Taking the proverbial plunge into the world of being an entrepreneur is downright crazy. Just the thought of heading down this path and the innumerable obstacles you are bound to face is enough to make anyone think twice. I am here to tell you that it is all worth it.
Being an entrepreneur is however a rewarding experience. All the hours spent working towards your vision with sheer determination teaches you many of life’s greatest lessons. Words like pressure, discipline, patience, time all take on new definitions. It is akin to arriving at place you have never been before…full of wonder yet at the back of your mind you know every step henceforth must be taken carefully.
I distinctly remember the time when LocalBanya was really just an idea. The concept came up one day amongst the three of us and pretty quickly we were already thinking about a name, logo and business plan. The feeling was electric. Not once did we let self doubt overwhelm us at that stage. Over the next 2 years, we took it one day at a time, hardly slept, argued, laughed and most importantly learnt how to adapt our personalities for this role.
Many times I am asked at a dinner party or through an e-mail from a young girl or woman about LocalBanya and if I had any tips I could share. I do. I have a million tips – all gained from my little successes and failures. Here they are:
1.Don’t quit your day job just yet
Unless you have complete financial security to lean back on, having a salary coming in like clockwork is essential. You never know when fate comes knocking on your door and deals you a bad hand. Work on your business plan and build your network in your spare time. In fact make a weekly schedule ahead of time of all the tasks and the time they will take to complete so you can better manage your precious time.
2.An hour lost is an hour lost forever
If you have a very active social life or lots of things you like to do when your off the clock, I am here to tell you that from now you are going have to choose. When I began this journey many sacrifices were made when it came to having “fun”. I chose to allocate most of those hours into starting LocalBanya and it helped immensely. Do take the time to unwind and relax as that is important as well but not at the expense of working on your dreams. Your time and your sacrifices are what sets you on the path to realizing them.
3.Learn from your mistakes…quickly
I have made my share of mistakes along the way. From blatant errors to risks that did not pan out the way I expected. Don’t let it get you down. There is wisdom to be gained in failure. Prepare yourself to face it and when it comes knocking on your door learn from it.
4.Find a men-tor or women-tor, just not a tormen-tor!!
If you are lucky enough to have a family member or close friend to guide you, there is nothing like it. Being around experience and success will instill various values in you that will serve you very well. Do not be afraid to reach out to people you admire and could see as a possible mentor. Remember most of these people have been exactly where you are now and sometimes relish the opportunity to pass on their knowledge to ambitious young people.
5. Knowledge is power
I read somewhere once – success is 99% perspiration, 1 % inspiration. So your great idea is now taking off, inevitably the phone rings and people want to invest. Welcome to wonderful world of angels, venture capital and private equity. It is in your best interest to educate yourself in this universe. At the end of the day investors enter into deals – deals that are designed to give them potentialluy ridiculous returns. Make sure you know what you are getting into otherwise all your hard work may amount to less that you imagined.
On a closing note, remember to have fun. You will meet all sorts of personalities along the way. Leave a positive impression of yourself in their minds. Be memorable and don’t do anything to get rich. The real riches lie in the journey you are about to undertake and not the number of zero’s in your checking account. Good Luck!
“Rashi Choudhary, 29 is the Co-founder and COO at LocalBanya.com, Mumbai’s 1st online supermarket. An online convenience store dedicated to the customer! Since May 2012, the website has had a single-minded focus of delivering the widest selection of products, of the highest quality at the customer’s doorstep. The wide array of categories on offer start with fruits and vegetables, exotic vegetables, groceries, personal care, household supplies, imported foods, kitchen ware, Over-The-Counter (OTC), breakfast, snacks, etc. and are still continuing to grow every month. Special interest products like frozen waffles, pepper spray, baby care, etc. have also made their way onto their 13,000+ products shelves. The company’s processes are driven by the philosophy of a customer first focus. It can offer the best prices due to a well-rounded sourcing process, negligible on-ground setup and better inventory management practices.