By Mitu Samar
‘Sharma ji ka beta’ facilitated structural transformation
“India’s biggest IPO, Biggest crash.”
Waking up to such a headline about your firm, yet not only maintaining sanity but continuing working with the same enthusiasm is not easy.
It’s not just the CEOs and CXOs who struggle to keep their spirits alive after bad press dents a company’s reputation. How often do we find ourselves in the same boat when our bosses rebuke us publicly, although we may have burned the midnight oil to submit a project to the best of our capabilities?
How dejected do we feel when a colleague mindlessly ridicules us in a meeting and everyone joins in the laughter?
Sometimes the impact of such episodes is such that we immediately update our CVs and decide to move on.
But what about these entrepreneurs or the corner officeholders who are laughed at not within the four walls of the organisation but in news headlines, social media and corporate circles? What keeps them going?
Many second or third-generation industrialists and senior leaders in corporates, who are active on social media platforms, made comments on the IPO-frenzy markets but how many of them actually congratulated or celebrated these entrepreneurs who dared to dream?
Some of these industrialists-cum-armchair critics have inherited family businesses and, maybe, did a fab job. Many business leaders just entered a system that had well-oiled machinery of people and processes that needed to be strengthened further. But what about these entrepreneurs who started from scratch? No one served them anything on a platter.
They had to define and design every small detail of their business and also deal with the allied challenges of hiring the right talent, investing in appropriate technologies, following varied government regulations, doing accounting and filing taxes and so much more. Amidst all this, they had to stay sane, motivated, and inspire others too.
While we talk about flawed business models, burning cash, loss-making ventures, it is essential to celebrate these entrepreneurs, for they not only demonstrated that dreams do come true but also brought about some structural shifts. How, one may ask.
Let me elaborate on three such examples.
Firstly the new-age companies have completely transformed the way we behave or even think as consumers. If Zomato and Swiggy have reduced our dependency on the home kitchen while offering us a plethora of food choices, PayTM, Phone Pe, Zerodha and others have transformed our behaviour around money and personal finance. While those in the 35-plus age bracket may straddle both the worlds, traditional and contemporary, the future consumer is forward-looking and belongs to an out-an-out digital world. Be it health and fitness, outfits, make-up, entertainment, travel or anything that one can conceive, no experience is the same as it was 5-10 years ago.
Secondly, the employment landscape has undergone a sea change in the last decade or so. Our parents mostly worked in just one or two companies in their entire careers. We changed a minimum of 4-5 jobs. Gen Z has many more options today, thanks to these new-age enterprises. What’s more, a degree alone is no longer the qualifying criteria. Instead, exposure to a certain kind of work, gigs done in the past, or knowledge of a certain subject are driving hiring.
I have started receiving CVs of ninth-standard students keen to intern with us! Believe you me, they can write very well, design logos and other creatives perfectly or even guide you on some tech piece. Such internships strengthen their profiles when they apply for a course that ranks high at the international level.
Why limit to freshers and Gen Z? Even senior professionals who took comfort in job security are daring to step out and set up businesses. Successful women entrepreneurs have not only set the tone for professionals but also encouraged many fellow women, who took a career break to support the family and did nothing that gave them professional satisfaction.
Finally, even our personal lives or relationships have transformed. As parents, we have become more accepting of our children’s career choices. Seeing so many success stories has improved our risk appetite as parents and we’re willing to let our kids fail a few times.
‘Sharma ji ka beta’ facilitated such structural transformation in the true sense!
What more does one want?
We may discuss a stock’s debacle, attribute the collapse to a faulty business model, cite how the company’s own employees are choosing not to subscribe to its IPO and so on.
But isn’t the story of a small-town young man, who built a company from scratch, making it worth around Rs 1 lakh crore, inspiring enough to celebrate? Shouldn’t Zomato and Nykaa deserve due credit for bringing about a paradigm shift?
Also, why just stop at the ones who chose to tap the public market, there are scores of entrepreneurs and organisation builders who have contributed equally to this pivotal shift. Let us take a moment to applaud the spirit of entrepreneurship that not only lets us strive but thrive and transform the ecosystem.
The author is CEO of Eminence Strategy Consulting