In the following tales, I use the male gender because I honestly feel that the male is more susceptible to the start-up bug.
The old fairy tale…
Once upon a time, an idea for a novel product flashed into the mind of a regular, office going, common Joe. During breaks and just before falling off to sleep he would try to balance the risks and benefits of following it up. He had his share of mortgages and debts, kids and parents to support and after all that had to put aside a little bit for the rainy days. He took to working on his idea in his free time and at nights and soon had the product in good shape. He continued in his day job, saving every penny possible, and all the while perfected his sales plan.
When he felt right, he left his job, borrowed money from friends and banks leaving the nest egg untouched, and launched out into his new business, with just one or two assistants. After a lot of toiling, often door to door marketing, luckily, sales happened and after a time he could hire more people, advertise and expand sales. In a few years he could return all that he had borrowed and in a few more years had many employees and was making money, hand over fist. He died happy, with his family well provided for and not a smirch upon his character.
Now the modern fairy tale…
Once upon a time, an idea for a novel product flashed into the mind of a regular, office going, common Joe. He had felt himself too good for his office anyway and so he quit at once to focus on his idea, full time.
Of course, his family stood aside in support, left fending for themselves – true love would never hinder somebody following a dream!
He immediately Googled up crash courses for entrepreneurs and downloaded templates for business proposals, forecasts, plans and other mumbo jumbo. He hired the services of a marketing consultant, graphics designer, digital marketer and so on to create advertising collateral for the benefit of crowd-funding sites, venture capitalists and potential customers. He spent hours preparing all sorts of pitches, presentations, videos and sales projections.
After months of networking in startup meets, shark tanks, and accelerator programs finally an extra greedy VC took the bait and some millions were invested in the company. Posh offices, costly equipment, and hirelings – the research and development continued. Huge amounts were spent on marketing and analysing the results of marketing.
In a couple of years, just as the funds were about to dry up, he managed to get an even better VC funding on the strength of the earlier one and the tremendous success that seemed so near at hand! Millions more poured in..
By now, the product had changed quite a bit, with so many cooks having ladles in and the entrepreneur has worked too hard on maintaining appearances while trying to sell enough on the side. In another couple of years he declared bankruptcy.
A failed entrepreneur is still a glorified being and we see him again with his thousand watt smile and another idea. After all, he did manage to get so much funding from prestigious VCs. There must be something worthwhile and so the cycle continues.
Now, who is the smarter businessman?
The wonder is that “millions” and “billions” roll off our tongues so easily in the context of start-up businesses, especially the failed ones. To the average laypersons with their routine jobs, who will never get to finger even a tenth of that, the idea of such gamble is inconceivable.
It seems to be a different world altogether, a bubbly one sure to burst.