08 Jun 2017 16:01 IST

‘An entrepreneur must be flexible about his business’

In conversation with Ripi Singh, Chief of Innovation & Strategy at Inspiring Next

The number of entrepreneurs and start-ups has risen exponentially, both world over and in India. Even the central government has given businessmen who want to start their own ventures financing and logistical options.

Starting a business may look easy, but the reality is far from the assumption. In fact, not many of these companies survive beyond one year. Ripi Singh, the Chief of Innovation and Strategy at Inspiring Next, a US-based company, says as many as 85 per cent of businesses fail in the first year of their being set up.

Singh was in Chennai recently, where he was holding a workshop on ‘Invention to Innovation’ at IIT Madras. At the workshop, he touched upon 14 steps that every entrepreneur must take if they want to have a sound business plan.

Despite having a good idea and a fair sense of the market, many businessmen usually fail to go through the 14 steps.

‘Be flexible’

While some of them end up succeeding when they make adjustments along the way, a lot of them fail. For this, Singh swears by having a business mentor and being flexible. “The important thing for an entrepreneur is to be flexible about his business. As far as I have seen, most entrepreneurs fail in their ventures because they so strongly believe in the value proposition they came up with that they stick to it no matter what.”

He then explains that it is imperative that they be flexible, considering in the world of business nothing is fixed. “You’ve got to be very flexible and adaptive. You create a business plan, start working on it, and six months later, if you revisit it — and you should — you will see that some of your assumptions were not correct, some of the data wasn’t right.”

Look at any successful business, he says, and you will see that the way do business now is much different from how they had initially envisaged they would. “Most successful businesses, you will notice, are doing something different from what they started with. Including me. When I started up, I had a concept of how I would do business. Today, three years later, it’s different from where it was.”

“So you must ask yourself. Are you still walking through the same process? Do you still believe you’ll capture the market share you had estimated six months ago? Is your pricing still the same? You must ask yourselves these questions and repeat the exercise every six months or one year, until it becomes a success.”