Startups 1: Mentoring - role in entrepreneurship?
In twenties, all of us are a little over-confident, believe in ourselves and have boundless energy waiting to be unleashed. What better age to start building a business?
Armed with knowledge, technical skills, an MBA degree, lots of friends and little money, starting a business seems more like an adventure than a serious profession. Yes, the startup bug bit me too... almost three decades ago.
Great, we (me and a couple of friends) took a plunge, taking it forward by a year or two... we were in a dilemma... the order book and stock was average, debtors were big, creditors were 50% of debtors and to make it worse, I did not have a marketing budget for the next six months.
So far so good, I was given good advice by my father who was always supportive of me. He asked me to get an overdraft from my banker or get a loan to tide across. This advice came with a rider – “If you are confident of making it big enough to last a lifetime”. The other option was to wind up, call it quits and find a good job.
I was and still am averse to creating liabilities, so much so that today, I use a credit card, not so much for credit but as an enabler. Obvious, all of us quit and I found a job, I am happy I took the decision, since my learning of those 7 years of working a job enabled me to become a successful entrepreneur later on.
Those days, the concept of startup was non-existent, but starting a new business was still a big deal. Red tape was far more confusing, money harder to come by and putting things together was not as easy as it is today.
Q1: Ok, why did I quit, after all that effort? I was convinced that I did not have enough experience to run a business all by myself. Everything was in place, only I was averse to taking a loan. And, I had only my father to advise me, a central government employee. Mind you, he did not dissuade, he was and still is always supportive of whatever I do.
Q2: What did I learn from 7 years of job experience? I learnt a lot about handling people, handling logistics, training, handling situations and many other areas of business across the entire gamut of management. Whatever I learnt in school, college and the MBA degree were quite irrelevant to this experience. In short, the ground realities are different.
The experience thus garnered is independent of the niche. Five years into entrepreneurship, I accumulated enough knowledge to define what I lacked – “Mentoring”.
So now, the question to you is “Mentoring - does it have a role in entrepreneurship?”