Scaling & Entrepreneurship–Growing it Right

[ Most of the entrepreneurs worry too much about scaling. Here is a sound advice from Sameer Shisodia – he started as a tech entrepreneur and is now neck deep into hospitality business.]

Do not burden yourself with Scale upfront.

It comes when it does, and will match the level of your ambition and effort. Do not make the success of your idea contingent on huge scale, and an eventual, delayed payout. Of course, some ideas will need that. But do not get discouraged if it appears that it’ll never be a Google. Even old-world, seemingly unscalable brick and mortar ideas have been grown. They don’t all have to grow the same way. Linear growth is just fine too. And paths, ideas and opportunities will emerge as you deep dive into something that you really care about.

1. Don’t worry about having to share it.

Its cliched, but a small part of a large pie is better than all of nothing at all. Sharing is not just about “attracting talent” but about truly transferring ownership, authority and demonstrating trust. Its a tough one, but one very important if you want to be part of a team that can help create something much larger than what you might, individually.

2. Keep thinking of revenue.

This means a bunch of things. For one, you’re not thinking of investors but of customers, and paying ones at that. No business is “too small right now” to be making revenues. Ever. Every Rs.10/- is validation. And it also keeps you alive to the business model, and tests the assumptions and hypotheses you started out with.

3. At the same time, don’t obsess about revenue.

There is usually a larger picture and story than your current sales flow, or even product offering, might suggest. You might have thought of it upfront (but hopefully, aren’t building/creating that all at one go), or it might present itself as you start assembling the idea and product and market together. So while revenue is important, its ok if its not as high as you expected. Do not let it take up ALL your time for sure. A CEO must do some amount of sales, but one who becomes focused only on that is very very dangerous in the not-short term.

4. Keep Values Intact, and communicate clearly.

Be it to partners, co-founders, vendors, employees. Its easy for motivations, aspirations and desires to diverge as business grows, and creates pushes and pulls in different directions. If its all built on the platform of some core values, which are then never compromised for immediate gains, then you stand a better chance of these pulls being reconciled into a single vision. Else you lose time, trust, people.

5. Network, connect, get out of the door

Yeah that website can be improved. And code optimized. Or delivery made more efficient. Or whatever. But as your business grows, your eyes and ears need to be out there. Personally, while you’re small. You need to learn how to keep fishing for opportunity, great people, customers; you need to know what they think/feel; you need to know it way before the sh*t hits the fan.

6. Of course, be flexible

Its not like you might be wrong about many things. Its more like you surely will be! Its about persisting with the idea, moving from plan A to B, experiment X to Y and backing yourself to try things out even as you’re unsure. Of course, you need a very decent eye on personal cash flows, expense patterns as you do this if you do not want to find yourself in a pressure cooker all of a sudden.

Go ahead, entrepreneurize!

[Reproduced from Sameer’s blog]

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