Start and they will come: How entrepreneurs can find courage to take the plunge
The other day I wanted to watch a Telugu horror movie in Mumbai. Problem was that the rest of Mumbai didn’t seem as interested in it.
When I reached the multiplex, I figured I was their only customer. They said they might cancel the show.
I argued that at least they had one customer and they must start. Others might join later.
They didn’t agree.
Then I asked them how many tickets did they need to sell in order to start the show. Six, they said.
By then there was another more man waiting behind me. So I bought all the six tickets, sold one to that man. And left the rest at the counter. They could pay me back later if the tickets got sold.
All tickets were sold because the movie was already running.
I watched the movie (it wasn’t that good) without spending an extra penny. But because I took the step to make them start the show, it happened.
Start and they will come
Many wannapreneurs have starting trouble. They have great ideas. But they just simply can’t start. Because there’s always no time. No money. It won’t make logical sense. Don’t want to lose perks and salaries of a regular corporate job. Too busy with the family. Don’t have the skills or experience. They have many, many reasons to not startup.
The little secret to starting is this. You simply start.
It may seem unreasonable (like buying all minimum tickets required to start the show). But then that’s exactly the chance you have to take.
Instead of finding reasons for not starting. Ask what will make something happen? What must you do in order to make your idea or desire come alive?
You’ll surely get those answers.
Then simply do it.
I’ve noticed time and again. That once the train starts moving, many people want to join. It even becomes cool to join. Unexpected help surfaces. Things simply happen. It’s almost as if the Universe was waiting for you to start it.
But no one will get on a train that may or may not start.
That’s how I started up our company. Years ago as an MBA student. Instead of sitting for job interviews, I simply told everyone that I was starting a company. It was to mainly trap myself into starting. If I tell everyone then I’ll cut down my options of not-starting.
I had no money. A big student loan. And I don’t come from a business family.
The word got around. And my co-founders found their way to me. We had a vague - a very vague - idea of what we wanted to do. We just simply knew we wanted to build a company in healthcare.
And we did. We struggled to find investors and clients. But we eventually did all that. And once the company started making money, we found more interesting things to do. We built a healthcare technology platform. Products were never part of the original idea but we created something that keeps creating products. And everything continues to grow.
If you want to startup, start up. Make it happen. By announcing to the world what you are doing. Stop worrying about sounding foolish or failing. Simply start.
Recently, a conversation with SIESCOMS, a management college resulted in an idea for a healthcare technology conference. They had space for 225 people. We had the industry perspective.
No money. No speakers. Not even that much time at hand.
But we simply started. We called it #HIT-NEXT - to imply the future of health IT.
Amazingly people joined. University of Alabama School of Medicine. People from medicine, artificial intelligence, medical devices, academia. Fortune 100 companies. Even the government of India. We struggled but figured everything out - payment gateways, website, registrations and other logistics. Many speakers said no but very cool people slowly started saying yes. And it snowballed.
My professor, C.K. Prahalad would often say this. That entrepreneurship is always about aspirations being greater than resources.
You don’t start up because everything fits neatly in your life plan.
You simply startup because you want to.
* This article was originally published in The Economic Times