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Shruti 🇮🇳 @vyasshruti
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December first week marks completion of 16 years of my #entrepreneurial journey. I started my business at 22 with just a degree and no actual skill or experience for business. My 2 years of job experience were of beginners level & of not much help.
Looking back I can see what a daunting task I had taken up. There were stages when I almost gave up (mostly in the 1st yr) But my stubbornness sailed me through. I would constantly remind myself not be a failure. However there are a few things I wish I knew or had learnt earlier.
I wish to share a few learnings that I have had in past 16 years as an #Entrepreneur. In this #thread I will list a few lessons that I learnt the hard way and wish it wasn’t the case .
1. Never start a venture on a whim , family pressure or looking at someone else. Always start with some basic plan. I started mine on whim when I had quit my job and with little or no planning. Someone asked me to do a small collection & so I started without any plan.
You may argue that it’s a good thing and overthinking may not let one start. Yes that’s true one needs to just take a plunge but not without some basic plan . At least of 1 year, like can u sustain for a year, where will u get next order etc etc .
2. Learn to say NO. As a person who pays your own bills, learn to say no to bad suggestions, bad business proposals and never work because you can’t refuse someone. Sometimes we do projects/ orders for people even though we aren’t convinced of the financial viability.
Don’t do such things for sake of friendship or family. Learning to say a polite tactful No is something that took me 10 years and lakhs of rupees. Don’t get into things that you feel will be a mess to handle and makes no financial sense.
3. Always kee an eye on accounts. You will never realise how smaller savings can really add up. Also never hire someone very sharp for accounts. Hire a pen pusher who does what is told . I paid heavily in 2011 when my accounts chap turned out to be a massive fraud.
He was efficient and sharp. Which meant he knew where to cheat in accounts. A rs 110 voucher for machine repair became 1100 and I never realised . Be vigilant and ask questions and always have a layer for Auditing. A separate person to make entries & seperate to audit.
4. No matter how efficient or good your staff is , stay in touch with your minor suppliers. In my case label makers or thread suppliers etc . You have no idea how much under the table chaos happens in smaller billings. So stay in touch & occasionally look into the transactions.
5. Have good consulting firms for Tax & Labour laws. The last thing you want to deal with is delayed returns and penalties. Hire a good CA which may look expensive in beginning but prefer a smaller firm that is efficient. Also it will help to at least know basic taxation laws.
6. Even if you were the best Boss and had all the facilities for your staff, there will always be some vexations. Do NOT go overboard in staff welfare. I have had very hard time where people start taking the privileges as rights. No wonder socialism fails.
be just and fair trade organisation but don’t truly believe if someone tells you staff is family. No they aren’t and as long as you know that they are being cared for well, keep your distance. Maintain a decorum of relationship and speech. You have no idea how these guys talk.
8. Be meticulously organised with paper work. Maintain records and teach the staff to do so. It helps if ever you get into an argument or trouble. Also de clutter the stuff. Sell/dispose inventory that is not being used. Don’t get emotional with old machinery, equipment.
7. (Missed it) constantly upgrade product. It helps. No single product can run for years . If that means getting new ideas, apply them. A good way to get fresh perspective is getting interns. They have a fresher perspective that’s not yet corrupt by bad experience.
9. And most Important. Keep a healthy Balance sheet. Understand your numbers and profits. Always remember the profit needs to be reinvested too. So never go overboard with expansion without backup plan. Ask yourself twice if it’s very important to spend.
Whether it means new machinery or stock, always ask twice to yourself. Even though some goods will be on credit, you still need to pay them later. Never let the credit situation go out of hand with overbuying or stockpiling. A good way is to wait for a day before doing it
Learning to spend wisely and learning to spend is the first step to earn. Yes we need to make investments & sometime make dating decisions but stay wise and never make emotional ones. As my father told me “कमाना है तो खर्चना सीखो”
10. Goodwill matters a LOT. Never let cheques bounce , payments falter. In case of some delays, call people & inform about it. Be fair in your monetary dealings. It definitely works. I can call for raw material worth lakhs over phone without a question as they know I am fair .
This part also helps you in your institutional credits. Banks often look at your records for such things. No business can grow without Bank supports. Take a good Cash Credit limit or Over Draft if you can manage . And never treat it as your own money. It’s a credit to be paid.
And last but not the least. Work till you feel like it. The day you feel it’s time to move, move on. We have just one life and let’s not just be remembered for our work only.. 😃 life means a change ..
I meant “ daring decision “ damn autocorrect..
While writing this thread something else struck me . Starting and raising a business is very similar to raising kids . The first three years are the toughest and around 10-12 years when things are almost monotonous you see mid career blues or teenage tantrums .. 😂😂
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