This morning, as I went through my WhatsApp messages on India’s 71st Independence Day – a short video named “70 Years in 70 Beats”, shared by a dear fellow journalist friend, caught my attention.

At the end of a three minutes’ video, a strange thought completely engulfed me – What if India was an entrepreneur.

What lesson would she offer to the aspiring entrepreneurs?

My hour long all-consuming mental journey, inundated with high emotions, has five lessons to share;

1.Live the Dream with Freedom: Entrepreneurship like Independence gives entrepreneurs the freedom to live, think and chase their dreams. If you firmly believe in your idea go for it. 

However, for true entrepreneurship, freedom to think and express ideas and approach customers in an honest way unhindered by archaic laws is important. Freedom and entrepreneurship go hand in hand. 

2. Long Journey:  Seventy years in a nations life is too short- To put it in perspective of an entrepreneur, I would compare it to the first three years of a startup’s life cycle. 

So, beware entrepreneurship, a long journey, has the potential to consume your entire life.  

Many nations just liberating now from old regimes will take long to build as will a nation which could have challenges multi-fold.

3. Riddled with a crisis: An entrepreneur goes through numerous ups and downs, and some crisis could destroy the very idea of its founding members.  

The strength to overcome crisis lies in the quality of leadership – so, entrepreneurship like the struggle for an independent nation is not for the weak hearted. 

4. Founding Principles: Ahimsa (nonviolence) and non-interference is in the DNA of India. 

It took a while for the world to appreciate these two Indian philosophies but it eventually did. 

Similarly, entrepreneurs should define their core values and build their startups on strong fundamentals – as only high founding principles will stand the test of time. 

Businesses built just to get rich rather than solve a core customer problem will die a natural death. However, nations born without core principles and constitution fall into anarchy and chaos. 

5. Timely Pivot: Liberation of the Indian economy in the year 1991 was a pivoting moment. 

Similarly, an enterprise with changing time may have to pivot not just to be relevant but also to move on to the next higher level. 

Entrepreneurship is a long journey riddled with challenges some with the potential to break the will on an entrepreneur.  The founding principles, decisive leadership and timely pivot will stand the test of time.

It is important for nations to change course, amend laws, abolish old ones and change their constitution with each generation. Similarly, businesses need to adapt to the customer of the day. 

(The author is founder-CEO of Hyderabad based AskMentor, a platform for startups. Views expressed are personal. Edited for Moneycontrol.)


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