The Big G – Growth

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I work with startups and businesses which are trying to scale up, hence, soon or later, the question of ‘Growth’ arrives. 

When do we begin to scale up? How do we grow? What is the best way to grow? How much growth in manageable? How to manage during growth?

But every now and then, the most important question arrives. Do we need to grow?

Due to the success of tech startups and their ability to scale up, it has become a false assumption that every business must grow and if it does not grow, it must be doing something wrong with it!

Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, growth is a very personal question for every entrepreneur. Growth brings increased income, but along with that, it brings a new set of troubles as well. A greater demand on the entrepreneur’s time, greater management challenges, etc. From the point of view of an investor, growth means more returns on investment (or at least a higher valuation! Not all growth is good!) and hence they always prefer growth but from the perspective of an entrepreneur, it is up to the entrepreneur to set growth targets.

If, as an entrepreneur, one is satisfied with being able to meet his/her family demands and afford a good lifestyle, there is no need to grow any further. Any further growth will probably rob the entrepreneur of the extra time that he/she has at present.

There are those who open a grocery store in a neighbourhood and are satisfied with the income that they are able to generate from it. Then there are those who need to come up with the next big dotcom sensation; the next Million dollar App or a nation-wide yogurt chain. Each of them are right in their own place and addressing their respective needs.

The entrepreneur should know his/her appetite for growth. Knowing this allows them to plan accordingly and prepare for what is to come.

Starting a Start-Up?

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As a part of my work, I come across a lot of entrepreneurs who are looking to start a new venture. Most entrepreneurs that I come across are individuals who are looking to quit their jobs and take up the challenge of starting a business. This makes them look at a start-up as an income replacement machine.

They expect the venture to start paying their bills soon enough, which is quite a high standard set for the venture. This is where most lack perspective and do not look at starting up in the right manner.

Creating a start-up can be likened to having a child. Some are prodigal, some not so much; but almost all of them take a lot of time and attention. They might needs sometime to find their feet and start walking on their own and most certainly till such time you have to support it.

Almost everyone spends too much time putting together business plans and numbers. When you have a child, do you write out business plans? You plan; but not to the extent to putting down every number in black and white. Similarly with a start-up it is important not to plan excessively.

Do something you love doing – You will turn out to be quite good at it if not the best.

Do not plan too much – Thing rarely, if ever, follow the course of plans

Research before you start – Make sure that your idea offers a tangible solution to your target audience. Something better than what already exists.

Think positive – It makes a lot of difference

Back yourself for the lang haul – If the venture does not turn out to be prodigal son that you expected, it need not necessarily be a complete wash out either. Be prepared for the long innings, just in case.