Entrepreneurs need to balance passion, humility: Indian Chamber

Amrita Nair Ghaswalla Mumbai | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on September 12, 2016

Start-ups should focus on learning, not instant success: Debmalya Banerjee

Entrepreneurial failure can make or break start-ups. The epiphany that their start-up is doomed could be a huge jolt for any entrepreneur.

However, the time is now ripe to bring down one’s entrepreneurial spirit a peg or two, given the prevailing arrogance in the sector. This was the prevailing thought at a national summit on start-ups and innovations, organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce.

‘Unwanted arrogance’

“All start-ups believe they have the best idea. There is an unwanted arrogance in start-ups, a brazenness that theirs is the best idea that can revolutionise the world, and that nothing can go wrong. Their overconfidence has turned into arrogance,” said Debmalya Banerjee, Regional Director, Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

Earlier this month, the ICC had experts, industrialists, and policy makers discuss innovative business approaches and how a culture of start-up and entrepreneurship needed to be promoted in the country.

Speakers, however, stated that there was an urgent need to temper enthusiasm with realism.

Significance of mentors

Given the many entrepreneurial failures dotting the landscape, Banerjee said start-up founders need to step back and take an objective view. Since most start-ups “are a bit too cavalier about failure”, the summit focussed on mapping the market, to realistically understand the pitfalls and steer clear of them.

Noting that successful entrepreneurs are always overconfident, ICC’s Banerjee said, “It is very important to have a passion, for without overconfidence many would not have been able to start their own business. But it needs to be tempered with humility, which is a foreign aspect to most start-ups.”

He added that it was time for start-ups “to use the brains of senior people. Entrepreneurs have great ideas but their youthfulness needs to be coupled with the maturity of mentors. It is only when this matchmaking happens, that one can grow. Most people don’t realise that their raw energy has to be translated into a business.”

Underscoring this, RK Tiwari, Principal Secretary, Uttar Pradesh government, pointed out that “entrepreneurial culture is such that most are mortally scared of failure. As time is short and everyone is in a hurry, most of them seek results instantly. This needs to be changed as success is a mix of failure and victory.”

Banerjee also said many start-ups had failed to “map the market, map consumer expectation patterns. Start-ups need to accept criticism without becoming defensive. They should be open to reflection and learning.”

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Published on September 12, 2016
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