Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy in a country where you are judged by money you make and not the impact you create. Your idea, your dream, your ambition are considered as threat than opportunity to collaborate for greater good. It’s not easy to be an entrepreneur in a country where investors are interested to invest only if they can hijack your business. It’s definitely not easy where rents are nothing less than 20,000 per month. And, it’s definitely not easy where no one is interested to work for you for anything less than salary s/he would get abroad. Needless to talk about taxes and policy hurdles.
You are celebrated only on Facebook. In reality, you are secretly hated for your success and growth and popularity. It’s not easy to be an entrepreneur in a country with leg-pulling culture.
Sometimes, it feels like entrepreneurship is just a new high-school band trend, where everyone wants to become next Metallica, with a dream to make a world tour, but in reality you are judged for your long hair, tattoo; no family support, costly recording, and no one to buy your album and sooner or later, you be like:
“Me and some guys from school
Had a band and we tried real hard
Jimmy quit, Jody got married
I should’ve known we’d never get far
Summer of 69“
Despite all that, there are some guys out there not giving up on their entrepreneurial idea. Finding a way out to resist the temptation of good paying job, home or abroad, and keep trying to make fortune here in one of the poorest countries itself. They don’t remember themselves when was the last time they took the salary but still never fail to pay salary on time to colleagues working for him/her. Constant pressure from family and society to make good money but still not taking the shortcut route to money compromising the impact and ethics. Such guys are real entrepreneur to me. They exist.
I bestow my love and respect and support to them. You guys are in making of Bryan Adams despite living Summer of 69.
May you not give up.
We are poor because we hate money
“If you hate rich people, if you hate money, if you hate how economy works, you are destined to die poor,” a wise man once told.
During my recent Bangalore visit, I got to meet some start-up founders. One of them was a lady probably in her mid-20s. Her company is into digital marketing. They call themselves “branding experts” and they claim themselves to be “quite creative.” I went through couple of videos made by them and also couple of their works. They also do social media marketing. I asked, “how much do you guys charge for handling a page?” She said “depends…starts from 2 lakhs.” She employees 15+ people in her start-up.
Met another team who runs a research company. They charge anywhere between 5-25 lakhs for conducting a market research. Likewise, had also met entrepreneurs, business enthusiasts, freelancers. They all have similar stories, similar spirits and passion and they all are hungry for money, bold enough for money.
By meeting them and listening and checking out their works, I didn’t find myself small or inferior, nor I find people from my hometown less creative or less talented, but I noticed there is something in them that we don’t have. That is, guts to throw numbers, guts to dream big numbers, guts to chase numbers. Personally, my heart would tremble to ask 6-digit fee for a consultancy or a month-long research and there they are, asking the number just for a social media handling.
By the time, they start their business, they are in few crore valuation. In a year or two, 10 cr company. In 5 years, 100 cr company. That’s the trend and target, they all are up to. On the way back home, I was thinking, why do we fear so much to dream big numbers? why do we tremble? why are we so cheap? why do we settle with peanuts? and many similar questions. Maybe because we grew up thinking as if it’s insane to think big numbers, chase big numbers. We label it with madness, greed, and what not all. Maybe in all these, I am somehow psychologically and culturally programmed to think big, dream big, ask big. In this mindblock and hesitation, I die.
Entrepreneurship, Money, and Common Nepalese
“The fear of being different prevents most people from seeking new ways to solve their problems”
I don’t know from where to start because sometimes I really need to take a delicate approach when I have to explain something to some of my Nepalese fellas. You know they are just so sweet and innocent, the way they think and perceive is mostly emotional, and above all, with all that years of brainwashing on absurd ideas and concepts and political philosophies, it’s really hard to explain certain things to my people, especially when it comes to business and money and things like that. Anyway, let me try to explain this.
Someone posted this in a start-up group expressing dissatisfaction for our attempt of monetizing the context. I could hear similar allegation on the comment section of the post as well.
Let’s start from this.
What is money? It’s a medium of exchange. You want a shoes, shoemaker wants rice. Money works as a medium to exchange. Is there anything evil there? No.
That’s exchange of trade for need.
You want a gem, gem dealer wants ticket to Goa to chill. Money works as a medium to exchange. Is there anything evil there? No.
That’s exchange of trade for luxury.
You want to build a road in your village, you pay the dozer guy for the work and the money received will be used for his need or luxury by the dozer guy. Again, money is a medium of exchange here. Is there anything evil there? No.
That’s exchange of trade for societal cause.
Money is nothing but a medium of exchange and it’s the most popular medium of exchange because everyone accepts it. Money itself is neither evil nor divine. A money received by a prostitute may be donated to temple or in paying school fee for her children. Also, money received by the most reputed man in town may go to a thief to buy a knife.
Basically, money is nothing but a medium of exchange. However, some people in Nepal has considered money as something special, something rare, something big and something like …I don’t know what to say, a God, maybe? They have this idea that you should exchange only certain things for money and not for everything …definitely not for societal or political thing.
Like for example, if someone is making road for all, don’t ask for money..just work for free. If someone is trying to raise voice for all, don’t ask for money, do it for free.
Now, in reality, it does not work that way, because everything is exchange in this world and money is invented as a solution to ease the exchange.
Today, humans have everything from nano robot to rocket because of the concept of money. Money itself has no meaning. It’s we humans who have agreed to give a meaning to it to self-motivate and let the exchange to go beyond daily needs. As a result, we have this world full of devices and gadgets and technologies, books and toys and cutters.
That’s what money does. It motivates people to think beyond and produce stuffs, which otherwise would not be produced. It motivates people to be creative, innovative, so that they could make something that others would buy, and the money in return could be used to buy foods for home, or pay bills and fees for kids or go for a vacation with loved one.
Coming back to badge
If I have to distribute that badge for free, I need to get it printed for free, which means printer guy has to get his ink for free. The chain goes on. If not, someone has to fund the project and I distribute it for free.
This country is f* because of that very same idea of “better get funded than monetize, when it’s for societal or political cause.”
Dull boring posters everywhere, whenever it comes to political or societal activities. Dull, boring people everywhere, when it comes to political or societal movements. Because we think it’s so f*cking wrong to exchange anything for money when it comes to political or societal thing. Guess what? Only dull and boring people with their talent-less works and activities.
So dear cute little innocent Nepalese fellas, there is nothing wrong in selling badges or t’s or even dance party tickets for social causes. Yes, the other side will collect some money, so what?? What do you think the money will be used for? It will be reinvested on people and market to get more creative and innovative that would inspire many others, filling market with more talented and creative activists.
In the end, society gets social message in more creative, innovative and effective way. Team gets better motivation and energy to carry on. Market gets more money flowing in. No one dies taking money. It all will be in the economy. But, new products, new scope is added on.
Take the money out of the equation and see what will be there. No money in economy. Boring and dull products distributed for free, thus no value, nothing. No scope, no motivation.
Which one is better?
So, go sell something for Nirmala, for Kalapani, for climate change, for whatever you are deeply moved by. There is a name for it, and it’s called social entrepreneurship. That’s better because you don’t need to beg around for funding, and it’s sustainable way of carrying on. It’s hard for socialist and communist to understand that. You don’t be the kind.
Just remember this: We collectively have been so poor for so long – from generations to generations – because we never understood the concept and idea behind money. How will you make something, that you have not understood in first place?
Should I Fear Sharing My Business Idea With Others?
“I have a great business idea, but I am scared to share. I am afraid someone may steal my idea,” he told.
I told him, “I too have some great business ideas.” Some of my business ideas are:
- Running a travel agency, targeting Indian corporate crowds. Like you know, make a honeymoon package, vacation package, reach out to big Indian companies from Bangalore and Mumbai, etc etc.
- Running an e-commerce site, purely brand-oriented, targeting upper middle class and upper class.
- Running a cafe, which is more like entrepreneur friendly and also with library and boutiques.
- Running a trading company, same like share market but in my case, it will be trading FMG, where consumers make an order and market delivers and we earn by taking brokerage kind of service charge.
- Running a school, that teaches youths on various practical aspects of life, provides counselling and consultancy… and they can join school at their own convenience,
Blah, blah, blah.
And I told him, “I am not scared of sharing my business ideas. You know why? because idea means nothing. It’s like opinion, everyone has one.”
“Ideas don’t mean shit… Execution is the game”Gary Vaynerchuk
What is business idea?
Business idea is nothing but an idea that is constructed when you see a problem and figure out a solution and way to make money in this process.
The other day, I was in The Bakery Cafe. A customer was trying to call waiter and as you may know, waiters in Bakery Cafe are always from “deaf” community (only people with hearing loss are hired as waiter in the cafe), no waiter could hear the call. The customer got so pissed off, that he just left the place. Then and there, an idea popped up in my head. How nice it would be if there in the table, it had a button to press and light would blink in reception or somewhere appropriate and waiter would know from where the call is coming — something like in flight.
“There are so many branches of The Bakery Cafe and proposing the idea and installing the feature in all those branches can be a great idea.” I thought of then and there. You see? a business idea was born there itself. There are billions of humans constantly coming across many problems and just like me, they constantly come up with ideas to solve those problems.
So basically, construction of business idea is very ordinary thing that almost all humans with intelligence are capable of. Every mindblowing idea that you think you have, is also an idea of someone, somewhere. The ideas that I have listed above surely are also ideas of many.
So, here is the answer on,
“Should I fear sharing my business idea with others?”
I just shared my various business ideas above. Now, what you gonna do? You think you can just steal my idea and turn into a business? It’s not that easy. Idea is nothing but a thought. Now, that simple thought has to be turned into a working idea, and then comes building a team, and then engineering part, and then comes building a prototype and then comes marketing of the product, etc before you finally make money. This whole process gonna take if nothing also 2-3 years (provided you have money and needed spirit). And above all, you need a great motivation to stick to.
Idea comes and goes. Most of the people never work on the idea in first place. Those who do, some percentage from the doers, give up in middle of the trial. Barely 1% succeed to take it to money generating mode. What keeps one to keep pushing until the end is the spirit, is the needed fund, is the needed skills, etc. It’s easy to steal someone’s idea but it’s no way easy to execute the idea. Another thing one needs to understand is, no idea remains as it was in conception time. Idea evolves as you start working on the idea. Facebook today is quite different than how it was in the initial days.
That’s why, I say every idea is great idea if is worked on. Instead of fearing to share ideas, I rather say, YOU MUST SHARE YOUR IDEAS. This in fact will help you to have broader perspectives towards your ideas, through input of various minds. You being the father of your idea, you are prone to be optimism biased. By sharing your business idea, you are letting your idea to be refined. People may ask you tough questions that you never thought of. When you are obsessed by your idea, and so confident about how great it is, others will give you a jolt of “no it does not work” and its good to be challenged.
Long thing short, I have hundreds of business ideas, that I truly care and value, and wish to turn into a reality, turn into a tangible thing, that can be touched and shown, and make money from, but I still can’t execute them due to various reasons. It’s just a novice mind to think that by sharing those ideas, someone may steal and become rich. Real world does not work that way. If you find someone working on your idea, probably you found someone that too have come up with your kind of business idea.
So fear not. Let your ideas be heard and challenged and in the process, let it get refined. Ultimately, it’s your idea, and only you can execute it. Moreover, what keeps the wheel rolling is the motivation and you can steal everything but not the motivation.
End of the day, winner is the one that doesn’t give up. As they say perseverance is mother of success.