At TechSparks, we are used to meeting people who have a lot to say. This is especially true when they are giving advice. So, imagine our surprise when Ravi Venkatesan walked up holding a chit of paper with just five words in it. “This is my speech,” he said. He wasn’t joking.
The former Microsoft chairman who has recently written a book called “Conquering the Chaos,” for emerging businesses on succeeding in India, had just five words of advice to start-up entrepreneurs at the TechSparks Grand Finale. Here they are:
- Purpose: Every company should have a purpose. Some of the most successful companies succeed because they have a well-defined purpose, which is more than create shareholder value or be the No. 1 in their field. For instance, Microsoft’s purpose was to put a computer on every desk, while Infosys’ was to build respect. In Infosys’ case, everything they did such as sharing their welth with employees or creating standards for corporate governance was about that.
- Team: Almost nothing is achieved by a single individual, though we celebrate heroes. Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak during his first innings, then designer Jonathan Ive. Find people who are different from you, have different skills than you. Many startups fail because founders did not build good team – mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive
- Mentor: Find a mentor. Mentors are those who show you who you really are and what you Are capable of. They push you, pull you up and also open the right doors for you. Find your personal board of directors.
- Tenacity or resilience: It is a guarantee that the first few years of a start-upare full of challenges and trials. And the only thing that will keep you going is tenacity. For instance, Microsoft kept going, despite not getting early versions right while many others in the same business gave up and shut down.
- Gratitude: Above all, be grateful. It’s hard when things are going wrong, but optimism is the fuel for a true entrepreneur. If you count your blessings, you’ll find 100 things to be grateful for and only 4-5 things that are on the other side.