Successful Entrepreneur in India: A Practical Guide 2024
The entrepreneurial journey is not as colorful as it may seem to look. It is indeed a rollercoaster ride full of emotional ups and downs. But it is the most rewarding journey in the end. Only entrepreneurship can make it possible for you to generate money even if you are asleep.
All you need is strong determination, patience, and consistency in your efforts.
In this article, you can learn how you can start your entrepreneurial journey. In the later section of this article, you will learn some specific suggestions for businesses in an Indian scenario.
There are so many businesses out there and they follow different pathways. But a similar pattern can be observed in all of these business types irrespective of the geographical area you are situated in.
This article will help you clearly understand this pattern of the path. But before understanding how to start a business, you should know some basics. So, move on and read further.
What does it mean to be an entrepreneur?
The word ‘entrepreneur’ is derived from a French word that translates to ‘to undertake’. Wondering what it implies? Then let me help you understand.
To be an entrepreneur you should be ready to ‘undertake’ risks to gain financial benefits or your goals. You have to be a risk-taker (e.g. financial risk) to become a successful entrepreneur.
Once you are mentally prepared to take the risks, you get the magical power of facing the uncertainties that may haunt you in the future.
Entrepreneurs work towards building something that lasts and continues to generate money for themselves. No mantra can make you a successful entrepreneur overnight.
You can learn many useful skills or tricks to stay motivated but staying consistent with your work and staying positive in hard times can be difficult.
So, the key is to take the baby steps consistently. But the rewards that you will get in the future will never make you feel like getting back to your old job. It’s worth putting in all the pain and hard work.
If you still want to do it then read further to learn how.
But before reading further, ask yourself these questions:
Am I self-reliant and understand the value of being independent?
Do I want to be my own boss?
Do I hate my life being controlled by others?
Do I enjoy taking responsibility?
Do I enjoy starting new projects and taking lead in managing projects?
Do I have the ability to handle risks and uncertainties?
Do I regularly save money and avoid show-off?
If your answer to all these questions is YES, then probably you already have an entrepreneurial mindset. So before proceeding any further decide whether you really want to pursue it or not.
Now that you have decided to pursue this journey, you should learn how to proceed further.
The process of becoming an entrepreneur can be divided into three phases:
- Phase I- The ‘RESEARCH’ phase
- Phase II- The ‘PRE-LAUNCH’ phase
- Phase III- The ‘PRODUCT-LAUNCH’ phase
This phase is the ‘RESEARCH’ phase. It includes the following steps:
Step 1: Finding your niche.
You can start a business in any area and as you know you have to put in a lot of hard work, you must choose an area that really interests or concerns you. Otherwise, you will quit very soon. Interest and a real concern could be a big motivator for you in hard times.
You have to love what you do.
You can make a list of things that interests you or think about the areas in which you have experience. For example, if you have worked in a gym in the past and you are passionate about health and fitness, then health and fitness can be a good niche for you.
Similarly, think about what other areas interest you and make a list.
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Step 2: Finding a profitable business idea.
Finding a niche is not enough. You have to have an idea which will turn out to be a great business. For this, make a list of things that annoys people (focusing on your niche) or problems that are faced by many people.
You can also ask your friends and relatives about the problems they face (related to your niche).
Then select a problem that actually interests you. Try to identify the gap or the reason for the problem. Do a lot of brainstorming to discover how you can solve that problem. Then decide how your solution can be made into a business model.
Let me share with you some tips to help to think of a profitable business idea.
Try targeting the future:
Do some research on the future trends that might set in the future (related to your niche). You can use websites like www.trendhunter.com or www.springwise.com.
Explore the innovations or future trend predictions and use your intellect to guess whether that prediction can come true or not. If you think it will, then that would be a great business opportunity for you. You can start building a product that will be in high demand in the future and will reap a huge profit.
So, try researching as best as you can. Make a note of things that catch your attention. Use that list of ideas to discover a business opportunity.
Take inspiration from others’ ideas:
There are numerous innovative products available online that people have come up with. You can learn about these products on various websites like www.producthunt.com or www.kickstarter.com.
You can search for the products that are related to your niche and take inspiration from those products. This will help you come up with a great business idea when you add your own element to it. Try to come up with ideas where you can sell such products with your own personalized touch to them.
Look for something that you can improve:
You can try making good quality products that already exist in the market and make them available at a lower price than your competitors. Make a list of things you use daily and figure out which product is available at a ridiculously higher price and how you can make it available at a lower price with equally good quality.
You can also take the help of your relatives and friends with this. Make sure you never compromise on the quality of your products.
Make your space in a not-so-competitive category:
Pick a category that is in a growing stage and make sure that not everyone is running behind it. The idea here is to avoid high competition. It should be a newly growing category where you can put your innovative ideas to stand out from the crowd.
During the product search, get all the information about how that product benefits people, what are its packaging process (to figure out if some extra cost can be removed in this process), the marketing strategies for the product, and similar important information.
Then see how you can make it innovative, add new features, or add your own touch to it. Figure out what can be done to reduce the cost of the product without compromising the quality.
Find out the areas with unmet demands:
These areas are those with high demand but not many people are doing something about it. Starting a business in such areas will be profitable because of the low competition and high demand.
You have to be careful in this step. Do a lot of market research and ensure that the business would turn out to be profitable because you don’t want to work hard for something which does not generate huge money.
Step 3: Intensive market research:
Once you are ready with a good business idea, you have to do market research. It involves making sure that there is a demand for the business, there is less competition and your audience/customer has the ability to afford it.
Make sure that there is no chance of losing your customers to someone else with the same business as yours where they provide the service at a lower price. Always question yourself why your service is better and why customers should prefer you.
Step 4: Gaining the necessary education:
Here I am not talking about a formal degree. Education/knowledge is necessary for your success. Learn about the various business models, the legal aspects of a business, how to manage finances, and also network with people associated with your niche to learn more from their experience.
You can also join various entrepreneur groups nearer to you. Attend different entrepreneurship conferences and meet people to enhance your exposure to the real world. Otherwise, get a formal education in business or do some certification courses if you are not sure what you should learn before starting a business.
In this day and age, you can’t make any excuse. The Internet gives you access to everything you need. So, make the best use of it. You have to be competitive and knowledgeable.
Step 5: Designing a business plan:
When you complete all the steps from 1 to 4, you will have all the necessary knowledge to design a business plan.
Make a business plan. Clearly define who your target audience is, what your product’s manufacturing and marketing strategy would be, how your business will generate profits, and many other important things.
I recommend you to take advice from people who are experts in this area.
Try to put in all the work in the best possible way. Your business plan is everything. Bad planning can ruin a profitable idea. That’s why education is necessary. Proper knowledge will prevent you from major pitfalls.
Phase-I is all about research and gaining necessary information. Now let’s move on to the next phase.
This phase is the ‘PRE-LAUNCH’ phase. It includes the following steps:
Step 1: Testing and validating your business plan:
Before you actually launch your product, it is important to do a pre-launch test. This involves making a baby version of your product. This is the simplest form of your product without any extra features but developed enough to provide your customers with the intended service.
Then you should let your new customers use the product for free. Ask their opinion about your product (and yes, they should not be your relatives and friends). Take criticism positively as it is a great learning opportunity for you. Your customers’ opinions will give you an idea about what you should improve your product.
You can also learn what works and what not in the real market. Also, observe if the popularity of your product is increasing. If nobody is interested, then your business won’t work and you have to start all over again. If this test product works, then you are good to go.
You can then add all the special features that you wanted to and launch it as a fully developed product. Your ultimate goal is to turn the initial customers into your fans. This will also help you with product marketing. Your fans will become your marketers.
Step 2: Networking:
Networking is important in almost every field. It provides with you unexpected opportunities. As an entrepreneur, you should network with the people who can help you kick start your business. Look for business partners who have a similar objective as yours.
You can also get to know someone who can help you with the initial funding for your business. So, it all depends on your networking efforts. You have to be actively involved in networking to find golden opportunities.
Step 3: Finding a co-founder and getting funded:
You should decide if you require some funding for your business or not. If you know some funding is needed then go for it. Having a co-founder makes it easy to get funded. You can find your co-founder through networking.
A co-founder brings some extra skills to your business, provides you support in your emotional rollercoaster, and shares some of your work burdens. But there is always a possibility of conflicts and you have to learn to manage it.
Funding comes from different sources like a financial investment by your friends or relatives, loans, small business grants and you can also find investors online who look for new businesses with the potential to hugely multiply their investments.
Phase II involves all those things that are needed to be done before launching your business on a large scale. Now, let’s learn about the final phase below.
It is the PRODUCT-LAUNCH phase. It includes the following steps:
Step 1: Refining and organizing your business plan:
This is the step where you make a final business plan. While making this, do not forget the lessons learned from the test launch. Make the necessary changes and come up with a clearly defined business plan.
Get all the legal procedures done before you start your business. Create a separate bank account for your business and also get your accounting setup done.
Step 2: Launching the business:
In this step, you can confidently launch your business. Do not expect to get rich overnight. Be patient and grow slowly. You will reap the sweet fruits of your hard work.
Growing very fast is not always a sign of success. Slow and steady progress is actually beneficial as it helps you to manage your business well; learn the lessons which cannot be learned in any formal education and helps strengthen your business foundation.
During the initial time period focus on making your foundation strong so that you can achieve long-term benefits. Depending upon your success you can decide if you should continue with your day job or fearlessly quit the job. Always be patient and consistent. Never give up.
Step 3: Marketing actively:
Marketing is important before, during, and after the launch of your business. Find out the ways to reach your audience. If no one knows you, then no one buys from you. You can use different marketing strategies like using social media or a promotional campaign, etc.
The information present in these three phases gives you a road map to move on with your journey. Try to follow this pathway as best as you can. Before leaving this page, there is a short read for you. I hope you learn something beneficial.
How are freelancers different from entrepreneurs?
Freelancers are the people who sell their skills in exchange for money. They reach out to people online to get projects and earn money. No one controls their schedule unlike people doing a 9 to 5 job. Freelancers have to work to earn money.
On the other hand, entrepreneurs can generate money without doing any work. Their hard work can eventually make them generate a passive income in the long run. This gives them time to work on new projects or start a new business.
Major pitfalls of any business:
Although it is hard to start a business without any debt, you should avoid high amounts of debts. Always keep in check your debts.
Do not let your personal expenses mix with your business finances. These two should always be separate. Otherwise, it can create a lot of confusion about the generated profits.
Avoid growing very fast as you may not be prepared for success which may lead to mismanagement and a rapid drop in the revenue.
Avoid overdependence on a single client. Keep your income source much broader because if you lose that single client, your business will struggle financially and eventually collapse.
Never stop learning. You should always work on improving your skills, improving your business strategies, and improving the quality of your product. Improvement is the secret of growth and success.
The Indian scenario:
There are no special rules for businesses in India, but you should keep the following few points in your mind while pursuing any business.
As most of us Indians are not financially well off, people often look for launching the businesses with little to no money required. Let me help teach you how to find such business ideas. Consider the following points:
- Look for the things you already have. Be it money, property, skill, experience, knowledge, etc. Think about how you can monetize or start a business with these resources. For example, if you have knowledge combined with great teaching and presentation skills, you can start a YouTube channel and earn huge money with your consistent efforts.
- Never put on risk the things you can’t afford to lose. Consider the people you know. See if any one of them can assist you with a business.
Always keep in mind that it’s difficult to sell expensive products to the common people in India. If you wish you sell something expensive then make sure your intension is to target rich people and you should change your marketing strategies based on that. Always clearly define your audience.
Never think that from India it is impossible to set up a huge business. In this online world, you can always target people from various countries and sell your products to them. So never lose hope. There are numerous opportunities for people from various backgrounds.
I hope this article has given you the necessary information you were looking for. I wish you a successful entrepreneurial journey.