Most of us have a streak of entrepreneurism within us. Many of us dream of becoming entrepreneurs and starting a venture. Often we have ideas that we think we should pursue, and which we think we can build a successful business around.
But most people don’t start up. Something holds them back, and they find several excuses for not being able to even start up. How often do we hear people look at some successful company and tell their family & friends “I had exactly the same idea a few years ago. But I did not start a business then. I wish I had.”. Most would know friends who have had this exact feeling of regret because the very idea that they did not act upon is now a successful company.
Typically the top three excuses for not starting up tend to be:
- I don’t have the capital required to start a business
- I don’t know anything about running a business
- I am afraid that I might fail
It’s easier to start a business today than ever before!
Well, the good news is that the change in the business environment today has erased the validity of all the three excuses that prevent most people from starting their own ventures.
Why ‘I have no capital’ is not a valid excuse any more…
Cost of starting up and doing business has come down significantly. Till a decade ago, even making a simple website would cost a few lakhs. Now, with easy-to-use technology platforms and online tools, it costs virtually nothing to build a website.
With the emergence of co-working space, shared offices and incubation centres, entrepreneurs do not even need the capital required earlier to set up an office. All you need is a laptop and you can plug and play.
With digital and social media, it is possible to launch, market and promote a venture with very limited capital. Earlier, marketing required large budgets and specialized agencies and service providers.
The support services eco-system – lawyers, accenting firms, HR firms, marketing support firms, design services, packaging, warehousing, etc., etc. – has evolved and have created offerings that are suitable for startups. This means that aspiring entrepreneurs can start with just the core team to reduce fixed costs, and leverage the services of these specialized service providers when required.
Most importantly, access to capital is much easier now. Collateral-free funding is available to aspiring entrepreneurs who have the creativity and passion and a good business plan. Till a decade ago, unless you had a house or jewelry or some other asset to give as collateral, it would be virtually impossible to get finance. In the past few years, with the advent of angel investors, venture capitalists and venture debt, it has become possible for people with ideas to get funding to convert those ideas into a business.
That opens up entrepreneurship as a career option to anyone with ideas and aspirations.
Why ‘I don’t know anything about running a business’ is no longer a valid excuse…
Basics of business can be learnt. There are a number of forums available where first-time entrepreneurs can learn and understand what it takes to ideate, plan and operationalize a business.
Organizations (in India) like TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs), Sheroes, NASSCOM, etc., conduct awareness programs and workshops to help first-time entrepreneurs learn from those with entrepreneurial experience.
Additionally, there are a number of online forums where specific skills and different aspects of entrepreneurship can be learnt.
Specialized help is available: There are numbers of specialized agencies that provide strategic inputs as well as operational support, for services that are essential but not core to the business you are in.
Why “I am afraid that I might fail” is no longer a valid excuse
Failure is part of the entrepreneurial journey. If you do not fail in your first venture, you will fail in one of the subsequent ones. The point is not about seeking something that is fail-proof. The point is about being prepared for the risks, and accepting failures as part of the plan.
My argument is that even if your venture does not succeed, entrepreneurship prepares you better for the future – whether it is the next venture or back to a job. (Ask any HR person or a CXO and they will tell you that, all things being otherwise equal, they would prefer a failed entrepreneur over a career professional because the failed entrepreneur is most likely to know more about ‘business’ and life than the career-professional.).
Ask any entrepreneur and they will tell you that entrepreneurship is a high that you will enjoy despite all the ups and downs that it brings. It empowers you. It gives you a sense of purpose, a direction and a positive restlessness that makes you believe that you can contribute a lot more to this world. And really, there is no excuse left not to start up.
Life is short. Start up.
By Prajakt Raut - Founder Applyifi