Things to remember before heading down the path of Entrepreneurship

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Last week, we hosted the Startups Club meetup at Chennai. We were fortunate to be joined by Mr. J Krishnan for the meeting who shared some of the wisdom that had been shared with him by the likes of Kanwal Rekhi. I just made a note of them and put them together in this blog.

 

You are alone in this journey. During some the hardest times faced by an entrepreneur, there is invariably nobody around to fall back upon. In fact many problems are such, that even if others wished to help you, there would not be much that they would be able to do. An entrepreneur should be able to cope with the emotional needs by himself.

The only thing certain is uncertainty. One of the entrepreneurs said “Morning I am up and upbeat and evening down in the dumps”. Your promotion will not be pulled back next evening unless you do something rather questionable. Client can refuse to sign up for no apparent reason whatsoever. You should have a heart that is strong in order to be a entrepreneur.

Failure is not bad. Failure is to your credit. Just as any job experience contributes to the experience that you have gained in the period, a failed venture or a failed pitch is just contributing to your experience. Don’t make decisions with the fear of failure in mind. It is important to leave the fear aside at all times.

Execution is more important than all else. You might have the greatest idea at hand, but unless you realise what you are dreaming up, it will remain just that, an idea. It is important to make sure that you execute and do that to perfection. Getting too bogged down with vision setting and activities of the sort at the initial stages, is not going to take you far. Your product may flip 7 times before it hits the market. Have a goal in mind and execute tirelessly to reach that.

You get early insight on customer needs if you start meeting customers before your product is even finished. Customers are the best people who can help guide your product or service into a shape that they want. Gets your validation. In the process you may find your first customer.

Entrepreneur is at all points of time a salesman. You have a story which you have to be constantly telling at all times. You have to live the business that you are looking to build each moment. You are the biggest asset that your company has got and the work that you put in initially is what is going to reflect in terms of value when you go in to raise money.

Belief is needed in order to get converts. Three beliefs that are essential for an entrepreneur. Belief in yourself, belief in your company and belief in the product or service which you are building.

Modi – The Storyteller

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I recently completed a course on Storytelling by Jennifer Aaker from Stanford. At the core of it, the course explains four steps to telling a story which are:

1. Single Focussed Goal

2. Grab Attention

3. Engage

4. Enable Action

In the context of the recent victory that Modi registered in the elections in India. As I was listening to Modi’s victory speech it just hit me how he had used each one of these elements in a very pointed manner, in order to win the elections.

He had a Single Focussed Goal of winning the elections and becoming the Prime Minister.

In terms of Grabbing Attention, he did something that was never done in India. He ran the campaign like a presidential campaign. The entire campaign was centred around himself. It was not about the party or its values or anything of that sort. It was a huge risk given the 2002 riot issue was sure to rear its head, but he was confident enough that he could pull it off.

He captured the imagination of the country by promising decisive leadership. He spoke of his track record in Gujarat as the Chief Minister and there were sufficient people willing to back his credentials (definitely more than the number of detractors). He promised the same kind of development for the entire country if he was made PM.

He engaged the people of the country through social media as well as the ‘Chai pe Charcha’ meetings that were held in different cities.

#AbKiBaarModiSarkaar was trending on twitter. If only to make jokes about him, but still. Who was talking about Congress? Any publicity is better than no publicity.

He also engaged by extensively travelling, addressing rallies, BJP say that he travelled 300,000 Kms. How much did Rahul Gandhi travel? To add to that he even used technology, holographic projections to address gathering where he could not be personally present.

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The call for action was simple, get out and vote. The positive externality of all this was campaigns such as ‘You Vote, You Decide’ which was run in Bangalore.

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The result – Well, all of us know.

As I watched the speech that he gave after he won the election, I could not help but compare it with the ‘Dear Sophie’ ad which Google rolled a few years back. Modi repeatedly made the voter the hero and the achiever in the entire story. He said, he was there to serve to act a tool to help India reach the development goals which should have been achieved many years back.

Modi, the PM is the tool. The voter is the protagonist who is able to see great things done through this tool. Just as in Dear Sophie, where the user is the protagonist and google merely provides the tools.

All in all a great story told and a great story sold. What happen here forward will determine if this story can be sold again or not!