Let me share my business failure story
It was 2002 when I was laid off from a Job due to recession in Gujarat because of Godhra riots.
I got to know from a friend that a company is seeking to develop an accounting system for internal use. I went to meet the owner to understand their requirements. They not only wanted an accounting system but an ERP to manage their internal office operations. The ERP should be portable so that if they start a new business, the ERP should work without a problem.
Now this was a great opportunity, a huge project for many months of work. An ideal start for a #Startup. They asked to make a presentation so that they can take a decision to go ahead. I was so excited that in next 3 days and 2 nights, I worked like a machine with brain to do a great presentation to their management. Though I was not satisfied with detailing of presentation but still went to the prospect's office with my draft.
Fortunately they liked the presentation, though they had many questions on the delivery. First and foremost was "where is the team" . Who is going to work?
I was completely blank, while I prepared a decent presentation, I had no idea how many people will be needed to finish with aggressive deadline given by me.
I had few people in my mind.
The challenge was, I had no team.
First person that came in my mind was one of my collage friend and a software developer Mr. B ( Name changed due to privacy) . Mr. B was a buddy, we used to have tea stall meetings ( chai ki tapri ) many times in a week. So this time also I met him there and expressed my desire to include him in my team for developing an ERP of a reputed company.
His first question was, Salary kya dega?
(What would be my salary?). I was a kind of shocked to hear because I thought offering a partnership was much bigger than offering a Job. I told him that I want a partner and not a salaried employee, let's work together and make this great software. I tried to sell this concept of #startup to him, stating that if we make such software as a product , we can sell to hundreds of companies, see how many companies are using Tally. We can replace Tally easily in few years.
He was thrilled with my vision but he had valid concerns as follows.
1. Mr B was bread winner for the family, he couldn't afford to lose a job.
2. He had no intention to do business.
3. It was impossible to replace Tally as people were using pirated copies in just Rs 300 as installation charges.
A setback for me.
So my best friend Mr B was not ready to join me for this new journey of #startup. I moved forward to search another guy to write code along with me.
Next guy was Mr Z( Name changed due to privacy ) . He was a co worker in past company and a good guy, He also had lost a job due to recession in 2002 like me.
I approached him, he had no other options available so he quickly agreed to join my team. But he didn't want a partnership, he wanted a monthly salary to survive the tough time he had. I agreed with a clause that once we have launched the product , he will have to join as partner.
What else?, Finally after 15 days of approval , We started working on the prototype of the product. Now the real trouble started. We had no clear requirements from client. He just said "Tally me jaisa hai vaisa exact banao"
And I was like "Ye to mere left hand ka kaam hai"
( Do exactly like Tally and I was confident to replicate the features )
Next 1 month, 3 demos, very little progress made and No payment made from client, I had to pay Mr Z from my pocket.
But I was ok, expected and anticipated but I was nervous due to slow progress.
I Couldn't change the situation in month 2 also and Now it was serious ...
Month 2 was at the end, I had no payment from client and I had to pay salary of Mr Z. I asked for payment, client said the software is not even 10%, I thought it was 30% and we disagreed. Finally he said finish a module and get paid.
I was at Mr Z's home, he was packing his bags, He said he has to shift to Mumbai, as all his family is there and He cannot continue. He also asked for 2nd month salary and I had nothing. After a heated conversation, he agreed to handover code before leaving and said
"Mera Salary Udhar Raha tere pe".
Month 3 was tough , I had to work day and night to finish that 30% alone, no other help was around and I was the chief of everything. I even worked from office of client as my computer at home was dead, it was old and had no more power to process my commands.
And the moment came when I given up, even at the 3rd month end, client was not satisfied and work had to abandoned due to no payment , no progress status.
Lessons to learn for #startup
1. I was developing a tally like software for peanuts
2. I had no team commitment
3. I had no idea that I could raise funds to survive my household till the product is done.
Lost the game and had to join a job at 50% salary of my previous job. Year 2002.