Infosys Founder Narayana Murthy warns entrepreneurs from making these mistakes
Infosys Founder and former Chairman Narayana Murthy’s first startup, Softronics, was a failure.
Founder and former Chairman, NR Narayana Murthy, is in many ways the original poster boy of the Indian startup ecosystem and Indian IT, having built the Bengaluru-based IT bellwether from the ground up. So when the man behind one of India’s most fabled startups speaks about his entrepreneurial journey, you lap up every piece of advice. Entrepreneurs cannot have a ‘Plan B’, Mr Murthy told students of SVKM's NMIMS (a deemed university).
“When you are running your enterprise, you cannot have a ‘Plan B’ and you cannot be half-hearted about your idea. You have to give your best as if there is no alternative at all. So, till you get a very clear message from the market that your idea is not going to set sail, please do not think of Plan B,” Mr Murthy told students during the virtual interaction.
The former Infosys chairman was responding to a query about his beginnings as an entrepreneur with Softronics, his maiden entrepreneurial venture, which he was forced to shut down. Founded in the mid-70s, Softronics was a consulting firm offering computer algorithms to Indian companies. The Indian market back then was not ready for something like that yet and after seeing very little traction, Mr Murthy was forced to shut down his first startup.
But he did not let the failure of his first venture deter him from starting up again. After working at Patni Computers in Pune for around five years, Mr Murthy founded Infosys along with Nandan Nilekani, NS Raghavan, S Gopalakrishnan, SD Shibulal, K Dinesh and Ashok Arora, most of whom he met at Patni. The rest, as they say, is history.
During the interaction with the students, Mr Murthy also highlighted that the most common mistake an entrepreneur makes is not defining how the startup’s product or idea is adding value for the customer in a way that is better than its competitors. He also stressed upon the fact that as a country India can progress only if entrepreneurs create more quality jobs with better salaries.
The 74-year-old doyen of Indian IT urged entrepreneurs and business leaders to build an ecosystem where talent and hard work are not just appreciated, but also acknowledged through real benefits.
“Leaders have to exercise self-restraint in apportioning the benefits from a corporation disproportionately to themselves. In other words, they should not take away the major part of the benefit that accrues from their company. That leader should lead by example in values, excellence, honesty, integrity, transparency, fairness, accountability, openness to ideas, and meritocracy. They have to demonstrate transparency and accountability in apportioning fruits of the hard work of everybody in their company,” he said.