Saurabh Saxena, CEO & Founder, Holachef.com
Being an entrepreneur is a continuous learning process. Every day, I feel more enlightened than before. Startup life not only grooms you into being a seasoned businessperson, it also tests and hones your people-management skills which help in personal life too.
The most important aspect to consider for an aspiring entrepreneur is whether the business idea she/he is contemplating is what they are absolutely passionate about. ‘Follow your passion’ might sound like a clichéd line but it’s also the most difficult to live by. Often, people don’t understand where their true interest lies. Wanting to start a food business because one is a ‘foodie’ can often be a false premise to start with. Being an entrepreneur is a difficult journey. Can you stay motivated and inspired to pull it through even on bad days? That’s the real question to ask yourself over and over. Work-life balance exists outside of an entrepreneur’s world in the teething years of a startup. If you are truly devoted to your idea, you will enjoy the chaos. If not, you will be struggling each day without any creative motivation to move ahead constructively.
Often, aspiring entrepreneurs make the mistake of believing that since it’s their business idea, they know what’s best for it. It’s important to understand that while you have the vision, you would need help from a lot of people to get there. Always choose to hire people who are better than you. When building a team, look for people who have qualities and skills that you don’t have. Your team will nurture your idea and help it grow into something big under your leadership.
When turning an idea into a business plan, be aware that you might have to evolve your concept into something different than what you first started with. Be open to these changes because it will only help build a more polished product or service. Today, businesses need to keep up with the dynamic market expectations. Hence, tweaking a business plan to suit the end consumer better is always a great idea.
Keep your ears and eyes open. There’s a lot to learn out there. Connect with people who can enrich your thought process or inspire you with their stories. Being an entrepreneur gives you a lot of opportunity to reach out to people from different walks of life. Make an effort to truly absorb something of value from them.
Be patient while your idea grows into a money-making business. Don’t get disheartened with backward pushes in the initial stages. It’s only an opportunity for you to sling ahead harder. Don’t waste time on mistakes that have already been made. There will be way too many. Just learn from them and move ahead.
Set processes. Get into the habit of starting with a process blueprint for everything that you do in your startup. It will save you a lot of resources (time, being the most important) in the long run. It will also set a great foundation for your business to grow upon.
Keep your eyes at the vision at all times. Know what your ultimate vision is and stay focused on that. It will help you in decision making at every step. When faced with a difficult situation, ask yourself what will help you move closer to your vision and choose to do that. You will realize that soon you are taking all the right steps and growing faster than you expected.
Having said all this, here’s my most important advice to all entrepreneurs – remember to have fun each day at work. If you are not enjoying it, you should probably shut shop and go home. Having fun with what you do will keep you high on energy and take care of a lot of things which would seem like a burden otherwise. So no matter what’s going wrong or what challenges come your way, remember that it was you who chose to be an entrepreneur. Nobody forced you into it. Enjoy every moment of it.
[Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net]
About the Author
Saurabh Saxena is an IIT Bombay alumnus. He has been part of the startup ecosystem in India since 2006 – as an entrepreneur, as well as an angel investor. Having been on both sides, his understanding of business, strategy, scalability and profitability is seasoned and supported by his rich experience. In September 2014, Saurabh co-founded Holachef, a restaurant based in cloud. It connects top-notch chefs with foodies through a simple online ordering service.