Perks of not being Your own boss

Based on economic trends, the unemployment rate in India is set to increase by 30 per cent in 2020-2025.

Published: 24th November 2020 07:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th November 2020 07:30 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Based on economic trends, the unemployment rate in India is set to increase by 30 per cent in 2020-2025. To combat this, the government is actively promoting start-ups as is seen by the numerous incubation centres in Hyderabad. In the recent World Bank’s ease of doing business 2020 report, the country jumped to 63rd position, among 190 nations improving its ranking by 79 positions (2014-2019).

Through the ‘Start-up India’ initiative, and the ‘vocal for local’ slogan, the government wishes to promote entrepreneurship by setting research parks, incubators and start-up centres, and hopes to build an ecosystem where businesses can innovate and excel without barriers and generate employment. Entrepreneurship, however, comes with its share of ups and downs. A businessman faces many challenges. Chartered Accountant Farooq Haque feels that since most start-ups these days are promoted by tech guys, they are not good at financial planning. He cautions, “Many ideas look good on paper, but do not work in real life.”

Are you thinking of taking the plunge and start your own business? It’s a great idea, but be aware of challenges. Prithvi Potta co-founder, Wert Advisory Services, Hyderabad puts the “Failure rate of start-ups at 60 -70 per cent.” On getting funding, he elaborates: “In the current scenario, the business should be unique and the revenue model should be realistic along with the right team for it to even get equity funding.”Through the stories of some entrepreneurs who tried their hands at business but have then gone into a salaried job, we highlight some areas that can make or break your venture.

Market analysis and hiring

Devesh Gupta started and ran a fine-dining restaurant for three-and-a-half years and decided to sell after realising that it wasn’t justifying the ininvestment. He now works as a consultant with an MNC consulting firm. He recounts, “I thought I was doing everything right at that time. I put in most of my own capital, rented a prime location, and an advisor to help me start. I was price-conscious and hiring a wrong advisor (he was cheaper than the rest) proved to be my biggest undoing.” He adds, “I should have done more research and trusted my instincts. As I trusted the wrong person, everything went wrong — from customer research to purchases to hiring the right staff.” What is more challenging- business or job? He explains, “Being your own boss means freedom to make decisions, but the responsibility and the risk are also only yours. However, I know all segments of work now. In a job set-up, however, it feels definitely less stressful because I know there is a hierarchy that can be referred to without the doubt of being misled.”

Decision making & implementation

“I ran a plywood and furniture hardware business for 23 years before I wound it up,” shares Vivek Sovasaria. He is now Country Head for Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan for Tally Solutions. “In business, it is imperative to make timely decisions and then to implement them effectively-constant ‘course correction’. My planning went wrong, I was expanding too quickly and this led to financial strain,” he says. While acknowledging that the decision to close his business was a tough call, he reiterates: “It was the right one at the time.” Vivek is grateful for getting a second chance in life and knows that his knowledge of managing a business greatly contributes to his work in the corporate sector today. “In business, I was ‘Jack of all Trades’, here my work and role are more defined.” He actively encourages entrepreneurship, while stressing on “defined principles and policies, realistic market predictions and timely implementation.”

Shift in buying patterns

Sajid Anwar started a footwear shop in Hafeezpet in 2013. Sajid had worked with Bata India Ltd as a retail salesman in Hyderabad for 14 years prior to that and knew the inside-outside of the footwear business. He remembers: “I wanted to have something of my own.”  With a strong customer conversion ratio, initially, his store had a decent turnover. However, due to family compulsions, he re-located his shop to Vidya Nagar in 2015, and then to Suchitra Junction in 2017. He says, “My biggest undoing in retrospect was the change of location. My target – the middle-class customers – dried up at these locations.” Why? He replies, “A shift in buying patterns of this segment – they moved to shop at malls and then on online. The walk-ins kept dwindling.” He shares, “We lived on hope from one month to the other, but in 2019, the writing was on the wall and I shut shop.” Sajid now handles general administration and banking work at a private office. Recalling the financial duress he faced at the time, he emphatically says, “Been there, done that.”

Family Relations

The ‘boss’ is a full-on worker donning many roles and spends long hours at work to turn it into a success. This sometimes takes a toll on their personal lives. Anoop V co-founded an agro-farming and sericulture business in Nagpur in 2015 and says: “As we did not want to be burdened by loans, we started it with our own savings.” While this seemed like a ‘safe’ idea, this business being capital intensive took a longer time to yield results. During that time, Anoop’s wife was working in Hyderabad and he shuffled between the two cities trying to give enough time to both facets of his life. Says he, “After a few months, I realised that the idea of getting into business was to benefit my family, but I was constantly away from home. And when I was at home, I could not concentrate on work.” After a year-and-a-half, he sold his share in the venture and returned to Hyderabad. His wife and he now live in Pune where he works as a compliance officer in BNY Melon. He reminisces, “It was a stressful time for us as a family and I don’t want to compromise on my family life again. If get into a business, it will only be like an add-on and only if I have a steady income from a job.”Great rewards await entrepreneurs lucky enough to create successful businesses, benefits a wage earner may miss out on. While independence and flexibility, personal fulfilment, power and money are advantages, losing money, personal sacrifice, stress, and time commitment is the flip-side. So, while the grass always looks greener on the other side- entrepreneurship or a salaried job? You decide.

Prithvi Potta lists points to focus on while planning a start-up or small business

  • Validation of idea against founders belief of the idea – this is called founders’ bias
  • The right team
  • Availability of funds- debt or equity?
  • Continuous innovation and change management
  • Back technology risk
  • Profitability for survival and long term continuity
  • The right investor

— Tamanna S Mehdi


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