Entrepreneurship and Bootstrapping
Entrepreneurship requires constant introspection and quick turnaround at times to react to the market.
I always believe that India is a Great Story and the gamut of opportunities that lies ahead. For anyone willing to sweat and build a “good company” out there India is the country to be in. Getting the start is first step to achieve what you have set out for.
I have always said build something which you believe in and don’t follow the “Herd Mentality”. When you start a business the most important thing you can or should do is form the core management team which is focused on the same vision as when you set out for and will be there in the marriage. We see so many companies today coming out from new generation kids who are bubbling with the idea, from seasoned professionals who saw some gaps in their previous working worlds or are working on totally building something fresh taking the first mover advantage or bettering something already launched. Some of the core points which I saw when building the 1st business in IT and now being part of Boards of some Healthcare Companies are the need people to be
1. Independent from being “Yes” Men
2. Freedom to create
3. Create value
4. Make Money
No business runs on emotions and you need the money as working capital to manage the opex and capex. Any great idea can fizzle out at any stage of the if the required support is lacking from any of the corners to think, build, launch and support. The question when people have asked me that we need to raise capital to build this; my question has been very simple “don’t ask me; ask yourself” asking yourself not from the point of view for the need of money but from the perspective that “do you have the temperament to answer when the investor will ask hard questions”; simple ask and if the answer comes “no” then better build your company slow but steady.
Bootstrapping has always been the buzz word in the startup arena but it is not easy to build a bootstrapped company. You require lot of patience and in a way, get out of the rat race to just focus on your thing. Entrepreneurship refines you, cleans you, certainly makes one a better person provided you just give your venture everything you have. When I mean refines you I mean is that throw your ego out of the window and stop being judgmental. Give the other person the benefit of doubt “that the person may be having a bad day”. To build a bootstrapped company apart you have to reinvent yourself and always remember every day is a new day. Someone one day asked what are you trying to do; my answer to that was “we are just trying to build a good company out there” and we are playing a test match and not a T-20 match. To me apart from growing at a human level taking money at the beginning stage is also a fundamental ethical question. Till one’s focus, goals, product, team and approach is aligned taking money and giving a large chunk does not sense; I will also say that build your team, the product, test the waters and calls the shots as you learn and unlearn as market reacts to your company’s product.
To me at a personal level funding at an early stage is like a debt with the interest rates rising every quarter. So, plain and simple do I worry about the return on investment (ROI) for the investor or concentrate on the product and market and position it well.
Along the journey, you may see that the initial product failing for whatever internal and external factors; not a pessimistic approach but one has to be prepared for the worst. At that stage plan B or different product or tweaking the existing product or whatever measure you take you go to and you need full refocus.
Entrepreneurship requires constant introspection and quick turnaround at times to react to the market. Bootstrapping will test your patience in terms of micro level financial management too but in the end as I see as you create value the perception in the market, your start up fraternity changes and respect is earned and reputations start getting built.
So, what I have followed in the IT company we created was we will go slow and be open in our communication to our clients in terms of the timelines, benefits, risks we see and take the customers along us. We will act as a partner and not a vendor. This sometimes gets hard because no one wants to hear the ground level truth but we promised ourselves that we will focus on building a fair and transparent relation with the people we work with. Apart from that we will value our people who are the core for us, we are as good as the team. We will keep building relationships and not do pure networking.
In a nutshell, the approach has also keep our head and hearts in the place they should be and focus on value creation for all attached with us. We will build a lean bootstrapped company the simple way and not complicate things but isn’t keeping simple difficult that is the path we need to unravel.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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