Remember how start-ups in India were considered more of a mistake at the beginning of this decade? A person with the ambition of starting their own business was taken rather lightly and, dare we say, a fool.

How drastically this decade has changed! Not only are entrepreneurs taken more seriously now, but there are also platforms launched to support new start-ups. Of course, the government deserves some credit for this change for launching schemes such as #DigitalIndia, #MakeInIndia, and #StartupIndia to name a few.

To me, entrepreneurship is not just a way to earn money; it is an attitude of not giving up. It is about crossing obstacles, find opportunities in adversities, and most importantly, it is about the attitude to collaborate and not compete. The fact that Start-up India has become a story for the world to stop and notice is because of the several public and private platforms that now exist for budding entrepreneurs.

Having said that, building a start-up, regardless of the size and capital, is no child’s play. Did you know that most start-ups fail in their initial stages? The reason, in most cases, is not silly ideas, lack of research, or outdated strategy; it is poor communication. Communication plays a key role in determining the growth and success of any start-up.

Through SBY Academy, it has been my endeavor to contribute to this community in our own way. I am personally honored to be a mentor with IIM Lucknow, VNIT Chennai, IIIT Allahabad, Lean-In-India (a global foundation established by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to promote women entrepreneurs), The Star in Me (a career advancement platform for women leaders), etc.

Another such recent collaboration for us is with 100X.VC – a platform that helps founders get to the next round of funding and beyond. Their first class of 20 entrepreneurs were prepared by us on clarity, confidence, and communication by us. The deal was clear – while they focused on the ‘what’ of the pitch, we would work on the ‘how’ of it.


Though it looked like a few minor corrections, our marathon coaching sessions sometimes stretched to 10 hours on the trot (is that some kind of a record?). We went to the depth of what held their true self back – fear of being judged, fear of failure, fear of authoritative figures, etc.

While none of us are free from such fears, being able to address the fear that holds us back at the right time, is all that it takes to convert an opportunity into success.

What is the difference between the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of delivering a presentation?

Well, let’s start the answer by crediting Dr. Albert Mehrabian who shared his insight on effective communication by splitting it into three parts – tone, body language, and actual words.

While a few might imagine all three to be equally important (if you haven’t overrated verbal communication, that is), here is what effective communication model looks like …

Coming back to the question, I’m sure you’d agree that the ‘what’ of communication is only 7% of words we us. It is the balance of 93% of the ‘how’ that helps to communicate effectively. And this 93% also shows our confidence level – confidence to accept who we are and to be comfortable in our own skin.

In our interaction with the founders, we have, in fact, even explored the logical levels of human behavior –

  • Identity
  • Value
  • Capability
  • Skills & Action
  • Environment

It’s imperative that we work on our skills & action while improving your capability to communicate effectively and also to connect with our own identity to live our values through our communication.

Communication becomes important from the very inception of an idea. Let’s not wait for investors to show interest before we feel fully prepared to grab that opportunity.

The mindset of choosing the cost to develop oneself must shift from being an expense to being an investment. Investing in yourself is perhaps the most important long-term investment you can ever make.

Thank you for investing your time to read this blog. We would now love to hear from you about your start-up story and how you aced your communication to make it a super-success.