5 Biggest Entrepreneurial misleads, ever. (Republish)

Blog, Startups / Saturday, January 13th, 2018

(This is a republished version of the original article written for Entrepreneur India magazine.)

Chase passion, not money.

Have you ever heard this from any VC or Angel Investor saying so for himself? No. But surely he wants to invest in entrepreneurs who chase ONLY passion, so he can make money.

Wake up Sam. Without potential of making money… and shall I say huge money…, your passion is as good as your morning walk. Good for you, and ignorable for rest of the world.

Yes of course, there are businesses built 100% around passion as well, but then they stay small, like mom & pop shops.

Startup world is all about scale & money.

Heard VC’s asking for large market size? They aren’t chasing large market size to showcase your passion at large, but to make huge money.

Also, talking money isn’t bad at all. It’s, the fuel. It’s energy. Sometime money can even show you, your passion (Ouch… debatable).

Historically the most successful company in world (in annual sales) is, Apple. Why? Because it touched 1 trillion in annual sales. See, Money!

Even being an entrepreneur, it’s your top priority job to make money, for your business, your employees, stake holders, and for yourself.

The brutal truth of entrepreneurial eco-system (at least in India) is wannapreneaurs get job at startups, misleaded entrepreneurs survives only following their passion, and successful ones makes money.

Getting funded is how you look succeeding.

Beyond doubt, it’s tempting to see myself in media. Delivering interviews, throwing expert comments, speaking at events, and on top of all, answering: Are you funded?

Being funded is a like having a better motorbike for race; but it’s not the happy “THE END”. It’s where it all starts.

Does having better motorbike and a tank full of fuel, guarantee you the win? No. Though it’s a big support for someone who is willing to win the race at any cost, but even such wonderful facilities can’t make a lazy dumb unfocused ass, win the race.

The Key to successful venture is a solid Organic-Engine, the business model, AKA Why customers will love to pay for your product?

If you call yourself Founder or, CEO of your startup, then it’s your job to build a solid revenue model to build a growth platform for your company.

And then look for funding. That will prove your metal. Real success.

As Anand Lunia, Founder of IndiaQuotient said beautifully, “Believes entrepreneur is the king, not the VC.” Oh I must mention, he is a VC himself though.

The title “Founder” makes you belong to fraternity.

I have learned this hard way.

“This world doesn’t want “Founders”, it’s looking for enablers, facilitators and contributors to make this world a better place to live.”

The fraternity of startup freaks, meal-missers, night-watchers, and Clock-less people is sum of those who are here to make real businesses. Businesses that solves real life problems at mass level, easy the living, enables the less privileged, easy the accessibility to resources, and ultimately make money.

I remember one of our colleague’s friend in New Delhi, elaborating me his passion (fake… to me) to build a new App for several different industries, as he was planning, since he was an App developer at a software company somewhere.

So if you are looking for a surface to create a dent, because you have a hammer, Darling, you don’t belong here. Find a real problem. Do some real math. Do some real plan & execute. There is no easy success.

I know I am being harsh to many, but the truth is this world doesn’t want “Founders”, it’s looking for enablers, facilitators and contributors to make this world a better place to live.

You’ll gain something by attending networking events.

My favorite mistake, since I spent lot of money here, to end empty handed.

“Networking events would be the worst place to develop meaningful & long term relationships.”

Needless to say, I wasn’t planned.

Being a first timer with limited resource and world full of people minding their own business, until they get grey hairs, before start giving you free advices remotely, you don’t get the game.

Networking events, won’t give you anything, but Networking will.

What’s the difference?

Networking stands for connecting with people via any medium if they can help you do better at your business, either by advising on how-to’s, or by connecting you to right vendors, or by helping you raise funds, or by helping to hire right team mates at lower cost. That’s real networking.

So do networking for doing better business. Don’t lose the sight. Stay focused on what you need next to grow your business, and you will attain purposeful networking.

And did I mention, networking events would be the worst place to develop meaningful & long term relationships. Linkedin, Twitter, Bars, Cafeteria, and Offices are great place to connect someone one-to-one, and get into a real conversation, asking for help, offering help and actually “Be Networked”.

Buying Ego

“Ego is a wonderful thing when sold, but dangerous when bought.”

Let me give you few examples that all of us do buy ego, sub cautiously.

Do you see the new add connect on LinkedIn in morning, but you accept the request late in evening?

Do you see the email from someone chasing you at 9 am today, but reply at 10 am next morning?

Do you think its great way to earn respect looking busy or, unapproachable?

Let me tell you something out of my personal experience.

I am digital marketer, and part of my job is to connect with CXO’s, VP’s, Middle Managers, and Sometime to Secretaries.

The fastest responses I usually do receive are from CXO’s & VP’s.

Not because they are free, but because they don’t see who is calling, instead they focus on what’s incoming. And avoid the state of indecision by quickly giving a YES or, NO. In fact, I will not exaggerate by commenting that some of the most humble & interesting to talk people you can find exists at CXO level.

They are more than sure that “buying ego” is not for them, and CXO is a very fatal position since every bad performance will be highly visible. So they do their best to make most out of every small or large possibility by keeping their ego aside, but focus in mind.

Now, Choose.

While writing this, I am feeling bloody fast blood circulation, since to me, it’s like summarizing my 12 years of entrepreneurship. I hope it will help many startups & new comers get the game quicker, for their entrepreneurial stint.

Got any opinion on this article? Talk to me on LinkedIn at #AskPandeyG, Conversations makes a dumb text article come alive.

(First published in Entrepreneur.com)