Many people dream of owning their own business and for a multitude of reasons. “Startups are everywhere, and the number of startups is growing at a faster rate than ever before,” according to startups, developer and investor John Webb. I was bitten by the entrepreneurship bug too and decided to open a small restaurant.
It was always a dream of mine to have my own food joint. One day after a post on Facebook, looking for anyone else who would partner with me, I received interest from ten potential investors. Just like that! And I didn’t even have a business plan!
It was just a thought in my head; I had a feeling I would open a restaurant someday. And now I had people offering me money to pursue my dream. So, of course, we went ahead and did it. We are now proud owners of teztadka, a restaurant that serves North Indian cuisine in Bangalore.
Essential Startup Lessons
Through the startup process, I learned that big steps in life always leave you with some lessons. So, here’s what I learned first-hand starting a restaurant business.
Take the plunge.
Sometimes over-thinking can detract from taking a step forward. I heard somewhere that entrepreneurs are the type of people who jump from a plane first and then learn how to build a parachute on the way down. That’s how it went for us. We didn’t know anything about the food industry, yet once the idea was out there we opened our first restaurant in 2 months; and that included licensing, premises, contracts, interiors, staffing, marketing and everything else it takes to get a business off the ground.
Maybe if we had debated the pros and cons, we wouldn’t have been able to take such a big step. It’s important to get in to the flow of things and just go with it. It needn’t be perfect; workable is just fine. Minor tweaks, adjustments will happen along the way. Just get started and get out and do it.
Roll up your sleeves.
If you think you’ve worked hard to plan your business, think again. The hard work has literally just begun after you open your doors. Be prepared for endless hours of back breaking work. For example, when our restaurant was set up, we ran around day and night planning, purchasing, preparing, and fixing it to be ready for opening day. We were quite proud of how everything looked on day one. But the real test came a month later.
When business started picking up and we were so busy we didn’t know night from day. For example, we’ve done everything from cooking, cleaning, deliveries, to electrical work and plumbing in the first few months. And the willingness to roll-up your sleeves and get your hands dirty is true for any new business. No matter how much you plan, there will be unexpected situations that will demand extra commitment from you to see things through.
Stick to your guns.
There will be times when you will wonder if it was all worth it. You’ll compare it with the benefits of the cushy corporate job you had before, the guaranteed income, the health plan, the company paid phone. But trust your decision; it is worth it. You just have to stick to your guns, keep your emotions in check, and do the best you can.
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