Start a business & Not a startup !!

Nowadays, the most trending topic in any networking is about Startup and entrepreneurial ventures.

Recently I attended the middle east retail forum 2019 #mrf2019 wherein I met with wonderful people, retailpreneurs, successful retailers and mall developers. It was a very well organized event, ( i shall write a separate blog on the same soon).

One interesting feature that caught my attention was a panel discussion dedicated to startups, for instance.


It was like a famous series called Shark Tank, wherein the startups would pitch their business proposal to a jury and get shortlisted for the awards or VC fundings.

There were some really good concepts that were really path-breaking, however, most of the entrepreneurs had missed on a few main points, which inspired me to re-purpose my earlier written blog on startups.

There is a wonderful saying “What got you here, won’t take you to next level”, you need to keep enhancing your skills, keep innovating yourself by breaking old habits ( point of caution- innovation is not always product-centric, it can be very personalized, even the way you think can be innovated)

One important point that I would like to convey to entrepreneurs is that the VC fund is something like “Vapour capital” it evaporates as soon as it comes into your business.

Try to follow the basics of business i.e. if you invest USD 1 into your business, you need to generate USD 2, re-invest this again in your business till your business becomes self-sustaining. If you follow the ratio 1:2, you shall never have cash flow issues in your business.

I am putting down the most important tips which would help upcoming retailpreneurs with their projects.

1. Start with your own Pain points:

The easiest and straightforward way to create a great product or service is to make something you want to use yourself.

As you build the project, you would soon figure out whether or not you are making any good.

Case study:

Coach Bill Bowerman felt the need for better lighter running shoes for his team. So he went out to his workshop and poured rubber into the family waffle iron. That’s how Nike’s famous waffle sole was born.

Key learning: “Start with your own pain point” and coming out with the solution, lets you fall in love with what you are making.

This very source provides you inner-motivation and go-getter attitude.

2. Keep customer focus through-out:

Always at the start of any project, keep your customer on focus, imagine what you would like your customer to say about your product or service.

3. Be Action taker:

You should feel an urgency about whatever you are planning to start or to do. If you are building a break-through product or service or even a Me-Too product, JUST DO IT (as Nike says it).

Don’t sit around and waiting for someone to make the difference that you would like to see.

Case study:

The Drudge Report, run by Matt drudge is just one page on the web run by one guy.

Yet it has a huge impact on the news industry- television, radio talk-show hosts, and newspaper journalists all visit this page daily to find out as to what’s the current stories.

In July 2016, the site garnered 1.47 billion Pageviews, as a result of US Presidential elections

The Drudge Report’s traffic beat out the likes of news sites from Disney Media Networks (which includes and, Yahoo, Google, Time Warner, and Fox Entertainment Groups.

Key learning:

Make the difference that you would like to see yourself.  Drudge’s report came from nowhere and disrupted the old models that had been around for decades.

Learn as to why good writers build great companies, read here.

4. Understand Your core “WHY”: 

Great businesses have a point of view and not just a product or service. You have to believe in something. As you get going, keep in mind as to “why” you are doing “what” you are doing.

Frankly speaking, this is the real Mission and Vision statement of the business.

For instance, Big corporates shell out millions of dollars to copywriters to write it, ideally, it should be written by the founder himself because that is his or her vision.

Case study:

Wholefoods (now a part of stands for selling the highest quality natural and organic products available.

Their customers know and understand Wholefoods purpose, they don’t go to their stores asking or looking for potato chips or coke or junk food.

This very “WHY” adds rock-solid positioning for wholefoods and is one of the reasons for their success.

I shall be writing more about entrepreneurship and management leadership stance in my upcoming articles. I hope you would find these tips or pointers useful in your journey.

In case if any of my readers or LinkedIn connections want any help pertaining to their startup ideation, you are more than welcome to reach out to me at

(References: Just tell it – Nike’s story- article; reference book “Rework” by Jason Fried and David Hansson;   My learnings from attending Middle east retail forum, thanks to organisers & management of Retail Images group of Publications.)

Learn about Persistence, read here.

About the author:

Ritesh Mohan is a passionate retail professional with over 21 years in the retail sector, handling some of the biggest brands in beauty, fashion and fragrances retail & FMCG sector. He has been instrumental in the growth of some of the regional brands as well in the Middle East region. Ritesh specializes in Retail management, Product development, Brand management, Retail Operations, Sales Management, Business Management & Empowering business owners with his wisdom & experience of around two decades in the industry.