The ABC of startup entrepreneurship

 

Yanpvuo Yanfo Kikon: Have been interacting with lots of young Nagas over the past 10 years and few learnings gained from failures & successes are as follows:

 

A. LEARN THE TRADE BEFORE YOU START THE TRADE

Gave a workshop few days back wherein few young guys wanted to start up piggery business, transport, cafe, construction, event management etc

 

I asked the ones planning to start piggery if they have knowledge or experience in rearing a pig? Answer – No

 

I asked them if they knew the cost of a piglet. Answer – No

 

STEP 1. LEARN – Work in a farm or piggery if you wish to start one. You will learn the trade in & out. It is always wiser & smarter to first skill yourself in whatever field you wish to step into. Also if you aren’t passionate about cooking, food or coffee it doesn’t make much sense to start a cafe either.

 

Become an apprentice & learn from the master like in Chinese movies, go to the master asking “master master teach me kungfu” in whichever skill you want to learn like the crane style, monkey style or snake style before you become expert in it & compete with your shifu master later in life.

 

STEP 2. PROTOTYPE – Start a prototype or a pilot project where you try rearing maybe 1 or 2 pigs by investing your own savings. Zero budget prototype is always the safest bet because if it doesn’t work out then you can simply close it & move on to the next without any liabilities.

 

Step 3. SCALE – If you are making even small profits, it means the business model is right. So now, scale up (Expand/Grow) step by step and after few years if 100% confident then only go for investment or loans by wisely assessing the risks involved.

 

Major problem is that most young Nagas directly jump to Step 3. They want to start big and most end up in huge debts. Instead of investing a few lakhs and regretting later, it is better to first learn, try small, fail, learn and then only scale up.

B. BE CALCULATIVE – BASIC MATHS (+ – * / %) IS YOUR WEAPON. If you cannot calculate your expenses, daily sales, profit, loss etc then you will always end up losing track of your money & probably end up with no earnings or in debt.

 

C. BE RELEVANT, BE PRACTICAL – You are in Nagaland, not in New York or Tokyo. Know your ground reality, your local economy, average income & spending patterns of the people in your society. ENTREPRENEURS are problem solvers. They identify a problem & the NEEDS in the market and sell products/services which people are willing to happily pay for because the customers ‘NEED’ it and not just ‘WANT’ it.

 

At the end of the day, the success of a business is determined by the revenue – the money you make. A genuine business venture right from inception to startup to scaling up and maturing should take at least 10 years of consistently pursuing the particular trade before you become a successful businessman & start making real profits from it.

 

Think simple, start humble.

 

I may be wrong but these are just my personal thoughts gathered from my own entrepreneurial experiences & interacting with lots of young entrepreneurs over the past 10 years.

 

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