I am a final year student at IIT Delhi. I am an entrepreneur. Currently, I am working on my third start-up. Yes, I’m crazy!
The weird news is: there are many more like me out there. This craze for starting a company, working passionately for an idea, creating something useful and making a profitable business out of it has been alluring students like us big time now. In my 4 years at college, I’ve seen at least half a dozen good start-ups coming out at student level in IIT Delhi. Some of them even got angel investments and are doing good. I’m sure a lot more of such start-ups will emerge in future from all across India at college level. The ecosystem is also evolving very aggressively & there’s a huge support out there for budding entrepreneurs. We’re seeing many awesome institutional investors, accelerator programs, angels and superangels coming around more than ever. If there was ever a perfect atmosphere and time to a startup in India, it is now!
I’ve had two (sorta) failed startups before. I tell you, failure is over-rated! I would still make an attempt to bust some myths about entrepreneurship. This could particularly be useful for young first timers. At such times, it’s hard to know what to believe when it comes to entrepreneurship, and even harder to know what NOT to believe. I’ve been there before, and I wish I knew some of these things when I’d started.
“Entrepreneurship is cool.”
I belong to the generation who has spent many sleepless nights watching & re-watching the movie ‘The Social Network’. Thanks to the movie, in my 3rd year of college I got sure that I wanted to become an entrepreneur simply because I thought it was cool. Let me get this straight – I was wrong! Entrepreneurship sucks, it totally does. Your every single day is worse than the last one, and this streak continues forever. Shit happens, and most of the time you can do nothing about it. Entrepreneurship is, however, can be so much fun. The freedom of doing what you want, and the joy of creating stuff and solving problems is worth all the pain.
“Entrepreneurs are chick-magnets.”
No, they’re not (even if one looks like Ashton Kutcher). No girl wants a boyfriend who loves his idea more than he loves her. Getting a girl gets even harder when you stay on the verge of bankruptcy every now and then. So think twice before you take a jump.
“I have a billion dollar idea.”
There’s no such thing. There’s only billion dollars worth of execution. My first start-up was based on an idea of making a web-annotation tool that enabled users to highlight and save important portions of a webpage. I thought such a thing could really be helpful for anyone who surfs through a lot of content on the internet. It seemed like a ‘billion dollar idea’ at the time. May be it was, maybe it wasn’t. The thing is, I would never know, because I couldn’t execute it well.
“If you build, they will come.”
An awesome product might not be a useful one. Always remember that. You don’t know what is useful and what would work, your customer does. So go to your customers, spend time with them, speak, follow, observe & learn and even kidnap them if you have to, but get their insights. KYC – Know Your Customers. There’s no other way!
“Perfection is the key to success.”
It’s not. Iteration is! During my second startup, I believed that I needed to make the most awesome nightlife deals portal ever to seduce the customers. We spent 3 months just to develop the website and by the time we launched, it was already too late. The customers didn’t want deals. They wanted something else. If only I could have gone into the market earlier, I could have tested my hypothesis & adapted the product to suit my customer’s needs. Always remember, Iteration=Growth.
“Marketing drives the product.”
It’s the other way round. When my product didn’t fare well with the customers, we thought it was due to lack of publicity and marketing. I wish I could have spent more time on improving the product, rather than promoting it. For all good products, people are the marketeers. Get your product right, satisfy your customers even if it’s a small set. Soon you’ll notice the word spreading around. And that’s the best marketing you’ll ever get.
About the Author:
HIMANSHU GEED is a 22 year old serial entrepreneur. A final year student at IIT Delhi, he’s on his third start up with Gingr. He first got a taste of entrepreneurship when he started Caarve.com, a web annotation service which was followed another start up called BoozePanda.com. He found his passion for writing when he proposed to a girl by writing a novel exclusively for her. This passion turned him a big time blogger and an avid reader who now aspires to build the biggest internet business of all time and publish a novel about it afterwards. (Website: Gingr)