This article is the first in the series of 20 articles by Santosh Sharma.
Entrepreneurs live the first few years as no one will and the next few years as no one can.
This is what one of the fund houses wrote when they had to politely say 'No' to fund the project. And this in itself hints at the challenges and the opportunities entrepreneurs have to face in their journey. And always, there are challenges first and then opportunities.
Especially when you're in India, which is still waking up to its entrepreneurs, where the eco- system is still in the making, both the challenges and the opportunities are of a higher degree. Challenges of a higher order because the support system is missing and opportunities really big because most of the other ideas die for lack of immunity to face the challenges, leaving an open space for those who survive.
Many of the bright and promising ideas that take birth in colleges or organizations die because the commitment dies down. We don’t sacrifice the first few years and remain happy to respond to life from our comfort zone. We find easier ways to make money as we get picked up from colleges with a huge packet, and then settle down with our life partner. Slowly our unending desires drive us into easy monthly instalments (EMIs). Our dream fades and ultimately dies.
I have seen many good ideas fizzing out as we are not ready to take the road less travelled. There was a team with a promising idea to get water from air and the project was named Jalvayu. Three guys had promised to work together on it. One of them got a good job and he left, so it happened with the other and the third one who was more committed also joined a good organization. At the back of the mind he is still hooked to the project but he is helpless as he does not get the time to work on it. This is creating an unnecessary delay in the project. This is a typical bog where entrepreneurs are sucked into and those who come out actually succeed.
I know of a man who was called a fool by his friends and colleagues when he decided to quit a sarkari AirIndia job and that too when he was from the management cadre. And when he struggled they kept reiterating, proving their point even passing sarcastic remarks behind him. When things slowly started turning in that man’s favour the others immediately changed their version. Now they were the first ones to say “I always knew, he had it in him”. And the person used to simply smile. I know this person really well as he was none other than myself. At times you will be left all alone in the journey, but carry on.
Indeed most of us are lions growing in a herd of sheep only to become a better sheep. Thinking out of the box is not enough; we need to ‘Dissolve the box to be true entrepreneurs’. Our vicious mental traps hold us back and we do not have the commitment, courage and the designing intelligence to design our way out to be real entrepreneurs. Most of us see entrepreneurship as a risk because we keep responding from our boxes failing to see deeper, wider and faster into situations. The moment we dissolve all our mental boxes holding us back the same situation becomes an opportunity as we are able to see what others can’t. We see the gap to be bridged and work on an alternative to bridge the gap better than the others.
A good idea alone cannot give success. It has to meet the necessary resources and must be really executed well to succeed.
Don’t get hooked to your mental boxes, dissolve them and express yourself through your venture. And no it’s not just for money, but, a purpose that runs much deeper. It is this deeper purpose that actually drives entrepreneurs’ forward.
A word of caution: For some, entrepreneurship has become a fad and they feel good to be branded as entrepreneurs. This is a sure shot recipe for disaster. Be an entrepreneur only when you really mean it.
So dissolve all your mental boxes and comfort zones and you'll have the time of a lifetime in the world of entrepreneurs.