There is always something to learn from reading books of people who have built great companies. In this book, Subroto Bagchi explains in a lucid and in an conversation type style, takeaways from his entrepreneurial career. The book is nicely arranged in to 18 chapters. Here are key points from each of the chapters
When do I know I am ready ?
If remotely, the thought of safety net haunts you and you cannot talk yourself out of it, then you are not prepared for it
One must remember failure cannot be an option when you raise money or take on employees
Starting your company is a little like motherhood. You know it when the time has come and you waive all caution and comfort to embrace the little sign of life deep inside you and you would do everything – everything – to bring in to the world
Being great friends and idea is not enough
Time is running out..shouldn’t I start the company ??
Time is now only if you have the mission, vision and values worked out.
Time is now if you have put together a team who share your personal values,
Tine is now if you are confident of your ability to envision and have the commitment to create a family of products and services and not just a single vacation.
Time is now if you have the ability to raise an adequate amount of money
Time is now if at a personal level you think you will be able to dedicate the time and energy needed,
Time is now if your spouse and family approve of your decision to take the plunge and face uncertainty for the next ten years
Profitability is the social obligation of enterprise. If you don’t love money, you should not be an entrepreneur.If you do not need money, do not start a company
Profile of an Entrepreneur
Value sense of freedom but they are very disciplined
Work hard and extremely goal oriented
Flexible, opportunistic and recognize the power of emergence
Sensing the Right Opportunity
Entrepreneurs look at the big picture, they see where the world around them is going and within that framework they see connections between their innate capabilities, emergent needs and the challenge of building an organization.
They are passionate about the line of business chosen.
The germination of an idea happens often in solitude and contemplation
Choosing a team
Proven competence, ability to pull one’s weight
Multi tasking capability
Personal Integrity and Mutual trust
Ability to Question and Take Disagreement on one’s side
Sense of humour
DNA , Mission, Vision and Values
DNA is the reason for company’s existence and from it follows other elements like Mission, Vision and Values
DNA says who you are
Mission says who you want to be
Vision – intermediate time bound measurable goals
How are you Different
Six horses of Differentiation
Writing the Business Plan
There is a notion that a business plan is of no use. In fact it has been mentioned in many a forums that writing a business plan is more of a MBAish thinking and is looked down upon many entrepreneurs. However this book gives a different opinion that a business plan helps you think through various issues. The author thus acknowledges the fact that almost all the elements change in the business plan but the very process of writing one makes a ton of things clear at the start of the venture
The other chapters in the book are Choosing the Right Investor , Hiring people. Putting a process framework, Choosing Customers, Managing your Money, Managing your Brand , Managing Adversity, Reasons Startups fail and
Lessons from Entrepreneurship from the Indian IT Industry. Somehow these chapters were not as interesting as the former ones. But others might enjoy them too.
Overall, the book serves a nice reference check for various activities involved as an entrepreneur