By Yatin Shah, Co-founder and Joint-CEO, IIFL Wealth
A founder’s journey is not easy, more so for those who build their startups into unicorns. Now that you have achieved this feat, what should you keep in mind?
India is witnessing a slew of disruptions, in part, due to the transformative power of technology. This fertile environment has seen startups spring up in every field. Today, there are myriad companies looking to disrupt status quo or add value to existing processes and products.
In this highly populous race, you have already run the marathon and joined the ranks of the mythical unicorns. The journey of a startup founder is hard and riddled with multiple challenges; more so, if those founders grow their companies into unicorns. Now that you have achieved this mean feat, it’s time to ponder on ‘what next.’
Let me share a few suggestions for your ‘what next’ question.
Secure your safety pot
Your first liquidity event is when you must proactively start thinking about your present and future needs. This means that you need to create a safety pot of capital that can provide financial security, help you achieve your long-term goals, and ensure that you are able to maintain the desired lifestyle.
Do not adopt a wait-and-watch approach. Instead, start planning for your future stability and well-being as soon as possible.
The DIY approach doesn’t work with portfolio management
As an entrepreneur, you will surely appreciate the value that expert professionals can bring to financial management. You must leverage their expertise to build a robust long-term portfolio that can help you achieve all your financial goals.
Further, entrepreneurship is more of a journey rather than a destination. This means that as an entrepreneur, you are probably constantly working on the next big idea.
Many successful entrepreneurs are known to have second and third stints in their journey. You will have limited time to manage your money. Thus, it becomes imperative to turn to a trusted advisor to preserve and grow your wealth.
The world is your oyster
Just the way you have expanded your horizons with your entrepreneurial journey, you must expand your investment portfolio beyond domestic shores. This means that from an investment point of view, you must look beyond India as well. International markets are influenced by a host of factors that are unique to them and thus, offer opportunities for growth and diversification that might not be available in India.
You can utilise the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) of the Reserve Bank of India to remit a certain amount of money during a financial year to another country for investment and expenditure.
Where there is a will, there is a way for succession planning
When means are limited, we try to maximise every rupee that we earn. However, when you have attained some amount of financial success then you start thinking about not just your immediate financial needs but also the financial needs of your future generation.
This is especially true for those who build a business ground up since there is a certain pride and need to carry on the legacy. Thus, you must also focus on will and succession planning to ensure that the needs of the future generation are taken care of, and the legacy that you have created gets passed on smoothly.
Your vibe attracts your tribe
I am sure you will agree that the feat that you have achieved would not have been possible without the support, guidance, and advice of friends, founders and experts. Now that you are a unicorn, you are well positioned to elevate the startup ecosystem and support other entrepreneurs.
You can leverage your position to build a strong network of entrepreneurs and solution providers that can foster mutually beneficial relationships. Also, as a successful entrepreneur, you can get access to new early-stage opportunities. Thus, it is a great chance to associate yourself with innovative entrepreneurs. You could lead the idea or provide the necessary guidance to the next unicorn in the making.
Be a perfect solution provider to give back
Having already gone through a learning curve, you can proactively leverage tech-enabled solutions to get associated with social causes where tech elements come into play. Beyond technology, you can look at how best to use your entrepreneurial success to make a positive impact on the ecosystem around you.
A prime example of this would be ACT Grants. This non-profit initiative has more than 100 volunteers from startups and Venture Capitalists (VCs), who came together to raise money to alleviate the oxygen supply and other healthcare related challenges during the pandemic.
The initiative met with huge success and is now being expanded to support ideas that can leverage 'start-up energy' to solve issues related to healthcare, environment, education, and women empowerment.
To sum up, continuous and consistent growth is unique and achieved by very few. Treat your unicorn status as just the first rung of a very tall ladder to success.