Entrepreneurs, Don't Shy Away From Seeking Help, Get A Coach with Ashutosh Garg

Ashutosh Garg speaks about one of the biggest elephants in the room that most people tend to avoid addressing – entrepreneurial stress and the need for a business coach. He explains why every entrepreneur should have a coach who can guide him or her through tough times and give sound advice on a range of issues related to the company.

Watch on YouTube

Audio Podcast

Essence/ Shorts < 120 seconds

Top Quotes

Most important thing for any entrepreneur is to keep his or her sanity because it's a thankless job or as someone says it's a very lonely job.

Ashutosh Garg

I tell a lot of people that when you set your milestones keep them bite-sized small. Milestones that you can keep measuring, that you can keep recording and that you can keep holding people accountable to.

Ashutosh Garg

The human mind has been conditioned to solving all the problems on its own because if you reach out to someone for help it is seen as a sign of weakness. Nothing could be further away from the truth than that.

Ashutosh Garg

I always tell people seek knowledgeable mentors, look for good advice and more often than not you will have someone who will put their hand up and volunteer to help.

Ashutosh Garg

When you start getting into a much larger scale it is the systems and processes that drive the organisation. Therefore, at each stage you need different skill sets to be able to manage it

Ashutosh Garg

Keep your head down, keep working, don't let problems hassle you, keep delivering, keep communicating with the people, and most importantly keep yourself fit enough to be able to work that 18-20 hours a day.

Ashutosh Garg

There is not a single day when you can say that I'm going to ease off. Even on vacations the phone was always on, email was always on, but it was fun!

Ashutosh Garg

An entrepreneur’s life can tend to be a lonely one. While you may have your family and loved ones rooting for you and a dedicated employee base watching your back, it is possible that you still end up feeling absolutely unanchored and directionless especially at difficult crossroads. Such a situation is compounded by the fact that most entrepreneurs shy away from opening up about their challenges or worries because they feel that they will come across as vulnerable or weak. Our mind has been conditioned to believe that we can solve everything on our own without seeking any external help. Unfortunately, this is a belief that often leads people, especially young entrepreneurs, down a dreadful path of self-doubt and mental burnout.

It is of utmost importance for every entrepreneur to understand that there is no one on this planet who can claim to have answers to everything. You may be fantastic at drawing business plans and pitching them to clients, but you may draw a complete blank when posed with questions on legal issues or aspects related to human resources. While such a gap in knowledge may exasperate you, please know that it is okay! It is in situations like these that you may want to look for experienced people who can counsel you and help you derive answers to questions that do not pertain to your area of expertise. Once you are convinced that seeking advice from experienced specialists is a good idea, you may start figuring out how and where to find such people.

Essence

What is the most optimal mindset that an entrepreneur should aim to maintain? I think the first and most important thing for any entrepreneur is to keep his or her sanity because it's a thankless job or as someone says it's a very lonely job. There are very few people who you can confide in because very often when an entrepreneur starts to speak about his or her challenges it can be seen as a sign of weakness. There are lots of things that entrepreneurs have to keep at the back of their mind before they start moving but I think what is important is to be realistic. We all have big aspirations. We all want to build massive organizations. We all want to have billion-dollar revenues or billion dollar valuations. We all want to be recognized and so on. What we forget is that we need to take baby steps to start heading towards our goal. Therefore, I tell a lot of people that when you set your milestones keep them bite-sized small. Milestones that you can keep measuring, that you can keep recording and that you can keep holding people accountable to. It is vital to have good management teams. It is important to delegate well and after doing all this what's most important is to build an organization where you're having fun. 2. Should entrepreneurs seek help from others who are more experienced and knowledgeable? It is very interesting that the human mind has been conditioned to solving all the problems on its own because if you reach out to someone for help it is seen as a sign of weakness. Nothing could be further away from the truth than that. As an entrepreneur you've already taken some very courageous steps in sticking your neck out and going down the path that you have been dreaming of and there is no way on earth that you could have answers to every possible question. I always tell people seek knowledgeable mentors, look for good advice and more often than not you will have someone who will put their hand up and volunteer to help. In some cases you may have to pay for it. For example, I always tell people when you are ramping up a business you must have a good lawyer and a good finance person who can handle your accounting and your taxes because you're not expected to know either of these things. These people will be able to flank you when it comes to challenges that you may come across. So every entrepreneur must have absolutely no hesitation in seeking out experts who can counsel them. 3. Where should an entrepreneur look for such knowledgeable people for support and guidance? Today there are a lot of opportunities to get help if you want specialized help whether it's a lawyer or an accountant or a tax consultant there are plenty available. There are also organizations to coach you and Equation Coaching is one such organization where there are several experienced coaches who can be made available to guide you, to counsel you, and to ask you tough questions so that you can hold yourself accountable for what you set yourself as a target. There is no shortage of good help available now. 4. Is it better to rely on an outsider as opposed to family and friends when it comes to getting business-related advice? It depends on the nature of challenge that you are facing. In the early days it is good to ask friends and family but when the challenges start to get a little tricky then friends and family may not necessarily challenge you to say that you're not doing the right thing because they don't want to hurt you. That's where external counsel is critical because an external body or individual will be far more ruthless about addressing the challenges you are facing as compared to friends or family members. Even if you have a very good and competent lawyer friend I would recommend that for informal advice go to him or her but for formal advice seek out professional help. 5. How should one change his or her management style when transitioning into self-employment? This is an interesting challenge that every entrepreneur faces. When I started Guardian, I had four people who were working very closely with me and that was when we had two or three stores. We were very small so a lot of decisions would get taken around the lunch table or over a cup of coffee. As the business started to grow we had to bring in a different group of people and the initial founding team then started to feel that I as the founder had begun ignoring them even though I wasn't ignoring those people at all. What I was trying to do was to embrace the new people who were coming in on the assumption that the founding team members were people who would automatically understand. That didn't happen and a lot of the initial team members left us because they thought that there was no place left for them. So, I think what happens is that the management style of an entrepreneur in the beginning is very different from when more professionals come in. It changes again when the venture starts going from a medium-sized company into a large company. In the first stage of life of a company, it is sheer brute strength of the entrepreneur and the management team that takes it up to a point. When you start getting into a much larger scale it is the systems and processes that drive the organisation. Therefore, at each stage you need different skill sets to be able to manage it. When your systems are driving it you need to be able to understand how to read your numbers, how to locate what the challenges are rather than roll up your sleeves and say I am going to get down into the trenches and sort out the problem myself. 6. How does one stay the course despite juggling too many things at once? Keep your head down, keep working, don't let problems hassle you, keep delivering, keep communicating with the people, and most importantly keep yourself fit enough to be able to work that 18-20 hours a day. As an entrepreneur, staying the course and reaching out to the place where you want to reach is a challenge . You will anticipate some problems but there will be dozens of other challenges that will come. You won't even know when they will hit you. It's like running the gauntlet. You have to keep looking around all over the place, keep running straight and this time you're not just running yourself because you're carrying a team of people with you, so, you got to make sure that not only do you cross over to the other side but you carry your entire team with you. 7. Is there ever an easy day during an entrepreneurial journey? I don't remember having an easy day but at the end of each day I would come back and say that I'm satisfied with what I have done. What definitely happened was that the type of challenges kept on changing because the company was growing at a crazy pace. I was delegating a lot of work and I had some great people working with us and as we were growing the company people were taking over the routine business. I would manage anything new that would come up. At one stage I used to tell our leadership team that my job is to keep clearing all the speed breakers on the road so that when you guys are running you don't hit any speed breaker. The role keeps changing. There is not a single day when you can say that I'm going to ease off. Even on vacations the phone was always on, email was always on, but it was fun! 8. What is the biggest risk that you have encountered as part of your entrepreneurial journey? I won't talk of a business-related risk because I think there are lots of risks that we take as part of an entrepreneurial journey. The biggest risk that an entrepreneur takes is to keep himself or herself motivated. You are running a big business, you are building teams and keeping them motivated. You’re answering questions. You're confronting challenges. When you come back at the end of the day dead tired, how do you motivate yourself to start all over a few hours later and I think that is one of the biggest challenges that an entrepreneur faces. 9. How did you strike a balance between work and your personal life during your Guardian days? I told my family that you know you will have to accept my work life at least for the next five or six years because I won't have much time for you and it was just a chance or good fortune that the year I founded Guardian was the year when both my sons went out to study overseas. So they were busy with their education. My wife was busy with her American school and I was busy building Guardian. I've spoken to many entrepreneurs and I think an issue they all try and address is how do you carry all your loved ones with you so that they understand that you are not present all the time for them not because you don't want to but because of the commitment that you have taken of building a business and I think in most cases families and you know loved ones tend to understand. They know that you're chasing something bigger. 10. What advice would you give entrepreneurs who are just starting out? There are a few pointers that I would highlight. First and foremost is to manage your time well. Entrepreneurs tend to get too carried away and get too involved in too much detail. I think it's very important to prioritize and manage time well. The second point that I would think of is be ready to share information with your management team but do it only on a need-to-know basis. A mistake that I've seen a lot of entrepreneurs make is that they assume that if they share everything with everybody they can be good managers. The more information you give out the more about your organization you're giving away and everyone doesn't need to know everything. Third point is lead by example. The rules for the employees and the entrepreneur should be the same. We cannot have a situation where I as the entrepreneur say that I have the freedom to come to office at 11:00 a.m. but you must be in office at 9:00 a.m. The next one is that it's important for the entrepreneur to give feedback to the people. The entrepreneur who does the interviews and hires the people but when it’s time for an annual appraisal the entrepreneur shirks that responsibility and that's only because he or she doesn't want to confront an awkward situation. Finally, at the end of the day if you and your management team aren't having fun doing what you are then it's going to be one hell of a boring place to work in.

You may also like