Many people speak about how to start and run a business but only a few share about how you’re all wrong and f**ked up and what you can learn from it. “Businesses may fail but entrepreneurs always learn from it,” says K Vaitheeswaran, the “Father of e-commerce in India”. His pioneering efforts in e-commerce since 1999 has helped in creating a fast growing internet retail industry today in India.
In 2001 he co-founded Fabmall, India’s first integrated offline and online retail company. While Fabmall.com was the leading Indian internet retailer, the Fabmall chain of grocery stores went on to become a leading brand in the Indian organized retail industry and was subsequently acquired by the Aditya Birla Group and later re-branded as “More” chain of stores.
In the recent edition of F**Up Nights at The Beer Cafe, Vaitheeswaran discussed how everyone is obsessed with success and how they fail to realize that failure teaches people a lot of things. “Startups are born to fail and Entrepreneurs will 100% succeed”, said the man who ran his company for 14 years before shutting it down.
You will fail if you never try anything and you will fail without a doubt if you start your startup. A lot of entrepreneurs may swear by the fail-fast-formula. But one should really take the time to think and research well before starting up and should persevere through challenges posed subsequently.
“The big challenge in my view is the social stigma associated with failing after starting up in India”.
Starting a business can be challenging once the underlying energy has faded away. Organising expenses and staying up with numbers can be the limit of your startup. “Be prepared to give your mind, body, heart and soul entirety to your startup as coming up short is not a stage to effectively start up”, he adds.
Remember that there’s nothing in life that you and God together cannot handle, then why worry? He concluded his talk with a J.K. Rowling’s quote, “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default”.
“The Indian mentality is when you f**k up, you’re over, but what I have realized in my life is that the more you f**k up and the more you work on your fuck ups, the returns on those fuck ups will be massive”, says Varun Agarwal, Co-founder of Alma Mater, India’s largest provider of merchandise and memorabilia to schools and colleges.
Ever since he joined engineering he hated it, as most of us do, as he always wanted to be a filmmaker. He has three companies to his credit, Alma Mater, Reticular, and Last Minute Films, but he had faced many failures in life to achieve this level of success.
“My obsession has made me an Author, Entrepreneur, and a Filmmaker today”, says Varun. Obsession is a requirement to get where you want to go. In fact, it will teach you not to compromise or go away from your dream or passion, he added.
As a filmmaker he has directed Preity Zinta and AR Rahman in music videos and his films have over a million views on Youtube.
“I only made videos and co-founded Alma Mater when I become completely obsessed with my passion”, he said happily. Until you become obsessed with your missions or passion or dreams, no one will take you seriously.
“Most ideas fizzle out because everyone spends hours just thinking about them and not doing anything. So if you have an idea just go for it. Be obsessed about it”. -Varun Agarwal.
Every person should be obsessed if he really wants to build a startup. Obsession is like a ﬁre, you want to build it so big that you feel compelled to sit around it in admiration. Take the leap and then think.
My teacher always says to me,”you will never know what you can do until you start”, says Varun. When I started writing my book, I had to keep adding wood to sustain the heat and the glow to my obsession.
You have to be 100 percent committed and have complete and utter conviction because with that you will persist in pursuing your project or startup.
As Benjamin Mee, We Bought a Zoo, famously said “You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” Go for it. Do not think about what people will think about you because after 20 years no one will have the time to think or to judged you by what you did 20 years ago. Focus on yourself, on your dream, on your startup. Be obsessed.