On Management

Of Delay. Of the Indian Startup Scene.

Image Courtesy: Startup Florida


“Sit down, take a paper and a pen. Now note down the amount of time and money you feel will be required to get your startup on track. Multiply that amount by 3 and you are nearer to the actual figure.” This ‘advice’ is across startup blogs and startup websites. Everyone says it, everyone lives it and we have all been the plucky newcomers who decisively resolve to change the myth. And that hardly ever happens. Lets find out why, Jack.


Why Multiply By Three?

Your startup, your party and everybody happy. Seldom happens, Jack. It is team-work from the very start. You might be the only developer, the only strategist or the only one who runs the show. The team members? Those are the guys you take feedback from. During the conception of the idea, the person you discussed the idea with. Your first co-founder who does odd jobs where you cant afford to lose your focus. Your family, who bear with your probably admirable startup-eccentricity. Your first to-do mentor, who gives basic to-dos and to-not-dos. The government officer who cooperated during firm registration. Some random agencies you outsourced work to. They may not be your partners, but you end up depending on them, don’t you Jack?


You Drive Your Independent Car?

Hardly. Though you’re on your way to the Entrepreneur’s Utopia in your car, and it is your way on the Long Island highway; Someone helped you choose the car, someone helped you learn how to drive it, someone made sure you know the alternate uses of the back-seat, someone cleaned the windshields and changed the seat covers and someone fixed the first puncture. So basically, if there had been no people to deal with- that is, individuals who have their own lives and can afford luxurious delay with your errands- your work would have taken a month. Thanks to all these guys/girls, it took 3 months or tad more. Bingo, Jack. You drive your car for sure, but it can not be an independent one.


So Delay Is Good?

I never said that, dear affable imaginary Jack. Understanding delay is important. Make sure you do not get frustrated. Make sure you are not impatient. Do not push people too far. It is always good to have them on your side. And keep away from folks who might never get the work done. Delay is acceptable while irresponsible attitude is not. Try to balance things out. Say, if your partnership deed is taking weeks after weeks, you might work on the firm-PAN-card documents simultaneously in order to open the firm’s bank account sooner. Give your team members their own space. Time-frames do not work like a scheduler, but they help keep track of things. Delegate work appropriately and keep a tab on quality too. And be patient. It helps in kicking serious arse.


Do We Start Operations In Haste?

Never. Always secure the back-end of the organization before launch. Do your Beta, understand the field you are into. Talk and talk to people, meet them too. But remember that an army marches on its tummy. If your coffers are not full enough, you cannot go to war. If your coffers are not full enough, you cannot help build a wonderful world full of love. Coffers can be filled with energy, hard cash, talent and experience. Fill them up. Feels awesome.


Talk About the Indian Startup Scene

Matt Wilson had asked me, “Is it difficult to start a business in India?” I had replied in the negative. Things here are not difficult, they are simply plain boring. Exciting things are yet to happen here. Until half a decade back, we were still trying to copy the West. Not realizing that our problems are unique and interesting. We needed new solutions. And those are now slowly coming up. And with heck loads of people all around, the new-and-awesome mentality takes time to percolate. This significant difference in the thought processes of two (or rather, three) very different nations (within one India) makes it an unfriendly startup environment. ‘Safe’ paths are still encouraged, majority of the population has no technology access, people are still trying to create Indian-Silicon-Valleys (when we need Indian-Something-Else-Valleys) and government attempts to slowly get out of the magnificently lethargic Red-Tape processes.

Everything takes up time because traditional businesses is what people are used to. Take, for instance, our current competitors in the Home Services sector. They are complacent and no one can blame them for the same. Their conditioned way of doing business has reaped sweet fruits. And at what cost? That is what Hammer & Mop has to showcase in the near future. The challenge is not in doing business effectively, it is to ‘govern dynamics’. That is, to bring people together for shared benefit.


Sweet. Parting Note?

We are learning with our every interaction on the business front. Delay is acceptable as long as you learn to manage it well. And as for the startup scene in India, the bunch of us are here to make a difference.





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