Let us see what happens when an Indian boy wants to do business!

Many 30 to 40 year old boys / men come to me with a question: “I want to do business how should I go about it?”.

So typically my ‘candidate’ is well qualified and an employee of some big or some bad company. So if he is working in a big company, there is a house full of crestfallen faces all looking gloomy.

And it starts of something like this ..his father/ father in law/ uncle / older cousin..will start by saying “Subra please tell  him not to give up his job..to do business..if he turns 35 NOBODY will give him a job. He has a wife and family to support” or “he has an EMI to pay…why should he leave his job now” or “I know he is in a lousy company with no future..but the solution is to find a nice job…not do business, after all he is a CA (or MBA or….what have u).

And even after he starts doing business he has to hear taunts like “You know X of  Pune..at 45 he is now looking for a job” or “That idiot J is lucky he does not have children so it is ok for him to teach in a college” Even teaching he chose because he did not get a good MNC job (lol, btw Flipkart is an Mnc like Hdfc bank). Or ‘those idiots who set up a business 30 years ago, they are still struggling…now his son has gone abroad and supporting the stupid parents’.

Lovely. Then I nudge saying “I was always unemployable – so I have no clue about ‘job security’ “. “No, no, Subra…practise is different..not business”. Oops. Trapped.

The next step is when the businessman turns about 38/40…and the business is not yet doing well. Now he is taunted by his siblings too….hear some of the taunts…

  1. “I will give you Rs. 20L not 10L…but quit that stupid partnership and take up a job..your partner is an IDIOT”
  2.  “Are you sure you have the cashflow to pay for your daughter’s education or should I chip in”
  3. One sibling actually paid for his nephew’s higher education saying “you s….d your career I cannot let you s…w your son’s career”

All 3 true stories.

Then there are taunts from other elders “If you have not quit…Xyz bank..your 8450 esop shares that YOU could not exercise…would be worth Rs. 16 crores”.

Girls have it much simpler. One of them said “Subra I am not the primary provider..so I can take a risk” . So women with nice qualifications have no great pressure to bring home Rs 3 million a year, burt the man has to.

Also if you are Vee Cee funded MOST of the people will not even know whether you are successful or not. Most people judge you by what you do and what show you put on. I have been asked “he is so successful as a businessman…why is he like this….” and I have to say “I have no clue about his cash flow”.

Or when a multi lettered kid expects to raise Rs. 200 crores based on some excel sheet and ppt! Funny thing is that some older kids have got it in the past, and some still do. When I see it, I see red. Sure I would have lost some money for my principals, but I can never understand a Rs. 1 crore salary for a company with unproven strategy, unproven technology, unproven cash flows…oops old fashioned did you say?

Doing your own business is tough guys. Do not even think of it unless you are willing to listen to taunts from the whole world. I know some amazing failures who seem to have the cashflow to ‘look’ successful. Do not let them fool you.

I know one ‘not very successful looking businessman with 5 houses in one Mumbai suburb apart from 2 bungalows in Mumbai (yup it exists in Chembur), apart from 2 houses in Singapore and London (1 each), and a private equity portfolio of about Rs 20 crores. Sad to say…there is nobody to run the business after him…and he is almost 77 years of age. No succession planning of course.



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  1. मैं रोउ या हसूँ
    करू में क्या करून
    Very very touchy article, I for one could never muster courage to get out of this middle class security shit.
    Wish the next generation is not burdened with the rat race.

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