Investor Rajesh Sawhney on the 3Cs to succeed as an entrepreneur
In Prime Ventures' first Prime Knowledge video series, Rajesh Sawhney, Founder, GSF Accelerator and InnerChef, shares insights on investing in early-stage startups.
A serial entrepreneur, Rajesh Sawhney is the Co-founder of InnerChef, India’s fastest growing foodtech platform. He is also the Founder of GSF, an accelerator for tech startups in India.
According to Rajesh, success is like preparing that perfect dish. You cannot just add random ingredients and then expect the dish to turn tasty. You will need to add the right elements, eliminate the extras, and create the perfect combination.
In your business as well, the success of your brand will ultimately depend on you. It is your traits that will drive your business success and not the other way around. Sure, you will need to work hard and never give up, but startups do fail despite all those traits in their founders, even when the idea was great.
In an ecosystem where funding is no longer a roadblock and reaching out to the public is no longer a hassle, the ingredients of success that an entrepreneur needs are more than the commonly known qualities.
As a matter of fact, the list is not long. Investors agree that in early-stage startups, they generally bet on the founders and look for the following 3Cs to give them their money. Evidently, if you have these, your determination and hard work will bear results. However, even with one ingredient missing, the dish can turn bad pretty soon.
Watch the Prime Knowledge series with Rajesh Sawhney, brought to you by Prime Ventures, an early-stage VC fund investing in technology and product focused businesses.
You cannot create something big without the right team and you can never be a solo act in a successful startup. Take the example of Jack Ma and Alibaba or Bill Gates and Microsoft. Both of the founders always attributed the secret to their brand’s success to the team they had in their offices. If you know how to find the right people for the right job, make them work together, and act as a crucial member of the whole team, your brand will definitely sail towards success.
Even VCs put their faith in founders who can maintain an ecosystem of collaboration with their teams and their investors, which tells them about the owners’ capacities to accept other companies as their partners in the future. Without cohesiveness within the organisation, success will always be a distant story.
Can the founders be trained? Are they willing to learn from the investors, the market, the customers, and their peers? The adaptive mentality along with a growth mindset are assets to entrepreneurs. Along the way, businesses always change.
The initial idea is bound to see a major overhaul in a matter of two years where the market and its demands dictate the product or service them. If the founders cannot learn from their surroundings, their venture may very well end up like Nokia where the main reason for failure was adaptability.
Thus, investors are like entrepreneurs who are always learning, and founders who seek advice from mentors and really listen to their customers will succeed.
The autocratic attitude is the sauce of doom and no startup can function with a close-minded founder.
Your investors will only believe in you if you believe in your idea. Your customers will resonate with you if you can work for them with purpose. Conviction will be your greatest weapon during the struggling times and will also keep you grounded when things are flying high.
Elon Musk poured everything into SpaceX and Tesla, and the two companies have hardly seen profits for a long time. But it was always Musk’s conviction that space tourism will one day take off and technology-infused cars will one day hit the market that has kept those two ventures going.
Whether your product idea seems sketchy now or you are yet to assemble the right team, your sense of purpose and vision are enough to convince your investors. Show them that you know what you are doing, and people will automatically believe in you.
You do not need a sixth sense to become a successful entrepreneur. Neither do you have to read a hundred books a month to drive success to your startup. String together your superpowers of collaboration, coachability, and conviction, and allow them to work wonders for you and your business. If you possess these qualities, the entire establishment will share your traits.
When the X-factors spread out to each and every member of your brand, there is your path to success. Keep the 3Cs in mind. Let them sit on the driver’s seat. Everyone around you will then flock to uplift your brand towards your exit goal.