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Have a dream of starting a business, but worried by doubts and fears? These facts about entrepreneurship will give you courage while inspiring you to get started!
Taking the decision to start one’s own business or venture is never an easy one. There are these niggling doubts that plague anybody before starting: Is my idea worth pursuing, how much should I invest, when should I start looking for investor support, how do I build a strong team to set up a successful business, and the list goes on.
To support Women’s Web readers who have similar queries, we arranged a chat with Bharati Jacob, Founder- Partner of Seedfund recently, at our Facebook page. Seedfund is an early stage venture capital fund, based in Bangalore.
Seedfund saw the potential in companies such as RedBus.in, Printo and EduSports before these companies made it big. Bharati has more than 25 years of experience in venture investing, financial services and marketing.
Here are some of the points that Bharati generously shared with Women’s Web readers:
According to Bharati, age is just a number and the right time to start an enterprise is whenever you think of a unique problem that you feel strongly about and when you have found a very creative and sustainable solution for the problem.
The 5 key things that an entrepreneur needs to think about in the first year of business are complete focus on customers, listening to the market feedback on the product/service being offered, how to improve it, tracking the cash flow and understanding how the team works.
Bharati informed us that the key things that investors looked for in a business model while considering investing in the same are the team, the idea or the problem, the sustainability of the solution, how the solution is better than other existing solutions, how the company plans to sell/make money, how big the market is for this idea, how easy it is to acquire customers and the capital required to scale the business.
Having a great team for a start-up is critical and all stakeholders should give team-building topmost priority. Bharati added that investors spend a lot of time with the core team to understand each team member’s motivation, value system and skills before investing. Only once investors get some level of comfort after interacting with the core team members will they consider investing.
A start-up would be considered ready to raise funds when it had a very committed team, a team that clearly understood the problem that it is trying to solve and a team that was willing to learn from the market and from others.
The reasons for an investor not investing in a venture could sometimes have nothing to do with the team or the idea. Many a times, investors do not understand the business or have any competency in a particular area, because of which they are unable to evaluate the business and hence invest. Bharati stated that if a start-up failed to raise funds, then it must understand the reasons given by investors and see if it could try and rework the business model. There was also a possibility that investors could be wrong and the best way to convince investors was to launch and get consumers to buy one’s product/service and then go back to investors.
Bharati assured all the participants that there was no longer scepticism from investors when considering investing in a venture started by a woman.
The chat ended with Bharati giving all aspiring entrepreneurs who were planning to ‘Take the plunge’ one piece advice and that was to “Just do it!” and to enjoy the journey, since the journey of being an entrepreneur itself was a reward.
For a full transcript of the chat, please click here.
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