Who, How, and Why a Startup

3 Dec 2014, Posted by Shyam Sekar S

In a recently concluded Global Entrepreneurship Summit, I had the opportunity to meet with some of the students’ community too. One of them posed a question – Should we become an entrepreneur now? Or are we safe in taking up a job with a decent salary? I am sure this question is not unique to this set of individuals; it is likely to linger in many students’ and professionals’ minds as to whether one should jump into the entrepreneurship bandwagon at this stage or not.

Let me try to uncover some part of this challenge and trust that will help you as to why, when, and how, this could be pursued.

First, why would you like to become an entrepreneur?

  • Is it because you think you can make tons of money than your job?
  • Is it because, you are so passionate about solving some issues and contributing to society?
  • Or because, you are either not getting a job, or fired from a job, and like to pursue entrepreneurship?

If you objective is to only make money, then I would raise a caution flag that this is probably not the right way to approach your entrepreneurship. We get carried away by some startup success stories, but there have been many failures which mostly do not get reported or not known. This is not to scare you from taking this plunge but to share with you the brutal reality that there are high risks involved when you jump into this entrepreneur-ship. Many do not venture into starting their own business for the fear of failure. According to Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s Founder and CEO, “I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.”

Right at the start, if you are looking at an exit for your business (by selling your entity sooner or later), you probably may not find one. You need to believe in your idea, product, or service; for one that you plan to build bigger and better. Tons of entrepreneurs have sold their company (in part or full) but then, selling and making money should not be your only goal.

Another common question that I come across is, ‘what’s the best age to step into an entrepreneur’s shoe? Should I get into a job now, make some money, and then start something on my own? Well, there is no one right, or wrong answer. I would say there is no ‘right’ age to become an entrepreneur.

Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook when he was just about 20 years.

Sachin Bansal co-founded Flipcart at 26.

Jimmy Wales founded Wikipedia at the age of 35.

Craig Newmark founded Craigslist when he was 42.

Ray Kroc started McDonald’s at 52 years.

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