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The startup curve: Journey of an entrepreneur

To gather and maintain strength as an entrepreneur and to keep going through the journey, you should be aware about the Startup Curve before jumping into the startup roller coaster. 

Being an entrepreneur isn’t about knowing rocket science but nor is it as easy as the current startup ecosystem today has bloomed it to be. Year on year, the number of startups in India is increasing, which is good of-course, but unfortunately the number of startups shutting down has also climbed to never-before heights.

To gather and maintain strength as an entrepreneur and to keep going through the journey, you should be aware about the Startup Curve before jumping into the startup roller coaster (since its thrilling and adventurous). 

The Startup Curve graph (Image Source: Paul Graham, avc.com)

The people who have already jumped into the startup journey would relate to the article below, and the ones planning to start something of their own are advised to try and keep the graph in mind while going further in their journey.

Its simple yet scary; plus highly motivating too!

We take your entrepreneurial happiness/ satisfaction (y axis) and the time (x axis) you invest in your startup as the key factors to design your startup curve.

Before Startup: Before you come up with a problem and its solution, your life seems to be normal. You find yourself to be at an average level of happiness (neither low nor high).

Initial Enthusiasm: Once, you come across an idea that you think can change the world around you (or the world at large), you share it with 1 or 2 of your closest people around. The chances are that they appreciate your idea. Plus if things work out, they even join you as your team. This is the time when you are highly motivated and excited about your startup (if not, may be you should consider the idea again!).

Reality sets in: After you and your team spends some time (2 - 3 months at an average, but may exceed to 5-6 months in some cases) working on your brainchild, the reality sets in! You generally start to feel that your team has started losing interest in the idea; or your surveys didn’t give you the results you expected; or may be something else. Once this phase begins, it somehow becomes inevitable to enter the Trough of Sorrow!

(Image Source: Google images)

Experimenting and Pivoting: The actual hard part starts here. By this time you realise, that the idea you are currently working on, is not what you actually planned of while starting. A majority of the team you built has already left you to get some other job opportunities. Your unique selling proposition (USP) has already entered the market by some other player. Factors may be hundreds and thousands! This will mark the lowest point in your startup curve.

Have Faith and Keep Going. This is just a phase and will pass faster than you would imagine. This is the time to believe in yourself!

Starts Working: After almost breaking down, you dare to take a step forward and start from scratch again. Refine your idea. Build a fresh team with a similar vision and relevant expertise. Develop the product or service you are supposed to. Start the Pilot Run. Hit the real market.

Product Market Fit: Pilot Run gives you a lot of feedback and insights about the market acceptance for your product. Rebuild your product according to the feedback received and strike again.

There’s no stopping from here.

Build, Sell, and Scale! But don’t forget to keep innovating!

-- By Karan Narula (Entrepreneur, Incubation Program Coordinator, Open team member)

*For Mentoring, Guidance and Startup support, join us at Manav Rachna Business Incubator.