Some of the impressions interacting with start ups at the Nasscom Product conclave earlier this month were reinforced even as I listened to the concerns of the small but very intense gathering at the NEN workshop yesterday- most (wannabe) entrepreneurs expect that Venture capital is the solution that would make their dreams come true!
It is my perception that we in India must find out our own paths to building sustainable organisations -especially since what worked in the Silicon Valley may not be as truly transplantable-as there are some fundamental differences in the US & Indian economies:
-The cost of capital in US being around 2-3% has seen most investing in the stock markets to enhance their personal wealth. In India, the higher cost, combined with the native propensity for savings provides for a much more stable & secure life.
-The success stories of start ups making millionaires out of one's neighbours in the US-spurs not just entrepreneurs but also aspirants who are willing to be employed . In contrast, the growing economy in India has made employment a lot more glamorous option (with juicy placements at entry level, lucrative salaries as MNCs chase those with a proven track record-and an assured annual increment of 10% -and close to 20-30% hike in salaries if one jumped on board!)
-There is also a huge parallel economy in India-that drives investment in real estate-apart from the largess of 'benami' money finding its way into many a business. In fact, it is not surprising to find a lot of wealthy family businesses/owners with 'financially sick' companies-at times even vehicles of converting black money into seemingly honourable avenues. So you see, the ROI is incomparable!
-Add to the above-the social /peer pressure that condemns failures in business opportunity, and the nascent stage of the banking system to promote businesses without collaterals-the odds are very much against the aspiring entrepreneur.
Here is a silver lining though. All the bubbling spirit we see all around - is in spite of the hurdles! Hats off to the spirit of entrepreneurship!
There is a caveat though. Almost all of us have offerings that would find acceptance within our own local communities. If only start ups bartered their services /products with the ones in the ecosystem-I feel there is a tremendous scope for all the players to go one notch up-finding paying customers, find talent to scale, and get past the 'break even points' or the threshold where one finds maximum mortality of small ventures. In fact, most entrepreneurs spend lot more time looking for funding ..than their own core competencies. Further accentuating the decline of their enterprises...isn't it?
The willingness to invest in improving partnering capabilities is one of the factors that help successful companies develop collaboration as a new and important source of competitive advantage.Take Boeing's case study-rather than trying to become the primary expert in the new composite materials that were being deployed, Boeing tapped the expertise of smaller firms that already possessed leading-edge capabilities in those materials.
"Leading firms make significant investments to develop their collaborative capabilities—for instance, by experimenting to learn what processes and practices work best or by selecting a new partner in order to tap its broader experience of cooperating with others. These firms don’t assume that their existing staff and processes are equipped to work with creative partners around the globe. In fact, they believe the opposite—that they must discover new skills and organizational arrangements to make collaboration work."
-Over 26yrs of experience in the Indian industry beginning from 1984. A stint of 9 yrs in the corporate world and the rest in an entrepreneurial mode trying to leverage on the opportunities-first in a liberalised India -and now looking to global avenues.
-Functionally-hands on experience in selling agricultural inputs (fertilisers, pesticides, diesel engine spare parts) to rural markets during my employment days. Since embarking on the recruitment consultancy -I have worked with over a 1000 companies -across industries, and differing life cycles of growth/decline, a variety of professionally/owner managed firms, and hence a pulse of what makes organisations/people tick!
-Access to an ever growing Rolodex-not just restricted to the relationships forged over the last 3 decades, but also to those being consolidated-thanks to the growing social media power to build and engage more potential relationships through collaboration.
I look forward to hearing from you...can we partner?
RSVP [email protected]