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Want to build a great company or just earn some quick money?

Caution: If your “sole aim” in life is to earn money, then please save time and don’t read this any further.

Sometime back I wrote about the reasons why you shouldn’t be an entrepreneur. Couple of days back a friend came to meet me to understand the legalities of starting a business. Being my normal self, I started to ask him questions which soon became tough and he became uncomfortable. Obviously, my aim was not to demotivate him but to make him think of scenarios and foresee some of the things that entrepreneurs face during their startup phase. The idea was not to get answers from him but to make him think hard and then later on go back home and find answers to those.

Interestingly, during our conversations it came out that he wanted to do business only because he wanted to make money. To me that sounded a little weird. When I asked him this upfront, he replied, “Of course I want to do business to earn money. Why else would a person run a business?” Honestly speaking, that came as a shock to me. Then I asked him, “What if a similar company offers the same expertise and service at a lower cost, how would you convince your potential client in such a case?” He went blank. He looked at me for an answer. I gave him a hint, “So what is it that you are offering? What is the value you are creating?” He still didn’t have any answers. <You probably would have understood the point I am trying to make here>

Then he asked me “if money is not what you are there for, why are you doing it?” I answered, “Apart from a few other things, creating value for my clients and creating jobs is why I am there. Money is a by product. Its a result of good work that I do.” And for doing good work, the motivation is not money, never. It can be ‘one’ of the reasons but not the ONLY reason is what I believe. That’s not how great companies are built! Great ideas are born out of need, necessity amongst other things and then there’s a vision and value statement that shapes those ideas into organizations. Those who stick by it are able to build organizations that sustain themselves, otherwise, for whatever reasons, they go down.

And those are not just words that I said above. I have a very close friend who shut down his business sometime back. You would be surprised to know, he was doing really good. Had good cash flows, a name in the industry, grown from 6 to 16 people in the last 1 year or so but then all of a sudden shut down. Reason: he realized he wasn’t creating any value for anyone. His aim to earn money had been fulfilled and he wasn’t sure why should he continue? He couldn’t find a reason and eventually shut down. And then… got back to job.

I am no expert in this field but I believe everything that we do in life has to tie up with our life goals. Be it starting a business or doing any job. That’s when everything starts to fall in place and we live a happy and content life. If that’s not happening, probably there’s something wrong somewhere and needs attention, maybe urgently. Figure that out.

Would like to end this with a statement written on the very first page of Jim Collins’s world famous book: Built to Last

We’ve met executives from all over the world who aspire to create something bigger and more lasting than themselves – an ongoing institution rooted in a set of timeless core values, that exists for a purpose beyond just making money, and that stands the test of time by virtue of the ability to continually renew itself from within.


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  1. Hi Abhinav,

    Its a wonderful point, which Alok Sir too asked a few days back via social media, he said ask “WHY” you wish to start anything. 

    I, myself am a start up and working on the finalization of my project. I too asked myself many a times why I wish to start here a re a few points of my own :

    1. I  love cooking, especially sandwiches and desserts, I see people wasting food, I want to provide that to the poor. so we are putting a system in place that no food will be wasted but instead will be provided to the poor every half an hour.

    2. I want to be the first Indian QSR to walk in to the world and bring dollars to India and not let their companies drain us of our financial strength.

    3. Employment, as you said, I want to hire as many as I can, and especially those who can’t get work anywhere, we will give them work be it part time or full time.

    4. Instead of making huge profits I wish to make huge customer base, as larger the number the profits will itself increase.

    5. I want to make the company by we the people, by the people and for the people.

    Just a few points from my own thoughts as to why I want to start-up my venture . 

  2. Money lets you do all those wonderful things that you want to do other than making money. And hence you would still need money to start thinking less about money. 

    Money is the bluntest, most truthful and unambiguous currency of success and things you did right. Money is the best tool to measure friends and foes esp when you have less of it.

    those who “change lives”, “create value” “seek happiness and friendship through business” still do it primarily for money.

    it is money which is still the currency to pay telephone, electricity bills, house rent, grocery bills, school fees, petrol, taxi/auto charges. Lack of it, no one would b keen to know how much “value” was created.

    Not belittling all things other than money, but those who seek to under-prioritise money must appreciate the above.

    parting shot, remember the 5paisa slogan, “its all about money, honey”

    Sanchita “hometrepreneur” Dutta  (

    PS: through all my ventures, I am always trying to earn money!

     And yes, i did read the caution and followed it. read only the first and the last line 🙂

  3. Awesome Karan! Felt really good reading it. What’s your startup called? Any link?

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