So you want to break free from the shackles of a 9 to 9 job? (yeah.9 to 9 because 9 to 6 had become a mythological job long time back)
A job where you are made to slog endlessly working for a tyrant boss, who does not give two hoots about the hard
work you put into making the company a success.
Is it time for you to start your own startup?
Nope. Take a deep breath. Confront the tyrant. Think again on why you need to start a startup.
Think again because starting a startup or small business is not easy.
I often get asked, “What are the challenges entrepreneurs face when starting a business or a startup“.
I have a long list of challenges entrepreneurs face when starting a small business or startup.
To start with, let’s understand what startups are.
Start-ups are no fancy rides, where you get to sit on a driver’s seat driving your team around enjoying the challenges of life.
Start-ups and small businesses are dangerous. They are what you call as ticking time bombs waiting to explode on your face.
You should never start a startup or a small business because you are annoyed with your boss or are bedazzled by all those big evaluations you hear or read in Economic Times.
They constitute a very small % of start-ups which reach that level.
I know this comes as a big surprise from a person like me who has spent the good 7 years of his life setting up a business from scratch.
Believe me, after 5 years of toiling hard in the market our business has finally managed to find feet 2 years back.
If someone asks me to repeat the last 7 years again. I will think twice before going through the drill again.
I know this is the year when the country is all gung-ho over Startup India, Stand up India.
Does that make me a villain, cynic, moron for writing such a negative article?
Trust me. I am not the party spoiler. I have been through the drill.
I have been there, done that. Failed. Started again and succeeded without any external funding. I understand the challenges faced when starting a small business.
My advice to everyone looking to start a startup is:
You do not need to start up:
- If you wanted to be a businessman and not work under someone.
I hear this a lot. “I want to be a businessman because I do not want to work for anyone.”
When I hear this. My usual reaction is “Eh. Seriously? Does this mean you will not report to your clients? Tolerate tantrums of your employees (at times) or will not try to be nice to get that next big deal?”
Get your priorities right my friend. We all work for someone or the other.
You might not have a boss as an entrepreneur but you have clients, who pay you.
- You think you are going to be rich in next 1 to 2 years.
In last 7 years of my entrepreneurial journey, I have gone broke. Made some money. Gone broke again and finally found a decent earning after so many years of slogging.
So if you think you want to start a venture to get rich soon. Get a reality check. All that glitters is not gold. You just might go broke and even end up losing what you had before you started your venture.
- You are a married person with a lot of commitments including of EMI, loans. A good healthy lifestyle which you cannot tone down. The lot in this section is tricky. They want to start a venture with the existing lifestyle they keep up.
With a new venture, you have to live a sage’s life till your business breaks even or make some profits. Trust me, you do not want to take the plunge with so much of load on your back.
If you think you can support your lavish lifestyle along with running a startup. You should just throw away the idea chit you have in your pocket in the dustbin.
- You are disillusioned by the jazzy word “Boss”.
Ok, I am not talking about the last Bollywood movie with this name, which was horribly horrible. I am talking about the so-called presumed perks of being called the boss.
There are so many of us who would love to be their own boss (including me). The reality is, in a start-up there is no boss. As a matter of fact, a boss is the lowest level of hierarchy in the hierarchy structure of a startup.
Being the boss, you will be expected to get business, manage employees, listen to clients’ tantrums.
A stage will come, when you will lock yourself in a toilet and ask again “Is this what you call being a boss?”
- Never ever think of starting a start-up if you assume your idea will get you million dollars in initial funding.
We have still not been funded. Not to dissuade you but you need to get a reality check.
Just because you think this is the next big thing. It does not make your idea the next big thing.
This is my first blog on lessons at startup. I don’t know if it is the right way to start this blog.
I get asked so many times about starting a start-up from aspiring entrepreneurs. Most of them want to start startups for all the wrong reasons.
Despite my positive demeanor, I seriously want to speak the truth at times. This blog is my answer to all of them who still have their priorities wrong, with starting startups.
The challenges/problems you will face when starting a small business or a startup are:
- Funds: No one would want to invest in your idea. So you got to find a way to survive the initial days with your won money.
- Team: No one wants to join a new company with a lot of ideas waiting to go live. If the idea fails, the company fails.
- Finding New Customers: How many times have you brought from a startup? My guess is none. Recently we launched a startup to sell home decor stuff and trust me, none of our acquaintance bought from us. It;s only when they saw us selling to others did they come back and take some risk. Such is life 🙁
- Multi-Tasking: You will be wearing multiple hats. From being the sales guy to the accounts head, you will be the guy who has to know it all. Compare it with the KRA you had in your last job, you will be surprised to find how difficult it is to do it all. Time will be your biggest enemy and ally in such situations. Use it to your advantage.
- Taxations and govt regulations: Irrespective of whichever country you are in, the government knows how to play a spoil sport. If only your current problems were not enough, you will deal with customers trying t put the govt tax you charge in your net amount or you might do some tax mistake yourself and then your life will be a living hell. Worse, if you stay in a country like ours, you can just wait for them to give a knock at your door asking for your audits which will never be as per their expectations.
- And then, there are the challenges which will come uninvited within few days of you starting your journey.
I am not discouraging anyone from starting a startup or a small business. The idea is to list down the challenges entrepreneurs face when starting a business and dissuade those who are starting a business for the sake of being cool or raising funds.