After I forayed into the world of entrepreneurship; I made lot of great discoveries. Let me tell you, the world of entrepreneurship is not really THAT SCARY. I seldom see Maharashtrians in the world of entrepreneurship – of course, I don’t mean none of them is into it; but let me tell you, less than 1 percent of them consider ‘entrepreneurship’. This post is about my thoughts on why Maharashtrians aren’t into ‘business’ or don’t consider it as an option. I’d typically target the smarter folks who enter into engineering; because almost all of them do.
Lack Of Role Models:
Since childhood, our ‘heros’ are the school toppers. They are your brothers/sisters, their friends, our neighbors. We are told success stories of folks who topped nearly all exams they ever appeared for and then got high paying jobs. Ask yourself. How many times were we told the story of someone who opted out of college, or started something on his/her own and then went on to build a big company. Now I know there are lot of great Maharashtrian entrepreneurs. But parents won’t tell stories of people who succeeded in business. Most of the times, we are told stories of how people went bankrupt in business.
As a result, no one really thinks of getting into business or ‘doing something on our own’ because we tell ourselves that we are going to fail eventually and the people who succeeded in business were extra-ordinary.
How to fix this: By being careless about failure and trying to be a role model for others. Look, no one really notices you as a ‘software engineer’ not even your boss. So why the hell do you care about failure? But on the other hand, if you become successful, the world’s going to tell your stories to their children.
Ever since childhood, we are programmed to be the employees. No, I’m not saying being an employee is ‘bad’. But one is never exposed to what it takes to be an employer. As a result, we don’t consider being a job giver. I believe when we decide on our career and our goals, we need to know all our options, our capabilities (which we always underestimate!). Our surrounding is favorable to the employee mindedness, you see!
How to fix this: Bad programming of your mind can be fixed. Study entrepreneurship stories. Read tons of books. You might think one can’t become an entrepreneur just by reading books. You are right, you won’t become an entrepreneur just by reading books; but trust me, you will be exposed to so many ‘realities’ and ‘ideas’ that will get you some feel of how others started. That’s going to help you a lot! For example, do you know Michael Dell started assembling computers in his dorm and sold them for a price. It isn’t an incredibly hard thing to do if you study how he did it. Bill Gates sold the OS that he did not build on his own – he simply bought it from a guy who was incredibly smart, and sold it to IBM. Study entrepreneur stories. You’ll learn a LOT in those books!
Risk Taking? My FOOT!:
We all believe entrepreneurship is all about Risk Taking. Well, really? From all my conversations with wannabe entrepreneurs, risk taking is purely associated with money making. Granted, you won’t make money for long time or may not be able to enjoy all the luxuries your friends have; but if you hang on – you’ll make money. Have you read Infosys Story? All of its founders, except Mr. Murthy, were almost ready to sell their stake in company because they were not making enough money; while their friends drove cars and bought flats and had foreign trips. I need not tell you what status Infosys founders enjoy today.
Trust me, if you know what you’re doing, entrepreneurship is not about risk taking. Instead, its all about controlling your future and creating better future for others.
How to fix this: The older you are, the lesser you are prepared to take risks. Have great faith in your own and your abilities. Even if you think you are taking risk, be assured that you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you actually enter into the world of entrepreneurship. Of course, you won’t walk on the bed of roses all the time. But at the end of the day, its lot of fun and fulfillment.
Its NOT about the Money:
Statistics say that 99% of the businesses fail. I know why. Because 99% of the entrepreneurs start their venture to make money; thinking that they’ll make far more money right away than their current salary (or the income they might get as an employee). But building a business is like growing a mango tree. You won’t get the mangoes until you invest time, money and efforts in growing the tree. We don’t have patience and when we don’t see the business making money; we give up – that’s why 99% of the businesses fail.
If you are solely starting on your own because you think you are going to make lot of money – stop. Don’t do it. Do it only if you think you enjoy it and you can make a dent in the world. Money will follow – and more than your expectations – but only if you have patience.
How to fix this: Plan your survival strategy and be frugal in spending. Save as much as you can and invest in your business. That’s the best investment ever.
That said, I’ve lot more points to say and would love to discuss with you. Let me know what you think.
–The Big K–