I recently self-published my novel ‘You Only Live Once?’ and scaled its sales to make it reach in the coveted top 100 Amazon Bestsellers list. I sold a record 234 copies on Amazon and 50 copies on Flipkart in one single day, yesterday. My rank on Amazon was #85 (Books) and #13 (Contemporary Fiction). It’s a huge feat for me because I am a one-man army with a big dream in my eyes. It prompted me to write a blog to help other writers. I will run out of stock as I publish this blog. A truly happy-sad situation. Laugh. Sob.Read More
Startups, like humans, have DNA that defines its being – innovative, disruptive, risk-taking and fast-paced. They’re also cool, collaborative and impactful. As of 2016, India boasts of the entrepreneurial culture with about 2 million startups. Startups are in the newspapers, cafes and coworking spaces. They’re even on the billboards that stand straight on the traffic signals that lead to your office. A recent Accenture survey reported that
only 15% of the class of 2014 said that they’d prefer to work for a mature, established organization.
As an owner of a mature organization, no matter how strongly you believe in your processes and teams, what raises an alarm for you is –
- Hiring and Retaining the Best of Talent
- Fostering Rapid Fire Innovation
What do you do?
Calm down. Relax. Here’s a simple step-by-step action plan that has helped several mature organizations in the past and will come to your rescue too.
Intrapreneurship! Yeah, you’ve heard about it a couple of times, but, what is that? When your employees become entrepreneurs, they are called intrapreneurs. The average age for startup founders is 40. So, intrapreneurship isn’t for the new recruits only, it’s for the middle-managers too.
Great ideas can come from anyone, ok!
Empower your employees to come up with new ideas. Celebrate failures as much as the successes. Google encourages its employees to spend 20% of their time on new projects. This presents the employees with a new opportunity within the same organization and cultivates the drive for innovation. Ownership of ideas – yes you’ve got it right! The moment we start to own our ideas, we feel empowered already.
When you’d have asked your wife to marry you, it would’ve probably been at a fine dining restaurant. Similarly, for your employees to innovate, they must find themselves in a high energy environment. Building an office that has an open setup, no cabins, some Steve Jobs’ posters, a cafeteria, an incubator, in short everything that can let one’s creative juices flow and provide a conducive space for brainstorming.
If you don’t want to invest in the old office, consider moving to a coworking space.
It will also help your employees to network with the startup people.
A team is as motivated as its leader is! Not just the CEO; motivation, energy and an appetite for risk must run from top-to-bottom and soak everything that comes on its way.
Can we make everyone feel that they’re a part of the idea, the impact that they’re making?
Of course, we can! Rewrite those mission statements to make them more contemporary, upgrade the reward system and consider ESOPs to make them feel as if it were their own company. It truly does magic!
Open culture isn’t really about sharing beers with the co-founders, it’s more about being able to share everything without a drop of it!
Yes, we’re talking about having an open-door policy. A flat hierarchy fosters innovation through early feedbacks and failing fast. Listen before you speak, listen to their failures as much as their achievements.
But, Technology First!
In the times of Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, deep learning and advanced robotics; what you can’t certainly miss out on is technology.
The fifth industrial revolution is all about – do or die.
While innovative business models are ruling the market, it’s time that every company appreciates the power of innovation and disruption. MNCs are being wiped out overnight due to the lack of it. Invest in relevant technologies to reap benefits in the long run.
The core capabilities of a mature organization give it a competitive advantage, that added with the learnings from the startups can help mature organizations to cut from the clutter and stay ahead in the times of Uber and Airbnb.
Entrepreneurship presents you with various challenges from the very moment you decide to take the plunge. But, isn’t challenges the thrill of an entrepreneurial life? As a kid, most of you would have played video games. Would there be any thrill, if there were no villains or obstacles? Certainly not. Similarly, the journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur is a challenging one as well.
Here are some hacks for you to nail it!
Self vs. Product Validation
It is a good idea to seek everyone’s opinion, however not at the cost of questioning your core values. Listen to the criticism carefully, however, do not let anyone validate your own values.
A few days into the business, and you would start to occasionally look back on your big fat pay cheque corporate life. You would question your choices on the days a few setbacks would knock on your door. Negative thoughts like, ‘Maybe! This is not for me!’ and ‘Maybe. I’m not the one,’ will start to surround you. You need to kick it out with, ‘Yes, I can!’ and ‘Yes, I am the one.’
Keeping At It
The definition of success varies from person to person. But, if you are an entrepreneur, measuring success from an internal frame of reference will help you keep the external distractions at bay, and concentrate your efforts on what matters the most – your company! Celebrate small successes and wins with your team. Your vision could possibly take 7-8 years to come to life but that doesn’t mean that you can’t celebrate. Hustling will become the status quo and you need to welcome this lifestyle with open arms.
The Wrong Circle
During the early days, it is imperative to find your circle of people, who can guide you through, ably. They are the ones who will encourage you when you start to look back and reflect too often. Network, and meet a couple of fellow entrepreneurs who will add to your enthusiasm and energy.
Read good books. Take a brisk walk in the morning. Engage in some sports during the weekends. Call back home. Practice mindful minutes and yoga for your mind. Do everything under the sun to keep yourself motivated. If you feel good, you energize your team with a good amount of positive energy.
Once you are done with the internal challenges, it’s time to face the world. The good news is that by this time you have become a stronger version of you.
Originally Published On: https://iamanentrepreneur.in/startup-business-trends/challenges-successful-entrepreneurs/
The more you fail, the more techniques you’d know to rise up again, and return stronger
Odds would become the order of the day when you start your business. Unruly life, unlikely outcomes and unknown obstacles make the milestones on the long road to success. While most odds would be external, the others would be internal. Internal odds are easier to overcome than the external ones. If you’re prepared as a warrior from the inside, it would be easier to combat the outer world. Wouldn’t it?
Always remember, in Martin Luther King’s words, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” That’s the simple mantra you need to abide by as an entrepreneur when it comes to keeping at your inner calling.
Awareness is the first step to success. As an entrepreneur, you must be aware of the unruly life and know that the challenges are the norm. Being mentally aware would then bridge the expectation-reality gap and you’d be ready to take up the hustle.
Self-belief is that weapon from your arsenal which would empower you to win the battle with the external odds. Most of the entrepreneurs believe that they’re subjected with criticism and opinions only until idea validation stage. Then they realize that no matter where the company is, they might have to deal with beliefs contradictory to their own, and convince the world about the vision they believe in. However, to be so focused and headstrong, you must have a very strong belief in your potential and your goals. This self-belief must be constant and unwavering much after the 1000th day too.
Learning is a constant loop, it never ends. Learn from the mistakes made in the past to build the future than crib about clients who would not pay or partners who would not stand by when need be. You’ve had your tragedies, so have the others. Anytime you feel bogged down, pat yourself on the back, get up, learn and move on. Where? Forward. Period.
Fail to rise
Success tastes the sweetest after a series of failures, and remember, every success is preceded by failure. As a child, you’d fall a thousand times before you would confidently walk on your feet someday. Similarly, don’t be afraid to fail. The more you fail, the more techniques you’d know to rise up again, and return stronger.
Focus on where you’ve to reach. Also, never forget where you’ve come from. Celebrate success, however small, with your team. When your focus is at the right place, your dream and the action plan to achieve it, all the obstacles and circumstances become irrelevant.
Invest your time with someone that you look up to as your mentor. It could be your investor or simply a teacher. During the entrepreneurial days, good and bad, you’d be able to reach out to them without hesitation, and you would not feel alone after all. Also, believing that someone can guide you better than you can guide yourself keeps you grounded and never lets your ego take too much control of you.
How about the external odds, you might think?
External circumstance would never really be under your control so why not make the most of your inner strength and persevere to establish your business?
Originally Published On: www.entrepreneur.com/article/326638
From Facebook to Uber, many companies were started because their founders wanted to solve a problem they, as consumers, faced
As a human, you’d be forced to take several decisions on an everyday basis. It is almost impossible to rationally evaluate various choices, when it comes to making a decision. In fact, emotions from our previous experiences play a vital role in influencing our decisions.
Antonio Damasio, professor of neuroscience at the University of Southern California, argues in his book,Descartes’ Error, that emotion is a necessary ingredient to almost all decisions. Emotions → cognitive processing → decision making → choice → outcomes!
Thankfully, most of the decisions are trivial with short-term repercussions. Should I have coffee right now or grab it from a Starbucks on the way? What should I wear for the weekend party? Should I have scrambled eggs or baked beans for breakfast? The list is endless. However, some decisions are bound to give us sleepless nights. Should I take up this cool new job or pursue further studies? Should I continue with my job or start my own venture?
Just like any other scenario, an entrepreneurial journey is full of instances where you’d be taking critical decisions. In fact, research in psychology shows that most of the entrepreneurial decisions are emotion-driven. Emotions will trigger your action to build your way forward in the journey.
Since emotions strongly persuade entrepreneurial decision-making, you’d better be aware of it and exercise this awareness to build positive outcomes. If the positive emotions are as overwhelming and omnipresent as the clouds in the sky, the awareness will give action the essential wings to fly. If the negative emotions are as wavering and inconstant as the water in the ocean, the awareness will give actions the essential boat to sail. Whether you sail through and fly with success depends on the action. In other words, starting up a venture is the best way to experience the ends of the emotional spectrum. The journey is full of emotional highs and lows and, therefore, it becomes absolutely essential to recognize what one is feeling at any point and make better decisions. Lows overpower the highs, on most occasions, and so, to constantly keep at one’s calling will be challenging for most of the times.
If you’re reading this, chances are that either you own a business or have been contemplating starting one for a few months now.
Let’s start from the beginning
Ask yourself a simple question: Why did I start my business in the first place?
Most of you’d say, because I wanted to solve this problem. Chances are that most of you’ve experienced the problem that you wish to solve. When you experienced the problem yourself, you had a sudden surge of emotions. The experience stayed with you for a while and when you had to embark on the entrepreneurial journey, this idea overruled every other idea and you decided to pursue it.
Some of the greatest startup ideas of the 21st century were triggered by emotions. Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook since he himself struggled hard to make social connections. He thought to himself, “Why not create a platform that helps people connect virtually with ease?” Boom! Facebook was born. On a winter night in 2008, two friends, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, struggled hard to find a cab while they were in Paris to attend a conference. A few months after Uber was born!
If you watch a few episodes of Shark Tank, you’d analyze a pattern. A lot of people talk about an idea in specific because they’d faced the problem that they chose to solve. Most of the companies have real emotions, people and stories behind them.
By now, you’d start to believe that the decision of pursuing an idea, in particular, is itself based on emotions. Isn’t it?
Now, you’d “decide” to pursue the idea!
The decision to pursue the idea is also driven by emotions. Isn’t it? You will have to be crazy enough to quit your cushy 9-5 job and dive deep to test the entrepreneurial waters. It’s as challenging as breaking up in a relationship where you had attained the comfort zone, but now you’ve decided to embrace the change, and eventually discover one’s true self.
Now that you’ve embarked upon the entrepreneurial journey, your journey can be broadly classified into:
The good days
In the beginning, you’d be so emotionally involved that you’d let your health suffer, won’t call back home as often, and also decide to skip your best friend’s wedding for that much-awaited investor pitch. But as long as you get to work on your dream venture, you’d feel good.
A positive customer testimonial will fill your heart with the ultimate bliss that the world has to offer, so will the positive tweets/reviews post-launch.
As a relationship progresses, the intensity to express love to your partner goes down but in the case of your company, the passion will keep building as you achieve short-term goals and feel the exhilaration to do more.
Positive emotions have proven to deliver better decisions and hence, the best outcomes. So, the good days aren’t the ones that we need to lose our weight about.
The bad days
Have you ever imagined yourself a character while you were watching a movie? Meeting new people, day in day out, would be a process as immersive as watching this film. You’d want to be the hero, listen to all things positive and try and seek out a deal from every conversation. But a majority of the times, you’d be faced with criticism on your product or return home without the deal.
One fine day, you’ll wake up to negative customer testimonials, and also read it on a blog that your competitor has raised more funds than you did. The kind of thoughts that will iterate in your mind will go like, “Gosh! So the investors potentially believed in the idea but did not see the potential in my team!”
Unfortunately, the negative emotions triggered on the bad days overpower the positive emotions triggered on the good days. More often, the bad days outnumber the good days. The entrepreneurial journey teaches one to believe in oneself and hustle no matter what. It fuels the optimism towards living a full life. Edison once said, “I have not failed, I have rather found 10,000 ways that do not work.” Yes, that’s the level of optimism we’re talking about.
When you’re emotionally involved with something, positive emotions and negative emotions become an indispensable part of your journey. But your ability to recognize the negative emotions, working on it and eventually converting it into positive emotion will determine a positive outcome. You’d have lived life to the fullest capacity should you choose to startup as you’d have experienced the whole spectrum of emotions in the truest sense.
Originally Published On: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/324408