Over the last decade, the MSME (Micro Small Medium Enterprise) sector in India has evolved quite rapidly. According to The Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2020 (GSER2020) Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune and Mumbai are amongst the top 100 emerging ecosystems globally, with Mumbai being the first on the entire list. Here, we have in fact witnessed an emergence of new industries, besides the already established ones.
Companies like Paytm, Swiggy, Oyo Rooms, BookMyShow, Cure Fit and several others have not only created their own niche but also continue to grow and expand swiftly; few of them are now even running operations in other countries.
These are all success stories. On the other hand, there have also been start-ups that have not even survived the initial one to three years mark in spite of having the right resources.
According to a study by Harvard Business Review, entrepreneurship aspirants dropped by 85% after participating in a summer business camp. The reality of owning a business versus just dreaming about a lucrative idea did put a lot of things into perspective for these students.
So, how do you go about starting your own venture and growing it too?
Identify the type of entrepreneur you are
Are you a strategist? An entrepreneur, who functions through planning and processes, is constantly working on improvements and has a strategy mapped out for at least next two to five years. Are you an innovator? Someone who has a creative idea and slowly and gradually works on building it. This entrepreneur is a team player and patient enough to derive satisfaction from the small wins while waiting for the big ones. He also has more than one business idea and is looking to turn in to a serial entrepreneur in future.
And finally, are you a specialist? His expertise lies in the understanding of the entire A to Z technical facets of the product, is focused on delivering a better quality product and service, and has a team to look into the other avenues. Study shows there are several other types as well – identify the one you are and begin from there.
Understand the technical know-how
You do not need a Masters of Business Administration degree to become an entrepreneur, neither do you need a diploma from a renowned university. You do need a basic technical understanding of your product; this knowledge can be gained academically or through practical learning – it’s up to you.
Do ensure that you know your product on the back of your hand before you start your venture.
Evaluate your idea and vision
Research your industry, going back at least 5 to 10 years; understand the market, the customers, the competition and then work backwards in order to fill in the existing gap. What is your initial investment? Is it boot-strapped or funded?
What are your financial targets? Study in detail the variations the pandemic has brought in. Test your startup idea and be receptive towards constructive feedback.
Learn the art of hustling
You might have the most efficient sales team but you will grow through a slower path if you are unable to sell yourself. When an entrepreneur himself pitches an idea, the clients and the investors are more receptive and willing to get involved. Your success lies behind how well you understand your customer’s needs and meet them. Also, when the entrepreneur leads, the team follows, which, in turn, is helpful with larger goals. So learn, prepare and hustle.
The sorrows behind the joy of being an entrepreneur
You have the ownership of every decision made and action taken, often answerable to all the stakeholders – employees, investors, and the clients. All the financial uncertainties are attached here, there is zero room for procrastination, you are the CEO (Chief Executive Officer, the CFO (Chief Financial Officer), the CRE (Customer Relationship Executive) and the Marketer, all rolled into one.
It definitely is mentally and exhausting many times. It is all about staying motivated and continue doing what you believe in beyond all the challenges.
The dire need to have a plan B
There are a series of risks involved throughout the business cycle and not just initially, so having a plan B is recommended. Now this plan B can vary – it could be maximising on the market and the product’s potential and closing this business and starting a new one.
You can temporarily place all your operations on hold till you see the economy reviving from the pandemic. Or if your venture has been unsuccessful, you can and you should go back to a professional job which would give you the financial security you need, along with other incentives. A plan B is a back-up plan and not necessarily a permanent one; you can always come back when you are ready to try again.
Do you start a new venture in the pandemic?
If you have a good concept, understand the industry well with thorough research and have a robust strategy, a proficient team and understand your prospective clients well, then please go ahead. Unacademy, PharmEasy, Country Delight, SuprDaily, Dunzo are few companies that have not only thrived in the pandemic but are on an advanced growth path. Here what will work is constantly focusing on the bigger picture and not small returns.
Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Adi Godrej, Nagavara Ramarao Narayana Murthy and the late and hugely respected JRD Tata, it all began for them with the inception of an idea that they were confident of and today they have created a road-map that many follow. So begin where you are and before you know, you might have also created your own road-map.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)