Oh, how glamorous it all seems in hindsight. How beautifully they narrate the tales of entrepreneurship in business schools across the globe. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say many of these academics are better fiction writers than I am.
But who am I to judge?
Everyone wants, craves, hankers after that elusive recipe for success. But there isn’t one. Or at least, there isn’t a standard one. There are lots of entrepreneurs out there. Some of them admired, some of them hated. Some of them revered in modern myths, others forgotten.
There is no prototype.
I say this because I’ve studied the lives and journeys of many entrepreneurs and still haven’t found one. As an author and publisher, I’m well-read, believe me. But still, no textbook could have ever prepared me for this. No recipe book could have taught me how to put a business together.
There is no secret for ‘success’. Whatever ‘success’ even is. Does it mean meeting financial goals? Every business needs to do that. But what if you make yourself miserable in the process? Then perhaps the destination may not be worth the journey. Or perhaps each milestone may lead to an even bigger one that’s even further out of reach.
Let’s face it.
Building a business is not easy—no matter which day and which age you’re in. The market changes. External events show up and tear your business plan to shreds—that’s if you even bothered writing one. Oh yes, business plans… Another work of fiction!
If business is really about ‘making it’ in ‘the real world’, then why is so much the startup scene so full of fluff? You make a fancy pitch to a room full of fancy people, hoping they’ll buy your fancy idea. If you knock on enough doors, someone will say yes, right?
And so someone finally does.
But you still haven’t mastered the basics of building the business. For that, you need the journey. Not a business plan. Not a recipe for success that was taught to you in business school.
The journey involves leaving security behind, rolling up your sleeves and getting your feet wet.
And that is exactly what my ancestors did.
If you’re a fellow entrepreneur, your journey will probably be similar to mine in many respects. Not in the context of the business we built or the ‘scale’ that our business has managed to achieve. But in what we went through as individuals and how we grew as we built our businesses.
The terrible blunders we made. The errors in judgment. The lucky breaks that came out of nowhere. The uncomfortable conversations. The quiet giggles, laughter and secret smiles that arose from knowing the core team in the most intimate of ways. You work so hard and so closely together that some days it starts to feel like a close knit army; an army where we are all brothers together in war.
The story as I will continue to narrate it is true. Perhaps not factually. But weaved into the symbols, metaphors and archetypes that I use, you will find your entrepreneurial story… and mine.
I am Dipa Sanatani and I am The Merchant of Stories.