I've been an entrepreneur for 30 years and here are 10 things I learned: Portea Co-founder Meena Ganesh
The journey of a new entrepreneur is arduous and the path is dotted by many challenges. A seasoned entrepreneur lets you in on what to expect.
"Everyone can tell you the risk. An entrepreneur can see the reward" - Robert Kiyosaki
One of the biggest decisions in everyone's life pertains to their career trajectory. Do you want to be work for an organisation all your life or are you ready to take the plunge into becoming an entrepreneur? I chose the latter. While the journey towards such a life may not have been easy there has been much to take away and learn. My journey as an entrepreneur has moulded me into as a more rounded individual -- professionally and personally. The experiences have enhanced my personality, thought processes and perspectives depending on each practical and emotional situation. I have thus tried to articulate some key things I learnt as an entrepreneur.
Embracing the rollercoaster
An entrepreneurial venture is an adventure that undeniably has its stark ups and downs. While it is natural to be apprehensive about the tough journey ahead, one must be ready to deal with these challenges. The desire and passion in the idea must be intrinsic because mental strength is the only pillar required to hold up the fort.
I believe it is better to have a team rather than a single person in a founding team. Given the fact that there are always plenty of unknowns in the journey having a few people to share the load, the excitement and the challenges, becomes essential
In the founding team as well as in the early leadership team members actively look for people with diverse skills. The diversity helps in ensuring that the thinking is more broad-based and comprehensive. While having similar skills in the team makes for a comfortable team dynamic, discomfort probably will help in better solutioning.
Perfect fit between product and market
This is the key ingredient that has the irrefutable potential to differentiate a market leader from the clutter. The identification of a genuine and particular need where a customer would ungrudgingly be willing to pay for is crucial for excellence. It must be the ideal answer to a requirement of the masses; one that would be missed if rendered unavailable for consumers.
Execution trumps idea
Ideas are plenty but those that execute well are the ones that succeed in the long run. Don’t worry about the profusion of ideas swirling around you, focus on the ones that make most sense to you and go out and execute them really well.
Choosing the right investors
It is advisable to raise capital as early and adequately as possible without worrying about the valuation. The investor must be chosen wisely with the sole purpose of aligning the idea being worked on. People who can help in creating the product, team building and gaining further capital must be sought The time horizon of the investor should match the time horizon of your start up.
It is imperative to realise beforehand that the entrepreneurial venture will require more effort, time and money than what is perceived or anticipated.
Importance of mentors
Mentors possess the needed ability to soundboard our reflections and perspectives throughout the course of our ventures. It is critical to avoid complacency and seek their advice because they can add value to our decisions that can sometimes be one dimensional. However, while their virtues may be pivotal, one must learn to hold your own eventually. Mentors are meant to give clarity to the inner voice rather than dictate it.
Knowing when to let go
The most difficult thing is to know when to pivot or stop the journey. Most people tend to get immensely attached to an extent that they transcend economic reasoning. It is hence important to think practically and start over during these times.
Investing in your personal physical and mental well-being
The journey of an entrepreneur can be quite taxing both physically and emotionally. Understanding that the journey is a marathon and taking time to invest in your physical and mental well-being is as important as working on the idea.