In recent years, Indians have got on the entrepreneurship bandwagon in very large numbers. From bringing an idea to life to being your own boss, there are many motivations. One of them is the need for the Indian youth to create their own jobs. With a staggering 65 percent of the population is under the age of 35 and explosive statistics around the adoption of smart phone and broadband, it is the youth that is truly driving this era of entrepreneurship in the country.
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2016 especially was a milestone year for the Indian startup ecosystem, when the Government, educational institutes, support organisations, investors, and entrepreneurs themselves came together to support one of the largest transformations in the Indian economy since liberalisation. PM Modi launched the Startup India action plan that included subsidies and relaxed norms for startup businesses in India. NITI Aayog, the Government’s innovation and transformation arm also announced monetary support to existing startup incubators in the country.
However, with a hurricane of new ideas coming to life these last few years, entrepreneurship is a different animal from what it used to be just five to 10 years ago when some India’s most successful entrepreneurs were setting up shop. Competition is immense now and funding, not very easy. With all the ecosystem support in place, there are new challenges that those aspiring to set up their own successful shops must face.
Here are the top five tips for Indian entrepreneurs in 2017 – hot off the press.
Don’t doubt the size of your idea
Doubt is a blessing for intelligent entrepreneurs. It leads them to question their idea and work at refining it and making it business-ready. If your idea fills a real gap in the industry you are going to be in, its size does not matter. Doubting is good only as long as it pushes you to improve what is on the table but it should not come at the cost of your lack of confidence reflecting in the way you communicate your idea to your customers or investors.
Find ‘fellow travelers’ who are fans of your idea. Be one too
Entrepreneurs often make the mistake of thinking their idea is theirs alone and all they need are hands and legs to bring it to life. They could not be more wrong. From the conception to the final product, each business idea goes through a whole process to separate the wheat from the chaff. Surrounding yourself with employees or sounding boards who not only believe in your idea but are also brave enough to remind you to stay integral to the initial concept goes a long way in building a successful product or business.
The most successful entrepreneurs are those who value money as much as they value their idea
Entrepreneurs start up with a little financial help from an investor, their own families, an inheritance, or a decade of life savings. No matter where you get your funding from, you need to treat that money with respect. Transparency is essential too, especially when individuals other than yourself fund your idea. Maintain paperwork, provide proactive updates, and be accountable. Not only does it lend itself to the highest level of integrity an entrepreneur could have, it also builds a high level of trust, making the flow of money a little easier and one less thing to worry about in your entrepreneurship journey.
Manage energy reserves too, not just money
Entrepreneurship is a long and often arduous journey, one on which you can’t afford a burnout. It makes sense to prioritise and not get swept away every step of the way. You need to ask yourself if the energy you spend on something will have any return on investment. If the answer is yes, go all out. If not, let go. It is as important to stay objective about energy as it is about money. Both come in limited reserves.
Stay on top of your influencer game
Recent years have seen ‘influencer’ become almost a dirty word. We find a staggering number of micro-blogs, blogs, op-eds, and interviews that shatter the proverbial glass of perception of influencers in every niche. Startups are no different. Be very, very careful about whom you engage as an influencer, how much you share with them, and whether or not the association actually helps your idea and business. Go all out when it does, walk away when it doesn’t. Knowing the right influencers from the wrong ones is essential. Stay informed using any amount of information available to you and take every list of influencers with a pinch of salt. You will not know the value of the association till you actually try it out.
Succeeding in your entrepreneurial journey takes vision, hard work, and perseverance. One wrong move and you could be headed back to the cubicle. Staying on top of your game takes more than just a brilliant product. The ecosystem, especially in India, is changing at an intimidating pace. Stay informed, ask the right questions, form the right associations, but most of all, know that you can do it too. That is the one mantra for successful entrepreneurship that is never going to get old.