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5 Reasons Why You Will Never Make The Cut As An Entrepreneur

Aspiring entrepreneurs often don’t even start up. The reasons are aplenty, but if you can get over these five, you have got a sure shot chance to start your first venture.

You have it in you to start your own venture. Or so you think. Starting a venture requires much more than an idea.

Proof is that there are hundreds and thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs who think they have a winning idea, but never manage to put it into action! They never manage to start up.

Here are five reasons that are stopping them, or YOU from starting up.

Reason #1 – Worrying About Ideas

Are you the kind of person who has always dreamt of starting your venture, but never managed to find an idea that’s great enough to push you into one? If that’s you, then you’re not alone.

Many aspiring entrepreneurs fall short of starting up just because they obsess about finding the right idea.

You don’t really need an ‘idea’ to start up. What you need is to identify a problem and just solve it better than the how most are currently doing.

Once you think you have got it (an idea), but are still not sure, just go for it. Launch the damn idea. Build it into a product prototype if you must and put it out into the hands of the people, the customers.

No amount of market research will help you unless you actually develop a Beta or a prototype of your product. Let the actual customers sample it. Let them give you first hand feedback. And then you build from thereon. This works just about every time!

Reason #2 – Worrying About Capital

Don’t worry about something you don’t have. Because most often, what you already have gives you enough to worry about!

I co-founded Arkenea Technologies with Zero capital. Yes, Zero! All you need to do is to challenge the conventional paradigm. Keep thinking how you can work your way around.

If you want to start a product company, bootstrap. Pool in your resources from savings or borrow from friends or family. There are many more ways of raising money to build your product.

But importantly, get a proof of concept done (outsource if you must) and take it to investors. Or take it to your first set of customers. There is no trick, but to get started.

If you plan to start a services business, then get your first client, and then hire a team to work on it if you have the time or simply outsource. Deliver a fantastic product and then work your way into setting up your own team.

Reason #3 – Procrastination

There is a reason why they say, ‘Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.’ Most often, you will see your best ideas executed in just awesome ways simply because you sat on it for far too long.

The first step of starting a venture is to start one. If you want to start your business, shut up and start up.

If you don’t act on your idea today, someone else is bound to stumble up on it and take it to market before you can. Trust me, no idea is unique until it is executed.

Reason #4 – Fear of Failure

If you are going to start up, you are bound to fail. For in failure are life’s little secrets. For in failure is where you will discover the secret to your next successful venture.

Angry Birds was the 52nd attempt that finally made it for Rovio. PayPal was Max Levchin’s fifth attempt at entrepreneurship that finally won him the things he deserved.

So embrace failure. You cannot learn to ride a bike by reading how to ride one. You’ve got to hop onto one, fall a few times, but then you get up and hop on again. And only then will you gain the confidence and the balance to ride free. Let a hundred potholes or bumps then come your way, you know how to ride!

Reason #5 – Lifeless Goals

If your goal is to make money, let me tell you this, your venture is doomed before it even takes off. You may surely end up making some, but that will be in the short term.

You need commitment and conviction. And how does that come?

By setting inspiring goals. Goals that are beyond money and number of customers. Set goals that talk about creating value. Set goals that talk about the real benefits to your customers.

Such goals drive passion to create a difference. This passion creates positivity. This positivity creates excitement and energy. And if you’ve got this, so will your customers. They will sense it and open their wallets for you. Money will follow.

So here you go. These are the five key reasons why you will never end up starting your venture. If you feel you need help in overcoming any of these or simply to validate your ideas, I would be glad to help. Email me.

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  1. Adding some fuel to the fire:

    As featured in the September 12 issue of the “Entrepreneur” (India) Magazine.


    Think you know entrepreneurs? Ha! Think again! These are seven dark secrets that entrepreneurs will never reveal about themselves:

    1. Entrepreneurs are insecure.

    For many years, I felt insecure.

    First about not being an engineer, but just a lowly B.Com graduate. Then about not being an MBA while all my friends became one. Next came a sinking feeling of not having worked for a Fortune 500 Company (I worked in my dad’s socks factory for twelve years).

    It was only when I broke out and became an entrepreneur that this feeling started fading. I tasted some success that made me feel somewhat secure and confident of being able to survive in the otherwise ‘formatted for success’ world.

    2. Entrepreneurs are lonely.

    Honestly, entrepreneurs are their own best friends.

    Yes, family comes close and there is almost a reverse dependency on family (I feel I depend on my wife and 2 daughters more than they depend on me), but there is really no one else.

    Maybe I speak for myself, but the gigantic tasks of the day leave no room for hanging out with friends or acquaintances. In most cases, it’s going out with the office crowd.

    Entrepreneurs speak to themselves in their sleep. They sell proposals to themselves in the shower and negotiate term sheets in their mind while they are eating sev puri. There is little time for other friendships.

    3. Entrepreneurs are selfish.

    I can never forgive myself for one incident.

    Neither can my wife. The day my younger daughter was born was also the day I was supposed to sign my final shareholding agreements to close my first round of funding. I chose to sign those documents instead of bringing my wife and new born baby back home from the hospital.

    This just pointedly shows how selfish entrepreneurs are.

    4. Entrepreneurs are about the glory, not about the money.

    I always told my wife that I would be really elated the day I made my crore rupees and that “life would change after that”.

    I made one crore in a sale transaction 6 years ago and I still remember working doubly hard that day. Nothing changed the next day or the week after. And as I see it, nothing will change in the decade to come.

    I realized that entrepreneurs do what they do for the glory of it. The money just happens and gets silently ignored.

    5. Entrepreneurs are those people who walk into dark basements with the lights off.

    Whenever I see a movie where a person who hears a noise slowly starts walking down into a dark basement with no lights (to investigate), I get the jeebie-jeebies.

    It’s just that very often, entrepreneurs love chasing ideas and concepts till the very end. Almost fanatically, like someone obsessed; oblivious to fears and dangers to the point of almost getting killed in the bargain.

    In the beginning of my entrepreneurial career, I would call 500 clients everyday and say, “Hi, I’m calling from, can I meet you?” No one bothered to speak to me, forget meet me. But I just kept on calling, ignoring the dark fear that I may not have been on the right path in the first place.

    6. Entrepreneurs don’t mind their own business. They want to mind yours.

    My wife and kids have given up on me.

    It’s because at a restaurant, I lecture the manager on how to speak on the phone. Or because I spend forty minutes at a premium clothes store explaining to the saleswoman, how she should sell shirts to men. When the person at the toll booth doesn’t have change, I have a problem. When the car showroom sticks a ‘serviced at x garage’ sticker on my car – the manager, his boss and boss’s father get a lecture on how they cannot treat other people’s cars as media properties.

    Entrepreneurs just can’t keep their noses to themselves.

    They have to poke and intrude into other people’s business, and that’s not because they are curious or jealous; it’s because they want to participate in the other person’s business. They want to contribute and they want to inspire that entrepreneur to be the best.

    7. Entrepreneurs love C.S.I

    I love C.S.I (the investigative programme on TV). It’s not because I love to solve crimes, but because I love detail. I love the nitty gritty, the tiny hooks and sinks, the finger printing of attention, the DNA analysis of ‘why’!

    In my father’s factory, I spent years writing an algorithm that calculated the cost of everything that went into making a sock – including the cost of the electricity of the lightbulb in the watchman’s bathroom.

    Details are the ocean in which entrepreneurs swim to find hidden treasures.Sometimes the treasures are found and sometimes not, but the addiction to detail just becomes permanent. 

    Entrepreneurs are dangerous, lonely, crazy people. They are like Vampires. Either you stay away from them, or become them.



    Adding another note I wrote many months ago called “The 7 myths of Starting Up”:

    Myth 1 – I have a great idea but I can’t share it coz someone will steal it.

    Oh man, if that were the case, then dreams would be the most expensive commodity on the planet.

    Salvador Dali- the father of Surrealism slept on a couch with a spoon in his mouth. He would start dreaming up crazy ideas and as he would drift into his sleep, the spoon would slip out of his mouth, fall on the floor and wake him up. He would immediately get up, rush to his canvas to paint what he had just dreamt. The million $$ Dalis that exist today are paintings, not dreams.

    Truth – An idea is worth nothing. Execute. Execute. Execute to make it valuable.

    Myth 2 – When do I approach the investors? Hmmmm… What’s the best ‘timing’?

    Huh?? Were you Sleep Walking?

    If only investors were like the Black and Yellow Mumbai cabs that you can hail and get into any time you want!

    No VC or Investor is waiting with bated breath biting her fingernails for you to call! It’s quite the opposite scene actually. In a booming Economy (like India), investors are deluged with lots of high quality and established business investment options, so you have to fight hard to get into the VC’s visitor’s area to begin with!

    Truth – Capital Chases Entrepreneurs, not the other way around. Invest all your energies in building a GREAT business. Everyone will be ringing your doorbell.

    Myth 3 – I have no money to start. (Sniff Sniff).

    Most new business ideas today really need very little capital. If you are thinking of starting an Internet enabled business, the cloud takes away all the pain of investments. Domains cost less than 20 US$, and the rest of it is almost free. Sites like WordPress and their plugins can get you a fully loaded website up and running in a few thousand rupees spent.

    Sure, if you have a more Capital Intensive business idea, then think really hard. Start Ups don’t survive on Love and Fresh Air. They need real hard cash. If you are on the Poverty Line, don’t attempt to start up. There will be better times to be more adventurous.

    Truth – Be ready to sacrifice a good couple of years’ earnings into starting up and not looking like someone who lost all her baggage after a 24 hour flight. Once you have the cushion of 2 years’ savings, a lot more confidence will seep into your decision-making and improve your risk taking capabilities. Also Budget your Burn to say last for a year or whatever be your test horizon. That discipline will go a long way even after you get funded.

    Myth 4 – Let me Grow First. Revenues can come Later.

    Oops. That’s the spine breaker.

    Unless you have a massive, massive overnight hit like a Twitter or Facebook, tread the ‘growth first, revenue last’ road with caution.

    You may be suffering from a deep-seated insecurity to generate revenues and conveniently shoving that fear under the carpet by postponing revenue generation. It’s like hiding a body in the deep freezer and hoping that it will never be found.

    Generating revenues is a real PAIN.

    And it’s best confronted in parallel to building your business. In fact, so many extra features of your service or enterprise may never be needed if you listen to the fat men with the cheques books early on. Also, as investors, partners, and potential acquirers  start noticing your business, they look your Generating Revenue Experience (GRE) scores. If you didn’t apply for the exam, you wont get in.

    Truth – Get that begging bowl out. Try and test (if you want to maintain Facebook like early start up Virginity) what people will pay for – but make sure that you know where the light switches are when the darkness arrives.

    Caveat (added on 22.9.2012) – I do not mean that make revenues the ‘focus’ of your business. The focus is Business creation – but a proven revenue model validates that model. As long as you even know ‘where and how’ the revenue will come, I believe that its fine

    Myth 5 – I’m a techie – I don’t know anything about business. I am a business guy, I don’t know anything about technology!

    Then learn!!

    The demons of the mind that say that you don’t know how ‘business’ works need to be exterminated on day zero of starting up. Look all around you – the greatest geeks in the world – Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, The Google Twins, Marc Z – all have understood the science of business better than anybody else.

    Also, for a M.Com dud like myself, today, technology and self -serve platforms have become so easy to understand and implement, they are like those do it yourself Lego Puzzles. All you need is the patience to sit down and assemble the rocket you are trying to build step by step. Read the instructions carefully and you will be set.

    Truth – No entrepreneur can be in-complete. This is actually also the first step in becoming an entrepreneur – understanding a domain that you otherwise had no clue of.

    Note – I am not suggesting mastering all domains, but rather just understanding them.


    Get Out there and Figure it out!


    Get Out there and Figure it out!


    Myth 6 – Professionals whom I want are too expensive to hire.

    Did you ask them? Did you look into their eyes and explain your invention and what can happen with it?

    So many of the ‘been there, done that’ types are so bored and stuck en-cashing salary cheques every month. They are waiting for folks like you to go up to them and redeem them! I meet so many professionals (earning much more than me) ever so often who say ‘Wow Alok, I wish I could be doing the exciting and innovative things you and your Company do’!

    Truth – Professionals with big compensation packages may not quit their job in a hurry for your Love Songs, but they can certainly begin associating with you. Start meeting them and burrow into their experiences. Shed a few shares and get them on your board. You may even realize that you never needed them full time!

    Myth 7 – I HAVE TO make this work. (Stomping of feet on the floor heard).

    Once in a while, when you sample a new restaurant or cuisine, you do risk getting in there, and ordering a meal you have never tasted before. In the first few bites, you know if it is a ‘disastrous’, a ‘will do, let’s get this done with’ or a ‘wow’ meal.

    In a start up land, while your dreams may have taken you to heaven in a first class seat, when you actually implement the idea and hit execution, you may land up in rubble, deep under the ground.

    Do not deny the ‘badness’ of the idea or the common sensical fact that ‘this was a bet that should not have been played’. Enterprises are built on hypothesis. If even a couple of assumptions or facts (which are crucial to business) don’t turn out the way as per your expectations, ditch the business, kill all engines, sit back and revise the learnings earned.

    Truth – Get out, as soon as you see smoke. Don’t put on a mask and enter the fire pretending to be a firefighter. You will not come out alive and your soul will be too charred to boot up again.


  3. Have of course read these two before, but thanks for putting it out here with this post. Nothing like going over these again to relearn 🙂

  4. Awesome Stuff Rahul….. this post and the comments mentioned below deserve to be printed and pinned…. when I was showing all the 5 above-mentioned signs 3 years back… a seasoned entrepreneur sarcastically said —

    wannabe entrepreneurs are like juvenile boys attaining puberty…they have read more than required about  it and have all the gyan… but they miss the most important thing i.e. EXPERIENCE

    ….and that was so true 🙂


  5. “If your goal is to make money, let me tell you this, your venture is doomed before it even takes off. You may surely end up making some, but that will be in the short term.”

    I would beg to differ but I’ll keep it for some other time. 🙂

  6. Thank you for your comments Abhishek! 🙂

  7. I would love to hear your views. 

    Btw, can you sustain a venture for 10 years pursuing money and that being the goal for running the business, when you continue to not make any?

  8. A very useful article for aspiring entrepreneur. I believe Reason #1 is one which most people ignore or fail to build. Some people drop the idea while others dont take the first step and it stops there. Building a prototype of model is important to give some shape/form to your idea. 

    I came across this event called IN 50 HRS, which encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to come up with ideas/skills and build a prototype over a weekend. (visit Having more such events will address the Reason 1 & 2 (the capital includes resources, skills, systems as well as money). 

  9. Adding my 2 cents on the point “If your goal is to make money……” .

    I think what Rahul meant is the ‘making money’ should not be the sole motive/goal, instead it should be something like “providing a solution/product/service”. The vision/mission should be that of providing a solution and attaining leadership in that segment (money is an obvious byproduct). 

  10. Thank you for your comments Sridhar. You got it bang on! 🙂

  11. Nice article Rahul.

  12. Thank you Raja!

  13. Rahul, you nailed it brother.. 🙂

  14. Thanks Vijay! 🙂

  15. @Rahul : Great article and @Alok sir, Thanks for adding your comments. 

    This post has made my day 

  16. Thanks Mr Rahul!! Wonderful writing!! and Mr Alok too…

    I was getting depressed about attending to ‘family matters’ here and at the same time worrying about a client report that I needed to finish.

    I agree that Entrepreneurs are lonely and selfish, driven on higher level but a vision in our hearts that can be hard to verbalize or quantify, and hard to explain to relatives who feel that you’re ‘project’ which employes ten people or more, is not that important. 🙂

    Being selfish is a small price to pay.

    Happy that I logged on this am. Thankyou

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