Indian Entrepreneur 101 – How not to suck at being one!

A Young Entrepreneur on a Hot Day at Portland State

Right now as I sit in front of my laptop to blog, almost after 2 months, I can hardly construct meaningful sentences of the thoughts that are swirling a million to the buck in my head. And no I don’t god forbid, have Alzheimer’s. It’s just the after effects of my day-night efforts to become an entrepreneur in this country where all engineer’s ultimately become one, due to lack of jobs 🙂

Let me expound.

As I’ve mentioned before my path from engineering to event management, it wasn’t always hard to hate engineering. Least of all the luring image of me sweating and grunting against some groaning machine all covered in grease and lube, made sure I shuddered even during my quarter life crisis, that I never take up an engineering job. However I was to learn the grass is not always greener on the other side as some myopic old man quipped in the past. Judging on the basis of my creative juices that always had wanted a vent to escape and bring forth ideas and execute them since childhood, I went with my gut instinct of setting up my own event management company. And hence in the past  few months, I resigned from my earlier employer’s company and went about  starting up my dream. But now having become one, let me tell you my readers, the deathtrap’s and the ways how not to suck when you want to become a self-accomplished entrepreneur.

Company Name

Firstly, the name of your company. This is a never-ending loop of writing down and crossing out all those witty, fantastic names you think of. Mostly because, the one you like, your partner won’t like. The one he likes, you won’t. And if by any random occurrence of a meteorite landing in your backyard, both of you like it, its guffawed and spat on by that third person you went to opinion for. And hence, this takes an eternity while you satisfy your family and friends, your partners family and friends and finally, if at all that name hasn’t been taken up by some other guy yet, you finalize it.

Stylizing your Company 

Secondly, you set about the rules, styling and vibe of your organization. This again is a rabbit hole in Alice’s wonderland, since you can’t allegedly  be ‘inspired’ from anywhere lest you wanna stand yourself in a court for plagiarizing from similar companies. So you start giving your dream a unique face, feel and vibe. But hey, your partner gets a sudden idea and wants it incorporated too. Then your dad has one. Then your dad’s uncle thrice removed on his mom’s side has a spark. If you so much as dare to oppose them saying it’s your company and your partner, be ready for explicit Malayalam wrath and curse to be showered, sentencing your entire generation to be blind, crippled and suffering from smallpox . In short, it would have been better, you didn’t start the company in the first place, with all the expletives and curses hanging in the air, wafting about reminding of the impending doom for the company. But if at all you satisfy all these people, and decide on the corporate styling you adopt, congratulations. You just finished a quarter of the work required.

Creating your company stationery 

Next we need to design the company logo, website and related brochures, fliers etc. Welcome to the inferno. You just realized you are exhausted from the previous steps and just want to curl up and go to sleep. But it’s not to be so. So you sit down with your designer and give him a brief of what you want. He patiently jots down all of them and says he will have a couple of site samples done within 2 weeks. Since you are in India, you would have three national holidays, couple of hartals and bandhs, Saturdays and Sundays  and finally if the odds come in your favor, in the second month you see those samples. Luckily, it has not even a remote semblance of what you actually asked for. Again you go on a roller coaster idea of having the website have everything you want to be in the right place  and gel with the earlier vibe and style you have adopted for the company. While this is happening, parallelly you have your company logo to be designed. Again you have the entire process repeated as you see logos after logos but nothing special. And one fine day, you suddenly see the logo that you realize would sync with the company outlook. (It’s only sad later when you realize that you have become so tired and bleary with all the logo samples you saw, that you just confirmed the one logo that you had rejected in one of the early samples given to you, albeit in a different color -_-). Finally, when you have all in hand ready, you just finished half of what you set out for.

Official Registration and Office set-up

If you are still up and running by this time, congratulations. You have true skills to be an entrepreneur in this great country and you can take a lot of bullshit. Searching for a cost-effective office space in an accessible place locally, and in a building which doesn’t shout the 19th century, is mission impossible. However, since you have to, at least, do justice to all those time, energy and months that you escaped those living ancestors curse, didn’t get bankrupt yet and those beautiful website and logos that are waiting to be criticized by the world are still there, you have to go on. Day after day you run after brokers who claim to be descendants of Parashuram himself that there is yet a place in Kerala, he hasn’t sold. Multiply this guy with two more others and you have the whole dynasty and clan of parashuram running around and calling you relentlessly on your phone, claiming to have found ‘the one’ place. Finally, hopefully, you do.

The Launch

And finally, you are set to roll. Don’t worry. There are yet no clients and if lucky you have nothing to show your efforts as an actually relevant event management company.(However personally I was lucky on this single aspect as we had events up our sleeves given by our awesome understanding clients and hence could display some photos worthy of our salt). But don’t give up now. You have your entire rep staked on this and now if you back off, you better suicide than listen to those so-called family and friends, which starts with ‘I told you so !’. Just hold on to your beliefs and your pants ( since you must have reduced at least 2 sizes from the sleepless nights) and keep your head high of what you have already accomplished. Trust me when I say this. Only a few people face these insurmountable adversities and become businessmen. I know I’m one now. Hopefully my post helps you become one too.

See you on the other side 😀