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Unlocking the Secrets of a Serial Entrepreneur: Lessons from India

November 24, 2023

Entrepreneurship in India is characterised by a unique blend of traditional values and modern innovation. Hence, the country’s diverse culture and rich heritage have given rise to a vibrant startup ecosystem that is constantly evolving.

Ravi K Ranjan, a serial entrepreneur and founder of multiple ventures talks to The HR Observer on the lessons from Indian entrepreneurs who are known for their resilience, adaptability, and frugal innovation, which has enabled them to create successful businesses with limited resources.

Ranjan talks about key initiatives to promote entrepreneurship amid the availability of a large pool of skilled talent have made India a hub for startups.

What makes a good entrepreneur?

Being an entrepreneur is not just about running a business well; it’s a mindset fueled by determination, communication, strong work ethics, and visionary leadership. These skills transcend contexts, allowing entrepreneurs to inspire, motivate, and rally their teams towards a shared vision.

Entrepreneurs are driven individuals who relentlessly innovate and disrupt the status quo, fearlessly navigating the ever-evolving startup landscape. Someone who carves its own path, embracing challenges as opportunities for growth.

But above all, the most essential aspect of being an entrepreneur is showing up. No matter the situation, showing up with an unwavering presence has the power to solve a multitude of problems. It’s a testament to the unwavering commitment and dedication entrepreneurs bring to every event, every meeting, and every endeavour.

While travelling across the globe and joining some of the largest startup events, I have had the incredible opportunity of meeting and mentoring countless entrepreneurs and startups. I’ve had the honour of training over 200,000 ambitious individuals who aspire to make their mark in the world of business. And let me tell you, witnessing their incredible progress and success is truly inspiring.

What skills are you looking for when dealing with an entrepreneur?

I look for a combination of technical expertise and a growth mindset. They should have a deep understanding of their industry and possess the ability to spot opportunities in the market. Along with this the most important skill which an entrepreneur should possess is willful- learning. Being flexible and adaptable in the constantly evolving startup ecosystem is crucial.

Additionally, strong interpersonal skills, resilience, and the ability to handle ambiguity are the skills that can distinguish an entrepreneur’s personality.

What differentiates entrepreneurship in India from other parts of the world?

India stands at the forefront of progress, recognised for being the fastest-growing economy and the world’s third-largest startup ecosystem, It is also one of the youngest nations globally, with impressive statistics – 120 Crores internet users, 114 Crores mobile subscribers, 95 Crores registered voters, 8 Crores Stock market users, 51.5 Crores Health Insurance Users,  9.3 Crores E-Sanjeevani Healthcare Users, 37/63 Urban/rural population,  9.3 Crores Digital Learning Users, 80 Crores e-commerce users, 65 Crores smartphone users, 50 Crores OTT users, 40 Crores social media users, 30 Crores UPI users, 28 Crores food delivery platform users, and 20 Crores BHIM Payment users among a total population of 144 Crores.

This scale and vibrant dynamics of the Indian market present both challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors alike. It is also essential to recognize that India is the future, offering a golden opportunity for investors to support and invest in the growth of burgeoning startups. The country is fueled by a young, tech-savvy workforce, a culture of frugality and resourcefulness, as well as a commitment to addressing societal challenges through innovative solutions.

Additionally, India’s startup ecosystem benefits significantly from various government initiatives such as ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat,’ providing vital access to venture capital.

What are the challenges that start-ups face when hiring new employees?

Talent acquisition is one of the crucial aspects for startups. Firstly, competition from established companies can make attracting talent difficult. Secondly, startups often operate on limited budgets, which can result in less competitive salary offers. Additionally, startups need to provide a compelling vision and unique company culture to attract top talent. Startups must also navigate the complexities of finding candidates with the right skills and cultural fit, as well as effectively onboarding new hires to ensure their success.

When hiring for a startup, it is important to look beyond skills. Consider attributes like adaptability, passion, and cultural fit.

Startups often benefit from employees who are willing to wear multiple hats, work in ambiguous situations, and thrive in a fast-paced environment.

Who is the right employee for a startup?

Someone who aligns with the company’s vision, is adaptable to change, possesses a diverse skill set, is proactive, and can thrive in a dynamic, fast-paced environment can be considered as a good talent for any company. 

It is important to value employees who can take ownership of their work, think outside the box, and collaborate effectively with a diverse team. Additionally, a good talent for a startup is someone who aligns with the company’s mission and culture, and is passionate about making a significant impact.

Is it the start-up’s responsibility to give its employees a purpose?

Companies do play a crucial role in providing their employees with a sense of purpose. As part of a global community of innovators, startups have the power to shape and transform industries. By fostering a mission-driven culture and providing meaningful work, startups can inspire their employees and empower them to make a tangible impact.

When the right talent at a company feels a sense of purpose, they become more engaged, motivated, and committed to contributing to the startup’s success.

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