It's not scale fast and fail fast. The advice to entrepreneurs is to experiment, fail, learn and repeat. Try things at a small scale and at a low cost, and quickly assess if they work or not and then take a call on what is worth scaling up. The experiments should either stop or continue based on consumer feedback.
An investor-driven sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) enabled certain experiments to raise large amounts of capital and therefore scale up. Whenever there is a chance for large amounts of value to be created, there will be more money than good opportunities. We should recognize this. As investors we should be careful about giving into FOMO. Entrepreneurs need to be smart about how they learn from their experiments to allow them to find the best way to create value.
It takes a village to raise a child. Neither the VC nor the entrepreneur is the sole decisionmaker in any situation. Both parties bring certain skills and views to the execution table.
When scaling a business, it is often difficult to consider: What if this doesn’t work? The entrepreneur and the investor are intrinsically optimistic people. Everyone wants to focus on the great potential in front of them, so in many cases the belief is that the company can find its way through challenges. While hiring and scaling a business, it is important to be transparent with team members about the risks involved. If in the unfortunate situation the experiment doesn’t work, it is important to remain honest with team members.
I don’t believe that anyone is looking to work in an environment that costs a fortune to create. What people want is a work environment that embodies the values and mission of the company. They want to be in a place where ideas can flow and there is a sense of mutual respect. These things can easily be achieved without spending large sums of money on extravagant offices.
Some founders have splurged on creating an office environment that emulates the cultures of successful companies while ignoring the context of their own business realities. Meanwhile, we have also seen founders opting for the path of least resistance in their workspace and therefore not doing even simple things that enable a culture to blossom. Office space and culture go hand in hand, and need to be executed in a careful manner that utilizes available resources.
Like most things in the startup journey, getting this balance right can make a huge impact on overall success. India is a unique market, with unique challenges. The Indian startup ecosystem is in its infancy. There is a lot of learning that is taking place on all sides of the table. People willing to start and invest in new businesses have the ability to see the world differently and push the boundaries of what is possible.
When you consider all these parameters, I think it is only natural that an industry that demands imagination, tenacity and resolve like few other professionals do will have people who are accused of being juvenile. As consumers, we expect startups and their investors to deliver us innovative products that will revolutionize the way we live our lives yet expect those same people on the frontline to look, act and react the same as we would.
Extraordinary results will only come from extraordinary people. We cannot choose the manner in which these people will be extraordinary.