Start early, move fast, be flexible
MUMBAI: What is the right age to become an entrepreneur and start your own business, I am frequently asked. I don’t have an answer! To me, entrepreneurship is like love — it happens when it has to.
There are several myths around entrepreneurship, and people you have met may have suggested that you should get into business only after sufficient level of experience! They believe that this not only helps you build some relevant skills and confidence, but also helps develop your network. However, business realities are far from this. Here’s my take:
1. Real experience comes when you start on your own: I had personally worked for seven years before starting my venture. And the first experience that I had was that entrepreneurship makes you humble — it didn’t matter that you were from IIT/IIM, or had worked with Infosys. What makes the difference is what the customer wants and are you giving them that or not?
2. More the number of years in the job, the higher the entry barrier to start on your own: Lots of my friends are getting Rs 25-30 lakh salaries a year, have a fancy designation, five star travel and accommodation — the whole thing becomes tough to give up as time passes and these numbers become bigger — and the decision to leave all this to pursue your entrepreneurial dreams even tougher. Best time to start is when you don’t have all this baggage!
3. Early bird catches the worm: Among the most successful entrepreneurs, the ones who took their chances are the biggest. You can wait forever to start something in a perfect way — a brilliant idea, great team, investments to back you, but it’s the execution that matters. The trick is to start early, move fast and be flexible about your plans and business models.
4. A word of caution: Entrepreneurship is associated with success as well as risks. So if you have loans or other liabilities, I would advise you to first repay it first rather than leave the risk to your family. Also, keep some reserve cash for your family before taking a leap of faith in entrepreneurship.