If entrepreneurship could be personified, it would be that cool new kid on the block that everyone wants to be friends with. With this new trend of ‘starting up’, the number of individuals who are quitting their full-time jobs to found their own companies and businesses have almost near-doubled in the last five years.
While the enthusiastic zeal of these soon-to-be entrepreneurs is charming to say the least, given the first signs of saturation that’s been on the rise in the horizon, in India especially, it may be advisable for these same individuals to think twice before giving up their stable salaries and fixed working hours.
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Kris Gopalakrishnan, Infoysis Co-founder and former CII President, had stated mid last-year that not all Indian startups were going to become the Facebooks and Snapchats of the world.
“Almost 70 per cent of startups will fail. About 20 percent will survive but will not grow. They will remain small enterprises, and maybe only five to 10 per cent will become large and scale up - that is the spastics globally,” he had announced at the 12th Innovation Summit 2016 in Bengaluru, which he chaired.
While professionals and laymen alike took to the task of contradicting both the statement and the statistics, there is no denying the harsh truth that while many dive head-long into the pool of possibilities that entrepreneurship involves, it is at the end of the day a test of the survival of the fittest.
Without dissuading the efforts of eager hundreds hoping to turn their dream into a business, here’s a word of caution in the form of a list of things to consider before quitting your day-job in order to start your own company.
Is it ready to become your main business?
While it is the most wondrous release to double-check the excel sheet containing the blueprint of your own company, especially during a particularly monotonous day at your current job, following through with it full-time is another ball game altogether. Before you make that walk into your boss’ office and call it quits, you need to figure out whether you are ready to let go of a stable income and structure for untimely hours and unpredictable revenues. You always have the option to keep building on your own business while using the resources, off-time, and experience from your day-job into the proceedings. However, if you do decide to give it up and turn your passion into a full-time occupation, then you have to be ready to face a waterfall of instability in terms of money, time, people, and opportunities.
Don’t do it just for the thrill
Pamela Slim, author of Escape from Cubicle Nation believes that most people turn towards entrepreneurship when they tire of their day-jobs. The popular ‘I want to be my own boss’ and ‘I’m tired of taking orders from someone else’ may have led to some of the world’s greatest founder-histories. But like they say, passion burns out quicker than a flame if not real. On that note, it’s important to distinguish between actually honing a drive and desire to create something of your own and just wishing to embark in something new and different. Advising potential entrepreneurs to maintain their day-jobs until they come up with a fool-proof plan, Slim says, “In addition to wanting to quit, you have to have a viable business idea and an effective marketing and operations plan,” as stated by Entrepreneur.
You need the extra income
In 2007, Paul Graham, a partner at the Y Combinator startup accelerator stated that most startups fail because they either run out of money or a founder leaves. While the latter is subjective to the company in question, the universal truth of any business failing due to a lack of required funds cannot be ignored. While bootstrapping is definitely a common enough practice, there is always the question of how to maintain your company’s operations after the first successful haul. For this reason specifically, the practicality of working a stable pay job during the day comes in, because you then have the opportunity to make a fixed-budget plan around it to be used for the functionality of your independent business – a move that will definitely help keep it running in the long run.
Do you have a backup?
While any entrepreneur will advise you to give your startup dream a 110 percent of your time and efforts, it is prudent to always keep a backup plan in hand, to be on the safer side of matters. Entrepreneurship is, at the end of the day, a risky business, and in the off-chance that you are forced to halt your proceedings for a little while due to factors like funds, prospects, and more, then you need to have a Plan B in terms of your profession. Hence, before you leave everything to rally forth into the world of entrepreneurship, have a plan of action when it comes to the ‘what if’.
This being said, it is courageous and commendable of any individual to turn towards the world of entrepreneurship, burning with passion. As the maestros have always put it, almost spiritually, life is nothing without taking the right kind of risks.