I. Businessman. (Part 6)
When is it a good time to begin? Now!
Holding on to a great idea that will redefine the world, is of no value to anyone, as long as it is only in your head.
You may have the best business, service or product concept in the world. However, if you do not have the guts to act on it, you may as well forget the whole thing, get on with your job and take the idea to your grave.
But what if it fails?
Here’s the thing. It might work. It might not work. But you would never know until you start it.
When it comes to bringing an entrepreneurial idea to life, what I’ve learned, as a businessman is this:
Learning No: 8
The earlier the better
When you are young, your responsibilities are relatively fewer.
You do not have a family to support. You do not have loans to pay off. You do not need to (as is customary with a lot of cultures including ours) take care of your ageing parents. You do not need to think about your child’s education. You do not need to plan for your retirement.
So if you fail, you always have time to course correct, admit that you couldn’t make it, come up with a new idea, or at worst, take up a job again.
At the most, it amounts to living a student’s life again for a while (you know… limited pocket money, making ends meet, lowering your lifestyle to suit your pocket, eating a Mc Donald’s burger instead of Sushi, stuff like that)
You do not have that luxury once age catches up with you. Taking a hit, when you’re older is much tougher to handle.
I’m not saying that you should start off a business immediately after your education. That would be foolish.
It pays to work in an organization for a bit. But, while you’re there, don’t look upon it as ‘only a job’.
Use your time to learn more about how the business is actually functioning.
How do they make money?
What is their business model?
How do departments and job functions interact with each other?
What role does each play in the entire process?
How does your role, however small or insignificant it may seem, pan out in the bigger scheme of things?
There are two immediate benefits to this.
- The immense knowledge you will gain on how businesses function. Knowledge that will help you when you’re on your own.
- You will be appreciated by your boss. Every company likes people with initiative. Going beyond the call of duty is looked upon approvingly by managements across the world. You will be chosen for projects and jobs, which are not strictly part of your job description. It will give you a chance to broaden your horizons. And importantly, it will help in your appraisals, translating into faster promotions and bigger raises.
When you think you’re ready to begin, remember, there will always be detractors, who will tell you that you’re going down the wrong path, by starting off on your own at such a young age.
If you don’t make it, the worst they will do is gloat and with a smirk, say “I told you so”.
But if you do strike gold, what they say or feel will not matter to you. Because nothing speaks louder than success. Success, which you can claim as yours, and yours alone.
I didn’t start young. Today, I genuinely feel that if I begun my journey 5 or 7 years earlier, things would have been very different. Our organization would have been larger. Our team would have been bigger. Our profitability would have been multifold. I would have been a lot wealthier. I would be able to take bigger risks. I would be able to get bigger returns.
But I also feel that it is better late, than never. It took me 3 months and an intense struggle, to get my first client. It’s been seven years since then. Seven years without looking back.
Start young. Because time is on your side.
And time, is all we have.
TO BE CONTINUED…
(This is part 6 of a series of blogs on my learnings as an entrepreneur )
Read Part 7 here