Ode to success  

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By: Altaf Bashir

Immediately after post-graduation in Business Studies from Kashmir University, a dear friend started his own venture alongwith a close childhood friend he believed and trusted upon. In the beginning, he dealt with a fare share of struggles, sometimes he was unprepared. Or Ignorant! Most of the time, he never saw hurdles coming his way until he had stumbled right over them.

But quite sooner, he learned the truth: it is alright to mess up. To feel overwhelmed and beaten. Every start up, no matter how prepared, trips over unexpected hurdles. The successful ones learn to get back as soon as possible.

To learn, how successfully business people deal with various obstacles, he asked some of his friends about the early stage struggles, how they overcame various shortcomings and what they learned along the way.

He was fortunate at the incipient to understand the nuances of the business, especially his own field that he had opted to make a decent living and run the engine of the business unit. He was doing well during the initial years, and off late, he struggled to keep the pace, not because he was not able to do it, but he had no one at his back to support him. He was alone batting, and his friend who also was equal shareholder feigned interest and began opting out. Within a year, he was beaten up by struggles and succumbed. He liquidated all assets.

He didn’t lose heart and mustered all the courage and started another unit next year. It was like a drug for him already, that he cannot escape despite warnings, and continued it despite failing financial conditions. He remained resilient and followed his heart, he was addicted to it. He was too addicted and after his first lost in business, He was more aware what to do and what to ignore. But, it is not every time that your mind works, one should be lucky as well.

When he started another business, heroped friends again, as he cannot do it alone. He needed people who would work selflessly and devote their most of the time into the business and make it a possible dream. He began to read various leaders and others entrepreneurs who would provide him nuggets of information that would be useful to him to avoid any backlash. He spent his entire time in making the second business a successful one. But within a year. His accounts were dried up. He couldn’t maintain cash flow and due to which he collapsed and business was shut down.

He went into deep introspection after losing two businesses within a span of four years. He was literally depressed and fate had something else in store. He lost his father. And, the sky befall upon him. Earlier he had one responsibility to build his career, now he had entire family to support. He was not able to think of a new business but to find a job. He went outside Kashmir, struggled to find a job there as well, since he had strong communication skills, despite that he faced lot of challenges in fetching a decent job. In addition to thathe was a good presenter at Kashmir University and doing excellent in other activities but outside those skills were not matching the profiles of his candidature.

We have a bad education system in Kashmir University. They do not teach us with live examples such as how to appear in interviews, how to talk to other people and how to be competent with the world. We are not updated at the University Level. All they do is to finish the course and earn money. As student remains half-baked and that is the problem with his career. In Kashmir, it is a common observation that more unemployed youths whose potential is not utilized in such a way as it should be, fail to meet the requirements of the industry outside, the reasons can be many. But, I would say, the education system in Kashmir is incomparable with the education system in India.

If you compare a student of Symbiosis with Kashmir University business student, you will find a drastic difference. They are more ahead in various skills and we are lagging behind in all skills. All we have been told is to cramming the syllabus and pass the examination. They are giving the practical tours, examples and there is no restriction, you can ask any question to your teacher who would be willing to solve your problem. In Kashmir University, we do not have incubation centers where ideas are produced and tested in a better way. We do not have any subject matter expert on board who could deal with all those ideas that students have during their academic course.

We are more inclined towards jobs and that too specifically the government jobs, that was one of the reasons why business did not run as expected. Most of the employee that you hire are not interested into your work and business, they are interested in earning money and pay for government job fees, application fees. They are not enthusiastic to earn some experience, but fake experience that is a reason you will find people in private sector struggling due to their lack of skills that are not synching with the requirement of the company.

Coming back to my own topic. He learned many things during the struggle with two business and here are some ideas and tips that he had learnt from his seniors during that time. When you have to keep your business scaling with integrity. You are required to maintain your integrity, when you are desperate for cash, it is easy to cut corners and compromise the quality and deliver a subpar product or service. But those who manage the pain and bleeding during the cash crunch in the business their guns are ones that last longest and shine brightest.

Second is building the reputation, it is by chance and luck that some owners start out industries that are popular for example JIO Telecom. These products are admired and appreciated because they have earned already their name and fame and what they need is to pitch the right stance of the problem and solve it. While as others have to put on rubber boots and wade through the mud. It is not easy to build an immaculate reputation in not-so-reputable industry. It is hard to build the customers perception. Changing the perception and building a positive reputation is the hardest thing a new venture has to do.

Third is handling stress: The common experience for all new startups is chronic stress. Some of it is positive and motivating. But too much stress can be crippling. You will lose weight and grow grayer, but it is necessary to pay attention to your well-being, and bust the stress, if you are not healthy your business will not run healthy.

New startups have to learn from the diverse experience of successful business owners, it is that there will be always obstacles to overcome. No one goes from zero to hero without breaking a sweat or feeling that all hope is lost. This is likely one reason why vast majority startups fail. Somewhere along the way, those business owners came up against a major hurdle, lack of budget, unexpected competitors and fell so hard that they didn’t even try to get back up. The same case happened to him. He lost hope, and later on and he couldn’t find anyone who would boost his morale but himself. He had again struggled and risen up with full determination that he will do something better in his life and overcome all the shortcomings. He had travelled extensively afterwards and achieved many awards in the corporate sector. He didn’t lose morale and hope in himself. Heis planning now to startup a new business and is well equipped with modern technical skills and people around him are promising to make his new venture a reality with success.

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