Initiating a Startup – Ignore passion at your own risk
Startup fever is in the air. This infection is spreading fast and every young and old want to become successful through a startup route. While this fever is good to create a positive culture, the flip side obviously is failure of most of these startups within few months to a couple of years.
Last three days, I had opportunity to meet three such different groups of startup dreamers with very different and divergent backgrounds. After having detailed discussion as an advisor I discovered common traits that worried me.
One such team, that comprised of young students wanted to give their shot on starting a ecommerce portal that would help some daily needs of larger population. I was surprised that the team had brainstormed for several months before coming to the idea that to me seemed very basic and flawed. Another issue I found was that the team had no technical background but wanted to enter in a technology based business.
The second team was already running a technology company in a particular domain that was niche and had dedicated clients. However the leadership team of the company felt that by not moving to new technology domains in their service offerings, they may be left out in the race of a successful IT company. They had acquired skills and spend time and money in creating some ecosystem for offering new technology based services like big data but had met with no success even after one year. In this process, they had ignored their core business that had resulted in stalling the growth of the established business and not making anything substantial in the new area too.
The third team was a group of real estate experts who had great domain knowledge but wanted to create a portal that would be based on their domain knowledge and will be able to take on already established portals with very little investment.
All wanted to grow and create new companies that would be valued big eventually. The common problem I found in each was the ‘Lure for big money’ and not the passion of the cause. Each of them had a dream of making millions in a short span of time, and the entire journey was being worked out backwards.
The question in the planning process was not the passion they wanted to exercise and create something worthwhile, except probably in the third team to some extent. In all cases the question being answered was ‘What we have to do to make millions’.
In my more than two decades of technology experience, I have myself started few ventures with money as the motive. In all the cases the outcome started with mental fatigue, loss of interest in the business and eventually loss of money and a cause. It was only after few attempts that I understood the problem and started focusing on my passion. My success is primarily attributed to this learning. Most of the startup may have to learn this lesson and experience failures before they can smell success. For those who give up, this experience will only carry bitter feelings and sense of loss, while for persistent few, sky is the limit.