This post is an entry for Cinthol contest. It uses a real story, with changed names to protect identity and some minor details have been tweaked to avoid revealing clues or to increase readability quotient.
Raman has been a busy professional. He’s been working in IT industry for over 12 years and was a respected name in his peer group, among his relatives and society. He was working for a respected IT major with handsome salary with a few dozen people working under him. That was a dream life any normal individual would aspire for.
But deep within, Raman was not happy. He was craving for more. He wanted to try some business on his own. He wanted to be his own boss. It was an era of startups everywhere and he knew deep within that he’s to be part of it. He had to start a start up and try his luck.
Leaving a well cushioned job and starting a small company is a challenge. Challenge was more in breaking his intention to the family and well wishers, than taking the plunge. His conservative parents would never approve of such mis-adventure. According to them, it is too much a risk and one should not venture into such uncomfortable situations, putting entire family vulnerable.
Raman was an avid traveler and had explored most of country side and remote destinations in his and neighboring state. He knew several spots often ignored by tourists and his idea was to start a small travel company which will organize tour packages to these remote and lesser known attractions. Raman had a good network of friends in IT companies who would readily sign up for his trips and Raman had made rough plans on setting up the company, having a website, marketing the tour packages and reaching out to prospects. In order to save on margins, he decided that he would buy a tempo traveler and run it himself, in which he can ferry his customers to destination cities. Later he planned to expand his fleet, hire drivers and guides and other support staff, so that he doesn’t have to go on each tour himself.
However, breaking this news to others was a challenge. He had to gather courage to do it. Telling someone that “I’m planning to leave my IT managerial job and am planning to become a cab driver taking tourists around” was the hard part. There was no assurance that he will succeed. He might not even break even and might end up losing his savings. But then, even if he loses, he would have tried and lost. This is the challenge he had to relish. Gathering courage to do so was a big task. He contemplated for weeks trying to fine tune his idea. His IT experience came to his help, refining the process, covering various use cases, plugging the gaps and defining project plans. The next challenge was to break this news to close friends and family, get started with new company preparations (registrations, building websites etc)
One fine morning Raman gathered enough courage and spoke to an entrepreneur he knew. Mahesh Seth was a serial entrepreneur who had interests in series of companies and was an inspiration to many first time entrepreneurs. Mr Seth listened to him carefully, understood his ambitions and growth potentials and gave him a first dosage of confidence that was required. Seth also guided him on how to break the news to others- what mistakes to avoid and how to communicate effectively.
Armed with the support and confidence, Raman’s next challenge was to study his target market- identify the gaps/niche and fine tune his strategy around that. He went about surveying his friends and relatives about their travel preferences, kind of destination they love to visit, what’re their concerns during a trip and so on. He did these without revealing his vision.
As he made progress in his preparations of launching an own company, Raman had been relishing the challenge so far. He was thrilled by the thought that he would soon be his own boss, not having to take a late night client call or having to deal with stupid escalations. He will be in control of his destiny and deep within, he was confident that he would succeed.
Update: Read part 2 here