Think before you take the plunge


The startup business is not for the faint heart. If not done properly, it could result in heartbreak. So, think hard, analyse your plan, convince yourself  first before jumping onto the bandwagon


By Surekha Pendse

I was talking to an aunt of mine who retired last year as VP of a financial institution. She was dismissive of the startup bubble and cryptically said that like the dotcom boom, this too will go burst soon and only the able will survive this chaos, and the high numbers we see floating around in funding don’t mean a lot.

She asked me: how many startups do you know that are not IT-based? How many are really working in the rural areas? Are they disruptive or are they me-too. What value do they bring to the society and will they bring a lasting change? What is different about startups compared to traditional business?

So many pertinent questions made me ponder.

It looks like every Ram, Rahim, John, Satnam and Jamshed (you see, I am very secular) is in the startup fray. It seems to be a thing in fashion or vogue. But are they just chasing the big bucks of funding or are they there to build a sustainable business? The failure and pack-up of startups is a harsh reality that most do not acknowledge. Having a positive attitude is great but when coupled with pragmatism, it gives your plan the execution process.

All this has been said umpteen times but I would still love to point out four crucial areas that need to be on your check list when the startup bug bites you and you wish to take the plunge.

How badly do you want to do it?

Starting a business, even a startup, needs to consume you with passion to start it. If you have a million questions and afraid to dive in, then let me remind you that this journey would be bumpy for you. Total 100% conviction is the first weapon in this war and be absolutely sure that this is what you want. Rate your desire to start your business on a scale of 1 to 10 and see where you stand. If you and your friends (with analytical mind) give you 9 or 10, then dive into these deep waters.

Reasons for starting up

If being rich or famous or having followers is why you want to take a bite of the startup apple, here’s a request: don’t throw away your job or whatever you are doing, don’t jump on to the bandwagon. It may or may not go anywhere or will go where you don’t want it to go. The purpose needs to be well defined.

I am not writing this story to just attract readers. That is not my only reason. I also want the content we publish at Stars of Startups to help startups succeed. The website is not only to give coverage to startups or create awareness about them, but also to give tips to succeed. Want to help them with do’s and don’ts so that their objective is far-reaching and solves a problem.

Preparedness to go the extra mile

Are you on top of your career or in a nice cushy job with a good team to do your bidding?

All that will change when you set up your own startup. You will be the lone samurai and there will be no shortcuts for hard work. Looking at other startups founders, who have made it big, you will feel as if it is so easy. No, it is not!

You will need to work all hours, do everything yourself, bootstrapping, will have to cut down on your air travel and all frills. It is not a fairytale but will require grit and determination in abundance. If you are scared by this list of activities, then my dear friend, don’t make the leap. Rethink. Not once but hundred times. I am not trying to scare you, but drawing a realistic picture. It is not wrong to want all the good things in life, but that is not the way to start up then.

Can you acclimatize or adjust?

Have you thought about this? Most people do not consider it when they startup. They like to maintain status quo and are happy doing that. Change is the only constant, though clichéd, it is very true. A business needs to evolve constantly to keep up with the changing technology, and processes. If you find it difficult to adapt, are not flexible but quite rigid, then a startup is not for you.

So, there you go, you have been warned. Once you are able to do all this and more, welcome to the startup world and enjoy the ride as well as the success that a sound plan and hard work will bring.

This is just the start of the series. In subsequent pieces, I will tell you about other things you need to take care of before jumping into the fray. Welcome to this unique ride!

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