Writing a Business Plan for a Startup

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Writing out a detailed business plan and getting it funded properly is the key to making any successful business. Plan your business for the future, not just for tomorrow. Most entrepreneurs tend to look only at the rosy and optimistic picture without recognizing the problems that they will be faced and without factoring in a number of unplanned costs that will have to be incurred.

Remember that a Business Plan for a company is much more than a set of numbers. It will be your guiding document, your process to understand and establish where you are heading and where you have reached and will also provide you the checks and balances in case, as an entrepreneur, you become too aggressive or too complacent.

The best business plans are those which an entrepreneur writes himself because this is when the true dreams of the entrepreneur are articulated. This is also when he / she realizes all that will go into building the business and achieving one’s dream.

Unless the entrepreneur is able to articulate his thoughts and put them down on paper and then translate these thoughts into a simple set of numbers, a startup company could be playing “Russian Roulette” not knowing which chamber the bullet is sitting in!

If an entrepreneur does not write out his own business plan but relies on someone else to put it together, as indeed I have seen some people do, the plan will have inaccuracies and will have been developed with a different perspective.

Assumptions and Numbers in your first business plan will go wrong once the actual operations of the company start because there could be many variables that are learnt on the job. However the first business plan will help in defining the parameters and help the entrepreneur to understand the areas where his understanding was incorrect or where his assumptions have changed.

The Environment your business will operate in

Start with a detailed scan of the environment. Unless you know the environment you will be operating in you could be shooting in the dark even though you may believe that you have the best idea in the World.

This will include understanding the size of the opportunity, the competitive landscape, the Government regulations and the key players in the business. You don’t want to be in a position where you have started your entrepreneurial journey and then suddenly realise that there are regulations that restrict you from doing some of the things that you have planned for.

The Business Plan Assumptions

While writing out your first business plan, it would be most important to write out the assumptions that you are making for the plan.

Some examples of the assumptions you would make could range from taking 250 working days in a year (factoring in a 5 day work week) for your revenues to assuming an inflation in prices linked to the inflation index and your own price increases to an increase in cost of human resources to your marketing costs.

A lucid articulation of the assumptions will help you and all your colleagues to understand your business plan at a later date and also understand and appreciate when the financial numbers are not falling in place as you had hoped.

The Financials of your Business Plan

Your business plan must have detailed sections on marketing, competition, people, technology, environment which will lead to a set of financials. You know what your business well and therefore it should be fairly simple to articulate your thoughts in each of these areas.

Most people assume that their business plan is a set of numbers. What they do not understand is that the numbers, or financials, is a result or an extract of the business plan. Once you have written out your assumptions, then translating these numbers using a spreadsheet is an easy task and can be done either by you or by any financial analyst.

Cash Flows of your Business

The result of the financials from your business plan is your cash flow. This will help you to understand how much money you will make and how much you may lose. As an entrepreneur, you would have invested your own hard earned money. It is therefore important for you to know where your money is being spent and how long it is likely to last before you will need to raise more money from other sources.

Funding is possibly the most difficult part of building a new company. Money is the backbone of building any business or enterprise. Without sufficient funding in place, it is not advisable to embark upon any entrepreneurial journey. How much is “sufficient” is a pure judgment call of the entrepreneur and depends on the business plan that you expect to achieve.

Plan for losses in your Business Plan

Every new business will lose new money. This has to be taken as a “given”. Making a planned loss is never a problem. Making an unplanned loss and then having to try and justify it is a huge problem.

It is important for every entrepreneur to understand that making money is not going to easy. Don’t believe for a second that revenues will instantly start coming in and customers will start flocking to your stores. The reality is far different, and you’ll fare much better if you understand this reality and plan for it beforehand rather than get surprised later.

It is better to plan for losses and state this in your business plan. When monthly reviews are held with the board of directors, it is always better to explain how you have over achieved your numbers rather than take high targets initially and start with explaining negative variances each month.

No one likes to lose money and yet it is a well-recognized fact that most new businesses will lose money. Some businesses will lose money for longer periods than others because of the nature of the business and retail businesses have very long gestation periods. There is nothing to be ashamed of if your business is losing money as long as you can see the light at the end of tunnel.

All businesses will burn money and it is necessary to have sufficient funds in the bank to meet the burn.

Finally, don’t worry if you make errors and are confronted with unplanned costs which will throw our entire cash planning out of gear. A well written out business plan will guide you back on course as you take stock on a regular basis with your management team.

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The author is the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies and the author of 5 best-selling books, Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye; The Buck Stops Here – Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur and The Buck Stops Here – My Journey from a Manager to an Entrepreneur.

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The 6 Myths of Retirement

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There are several myths about retirement that I heard from the many people I spoke to while writing my book “Reinvent, Reboot, Rewire. Managing retirement in the Twenty First Century”.

It is important for us to address these myths as we plan our journey into the next and possibly the most exciting phase of our lives.

Myth 1 – I am a Has Been. Am I still relevant?

Some of the people I spoke to commented that they had now become a “has been” and that they felt small when someone asked them “what they did for a living.” They were not proud to say that they had retired and so invariably they would give the name of the company where they were working or simply state that they were “on their own”.

Why does one start to feel smaller in one’s own eyes and assume that the rest of the people are looking at you in the same manner that you are seeing yourself? The actual fact is that no one, none of your friends or your relatives have any time to think of what you are doing or not doing. They are so preoccupied with own problems that they have neither the time nor the inclination to think of you.

No one knows you better than yourself. What is critical to understand is whether you are willing to be brutally honest with yourself as you plan for your life ahead. Unless you are able to look yourself in the eye without flinching, you will never have a plan that you will be able to live with for the remaining three decades of life ahead.

Retiring is not a stigma. It is a reality and will confront everyone one day in the journey.

Myth 2 – I have Been There Done That

You have had a wonderful career but is there any point in looking back with regret at what you have given up? The fact that you have “been there and done that” means that you have a lot of experience. Something that a young employee will not have. There is a lot to be said about experience so there is no reason to short change yourself.

This is the time to look ahead at the next 3 decades of your life. You can either choose to reset life and feel angry at everyone or you can look ahead with positivity and see what else you want to achieve in life that would be different from climbing up the work ladder.

You need to sit back and take stock of what you have achieved and more importantly, what do you want to achieve in the remaining “sunset” years of your life ahead. You need to talk to your spouse. If you do not accept your reality, it is your partner who will bear the brunt of your anger or depression or frustration.

Myth 3 – Nobody needs me anymore

The feeling of being unwanted seems to affect a lot of retirees.

While discussing this with members of an NGO that assists senior citizens I realised that a lot of retirees felt that they were no longer needed by their spouses, their children, their friends or the World in general.

Nothing could be further away from the truth and if your family cares about you, they will work extra hard to re-engage with you and make sure that you are connected back once again with the family that you provided for all your life.

Myth 4 – How will I know when it’s the weekend?

When I discussed post retirement plans with some new retirees, the biggest challenge I found they faced was how to pass time during the day. There was only so much television that they could watch and there was only a limited amount of time that they could use for reading.

One person even commented “I have no idea which day of the week it is. After all it does not matter at all. Every day is a Sunday now and there is nothing much to look forward to.”

It is therefore critical to establish a routine for yourself. You should dress up every morning from Monday to Friday as you would while working rather than stay in your night suit!

Myth 5 – My kids are not yet settled

One of the big concerns several of my friends have when they are approaching retirement is that their kids are not yet settled. I assume the words “settled” means that their kids have not yet started to earn enough to support their own lifestyle or that they are still dependent on their parents for some kind of support.

Several people I know have children who are not yet married though they are ready to retire and this is a reason for some stress in the couple. Why do most of us believe that even after we have spent money to educate our children, we still carry the responsibility of making sure that they are settled and married? Remember that post retirement, any money you spend is at the cost of your future.

Don’t worry too much about your children. Don’t become a slave to their needs. Care for them, love them, give them gifts but also enjoy your money while you can. At the same time don’t expect too much from your children. They will be with their jobs and commitments to render much help. It would also be unfair to expect too much support from children. In retirement, you and your spouse will be on your own.

Such stresses are self-imposed on ourselves. If our kids expect support beyond our retirement then they need to some serious introspection. Think about a situation where you need financial support from your children and the answer will come to you quickly.

Myth 6 – Can I maintain a work schedule that I have been used to?

There is no doubt that as you get older your body will slow down and you cannot keep the same as you would have when you were in your thirties. However, there is no sudden switch in your body that goes off the day you retire.

It is critical for you to maintain a schedule similar to what you have been used to so as to retain your sanity in the early months after your retirement. If in your previous position you worked from 9:30 to 5:30, base your new schedule on those hours. If you want to dedicate more time, that is great. Just don’t burn yourself out.

Fit some exercise in your schedule and avoid multiple trips to the kitchen during the day. Eating healthy and exercise will keep you mentally and physically prepared for your challenges. Keep yourself active. Try not to adopt a new lifestyle of watching television and extended afternoon naps.

Sit back, relax and look forward to a new and exciting phase of your life.

You are not old at all!

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The author is the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies and the author of 5 best-selling books, Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye; The Buck Stops Here – Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur and The Buck Stops Here – My Journey from a Manager to an Entrepreneur.

 

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The Trump Win and Beyond

Donald Trump Hosts Nevada Caucus Night Watch Party In Las Vegas

The US Elections are over and as I had predicted in September 2016, Trump won with an overwhelming majority based on the prevailing Electoral College system.

Since the 79th Congress in 1945 to the 115th Congress in 2017, a period of 62 years, the President, the House and the Senate have been from the same party only 14 times out of 36 in this period. The Democrats had had this 11 times versus 3 times for the Republicans, who, in 2017, will have the major advantage of a Republican President, a Republican controlled House and a Republican controlled Senate.

This in itself speaks volumes of the man who led the fractured Republican charge against all odds and beat the odds on favourite candidate Hillary Clinton. He won despite all the denouncements from within his own party. While Obama went out to actively campaign for Hillary, George Bush actually stated that he would vote against Trump.

The man who was supposed to have completely destroyed the GOP has led it to a stunning victory and given the party a new lease of life. Grudgingly, the Republicans are accepting this – they have a much larger role to play in unifying their nation. On the other hand, the lady who lost, is now crying foul because of being a woman, unable to break the proverbial glass ceiling has virtually decimated the Democratic party, a party which is now licking its wounds and undertaking a desperate soul searching exercise wondering what made it fall from its supposed highs to these lows.

The supporters of the losing candidate have started signature campaigns and demonstrations, in some cases violent, hoping that somehow their prayers and their signature campaigns will miraculously change the person, a majority of the American people guided by their Constitution have elected as the 45th President of USA.

Some Democratic Party spokespersons on TV channels have blamed this defeat to a white lash against President Obama. How ridiculous this sounds from a party which had positioned itself as the voice of all the people in America. Hillary Clinton and other informed Democrats have blamed the FBI for the last minute letter as the primary reason for the loss. Analysts and motivated party workers have to find reasons for the defeat and this will continue till the next round of elections.

Psephologists are concerned on how all their forecasts could have gone wrong. The vitriolic anchors on TV channels and the all-knowing journalists are scrambling to find explanations on what could possibly have wrong. Based on statistics from political numbers guru Dave Wasserman, Hillary won the popular vote by 2,012,331 votes BUT she won California by 3,741,023 votes. Would this then mean disillusionment of the rest of the country because Californians would have then decided on the winner?

Crying foul is not going to work. President Elect Trump is on his way to the White House and he is, for better or for worse the President for at least the next 4 years. Democrats are up in arms. Hillary Clinton has proudly announced that the fight must continue. What happened to her resolve to gracefully accept the “will of the people”? Californian Democrats are looking for even more radical answers like secession.

Is this not intolerance from a party that exhibited so much annoyance and surprise when President Elect stated that he would decide whether or not to accept the results after the election? What’s good for one party has to be good for the other as well. Would the press have been equally kind if the result had been reversed and the demonstrations were now by the Republicans?

So what can we expect from President Trump? He is a shrewd businessman and a very unconventional first time politician with a penchant for surprising the political pundits who have assumed that political analysis is their private domain since no one understands it better than them. He has already announced his plan for the first 100 days and yet there is so much uncertainty on “will he, wont he”.

He is a not a politician who has been trained and brought up in the establishment. His moves will be well thought through as he would normally have done while running his business. He will spring many surprises that a “normal” politician, dyed in the ways of the establishment, may not have done. He will include his family in his decision making because he trusts them. Have we not see Hillary Clinton play a major role during her husband’s presidency? If a wife is acceptable, why not a daughter, or even a son-in-law?

On the international front, Trump, the diplomat, will say things that are true and not what the establishment and the press think as politically correct. There will be issues with the Trans Pacific partnership, NATO and the equations could change with China and India but as most leaders think of their own country first, why shouldn’t the leader of the most powerful country in the World?

Spending on infrastructure in America will increase significantly, partly because the infrastructure needs serious investments and partly because this will create jobs which he must do to meet one of his major election promises. On another note, an inward looking America will be good for the nations of the World so that various leaders will be able to work towards resolving the problems of their nations without turning to a super power for guidance at every step.

Every step that Trump takes, every appointment he makes, every decision he takes will be analysed and counter proposals will be presented. Sections of the press will continue to frighten the masses with their alarmist reporting but this has to be expected. Cynics will keep predicting doomsday scenarios while his supporters will back him as long as he keeps delivering on his practical poll promises.

He has the tail wind with him and once he is in the Oval Office, the election rhetoric will be over and the pragmatic businessman will become a responsible politician.

He has not even gotten started – it is too early to write his epitaph.

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The author is the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies and the author of 5 best-selling books, Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye; The Buck Stops Here – Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur and The Buck Stops Here – My Journey from a Manager to an Entrepreneur.

 

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Source:

http://wiredpen.com/resources/political-commentary-and-analysis/a-visual-guide-balance-of-power-congress-presidency/

A Changing World Landscape

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9-11 to Arab Spring to Brexit to Trump

The US Elections are over and as I had predicted in September 2016, Trump won with an overwhelming majority. Naysayers aside, he has won and for better or for worse, he is the President of USA for the next 4 years if not 8 years.

Is Trump’s victory simply a continuation of the movement that has started to build across the World and will swell into a tsunami as more and more people who have felt disenfranchised over the years will claim what they believe is rightfully theirs? Is there a global move taking place where majority communities in various countries, tired of being told what to do and what not to do, have decided to exercise their franchise?

If one looks back over the past 15 years, the first major change was witnessed by the World on 9-11 when the Twin Towers in New York were brought down by a group of terrorists. This led to the famous “With Us or Against Us” statement by President George Bush leading to a clear partitioning of the World as he chose to understand it. Was this the first move towards a non-inclusive brand of politics that the World would have to get used to?

The war that ensued in the Middle East, followed by the assassination of the two strong men Saddam Hussein in 2006 and Muammar Al Gaddafi in 2011 was the next step in creating larger fissures. The carefully held together peace in the Middle East started to come apart at the seams with the advent of Arab Spring. The creation of ISIS, the war in Syria and all other developments were a result of a group of people reacting to protect themselves and their countries from what they saw as an attack on their religion. That this reaction went to unacceptable extremes could be the subject of a lot of debate.

The result was a huge influx of refugees into Europe must against the wishes of the local majority populations of each country but supported by politicians who saw in this an opportunity to curry favour with some communities.

Brexit was next step in this process where a majority of the citizens voted to exit from the European Union because they saw the character of their nation changing. Was this the beginning of the end of globalization or a borderless world as we have been used to?

Finally, we had President Elect Trump sweeping the polls, much to the consternation of the political pundits, the knowledgeable journalists and the establishment not just in USA but in most countries around the World. Dramatic results are expected in the next couple of years as Germany, France

So what is bringing about the change and why are the voters doing “unexpected” things?

Social Media has empowered the common man

Over the past decade, the communication paradigm has changed completely.

The super star journalists who, sometimes in collusion with politicians, believed that they were the gateways to determining what news could be told, when it should be told and how it should be told are gasping their last breath. Readers and viewers who used to wait for their interpretation are now free to exercise their views through many other channels of communication.

With easy worldwide access to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Instagram, every citizen in every country has now become a journalist. Everyone is not just communicating the news as they see it happening, in words and visually but also writing and giving their own interpretation of the events in the World.

Citizens of a country have become citizens of the World. They now communicate what they feel and what they believe in without any inhibitions. Social media has seen major movements with the grass root citizen literally making or breaking a campaign, be it political or for a movie or for a product. All marketers fear a boycott on social media and savvy politicians have used it to communicate directly to their voters rather through the “coloured” eyes of a journalist.

The silent Majority “Minority” syndrome

What is important is to understand the very significant political changes and people movements taking place in the World. For the past 70 years, since the end of the Second World War, a new breed of politicians, historians and journalists crafted the thinking and beliefs of the masses. With a vice like control over the population, leaders did not encourage the masses to think.

A new breed of “election gurus” took it upon themselves to guide the powerful politicians on how to understand the voters with specific reference to what religious minority communities needed rather than to understand what the nation needs. At the same time, these election gurus also figured out ways to fragment the majority voters at the time of elections in more ways than one.

Seeds of guilt were sown in the minds of majority communities in most countries based on the fact that they had much larger numbers and were generally economically better placed. The word “secular” came into the day-to-day communication of the common man without necessarily understanding its meaning or implications.

If you were a member of a majority community in any country, either by colour or by religious belief, this was to be hidden and apologized for, because this majority was seen to be the privileged community in their own country. Over the years, this majority community has started to feel disenfranchised in their own country and are feeling that they have become a minority in their own country. Politicians are now recognizing, much to their chagrin, that the voice of the majority, if its gets united, has to be heard – there is no choice in the matter.

With the significant increase in immigration, permitted by liberal politicians, pandering to their vote banks, the restlessness of the Majority in each country has increased significantly resulting in yet another group of politicians gaining the support for a new set of reasons.

Vote Bank Politics

Politicians all over the World believed that they understood the power to use Vote Banks to win elections and influence people. Goaded on by analysts, these politicians and their parties have chosen to go down a path of “segmenting” their electorate and appealing to their more basic instincts of survival. Most times this is based on creating a fear psychosis in the minds of the innocent voter.

In India we have the Dalits and a religious minority who, supported by their leaders have never failed to flex their muscle, especially before any sensitive election. Similarly, in America, the Democratic Party spoke non-stop about the uncertainties for the Latino voter and the Black American in tones that would only emphasise the doomsday scenario ahead. Fear, alarmist overtones and poor education coupled with financial incentives at election time has traditionally been a potent yet winning combination in most democracies.

Unfortunately, the right wing politicians are using the same recipe now but this time they are targeting the majority community!

And they are winning convincingly.

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The author is the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies and the author of 5 best-selling books, Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye; The Buck Stops Here – Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur and The Buck Stops Here – My Journey from a Manager to an Entrepreneur.

  •  Twitter: @gargashutosh
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What does Retirement mean to Me?

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If I say “retirement,” what are the first few words that come to your mind?

If they are religion and prayer, leisure, relaxation, comfort, grandchildren, pension, surplus time, health, golf, foot stool in front of a nice comfortable reclining chair and old age, you’re thinking about yesterday’s retirement. Our “retired life will most probably, with good health, be as long as our working life.

As we reach the age of superannuation or retirement, I see so many of friends becoming insecure and afraid of becoming irrelevant. When it is time to retire, we forget what we told ourselves. What has changed in the last three decades that we are afraid to slow down or pace of work or recognize that our minds and bodies are ageing?

According to the 2010 census of India, there are over 58 million people (28 million men and 30 million women) above the age of 65 and these numbers are increasing as our population gets older. It is estimated that this number will increase to 76 million people over 65 years by 2020.

Our first 25 years are spent growing up, experiencing an introduction to the realities of what it means to become an adult and getting educated as we prepare as best we can to enter the “real world.” The next 30-40 years are spent working for a living, paying the bills and raising a family.  And hopefully the final years, our second act, will be spent retired from the stresses and challenges that we have somehow managed to survive to this point.

To me, life begins at retirement!

This is the 21st century, when the todays 60 year old looks and feels like yesterday’s 40 year old where retiring means a long life, new opportunities, excitement, challenge, and self-discovery.. So therefore, on a lighter note, you should feel exactly as you did twenty years ago!

After a long and busy career, one of the best perquisites of retiring can be the realisation you are no longer tied to a strict schedule. Whereas our work days were most probably driven by meetings and appointments with inflexible time requirements, once retired, we begin to have control over our time. We have more freedom to decide what we want to do and when we want to do it. We are able to make changes on the spur of the moment as we see fit. We need not tie our days to a routine that is other than how we want to spend our time.

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Do the things you were not able to while working

Do you remember a time during your career when you felt buried in work with no hope of getting back on top of things? Free time was non-existent as you put in hour after stressful hour to get the job done. As a retiree, you don’t have to do that anymore. If you were unable to travel like you hoped to, you now can. If you had no time for your kids, or perhaps now grandkids, you have plenty of time now. Don’t miss the chance to take advantage of your situation.

Do nothing and do not feel guilty about it

For new retirees, free time can be a bit scary. You have lived your life being driven by your daily schedule, running to and from meetings and working towards achieving your goals, established by someone else.

If you are not accustomed to enjoying your time you might feel guilty, like you should be doing something productive. Your daily E Mails will reduce dramatically and in the early days after retirement you will keep looking at your smartphone or your computer for an E Mail that you need to respond to immediately. This is a withdrawal symptom of your work.

It can take some getting used to, but try to cut yourself some slack. Retired life can be your chance to experience a life that is free of stress and without deadlines. After years of paying your dues to your employer, you should be entitled to enjoy your freedom.

Revisit what you may have been passionate about while younger

I have always loved writing, and plan to focus more on that particular passion when I retire. Perhaps your passion is a would-be musician, an adventurer, a photographer or an artist. Hobbies, adventures, new experiences and new friends are all available now that you are the master of your time. Of course, the effort has to be made by you. Nothing in life ever comes easy!

You will find that you have much greater degree of freedom under your control. You don’t have to do anything but do what you please to do. You will have to redefine retirement to mean “Reaching a stage in life when one has the freedom to do what one wants.” I am reminded of an old poem I read some time back:

At ten, we have just fun

At twenty, we are still naughty

At thirty, we think lofty

At forty, we get shifty

At fifty, we confront reality

At, sixty, we seek serenity

Author – Unknown

Retirement is not the end of the world.

It is the beginning of a new and more fulfilling life without the stresses and strains, the pulls and pressures we had when we were young. We may have looked forward to retirement but a fulfilling retirement will not just happen. You have to plan for it and you have to plan by including the most important person in your life, your spouse. Unless both of you are in agreement with your plans, prepare for dissonance in both your lives.

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The author is the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies and the author of 5 best-selling books, Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye; The Buck Stops Here – Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur and The Buck Stops Here – My Journey from a Manager to an Entrepreneur.

  •  Twitter: @gargashutosh
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The Other Side of Entrepreneurship

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So much has been and is being written about entrepreneurship and how startups can grow and flourish and yet almost nothing ever gets written about the challenges and the problems all startup entrepreneurs face.

Your young business will demand your time 24 X 7 and you will be expected to take responsibility of everything in the company – from leading and strategizing for the business to ensuring the coffee machine is working and the toilets are clean! It is a very lonely job at the top as an entrepreneur and you need to retain your sanity throughout your journey.

Based on my personal experiences of building Guardian, I am sharing some of the key non-business related factors that must be kept in mind by startup entrepreneurs.

Manage your health and follow a daily routine

I started my entrepreneurial journey when I was 46, a very late age in life and I definitely could not afford to fall sick or do anything that would jeopardise my health. I was betting my career, my family’s future and my entire credibility on this venture and there was no way that I could fall sick and stall my journey before I had achieved what I had set out to do.

Work pressure while building any new business will be very intense and an entrepreneur has very few choices except to stay well and stay fit. He needs to build the stamina to keep going, in the face of all possible adversity. Falling sick is not an option that can be considered.

There will be many moments when every entrepreneur wants to throw in the towel simply because the stress becomes unbearable yet unlike any other individual, it is important for an entrepreneur to keep going because the light at the end of the tunnel is the achievement of his dream. No matter how much stress you may carry inside you, it is very important to “appear” absolutely calm from the outside.

It is therefore important to stay fit and healthy and to ensure that you and your family are protected in the unlikely event something goes wrong either in the business or in your health. One decision I took when I started Guardian was that I have to remain fit and healthy. I could not afford to fall sick and therefore I would have to “will” myself into staying healthy.

Keeping a routine to balance time for your work, family and health is essential.

Don’t let your mind give up

So many battles are won or lost if the mind accepts defeat or gives up too easily.

When I chat with entrepreneurs who started their dream company but gave up or stopped or professionals who gave up the “joys” of a corporate battle for supremacy to become an entrepreneur, I know that they gave up the fight because they had not built the internal resilience in their own minds to stay the course. Like a game of golf where one plays much better golf when one’s mind is at rest, success and failure in your Startup is also all in one’s mind.

I have found that giving up is very easy and several times in my own journey both as a professional as well as an entrepreneur, I have had the temptation to give up and call it a day because all choices seemed to be tough and insurmountable. As I look back at my life, I wonder what kind of a person I would have been had I given up each time my body told me to stop but my mind forced me to carry on.

Every entrepreneur must develop mental strength to take on tough tasks and select from equally tough choices.

Remember that the joy of achieving a difficult and possibly insurmountable task that seemed impossible also gives its own high.

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Don’t lose sight of your personal life

In your desire to achieve all your goals you will not think about the time you are spending at work. Being your own boss is a great feeling. You get to choose which 18 hours of the day you will work!

As an entrepreneur, I always encouraged my colleagues to take leave every year. Whenever someone told me that he was working over twelve hours per day on a regular basis, my response to him was simply “If you cannot finish your allotted work in office timings, you are either over worked and need an assistant or very inefficient.”

Similarly, when someone told me that he had not taken any leave for so many years, my response to such people was “You have not done the company a favour. I would like you to take your leave and come back to work rejuvenated.” I have never refused any manager his leave whenever he asked for leave.

I have often spoken to entrepreneurs who tell me that they don’t have the time to take a vacation and I have never believed any of them. If a person cannot take time off for himself and give his mind and body a rest, then there is a problem brewing in the long run for such an individual. It is important for every individual to take time off and spend time with one’s family.

Build internal resilience and stay calm

It is very important for anyone embarking on any journey to build strong internal resilience. A number of times people fail to complete their journey because they give up too early. For you, giving up must never be been an option. It is more challenging and probably more appropriate to lean into the storm rather than running away from it.

Every entrepreneur has to develop a “thick skin” and learn to accept all kinds of comments about himself and his company. Developing the ability to stay calm in the face of adversity is an important quality and should be developed very early in your entrepreneurial life. This will serve you very well.

Remember to set your own compensation

Most entrepreneurs who want to build large businesses and want to create institutions tend to overlook their own compensation package in the belief that since the company was “their own”; they should first build the company before adding additional costs of their own. This is an entrepreneur’s unique way of saying that he is trying to conserve cash by not spending anything on himself. This is a big mistake that most entrepreneurs make.

When you bring in external shareholders and then private equity funds you will soon realise that no one will appreciate the so called sacrifice that you thought you had made for the company. The standard response you will get from your investors will be “Why didn’t you take a salary? We did not ask you not to compensate yourself”.

No entrepreneur should undersell his own capability. Not compensating oneself or under compensating oneself is making a sacrifice that no one will appreciate in the future and not worth doing in the long run. Most entrepreneurs make a lot of sacrifices. Cutting back on your salary or not taking a salary must never be a sacrifice that you should make.

When money is needed at the end of each month to pay staff salaries and pay the bills, everyone will look towards you and expect you to have the answers.

The Buck Stops at your desk each time and every time.

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The author is the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies and the author of 5 best-selling books, Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye; The Buck Stops Here – Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur and The Buck Stops Here – My Journey from a Manager to an Entrepreneur.

  • Twitter: @gargashutosh
  • Instagram: ashutoshgarg56
  • Blog: ashutoshgargin.wordpress.com | ashutoshgarg56.blogspot.com

12 Point Plan for Retirement

The author is the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies and the author of 5 best-selling books, Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye; The Buck Stops Here – Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur and The Buck Stops Here – My Journey from a Manager to an Entrepreneur.

  •  Twitter: @gargashutosh
  • Instagram: ashutoshgarg56
  • Blog: ashutoshgargin.wordpress.com | ashutoshgarg56.blogspot.com