So here’s my story… Is it a happy story or a sad one? Is it a successfull one or ridden with failure? Is it a real story or a fiction of my imagination? I will tell it how I remebr it. You be the judge.
Some said I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I wouldn’t disagree. It was silver alright, But it was more of a knife than a spoon really. For it cut into the skin at times.
So with bright eyes and a spring in my step after an illustrious academic background I set into the real world to test my talent. I worked for a firm few would give their right hand for and began on a promising path to success. Particularly passionate about one vertical, I started spending a lot of time and effort in stearing the department towards growth.
Taken in with it’s initial success, the department was spun off into a new Company and I became it’s leader. And here came the challenges.
I didn’t quite expect the barrage. From a small stream of niggles, the problems started multiplying – we hadn’t understood the market, our product was too basic and the team not right for scaling business. Our initial hypothesis had failed. And so from our team of 33 people we had to scale down to 2. We had to cut back all costs, move into a residential place and forgo loss making units. Basically start all over.
How difficult this period was – the dealing with creditors who pressurised you till you felt u’d burst, letting go of employees who pressurised you with guilt, and closing down units whose owners pressurised you to take out its last rupee of value…at times I felt I should just retire…
So anyway we managed it (how?) somehow and changed our model. We felt this was better in terms of product and how we dealt with customer problems and once again launched ourselves in the market. This time we were cautious ( maybe too much) and launched a new unit only when we made profits in the old one. We felt we did well and could now approach the market for external funding.
Boy were we wrong! Again! The model is too nacent, someone said. We just don’t believe that the product can scale, said the other. I don’t believe you have the management team, said a third. On and on it went and this time I really believed we’d shut down. And then just when we were on our last rupee ( and last breath of hope) we found a white knight! Someone who believed it would work but would risk just enough capital to help us sustain thru one year of operations.
And so the model pivoted again. This time the brand promise was sharper, more geared towards the customer. And we could hire (though not freely) just enough good people. Our numbers started to grow-revenues, profits, the works. Though still not hockey stick but significant growth to showcase.
And now the year is up. I go to market again. So do you think I will be successful? Is it going to be tough? You decide.
The thing that I know as an entrepreneur is that I’m not going to quit. I’m going to unturn every stone. If the VCs say no I will go to strategic investors, if they say no then to an HNI and so on. All I know is that I won’t quit. And maybe, just maybe I won’t be writing that success story after all. Maybe you wudve already read it in the newspaper.