Perils of running a mid-size business in India

It’s already very hard to run a business specially in India but if by any chance you are running a mid-size business then your life is like hell (almost).

I run a business in Uttar Pradesh ruled by Samajwadi Party (a regional party with base in UP only) and Bhartiya Janta Party in centre lead by Mr Narendra Modi though both project themselves pro-business parties (and somewhat BJP is) but running a mid-size business under them is not an easy task.

It’s not like the political parties are corrupt but their policies and the people who are managing those policies are corrupt to the core. At every level you are bullied by the government officials and they will expect you to pay them handsomely because you are running a decent business.

For 3–4 years when you are running a business under a crore of revenue nobody will come knocking your door for the compliances but once you pass a threshold limit everyone will start poking you.

  1. If you need a license for any business activity then you have to pay the babus for that.
  2. If you need a commercial shop establishment certificate then again you need to pay them.
  3. If you are registered with EPF then just to create your business ID they need some offering.
  4. If you want to update something on ESIC portal (which can be updated only when a person sitting at the office “Clicks” on update button) you need to pay them.

Most of the departments are online these days (just for show, obviously) but you can not perform any action unless somebody sitting at the office get his share to perform the task, otherwise they keep rejecting your application on stupid grounds like “How come the same person be a MD and Chairman of the company?” and you can not argue with them because they will send a official letter by registry, which will take 7–8 days to get delivered at your doorstep and then only you can reply to that, which then again need to be submitted in person and they will only accept it when their is some weight on it.

On one occasion where the license is issued online once the scanned documents are uploaded (talking about the central government department) we should get the license in a weeks time but the guy sitting at the office (which is supposed to accept the application and verify the documents) did not accept it at least 7 times and kept rejecting on stupid grounds unless I visited him personally.

On other instance some client registered a complaint against one of our employee, which was purely absurd. We showed the documents & proofs that we are offering the same services, which we are supposed to be offered as per the agreement between client and our company but the official kept saying “No, you are wrong as you are earning in crores, you are at the fault… he didn’t even look at the documents”.

Sometimes I feel the biggest mistake of my life is building and running a mid size company because nobody cares about small one and nobody dares to touch large ones easily. May be I am wrong about it but once you start dealing with these government officials you can not be very sure about the success of “Startup India” or may be they only want to have “startups”.