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The Stigma of Start-ups in India

Updated: Mar 4

Even if you are not a start-up owner, read on as this piece has a lot of wisdom about decision- making and perception of the world. Last couple of weeks I had many conversations with the Founders, CEOs, CXOs of the likes in the start-up world. Where the common recurring theme was - they didn’t know what problem are they trying to solve. While they have a strong hold in product, almost a vision to change the world but when it came to solving people’s problem they were pretty clueless. Some were explicit to tell me that it is not their priority. Organisations are made of people and people are made of feelings and emotions. Apart from survival needs people also have deep core psychological needs. Now, when you are hiring interns straight out of college, you and they both think that an off-site, vending machines, pool tables, swimming pools, travelling business class and staying five star will meet the need. Tell me how many of them ever thanked you or the organisation in their exit interviews (a redundant practice which calls for a separate blog) for those facilities? Here is a note to all the founding members from a coach and trainer- You, my friend are also people. Not God. Nah. Nor am I most certainly not. While today the world feels glorious if you are riding on the wave of first or few rounds of investment. Do invest on building something long term. Your VCs will have many companies on their portfolios but you just have one. We have made a science out of people and culture in organisations yet when *** hits the fan we don’t know what will work and what will fail us. And remember what raises like a tide today will subside like stillness. Sometimes with no signs that it even existed. Having said that in this ambiguous time one thing is sure which will never fail you. Your own inner voice. As a CEO/ CTO you built a great product. Now testing it in the market, getting customers on board and consistently raising and sustaining the funds will require you to listen to not just your VCs, college seniors and mentors but your own inner voice. What stories are you telling yourself- Is it the gloom and doom of recession and attrition? Scaring yourself of the copy cats and cut-throat competition of the market? Or the month on month runway game? Or that the one on top will always be alone? What worked for one will not necessarily work for another. We eventually become a sum total of choices we make. What are you choosing to believe? As a human being it is very obvious for you to feel overwhelmed, volatile and scared. Are you acknowledging those feelings within you or just numbing it with hash and bottles of JD and old monk?

Has the size of your company subconsciously became the size of your self-esteem? What are you chasing exactly? Success, growth or something deeper? While, I am all in for growth and success but if it is coming at the cost of your physical and mental health, your inner peace and harmony in your relationships what will you still call it? Now, just like you would not enter a championship without the support of a coach. Don’t embark on this journey alone. Empanel some one who does not have a vested interest in your rounds of funds but some-one who can hold a higher vision to be a higher version of you. All the best guys you are the great revolutionaries of this time in making India that is Bharat. Remember, even the great revolution needs support, inside and out! (To know more about my work, click here)




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