When a hard-working and energetic individual spends sleepless nights thinking about innovation and you normally find them lost in the crowd, I feel they have been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. Well, I know you can get sleepless nights over lost love, losing a race, babies crying etc, but trust me, folks, this one is different. I can only say, let it bite you. And you will know.

I have seen such kinds all around – some with deep pockets, and most actually with big dreams and hardly any cash in the bank. I have also seen some with amazing ideas to change the look of the industry. They are all so good that you wouldn’t feel these ideas would ever fail. But it does, sadly. And there are zillions of reasons why it does.

No matter how many of these projects fail, if you don’t fail yourself, that is the success in my mind. You are right. I am no one to preach. Well no one really, but someone who doesn’t like people fail eventually when you know failure is inevitable. I want to talk about my learning of witnessing the journey of these amazing, smart, intelligent, good-with-numbers, having business acumen entrepreneurs fail or about to fail.

1. People

Ah! You cannot and should not do without them. You need them at every step. Hence get the smarter ones around. Smarter than you too. They are the real assets who in the end will help you to create real value.

Take them along with you on your journey. Motivate and value them. Give them a sense that you cannot really do this without them (even if you can). When you do that, they walk for you and if needed, run for you, take those huge leaps for you when you face failure (momentary failure). Do this to every single one of them.

2. Self Motivation

There are days when you just don’t want to start afresh because of the mistakes that you have made, the risks that failed you. You might want to ask for a trophy to get dressed up in those days. I know it happens to the best of us and you are allowed to feel like that. Guess what, not to regret and give up but to take your time and start over. This is when you can turn to your people too. So have them around. Just get up. Dress up. Show up. For one more day. And for one more day.

3. Believe And Go Deep

Your idea is your baby. You have lived those dreams with open eyes and when it comes to endorsing it, no one can do that better than you (dreamt of modeling too, eh?).

There is an amazing combination of getting involved from 30,000 feet above and getting your hands dirty at the ground level. While it is important to strategize and have a vision from up above, the ground level realities, sometimes are very different and often creates a huge gap. You have to go deep, you have to know what is happening at the ground level – knowing the challenges will make you take better decisions.

4. Empower Them

If you are the leader, make everyone else working for you a leader too. No blinkers allowed. Make them the CXOs of their own department, areas and empower them. They will make mistakes but you are there to watch them (remember ground-level involvement?), but let them be. It will do wonders for you.

As a leader, if you can not create more leaders out of your team, you have failed a bit in some way. You have made your share of mistakes. Let them have their pie too. Guide them. Pull them up. Surround yourself with an army of leaders and then experience the magic.

5. Preach and Follow

There is no shying away from this. What you build is your legacy. What you preach is your bible. Follow it to the core and lead by the example.

I know of leaders who would burn the midnight oil themselves to get a project live or send out a delivery. And I also see the team around him working as enthusiastically as he does and no complaints. But I also know of people who would give deadlines and expect the result without really being a part of the process. I would say, you are missing out on the fun with which companies start-up, create a brand, and leave a legacy. Be a part of it. Preach and follow.

It’s human to have your share of mistakes and failures in the journey. However, it’s utterly inhuman if you do not learn from them. Surrounding yourself with Yes-Sir people will not take you anywhere ever. Talk to people who dare to speak their mind. Take feedback from them and accept them with an open heart.

Tomorrow will be a shiny day again.

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