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The Start-up Factor: Keep it Alive, SMEs
Ashwin Srivastava
Ashwin Srivastava
CEO & Co-founder, Incept
Ashwin has been a serial entrepreneur with focus on serving SMEs and has consulted several start-... more>>

Small and Medium sized businesses in Indiahave been growing at a significant rate, with multiple articles being writtenabout their contribution to Indian economy. Here I talk about a factor whichhas been important towards success of various SMEs, and has really helped theones who have kept it alive- the start-up factor.

Most of the small businesses which aregrowing in India have started from a stage where they were called start-ups.This is the stage when growth is at its maximum for any company, and wherequirky ideas and unique or unconventional paths are common. Focus is onbuilding a brand and a venture, while the regular accessories in the company’sdress are not given the highest importance. The best analogy which we can drawover here is with a growing teenager who explores the world around oneself.

This stage is generally followed by asecond stage, where focus gets shifted to automation, planned research, andconventional idea implementation. This is the point when the quirkiness in thecompany and the mad moments of genius triggers disappear, giving way tosustained growth. But in this process of growth, many of the SMEs forget themantra which was responsible for the change in stage. They forget that theirbeing a start-up was the reason that their growth rate has been great till now.And thus, their growth rate slips into a logarithmic mode (you may need some brushingup your mathematical knowledge here), instead of the earlier exponential.

Outsourcemore & embrace Technology

One of the ways to keep the fire generatedby the start-up factor burning in the entrepreneurial bellies is to remain anentrepreneur all your life. And the same can be assured if the focus remains onbusiness development, growth and ideation, and leave certain implementations tooutsourced agencies. For example, it’s common in SMEs that the business ownergives a lot of time to the HR trying to control and manage the number of hoursthe employees have worked, with a constant monitoring of the same. This entireprocess can be eased up by using an automated system and outsourcing theheadache.

And there are multiple examples which provethe importance of outsourcing even more. In the era of Chanakya, when a kingwaged a fight, it used mercenaries to clear all the dirty work while made itsown armies focus on the real war. The same goes for outsourcing in the modernworld, where the teachings of the Chanakya era are still relevant.

So, the passion and desire needs to remainfocused, and as long as it is, your start-up factor will be activated.

Removethe monotony, remain young

Once you have passed on your headache toexpert mortals, its time to follow in the steps of Google; and create anenvironment of constant challenges designed in the most unique ways. This willhelp reset the tone in the company at regular intervals.

The reason why exemplification is donethrough Google, is because Google claims to have done most of its inventions ona snooker table. Its senior management can be seen wondering its premises witha guitar, something which a regular SME would never be able to accept. Oneexample can be an exception and not necessary a rule, but when you see all theleaders across the globe following the same principle, you know that there hasbeen a replacement in the way we function. And SMEs need to understand that andkeep their youth alive.

Popular feminist author Betty Friedan hadonce said Agingis not ‘lost youth’ but a new stage of opportunity and strength. All you needis the youth in you.” The same goes for the thousands of SMEs growing in Indiawho are facing a mid-life crisis. Bring back some of your old start-up days andsee the difference!

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