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Kautilya’s advice to entrepreneurs

Starting your own business and running it is no easy task, especially when you have no previous business experience. But that is how entrepreneurs are born. They start with an ‘idea’ and a dream to succeed with that idea. Most of them do not know the path but the confidence that they have takes them through all the ups and downs to reach the final destination where the idea is finally converted to “financial success”.

The most critical period in an entrepreneur’s life is when he has already experimented his idea a bit, struggled the most but ‘money’ has not yet filled in his pockets. During that time, he sits down and wonders what went wrong? All the near and dear ones would have the opportunity to prove that you were wrong to have taken this path.

Hold on! says Kautilya, do not get into a mental trap at this stage: “Wealth will slip away from the foolish person, who continuously consults the stars; for wealth is the star of wealth; what will the stars do? Capable men will certainly secure wealth at least after a hundred trails” (9.4.26)

“I had to make my own living and my own opportunity! But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them!”


Your final big financial leap in business would be just around the corner. But getting frustrated after such a long period of failures, it is natural for one to wonder if fate and luck was really on one’s side.

That is when we turn to fortune tellers, future predictors and palm readers. You start to consult the zodiac, the sun and the star signs. Your continuous effort is the only way out. Do not consult stars. What will those innocent looking ball of burning gas which appears as a glowing point in the night sky do? Wealth alone is the star of wealth. One has already put a lot of efforts, time and money in the ‘idea’ one truly believes in. Just continue doing it.

Capable men thus will finally convert the whole idea into an ‘amazing balance sheet’. The final leap may come in any manner—a big order, a turn around client or a big financial investor. But one needs to keep doing his trials—a hundred times.

This is the path followed by Bill Gates. Who thought he would become the richest man in the world in such a short time? This is the route taken by Narayana Murthy, Dhirubhai Ambani or any other entrepreneur before they touched the success called ‘wealth’.

Madam C J Walker, creator of a popular line of African-American hair care products and America’s first black female millionaire said, “I had to make my own living and my own opportunity! But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them!”

Dr Radhakrishnan Pillai is an Indian management thinker, author, and Founder of Atma Darshan and Chanakya Aanvikshiki. Dr Pillai has extensively researched Kautilya’s Arthashastra, the 3rd century BC treatise and incorporated it into modern management.

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