The Employability of a Failed Entrepreneur 



Will the experienced employee be a successful entrepreneur or can a failed entrepreneur be a successful employee? Many entrepreneurs fail at success because they fail to start believing in themselves. Let’s take some time to discuss entrepreneurship, failed Entrepreneurs and Employability

India is on an entrepreneur high, a very contradiction to the aspirations of the last decade and earlier minority generations, who either became extensions of their family business or first generation entrepreneurs. Amongst other aspirational class, Government employment, public sector jobs and National defence services were the most preferred options.

Youths, today, are trying hard at building startups and are open for collaboration with friends and families either seeking advice, mentoring, networking or finance for providing solutions for existing problems or innovating facilitator services to bridge the gap in the demand and supply system. There has been a major shift in the thought process among the youth when it comes to career building and failure is not looked down upon any longer, but perceived as a positive learning curve and this opinion is shared in equal enthusiasm by the leading corporates and global investors.

One can highly credit the policy changes and financial encouragement from the authorities through the various entrepreneur-centric initiatives as the main reason for the success of startups in India apart from the phenomenal behavioral shift of the elders in letting the youth seek their own path. But the fact of the matter is that job seeking, today, stands second in list to most youngsters. And these aspirations are not limited to youngsters; the policy change era has also encouraged many experienced stalwarts to begin their entrepreneur journey after decades of serving across corporate houses.

Why startups fail can be linked to various pointers like lack of funding, lack of networking, lack of continuous product innovation, similar category product (me-too products), improper product positioning, fast rate of cash burn, improper pricing, improper geographical planning and lack of management skills amongst others.

Many of us would perceive an entrepreneur’s failure as a loss of time, missed opportunity, cost and would connect it with future growth and implications. Many entrepreneurs fail at success because they fail to start believing in themselves. For most of us, many questions would hound on the impact of failure on our professional life. Will a failed entrepreneur get equal opportunities to present his skill sets as an employee or will his entrepreneur failure be a taboo towards getting employment opportunities? Will a successful employee failing as an entrepreneur get another opportunity at corporate employment? These are the million dollar questions that most young entrepreneurs and experienced professionals looking at entrepreneurship are asking.

Pushpamitra Das has held numerous top management positions across leading organisations. He is a mentor to numerous startups at ZNation Lab, a leading startup accelerator from India, and evaluates growth opportunities prior to funding to help startups scale up or maintain revenue momentum till they reach funding possibilities. He believes that ‘Failure in business is independent of one’s ability to perform and can be dependent on various external factors like economy, funding opportunities, rise in ‘me too’ (similar service) products and fall in market possibilities.’ His innovationatcore initiative for real estate apps has helped many startups to connect with leading developers and provide them with an opportunity to showcase their tech-apps that can be integrated in the design board to create a smart home for a fraction of the cost. ‘It becomes difficult for startups to maintain cost, provide continuous product innovation and network at the same time. With limited resource and scarce reach, many of them succumb due to reasons like planning, networking and maintaining costs and not because of product inefficiency’ he adds highlighting another reason for startup failure.

So what do failed entrepreneurs bring back to corporates as an advantage that can be perceived more important than their failure? Anil Noronha, EVP & Head Human Capital at Fullerton India Credit Co. Limited believes that failed entrepreneurs bring positive energy, an attitude to prove themselves, are hard workers and provide practical insights through their past learning’s. They also have a larger contributory role to play as they have the advantage of understanding the functioning of all business departments rather than one individual specific core competency area, as is with most fresh recruits.

‘We seek out such candidates as they have huge experience, in-depth learning and knowledge and understand the challenges of running a venture. This makes them smarter and mature enough to understand business needs and deliver better results’ he adds.
Anil further informs that organisations value candidates that have entrepreneurial experience and are open to improve negotiations for right candidates ‘We are open to paying a slight premium to acquire such talent and our experience working with them in the past has always been rewarding.’

The acceptance of failed entrepreneurs is not limited to employment opportunities alone and investors are also open to providing failed entrepreneurs another opportunity to prove themselves. Amit Jain, a leading investor based out of the Silicon valley with over a dozen successful startups and experience of over a decade across the leading 4 consulting firms, informs ‘They have learnt from their mistakes, understand possibilities and business constraints and apply practical approaches using their past experience.’

Amit further adds that ‘Failed entrepreneurs are more open to their approach of seeking help and advice from relevant successful entrepreneurs, field experts and investors the next time around. We believe that a failed entrepreneur is more keen to prove himself and self generates business knowledge, required skill sets and has higher thought clarity than his previous outing.’

Failure in business cannot describe one’s character and young entrepreneurs can learn great lessons from a great many business leaders who found global success after a series of failed ventures.