The founder of INNOLABZ, Mr. Saurabh Chaturvedi was invited to share his insights about entrepreneurship by XLRI, Jamshedpur where he was judging the event named Genesis, which was a business plan competition organized so as to promote the entrepreneurial skills amongst the youth of India. Top management colleges like XLRI, IIM RANCHI, IIM KOLKATA, and IIM AHMEDABAD sent entries and the best team which was SPORTSPAL won the competition and received not just a cash price of INR 50,000 but Incubation and Mentoring support from Innolabz. The runner-up team was GOLD DIGGERS. During the event, Mr. Saurabh Chaturvedi addressed the participants and guided them about the Major Mistakes Committed by budding Entrepreneurs. The session was really interactive and the highlights of his speech are quoted below:
“We all are hearing of unemployment since we were born…it is not easy to earn money, finding a job is no child’s play, there is dearth of employment opportunities, the competition is very high….and we accept this belief since there are only a handful of people with a hope or zeal to change the established norms. We at Innolabz, are not supporting rebels but trying to explain that unemployment can be addressed only and only by generating employability and entrepreneurial tendencies. If it is a problem, then problems do have a solution. And Innolabz is one such initiative to answer all such questions.
As it has been stated what the purpose of establishing Innolabz is, I would like to share some information that might be useful to all the aspiring entrepreneurs present over here. I wish to focus on the common but major mistakes that are committed by budding entrepreneurs which becomes the reason for downfall or inappropriate growth of their company or idea.
The first thing is Uniqueness of Idea. I have often felt that we people have acquired this tendency to copy ideas. If we look at the glorious history, we can relate with great mathematicians like Aryabhatta and great economists like Chanakya. Yes, Chanakya, the author of Chanakya Niti and arthashastra also known as Kautilya. He was the one who gave us the gift of such a source of information about managing finances and running a business but we have become so habitual of taking an already established thing, that we no more think of something new let alone inventing it. But when we copy an idea, we land up in a pool of big fishes as if with an intention of being eaten up by the giants.
Being an Entrepreneur and founder of a company that offers Incubation support and mentoring services to established companies as well as those undergoing the process of establishment, I would like to discuss with you the common but major mistakes committed by entrepreneurs.
1. Inappropriate Planning
Lack of proper planning can cost you your business. It has been rightly stated that ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’, yet many people fail to observe, foretell or predict. Having a myopic vision is the reason behind such a situation and you would be surprised to know that 90% of businesses could not progress just because they planned only for a limited number of things or did not adapt with the changing need in terms of planning. Planning for finances, resources, assets etc. should be done beforehand, not all the things get done on the go.
2. Inadequate management of finance
If you are spending too much money or not spending enough, you are digging a hole for yourself. Investments should be made but expenses should always be kept within the margin set in financial projections; else you would lose control and may not be able to identify if the expenses are serving as investments or expenditure.
3. Ignoring potential competitors.
Most of the time, the idea we have is a near replica of some product existing in the market, with a certain list of differences. Creating something altogether new is not always possible. Assuming that because of the differences, your idea is unique is a major pitfall in the road to entrepreneurship.
4. Need v/s Demand
When you solve a problem, you satisfy a need but when you work only on demand, the taste of success may be tasted early but it lasts only for a while. You should consider that it is the consumer who makes the product a success and not just the product itself.
5. NO answer to “what if….”
Entrepreneurship needs a risk taker, a calculated risk if you remain indecisive thinking about the “what if…” you would end up even before starting as an entrepreneur.
6. “I can do it all” attitude.
You need to be a team player either as an employee or an employer, the role of team spirit or teamwork is crucial everywhere and if the entrepreneur himself doesn’t know how to be a good team member, the chances of his team working as a unit is next to impossible. You need people who can execute the functions in a desired manner and hire the right person is also of great significance.
7. Being content with the small profit margin. Or setting up unrealistic goals People believe that expecting high returns is insane but actually, not planning to achieve that big a number is foolish. To survive and grow, you need to compete. Ultimately, it has always been SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST. But that doesn’t mean you should forget that you got to begin with the model of a minimal viable project while initiating.
8. The backbone of the project. PR & MARKETING
If you are weak in these aspects or believe that your idea is so revolutionary that it will get attention on its own…you are mistaken. If it was so, big brands or big names would not still be investing millions of rupees on marketing and promotions.
9. Making decisions on the basis of pricing or quantity rather than efficiency & quality.
10. Not analyzing the market properly.
A product may work somewhere and the same product may fail at another place, the reason is that the needs may change on the basis of age, area or education. Several factors influence the success of a product. An entrepreneur must run a test of the product before the final launch.
11. Bringing on investors at an early stage.
One should bootstrap on their own because if you take investors into consideration at an early stage, the chances of you becoming an employee than an entrepreneur cannot be neglected since then you only think of number crunching and not innovation. Collaborate when required, make connections, but be wise.
12. Not keeping yourself updated with the changing trends. Know that research is important at every step.
13. Problem with the legal issues.
At a stage, everybody needs guidance or support. If you are lucky enough to get it, utilize your mentor’s expertise to the fullest. Then again, think professionally, giving advice is free but you may pay a lot if the choice of a mentor is itself a folly in the decision-making process.
I hope the information I shared proves to be useful to you and wish the very best to those who aspire to be not just Entrepreneurs but Successful Entrepreneurs.
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