Becoming an entrepreneur can be a heady roller-coaster ride that can give you more than what you bargained for. Krupa Shah would wholly agree. Krupa is an acclaimed Contemporary Virtuoso Abstract Artist, Art Aficionado, Philanthropist, Entrepreneur & Mentor. Responding to the Maharashtra CM’s clarion call for helping the drought affected farmers in Maharashtra, Krupa through her paintings has raised funds and contributed generously for a variety of social causes. Krupa is also an active member of FICCI, All Ladies League, and Women Economic Forum. In conversation with HerMoneyTalks, Krupa narrates her story of steely resolve and determination.

Krupa cuts straight to the chase. “Entrepreneurship invariably sounds exciting at the start. However, as things start unfolding, there’s a lot behind the closed doors that the world may not come to know.”

The path of entrepreneurship may be overwhelming and difficult for women. Yet, they can ensure it’s fruitful if they have a strong network, heightened self-confidence, and an unwavering mission.

The barren canvass of fund raising

Becoming an entrepreneur is no easy task, especially for women. The underlying issue that has always held women back is difficulty in finding funding. Evidently, the funding landscape has never been the same for women and men. Women entrepreneurs often face several challenges from the investors’, financial firms’, and lenders’ end.

“They’re battling to prove sincerity, networking, and connection. They’re fighting stereotypical mindsets and unintentional or intentional bias. They’re battling the perception of being unreliable as compared to male counterparts. The list goes on,” rues Krupa.

This problem of discrimination may not be fixed overnight. But Krupa believes there remain a lot of other ways to overcome these hindrances.

Women are battling the perception of being unreliable as compared to male counterparts.

“The initial investment I needed to build and expand my business was self-funded through personal savings. It takes abundant time to gather a pool of savings for starting a business. In my opinion, that is a much safer option as compared to seeking external financing,” states Krupa confidently.

Challenges, be it in self-funding or approaching financial institutions, are always prevalent. In Krupa’s case, the challenge she faced after investing all her savings in the business was churning out returns in a short span.

Cash doesn’t flow as easily as the colors flow

Becoming an entrepreneur is one thing. Navigating financial challenges is quite another. The biggest financial challenge faced by entrepreneurs, regardless of their gender, is cash flow management. Krupa paints a grim picture here. Not all entrepreneurs are fortunate to have sufficient financial backing from an investor or financier for their business.

There’s also no denying that the government is slowly and steadily taking measures to empower women entrepreneurs by introducing startup schemes and community initiatives.

“In such a scenario, paying the bills while waiting for the checks to arrive and balancing this whole cycle without letting the business collapse or clients depart is overwhelming,” admits Krupa. Besides this, the other roadblocks are legal barriers and procedures, inadequate access to information and training, and work-family interference.

“Today, I know a lot of women who are keen on taking a leap into entrepreneurship but haven’t found a way due to rejection of loans and lack of financial support. But on the other hand, there’s also no denying that the government is slowly and steadily taking measures to empower women entrepreneurs by introducing startup schemes and community initiatives,” adds Krupa.

The 3 key money lessons for women entrepreneurs

Here’s what Krupa has to say about becoming an entrepreneur if you’re a woman and on financial empowerment of women.

(1) Financial decisions should never be made on the basis of future income

There are times we believe we can do everything without realizing what our bank balance supports. During the start of the business, both people and money are unpredictable. Hence, overestimation of our limits or being overly ambitious may backbite. Having experienced things first-hand, I now believe in making business decisions as per what I have been doing consistently, and not by what I could have one day.

(2) Keep a target for the best, but be prepared for the worst

The idea and unrealistic hope that things will never go wrong is a disbelieve in itself. Its good to be optimistic, but it is important to understand that things may go wrong anytime. To avoid becoming complacent, I have molded myself into being an entrepreneur who’s open to irregularity. This helps me stay grounded and take a reality check every now and then.

(3) Don’t wait to make ‘enough money’ to hire an accountant

There’s a huge difference between personal and business funds. The former may not need vigilance but the latter needs to tracked to know where every penny is getting spent. This was an early realization in my case. I knew, without an accountant, I wouldn’t know whether I am making profits at all and if the business needed restructuring.

“Lastly, we may all measure success in terms of money, but that’s not the case. The best entrepreneur is the one who has a great team of employees and clients to work with,” signs off Krupa with a flourish.