Starting, sustaining and growing a business requires vision, fortitude and perseverance. Having worked out a great business plan and figuring out the funding is a great first step but most business plans go through a metamorphosis at every stage of the company’s growth. Local market dynamics, regulatory pitfalls, global economic shifts and other problems can derail the best laid out business strategies. This is when hardcore entrepreneurs dig-in their heels and draw upon their experience to chart a future course of action.
They say hindsight is always 20:20. Professional experience can be of great help and come in handy while putting together the nuts and bolts on your business plan and working out a long-term market approach. Success rarely travels a straight line then how does one stay focused and committed to one’s goals irrespective of the challenges?
A report by IBM Institute for Business Value and Oxford Economics has found out that 90per cent of Indian startups fails within the first five years of their operation. Not being a part of this becomes a herculean challenge. In my not-so-long journey as an entrepreneur:
- Identification of the Problem: This is learning # 1. The key to understanding what entrepreneurship is about is to assimilate this one diktat. Identify a critical, unserved problem in the market that you can address with a winning solution. Once you’ve narrowed in on this, make sure that all important elements of your business, from your strategy to your operational plans to your hiring revolve around this. This becomes the pivot around which your business will revolve. The difficulties being faced by the Indian real estate sector in terms of being unorganised, lack of technology adoption and relying on antiquated processes leading to time and cost overruns.
- Background Research is Vital: So you’ve identified the problem and figured exactly what your solution will be. Now is the time to step back and park all your conjectures to one side and delve into some serious research. Background research is the key to understanding your market segment and the more time you spend talking to market participants the better it is. For aspiring entrepreneurs – see your research as a critical investment and use it to revalidate (or reject) conjectures and opinions that you have gleaned from your experience. This is akin to laying the foundation stone of your business, it’s about understanding all the key functional elements of your industry, of your customers, the competition, your suppliers and other marketplace dynamics in all its granularity.
- Professional Learnings and Experience Help: As an entrepreneur, you will need to draw on your professional experience and past learnings when running your own venture. The art of dealing with different people, customers, officials, etc, the ability to navigate tricky situations, the ability to handle failure and learn from it. This will save you time, effort and money and enable you to focus on acquiring new skills while navigating your venture in good times and bad.
- Anticipate Challenges: Easier said than done but groundwork in anticipating what could go wrong is critical. The industry you plan to enter will throw up challenges and opportunities and you will need to draw on your skills and capabilities to counter the first and grasp the second on your journey as an entrepreneur. It’s important therefore to anticipate as many of these as possible before time in order to be ready with the right plan-of-action. Best way to do it is to write it down.
- Have a Clear and Articulated Goal: When people ask me what my goal for the future is, it’s simple! Our goal is to redefine efficiency in the real estate and construction sector using technology. Always remember, unless your goals connect with a larger purpose rather than just simple profitability you are probably down the wrong path. As you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, the only way to keep your momentum going is to motivate yourself thinking about the larger purpose. Every little step towards that will help you in building a long term sustainable business.