First Times

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One of the things that is true about human nature is that our ability to face a situation improves if we have  faced such a situation already.

The first time you change your job, you find the transition a lot harder than thereafter.

If a family has had a case of cancer once, their ability to deal with another member suffering it is much improved.

The first child is always an experiment. Parents don’t worry as much about the second child and the second child also benefits from the best practices learnt from the first.

As an entrepreneur you have to deal with many first times. Keep them coming thick and fast. Face the unknowns as soon as possible. It won’t be the last time you will face it.

Straight ‘A’ students are highly disadvantaged in the real world. A life where you have never faced a calamity, a failure, a disaster leaves you ill-prepared to face it.

Some day you will have to face it, probability has a way of catching up!

Failure

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“One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it.”

I love this quote from ‘Kung Fu Panda’. I have seen this quote to be true on so many levels and in so many situations.

Nobody likes to fail and failure is not a very pleasant experience. But some of the best learnings come only out of failure. Despite this we all fear failure, it is imbibed in us by society and years of being told not fail. I would like to know one person who went back from school and said, ‘Mom, I failed the test today’ and received a response which went like, ‘Great! So what did you learn from it’.

It often happens that the fear of failure is on top of an entrepreneurs mind and it causes them to make decisions in order to NOT fail. They do things that seem safe and not risky because failure would come at a cost.

Instead, as an entrepreneur it is important to make decisions to succeed.

What is the difference??

Take coding for example; if you are looking to succeed you will make all the mistakes and break the code as many times as possible till you succeed.

If you are coding not to fail, you will only do the most obvious things that you are sure would compile. You will never want your code to fail. In the process, you may never find the more optimised and brilliant solution that was always there within you.

As you keep writing code, which keeps failing, you understand the issue at a more fundamental level, you understand what works and what does not. You understand interdependencies better, which may not be described like an equation, but your mind is clear about it. This insight allows you to do things that others cannot.

Failure is merely experience that helps perfect you!

But you need to fall before you learn to walk and it is only then that you learn to run.

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.