Growing up, my mom and dad dragged me into all of their “projects”, which included everything from selling hot sauces to starting a Mexican restaurant to renovating a convent. They used to either (a) force us into helping them or (b) bribe us with ice cream, cake, or charms (in the shape of ice cream or cake). After years of grumbling, I actually voluntarily choose to do this kind of stuff now. Somehow, my parents didn’t just trick me into doing all those random jobs, but also tricked me into liking it. They're sneaky like that.
Little did I know, they were preparing me for my summer with Inspiring Capital. After years of consulting in corporate America and then business school, I had grown accustomed to a predictable life of methodologies, processes, and frameworks. When placed with Viable, an early stage venture that provides corporates access to validated business ideas from a global community, I knew it was an opportunity to get back to my entrepreneurial roots.
My project scope initially involved developing an incubation process for Viable, but I quickly found myself immersed in the startup whirlwind. This internship, along with all my parents’ projects, taught me that the best ways to thrive at a startup are to:
· Embrace the ambiguity. There was a lot to do, and it was often hard to know where or how to start. There was no typical day with Viable. Most days, I didn't know where I would be or what I would be doing until I was actually there doing it. Accepting a certain level of chaos was not only thrilling but also productive, particularly when in brainstorming mode.
· Take Charge. I was given a lot of flexibility and authority to drive my own activities, which required a certain level of direction amidst the chaos. With limited resources and supervision, I had to be resourceful and figure out the appropriate course of action. And when I felt I had gaps in my knowledge, I connected with experts from the Inspiring Capital community and my own network for help.
· Keep it simple. Our options were endless, especially at such an early stage. What started as a simple idea would morph into a muddled business model in an attempt to as much impact as possible, which had implications on resource requirements, process design, marketing, pretty much everything. Once we got back to the basics, it was much easier to focus on the mission critical areas and communicate Viable's value.
· Just do it. Viable believes that ideas are powerful but execution is paramount. It's easy to overthink our work, as if everything would all come crashing down if each detail isn't exactly right. It was difficult to set that aside and present an imperfect solution, but we made more progress putting it to the test than when we just theorized.
Each day with Inspiring Capital has presented me with new trials and uncertainty, but also inspiration and fun. While the work was a constant challenge, I was able to create meaningful progress in laying the groundwork for Viable’s launch and can't imagine a more rewarding summer internship experience.
Want to get in touch with Anjali? Interested in discussing something you read above? Fill out the form below: