As we keep moving with every passing year and look back, there are always things we feel we could or would have done differently, if given a chance. So when the LifeBeyondNumbers team approached me to write for this special anniversary series, it was an opportunity for me to sit back and introspect. Looking back, though there are many things that I may want to redo differently, assuming I am little wiser now, these three things tops my list as of now.
1. Saying No To Big Bucks
The one thing that I feel I did not do right was to not take up funding for my first business. Very rarely (at the age of 23 where you lack the experience, the maturity and you are moving forward purely on your enthusiasm and passion) do you get that once in a life time opportunity that I did.
After convincing two of the biggest investors to believe in me and invest in my business and then shying away from the final step of accepting a million dollars because of some legal contract is the one thing that I would definitely go back and correct if I could. It would have benefitted me in many ways, including my personal growth, business growth, the speed at which my work grew and I would have learnt how to manage well and how to concentrate on growing effectively, not to shy away from experimenting , not to micro-manage and definitely not get stuck in day to day operational issues a lot sooner.
While I do mull not taking up the funds but the decision was not all that bad. Without funding, I learnt how to be frugal. I learnt the value of a rupee spent and the return you get on it. I learnt how to make ends meet when the times were tough. And today I am definitely a stronger, sustainable and a more determined Entrepreneur because of that.
Did you read Shruti Dhanda’s inspiring entrepreneurial journey?
2. ‘This Too Shall Pass!’
One day Emperor Akbar asked Birbal, “Is there a single sentence that makes us sad when we read in happy times, and happy if we read in sad times.” Birbal thought for a minute and replied, “This too shall pass.”
These 3 words are simple to preach but really difficult to accept and apply. If you meet some of the greatest Entrepreneurs in life you will see neither do they celebrate their achievements for too long nor do they dwell on their failures . They Move On – Because Time is Money.
In my case, I understood and accepted the meaning of these words after a very long time in my entrepreneurial journey. If I hadn’t bothered about my failures for as long as I did I would have reached where I wanted to a lot faster and saved myself a lot of heart burn.
From the day I accepted – This too Shall Pass – Ye wakt bhi guzaar jayega, I was a happier person.
3. The Value Of A Second Chance
I am glad I made this mistake because I learnt in an instance what people learn over the years. This was in my flowers business when I got an opportunity to do my very first event. I was approached by a five star hotel and through them was connected to a guest. I was hungry for work and my first opportunity. I met them in the afternoon and they told me they needed an event arranged for that very evening. I made couple of calls and committed to delivering without accounting for variable change.
Also to impress the client I pretty much said yes to everything they requested for that particular event and more. We had exactly 5 hours to put up the show. As luck would have it, all of my vendors who were supposed to turn up were a no show except for two. Hence, the show had to be cancelled. I disappointed the hotel manager who had put faith in me and the client who had expected a successful evening.
However I didn’t leave the venue, didn’t run away but stood there to face the wrath. The director of the company and the GM of the hotel called me to the conference room to discuss the matter. They asked me what happened and I told them the complete truth – how this was my first event, how I had over-committed, how I did not have a back-up plan, how my vendors stood me up etc..
Call it my good luck, impressed with my honesty, the Director told me in as many words – “Shruti since you are still standing here and did not run away and have been completely honest I want to give you a second chance . S0 answer these questions:
1. Do you think you can make our second event happen?
2. Would you like a second chance to create a great impression?
3. Would you like to tell us exactly what you can deliver, and
4. Will you not disappoint me and my company again?
I thanked him for the second chance, took it up, took a day to get back with an offer and then 3 days from that evening, I executed the event. It went fantastic.
This one experience taught me some of the most valuable lessons of my life:
1. The importance of being completely honest and not running away from your mistakes. People appreciate you more if you can stand there and accept that you made a mistake.
2. I learnt the value of under committing and over delivering.
3. I learnt how it is so important to always have a Plan B, C and D ready.
4. The importance of second chances – I was given one.
5. Saying No if I can’t deliver. It saved me from ruining a lot of future relationships.
And most importantly, if you have made a mistake be the one to correct as well!
So yes, these are the 3 things I would do differently if I were to relive these moments today. But as they say, what we are today is the outcome of experiences we have had, the mistakes we have made and the path we chose when we were young and restless. One wonders, would life be as much fun if there were no mistakes ever!
To read the other awesome stories in our special anniversary series “Looking Back”, click here.