Monday, October 22, 2007

Being a serial entrepreneur in India

Given the wave that the economy has ridden in recent years, a number of people who start a business in India don’t stop at just one. Whether it is a matter of balancing the business portfolio by having multiple ventures, trying to make a quick profit in a rising sector or merely succumbing to the urge, serial entrepreneurship is here to stay. However, serial entrepreneurs must remember that it is equally important to move on when things don’t go their way.

By definition, an entrepreneur has vision, the passion to start something new and the ability to take a certain amount of risk. But for a number of them, the thrill ends with the chase. Once the business gains traction, an element of boredom sets in along with the itch to start something new.

And so, a serial entrepreneur is born.

But before plunging headlong into another new business, it is important to consider the following:

Is the existing business stable enough to stand without your constant support? Is there a capable management team in place?

Does the business generate enough revenue to be able to fund at least some part of the new startup?

Can available resources be leveraged across both businesses? Ideally, administrative functions, IT infrastructure, real estate should be shared across group businesses.

That apart, you can learn the following lessons from the experience of other serial entrepreneurs:

It gets easier the second time round. If you see an attractive opportunity, but are apprehensive about the effort it takes to get it going, remember than your learning curve is going to be shorter this time.

Be prepared to move on. If the new business doesn’t go according to plan, it may jeopardise the others too. Work with a pain threshold in mind – it is better to cut one’s losses and go on to other things, rather than hold on to a fast fading dream.

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