Build a Business not a Startup!

That’s the buzzword I hear wherever I go, Start-up! Start-up! Start-up! It could be a dinner party, an event, a business meeting, a kid’s school program or when I travel! In the past few years everyone wants to start a start-up, students want to dropout, professionals want to leave their job to become an entrepreneur, housewives want to start an online startup, and what not! that’s’ really amazing and a wonderful thought!

My startup journey started few years back, the simple question I used to ask, “do you know what it takes to start a startup” Or “do you understand what is the basic difference between a startup and a traditional business? “ Well, the answer most of the time was “there is no difference both are same”!

Why do you want to startup a start-up? “because I have a great idea” or “many of my friends do it so I want to start a startup too” I used to ask, “so, is your idea everything?” “How will you acquire new markets and clients?” “How will you manage your competition?” and many more. As the conversation continues, most common words I used to hear “Technology” “Disruption” “Social Media” “Ecommerce” “Big-Data” “Machine Learning” “VC funding” and finally “Exit in 3 to 5 years” “Reinvest in other startups”! Well, again that’s amazing too! But if that’s the case why most of the startups are failing, these are the startups which were started by people from top engineering/ business/ management schools across the globe and these were the startups funded by top VC firms with top talents! Still they failed and closed after few months or years! So there is fundamentally something wrong, isn’t it? As we all know, the so called idea is 1% and the execution is 99%!

Startup is nothing but the old wine (traditional business) in the new bottle with a small twist; which can grow faster and make lot of money in a shorter time, but at the end of the day it is a Business too! That’s all it is! But is it easy to grow a startup? Will it be sustainable? Is it that simple to grow a business across the globe in a short time with high margin potential to make large amount of money? as the old saying goes “The devil is in the details”!

So identify a problem, solve the problem, and think how your solution can solve others problem, start a business, nurture it, grow it and grow with it, build a team, find a way to make money, expand your business in a small way, and let the world know you have a solution for a real problem and show the world how you can make money with that solution and how it helps others to make their life easy and better! Don’t get in too much Jargon, Gyan, Formula’s, Strategies and unrealistic and hypothetical Business Plans. Stick to the basics and make it simple and make it easy to understand like what is the problem, what is your solution, how is your solution is better than others, and what is the price you are charging for your solution! Until you find your first 10 paying clients don’t call yourself a startup, call yourself a small traditional business!

When you don’t know if your business will succeed or will it make money or will it solve real problem for someone else, how can you expect someone to invest in you or in your idea/product? So when you don’t know how to walk don’t try to run, observe the nature, a plant takes few months/years to grow and it takes few more weeks or months to yield flowers/fruits, that’s when the bees and birds come to find it wherever it is, that’s exactly what happens with clients/investor community if you build a great sustainable profitable business/product, they will find you and they will line up at your door, so solve the real problem and build a business, rest all will happen on its own! Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, it takes time, it takes effort, it takes commitment, it takes courage! Set the time limit, stay the course, focus, you will succeed, and it will happen, come what may!

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