What's Your Excuse For Not Starting Up?
Starting your own business is easier than ever before!
To own a business, is a dream-come-true for most people. But something holds them back, and they find several excuses for not being able to even start up.
Typically the top three excuses for not starting up tend to be -
- I don’t have the capital required to start a business
- I don’t know anything about the business
- I don’t have the time to be in a full-time business
Well, the good news is that the change in the business environment today has erased the validity of all the three excuses that prevent most people, especially women, from starting their own ventures.
It has become a lot easier to start a business than it ever was.
Why ‘I have no capital’ is not a valid excuse any more…
Till a decade ago, even making a simple HTML website would cost a few lakhs. Now, with easy-to-use technology platforms like WordPress and other online tools, it costs virtually nothing to get started.
With digital and social media, it is possible to launch; market and promote a venture with very limited capital. Earlier, marketing required large budgets and specialized agencies and service providers. But now, one can launch a product or service on Facebook for as little a budget as USD 10 per day.
Collateral-free funding is available to aspiring entrepreneurs who have the creativity and passion but not the capital and resources to start up on their own. Till a decade ago, unless you had a house or jewelry or some other asset to give as collateral, it would be virtually impossible to get finance. In the past few years, with the advent of angel investors and venture capitalists, it has become possible for people with ideas to get funding, to convert those ideas into a business.
That opens up entrepreneurship as a career option to a significantly larger portion of the population, which only the financially well off could dream of being in business just a few years ago.
Why ‘I don’t know anything about running a business’ is no longer a valid excuse…
Basics of business can be learnt: There are a number of forums available where first-time entrepreneurs can learn and understand what it takes to ideate, plan and operationalize a business. Organizations like TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs), Indian Angel Network and even Fleximoms, conduct regular awareness programs and workshops to help first-time entrepreneurs learn from those with entrepreneurial experience.
Additionally, there are a number of online forums where specific skills and different aspects of entrepreneurship can be learnt.
Specialized help is available: There are numbers of specialized agencies that provide strategic inputs as well as operational support, for services that are essential but not core to the business you are in.
Why ‘I don’t have the time to be in office full-time’ is not a valid excuse any longer…
Technology also makes it possible for people to work flexitime, and from a location of their convenience, thus not just eliminating the need for investments in office space but opening up professional opportunities for a lot more people.
Despite popular belief, entrepreneurship opportunities are Gender Neutral
In India, very few women take up entrepreneurship as a career option. Even those who are entrepreneurs often do not see themselves as entrepreneurs. They often tend to discount their entrepreneurial ventures as a small part-time activity that they pursue because of their interests. While that may be true, even a small business is an entrepreneurial venture and deserves the same respect that any businessperson deserves.
Also, women tend to aspire for a lot lower scale than what they are capable of.
When I conduct workshops for women entrepreneurs, I ask the group what revenue they plan for their ventures in about 5 years time. Only once, have I come across a woman, whose aspiration was that - her company achieve a turnover of Rs.100 crs in 5 years time! However, majority of the women entrepreneurs tend to give a figure less than Rs.5 crs, and most of them are under Rs.1 cr. And these are women who have taken the first steps to become entrepreneurs. When I ask them the reason why their aspiration is to have revenue or just Rs.1 cr in 5 years time, the answer often is that “Oh, I just have 4-5 hours a day”. To that, my response is “So, does that mean that if you want to have a turnover of Rs.10 cr, you would need to have 40 hours a day? And for Rs.100 cr, would you need 400 hours a day? If that be the case, wonder if Narayan Murthy, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Anil Ambani and Sunil Mittal ever get any sleep at all!”
The fact is that it does not take exponentially more time or efforts to add a zero to your revenue figure. It is possible to run a Rs.100 cr company even if you have just 4-5 hours to spend in a day.
But it’s not important whether you want to be a Rs.1cr-a-year business or a Rs. 100 cr or Rs1000 cr-a-year. What’s important is that whatever that revenue goal, you should have that goal because you want it that way. Not because you fear that you may not be able to achieve it.
Whatever your goal, I would like to end by saying that entrepreneurship is a high that you will enjoy despite all the ups and downs that it brings. It empowers you. It gives you a sense of purpose, a direction and a positive restlessness that makes you believe that you can contribute a lot more to this world.
And really, there is just no excuse left for not starting your own business.