
Hard work, intelligence, teamwork, eagerness to learn, raising questions and starting from ignorance are some of the factors to be successful. There are some fundamentals that should be considered while starting business and after starting business. Starting a business in any sector that lacks competition is a high risk one. Investors would not be attracted to invest in businesses devoid of competition. In general, business with competitors would succeed. Competition helps to learn and make service seekers understand about the business quickly.
Secondly, business plans need to be changed throughout various spans of time according to the needs of the market. The plan needs to point out their specific customers. Customers are in fact your means of earning. It is important to discover your marketing channels. How will customers know about your product? Always be marketing. Most of our businesses are way behind in terms of marketing. We are asked not to boast about ourselves/our product which doesn't hold true in business. Marketing is not about sales. In fact, it boosts your sales.
Entrepreneurs should have a far-sighted vision which should not be determined by money. Profit is just a by-product. They need to be clear what product/services they are selling. You need to understand whether your service/product is painkiller or vitamin. It is more difficult to sell painkillers than vitamins.
Startups often complain about their employees not working well. Meanwhile, forming a team and deploying them in a productive manner is also a skill. Many of us don't know how to work in a team as we are taught individual skills from a young age.
Most of the startups fail because of lack of finances. Investors are now finally interested in investing in entrepreneurship which is a good thing. While starting a business you need to arrange finances to survive for the first eighteen months. I suggest leaving the business if you can't sustain the business for the first eighteen months. You should focus on honing your entrepreneurial thoughts instead of sticking to a failing business. I also recommend not to start a business from your own funds but rather raise the funds. And any entrepreneur should learn basic accounting and finance skills.
Startups need to understand if their products are liked by their customers beyond your friends and family circle. Expand your network of investors, board of advisors. They will help you with different perspectives on business and attracting investment. Entrepreneurship is a learning game. Reflecting on your past experiences, learning from it helps you to excel the way forward.
(Views expressed during an interactive training of NewBiz Startup Summit and Awards 2021)