Is being your own boss the most exciting thing about startups?
It’s the fearlessness of today’s fresh-out-of-college graduates, and an experiment-loving attitude, which has brought about a culture shift.Youth Survey 2016 Updated: Dec 21, 2016 17:52 IST
Not all of us are Isaac Newtons or Albert Einsteins, but there’s something about the 20s which sets this decade of life apart. The prime skill set at this age, other than physical agility and the ability to bear excruciatingly long working hours, is the mental capability to try out many solutions, fail, and try again. It’s the fearlessness of today’s fresh-out-of-college graduates, and an experiment-loving attitude, which has brought about a culture shift.
Starting a business takes a rough sense of people’s needs, an idea that satisfies those needs, the money to set up the business, and a team to work tirelessly on making it click and expand. Respondents of the HT-MaRS Youth Survey 2016 echo the sentiment: 27% of youngsters in India said going through the challenge of starting a new business is what excites them most about start-ups, followed by being your own boss (26.8%), the thrill of experimenting with new ideas (22%), an opportunity to do whatever you want (9%) and making more money (8%).
Sustaining a new business takes more than a good idea. A poorly executed clever idea is a bad idea overall. A well executed, but common idea, will not attract business. It takes a perfectly executed idea, by the perfectly devoted team to make a Google or an Apple.
Yes, it takes patience. I’ve spent more than two years working for a startup. I started with teaching students all across north India (Kashmir, Himachal, UP and Bihar). These days I spend most of my time training new teachers and grooming young managers. One of the most exciting workdays I’ve had in these two years involved carrying a laptop and a projector in a tanga to a school in a small town, to conduct a class for high school students in a district 40 kilometers from the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir.
The one learning that excites me more than anything else about having spent a couple of years in a startup is: Stay Hungry Stay Foolish. People five years younger to you could help you improve the way you work. An entrepreneurial mindset doesn’t just mean having bright ideas - it also means having an open mind to trying out even seemingly bad ones.
You need to have experienced a certain amount of chaos to be able to confidently take on more. The idea of facing such challenges and picking up this set of skills is what excites me about being part of an entrepreneurial attempt to solve a problem.
(A civil engineer from IIT Kanpur and MBA from IIM Kozhikode, Saksham Srivastava is currently with Avani Learning Centres in Delhi. The organization teaches Maths and Science to underprivileged kids)
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