Myth 1 - I have a great idea but I can’t share it coz someone will steal it.

Oh man, if that were the case, then dreams would be the most expensive commodity on the planet.

Salvador Dali- the father of Surrealism slept on a couch with a spoon in his mouth. He would start dreaming up crazy ideas and as he would drift into his sleep, the spoon would slip out of his mouth, fall on the floor and wake him up. He would immediately get up, rush to his canvas to paint what he had just dreamt. The million $$ Dalis that exist today are paintings, not dreams.

Truth – An idea is worth nothing. Execute. Execute. Execute to make it valuable.

Myth 2 – When do I approach the investors? Hmmmm… What’s the best ‘timing’?

Huh?? Were you Sleep Walking?

If only investors were like the Black and Yellow Mumbai cabs that you can hail and get into any time you want!

No VC or Investor is waiting with bated breath biting her fingernails for you to call! It’s quite the opposite scene actually. In a booming Economy (like India), investors are deluged with lots of high quality and established business investment options, so you have to fight hard to get into the VC's visitor’s area to begin with!

Truth – Capital Chases Entrepreneurs, not the other way around. Invest all your energies in building a GREAT business. Everyone will be ringing your doorbell.

Myth 3 – I have no money to start. (Sniff Sniff).

Most new business ideas today really need very little capital. If you are thinking of starting an Internet enabled business, the cloud takes away all the pain of investments. Domains cost less than 20 US$, and the rest of it is almost free. Sites like Wordpress and their plugins can get you a fully loaded website up and running in a few thousand rupees spent.

Sure, if you have a more Capital Intensive business idea, then think really hard. Start Ups don’t survive on Love and Fresh Air. They need real hard cash. If you are on the Poverty Line, don’t attempt to start up. There will be better times to be more adventurous.

Truth – Be ready to sacrifice a good couple of years’ earnings into starting up and not looking like someone who lost all her baggage after a 24 hour flight. Once you have the cushion of 2 years’ savings, a lot more confidence will seep into your decision-making and improve your risk taking capabilities. Also Budget your Burn to say last for a year or whatever be your test horizon. That discipline will go a long way even after you get funded.

Myth 4 – Let me Grow First. Revenues can come Later.

Oops. That’s the spine breaker.

Unless you have a massive, massive overnight hit like a Twitter or Facebook, tread the ‘growth first, revenue last’ road with caution.

You may be suffering from a deep-seated insecurity to generate revenues and conveniently shoving that fear under the carpet by postponing revenue generation. It’s like hiding a body in the deep freezer and hoping that it will never be found.

Generating revenues is a real PAIN.

And it’s best confronted in parallel to building your business. In fact, so many extra features of your service or enterprise may never be needed if you listen to the fat men with the cheques books early on. Also, as investors, partners, and potential acquirers  start noticing your business, they look your Generating Revenue Experience (GRE) scores. If you didn’t apply for the exam, you wont get in.

Truth – Get that begging bowl out. Try and test (if you want to maintain Facebook like early start up Virginity) what people will pay for – but make sure that you know where the light switches are when the darkness arrives.

Caveat (added on 22.9.2012) - I do not mean that make revenues the 'focus' of your business. The focus is Business creation - but a proven revenue model validates that model. As long as you even know 'where and how' the revenue will come, I believe that its fine

Myth 5 – I’m a techie – I don’t know anything about business. I am a business guy, I don’t know anything about technology!

Then learn!!

The demons of the mind that say that you don’t know how ‘business’ works need to be exterminated on day zero of starting up. Look all around you – the greatest geeks in the world – Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, The Google Twins, Marc Z – all have understood the science of business better than anybody else.

Also, for a M.Com dud like myself, today, technology and self -serve platforms have become so easy to understand and implement, they are like those do it yourself Lego Puzzles. All you need is the patience to sit down and assemble the rocket you are trying to build step by step. Read the instructions carefully and you will be set.

Truth – No entrepreneur can be in-complete. This is actually also the first step in becoming an entrepreneur – understanding a domain that you otherwise had no clue of.

Note - I am not suggesting mastering all domains, but rather just understanding them.

Get Out there and Figure it out!

Get Out there and Figure it out!

Myth 6 - Professionals whom I want are too expensive to hire.

Did you ask them? Did you look into their eyes and explain your invention and what can happen with it?

So many of the ‘been there, done that’ types are so bored and stuck en-cashing salary cheques every month. They are waiting for folks like you to go up to them and redeem them! I meet so many professionals (earning much more than me) ever so often who say ‘Wow Alok, I wish I could be doing the exciting and innovative things you and your Company do’!

Truth – Professionals with big compensation packages may not quit their job in a hurry for your Love Songs, but they can certainly begin associating with you. Start meeting them and burrow into their experiences. Shed a few shares and get them on your board. You may even realize that you never needed them full time!

Myth 7 – I HAVE TO make this work. (Stomping of feet on the floor heard).

Once in a while, when you sample a new restaurant or cuisine, you do risk getting in there, and ordering a meal you have never tasted before. In the first few bites, you know if it is a ‘disastrous’, a ‘will do, let’s get this done with’ or a ‘wow’ meal.

In a start up land, while your dreams may have taken you to heaven in a first class seat, when you actually implement the idea and hit execution, you may land up in rubble, deep under the ground.

Do not deny the ‘badness’ of the idea or the common sensical fact that ‘this was a bet that should not have been played’. Enterprises are built on hypothesis. If even a couple of assumptions or facts (which are crucial to business) don’t turn out the way as per your expectations, ditch the business, kill all engines, sit back and revise the learnings earned.

Truth – Get out, as soon as you see smoke. Don’t put on a mask and enter the fire pretending to be a firefighter. You will not come out alive and your soul will be too charred to boot up again.


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The second myth has been eating up my brains from the last 6 months........I am gonna make sure my doorbells start ringing soon.
Exciting > Depressing > Draining > Enlightening > Clueless > Satisfied. Yes its painful already and then there are people like you who don't make things any easier; but i still gotta learn, so ill continue reading you :-)
15 minutes left to edit your comment. ---------- i dont like this option

S Ahmed said:
Exciting > Depressing > Draining > Enlightening > Clueless > Satisfied. Yes its painful already and then there are people like you who don't make things any easier; but i still gotta learn, so ill continue reading you :-)
Check this out:

-----Original Message-----
From: "Manisha Rana"
Date: Thu, 2 Dec 2010 22:26:46
To: Rodinhood
Subject: RE: A message from by Alok Kejriwal

Hi Alok

I think it’s a wonderful article. As a professional who quit her secure job to execute an idea and ran out the moment she saw smoke, I must say it’s a well summarized article. Though the number 7 is perfect, from my personal experience I would like to add the number 8 myth. The purpose I want to share this addition is to know whether this is an individual's experience or you and your fellow entrepreneurs feel or felt the same.

Myth 8 - My Friends are my Friends and my enemies are my enemies.

One of the biggest lesson I learned was my friends or people who I thought were friends did not stand by me and were truly not friends. On the other hand, before venturing out I had my share of dislikes when it came to some people and to my biggest shock, they stood by me and where the early one's to fill up the bowl I was out with. So in no sense were they my enemies or even closer to who I thought they were. The lesson here was not to take people on Face Value and trust everyone equally until otherwise proved. I know it’s a life lesson and not necessarily linked with being an entrepreneur only, but this learning stood out most strongly in my face when I moved out of the business.
ARK you write so well.
GRE Scores.
Take your begging bowl out.
Are two if my takeaways.

Awesome article and aptly configured

Point Number-1

Why need to tell.. just execute it first..

मनसा चिन्तितं कर्म वचसा न प्रकाशयेत् ।
अन्यलक्षितकार्यस्य यतः सिद्धिर्न जायते ॥

One should not reveal work that has been planned in mind. Because if others know about the plan they will try to create problems in that.

This myth is still the best part to be opened just in front of the doers of your plan....

Say where I am wrong..

For starters (including me) entrepreneurship can be seen as learning how to ride a bicycle or anything new. Not everyone is born or programmed to become entrepreneurs. Its a journey which has its ups and downs and give you a lot of opportunities to grow and learn.

When you learn cycling you will lose balance, fall down, get hurt or hit another vehicle,etc., but eventually when you learn the art of balancing and riding, it comes naturally. Once you learn it you dont have to again think about how to balance, control speed, etc......Why because it comes naturally or spontaneously.

This is the stage where entrepreneurs have a business model which is running well with stability. From here on they will not have fears of starting up, dilemma of job vs. venture, how to fund, finding partners, recuruiting people, etc. Because these are now familiar to them. HOwever, there will still some areas that need fine servicing your cycle/vehicle periodically or changing tyres, repairs, rectifying punctures, etc. However, the regular running/operation is smooth and goes on like an 'auto pilot' system. But you need to monitor and make changes, corrections and improvements at regular intervals to ensure stability of business.


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