We start this article with Bhagwat Geeta teaching : Overconfidence always skins the Ship
Most entrepreneurs think they are building the next big thing.
And not to surprise you over 96% of them fail in the 1st 5 years.
But I ain’t one of them? Right
That’s what I thought. I believed my logical startups were concrete and complete. It would change the lives of millions.
And like any other entrepreneur: I never thought I’d ever fail… I never expected to lose.
But guess what, not did I just loose, I also ended up alone, isolated and broke. After 7 attempts in the past 8 years. Now finally I can say that YES now I have the financial Independence I was looking for, Yes it was all worth.
That’s why I am writing this today: to help you save your time and jump over those 7 years of struggle.
Back when we were young our grandparents used to tell us that at some point I knew India as “Sone ki Chidiya” which translates to the country with The Golden Bird.
Fast-forward to 2019. We are in a phase wherein we are facing the Highest Unemployment rates, Values of Rupee to Dollar is at 71, Startups and Business are failing or declaring bankruptcies, every day.
What was the Old Indian Kings doing right back then, that we are not?? with no further ado
Let’s know. today
To keep the credibility of the information here, I have summarized these points into tweets by the famous author Devdutt Patnaik and some directly from Bhagwat geeta. Taking them as Inspirations I am writing this article today
1) Lack of Innovation: Around adding Value to Customers
In 2019 every day more than 1k startups /businesses are being registered worldwide. Of which the startup founders mostly focus on Generating personal revenue or profits. Generating money is difficult when you do not know your Market Share. So mostly people small ventures skip the hassle of R&D
Instead, for we do is, Search & Find profitable segments from other successfully portrayed businesses change them and launch them as the new big thing.
For a few fortunate examples In India We have:
But they are successful, aren’t they? If I had to type the companies unfortunate with the same model. This article would fall short.
Even the above startups did not reach the point of profitability.
So what is the solution?
Quote #1 from Bhagwat Geeta by Mr Patnaik: Many people let others frame their point of view (tamas guna). This is ignorance, born of inertia; A few see the world from their own point of view and act only according to the needs of the once not capable to carve their way in life (rajas guna). This is nothing but control, control of your wellbeing & success ;
Which is this case means, while starting a venture we should not copy ideas, and rather focus on the problems we solve which our customers do not have a solution to?
For introspecting your customer’s problem you should start with
a) Customers Profitability by your solution
b) Increase in customers productivity
c) Gross Margin Profit in comparison with your competitor, if any
d) Use this tool named Wiser to get an idea of the 1st 3 Points )
e) The authenticity of Brand (Create official Mail Id, Use Zoho Mail. First 5 Mail Ids are free )
f) Stock Inventory Options (In case of a product-based business )
g) Way of presentation
Speed of transaction (Use Good Payment Gateways Instamojo and Razor Pay are legit and free )
2)Cash Flow In Negative & Expansion with Negative Margin
Startups or Business make this very common mistake of Negative Cash flow & Expansion.
What this means is. Businesses pursuing gaining customers provide most of their services on Credit basis or Free of cost, hoping to gain clients in the longer run.
While calculating the profits it very much profitable on papers.
But in the real sense, they do not have that much cash in hand, and customers these days have learned all-new ways to avoid making credit payment or quitting your brand altogether when you charge what you deserve.
Be it by creating a 0 balance credit cards and availing your free service, purchasing goodies from options like Paytm postpaid, or switching to competitor companies as you charge for a commodity.
At the end. You don’t receive your share of the cash.
This may seem like a vague reason, but here in India companies like
AskMe.com, AutoRaja, Splitkart, Talent Pad, Fashionara and many more
Have shut down operations because of this single problem
What is the solution ?
Bhagwat Geeta : अस्रद्धय हुतम् दत्तम् || तपस् तप्तम् क्र्तम् च यत्
असद् इत्य् उच्यते पर्थ || न च तत् प्रेत्य नो इह (17.28 )
I do whatever without faith — whether it is sacrifice, charity, austerity, taking money, giving loan or any other work — it will have no value attached to it.
This may have various interpretations, but as an entrepreneur what I understand is :
As businessmen, we know the intent of our client before we are going into any kind of agreement with them. If you do not have faith in your client, faith in your targeted market. Do not provide such options or spend your energy making such a credit system. Whereat, in the end, you will not get your money back, also your invested time will have no value attached to it.
But my client is not interested to pay the entire money at one go!
Solution: EMI & Fermium Model of Service. Infinitely give some part of your service totally for free! Add value in your customer’s life & always keep the remaining part of your services, chargeable.
Example of fermium models:
YouTube regular and YouTube premium
Car test drives. They let you drive the car before you purchase it. They don’t sell the car for free.
For collecting Payments: small business to corporates can use payment gateway system like Instamojo, Razorpay or Stripe.
We mostly use stripe for International Payment
And Get EMI options already pre-installed along with credit, debit and mobile wallets payment systems integrated.
You receive the full money, these companies take care of the remaining hassle with the Banks …
Unlike some options available there, these two gateways are free of cost.
3)High-Performance Team :
This is one of the biggest problems I see in today’s startups or companies. That they lack a good team!
So now the question arises, what is a good team?
Bhagwat Geeta : अमी च त्वां धृतराष्ट्रस्य पुत्रा|| सर्वे सहैवावनिपालसङ्घै: |
भीष्मो द्रोण: सूतपुत्रस्तथासौ||सहास्मदीयैरपि योधमुख्यै: ||11. 26||
वक्त्राणि ते त्वरमाणा विशन्ति||दंष्ट्राकरालानि भयानकानि |
केचिद्विलग्ना दशनान्तरेषु||सन्दृश्यन्ते चूर्णितैरुत्तमाङ्गै: ||11. 27||
In which Lord Krishna Says To Arjuna. I see the future where Kuauravas & their Allies get their heads smashed by the wrath of time.
He said this the context to the selection of the team and their actions.
The Pandavas were just 5 brothers, were as the Kauravas were 100 brothers. Talking of the Army, the Pandava Army comprised 7 akshauhinis (1,530,900 warriors) and the Kaurava Army comprised 11 akshauhinis (2,405,700 warriors).
Even though they were largely outnumbered. The Job roles and alley selection by the Pandavas were perfect. Therefore, they could defeat the Kurawas with Ease.
Basically, Lord Krishna Preaches good team selection & Quality over quantity.
How to select a Good team: Your candidate should have
You as a recruiter should do the following things
Map the candidate’s competency with live projects
Find candidates competency by giving a related task
(Example: If your candidate is a copywriter ask the candidate to write an SEO article and take note of the candidate’s competency )
The idea to Execution time taken by a candidate
Promoting & giving job roles only after the above assessment
4)Scalability with recurring Revenue Model and mixed marketing signals
Most startups have this very common problem wherein they keep gaining new customers, and the existing client goes neglected, and I don’t blame you guys. We as business owners don’t find or see our existing clients making a transaction with us any day soon.
Why does this happen?
We lack a recurring Revenue Modal!
Bhagwat Geeta : श्रीभगवानुवाच ||असंशयं महाबाहो मनो दुर्निग्रहं चलम् |
अभ्यासेन तु कौन्तेय वैराग्येण च गृह्यते ||6. 35||
In this verse, Lord Krishna is talking to Arjuna and saying. That mind is restless and difficult to restrain, but by constantly practising and doing the same thing regularly with spiritual practices. If we tame the mind, we can achieve bigger goals in life
Here a business owner should learn that to achieve some goal and to reach a new scalable level in your business. You should find a unique selling point and keep perfecting that skill constantly i.e. in a recurring way.
How do I add a recurring business modal in my Existing Business / Start-Up?
We do that with the help of Analytics.
Product Repositioning: Do not sell your products to random people and end up exhausting your marketing budget. Find your audience. Advertise and sell to that group of an audience regularly.
To further simplify it: Use Google trends to learn about the latest trends, followed by Google Analytics to understand behaviour.
Followed by social media, in this case, Facebook and scale with the master tool from Facebook known as a Facebook pixel. To learn about customer interaction with your product
Market Demography: Learn about the exact place from where you get the most sales
Market Psychograph: Sometimes your product may be perfect but you still don’t get any sales. That is because your marketing doesn’t connect with the psychology of your customer. Again use Google trends to learn about the interest’s trending where you are selling your product, so you can leverage the trends to work for you in getting sales.
If you do not use these tools and market your product without a USP (unique selling point) to a mass audience that does not connect with your product and marketing efforts, all you will end up with is a disappointment and monetary losses.
5)Releasing Product when the scope in that Market Is about to die
Another very common problem I see with beginners is that they get inspired seeing other succeed in a particular business and earn a lot of money. They are still sceptical about making the initial investment. So they wait to see more success stories and by the time they decide and enter that business, that business is about to die or has already reached saturation.
And the blunder we make above that is, to get sales at that point of time, we ruin the already sinking market by providing
Decreasing Profit Margins
Following the Credit system as mentioned above.
And guess what we even had the solution to such unavoidable problems in the Bhagwat Geeta
Quote #2 from Bhagwat Geeta by Mr Patnaik:
तस्मद् असक्तह् सततम् कर्यम् कर्म समचर असक्तो ह्य् अचरन् कर्म परम् अप्नोति पुरुस्हह्”
Which says develop the habit of being open to everything and being too attached to nothing. Attachment may give strength to work and love beyond ourselves, but it also restricts us and makes our journey and growth difficult. Too much desire can be bad, as it turns into greed. Greed takes away your skill to achieve, create or innovate.
Which in this case means, if you have entered a business which is sinking. It’s better to kill the attachment and start something new unless you have the time and money to wait and let the rainy days end.
6) Save your business from getting out-competed
Many entrepreneurs who follow most of the steps mentioned above, still get defeated in the Rat race as some competitor outperforms them and end up in a better position. Finally, forcing you to compromise on your profits.
How do we cut through this problem?
Bhagwat Geeta : “वसम्सि जिर्ननि यथ विहय नवनि ग्र्ह्नति नरो ’परनि तथ सरिरनि विहय जिर्नन्य् अन्यनि सम्यति नवनि देहि”
Which Says :
It is easy to say that diversity and adaptation are key to success. But the biggest lesson for any entrepreneur is to learn to adapt quickly. Don’t get stuck with your initial vision. Learn how to adapt, innovate and develop new opportunities. Prepare your journey as a traveller, not connected to the city he is visiting or the hotel he lives in, but he has to experience everything. Don’t be silent to be innovative, open-minded and willing to absorb experiences like sponges. And if you follow this step, you will always remain transcendental to the barriers of time.
To all these points I would add up, that in today’s world to stay ahead and protect your innovation you should
a)Copyright your intellectual Rights
b)Get patent and licensing done for any kind of invention
c)If it’s a technology-based startup, you can get a technological proprietary license
7) Not Acting on Customer Feedback & Lacking an Ecosystem
Feedback, negative comments are not a curse but a boon.
What do we do when we see a negative comment?
We feel bad, maybe we type a long message saying how sorry we feel and promise the customers to improve the system. But do we really do it
If a customer is taking the time to write a negative comment about you, it means that they care and want your platform to improve.
A product is never ready for the market, the product becomes a commodity once you take the feedback, keep enhancing and re-launching the product repeatedly, until it creates an ecosystem wherein your suppliers, customers & vendors depend on your product
Example of such a successful business are :
Youtube, Amazon, Uber, Alibaba Etc.
And being the most important point, this is what Bhagwat Geeta had to say :
Bhagwat Geeta : “KarmanyeVadhikaraste Ma PhaleshuKadachana, Ma Karma PhalaHeturBhurmaTeySangostvaAkarmani”
A lot has been said and heard about ‘karma’, but the true essence lies in these two simple lines. Every entrepreneur should focus on their work, i.e. karma without expecting the result or outcome. You should not concentrate so much on the final product and just enjoy reaching there. We get swayed by our vision and rely on its success too much. We forget it is pivotal to enjoy the whole process rather than just hoping for something that you know is anyway uncertain. Remember, having hopes of being optimistic is not wrong, but without actions, your path will be dreadful. The art lies in walking the tightrope and enjoy expecting it. If the guy who walks the literal tightrope is scared or too excited, he will fall. The trick to his success is that he enjoys it while he walks to reach the other end successfully.