Recently at a startup event, a young man approached me saying that he wanted to be Entrepreneur, and a very successful one too. On asking what stopped him from being an entrepreneur, he said, I’m thinking of starting a venture next year and I hope to create enough savings as backup by then. I call this the “n+1” syndrome. Each year passes by. You keep shifting the line, liabilities increase, and the savings are never enough to feel secure.
There’s another category of people that I came across, I would call “aspiring to be entrepreneurs” who are currently in full time jobs and trying to do something on the side. And the approach is that “let’s try it out”. If it works maybe I’ll quit my job and give it a shot. I’d call it the “half and half” approach. Very few might be really lucky to have something off the ground, but I’ve often wondered if this approach has ever yielded successfully companies.
Then there’s the third variety who take the plunge into entrepreneurship with a clear mind – I’m going to try it for a year and if it does not work out, I’m back to finding a job. I’d say - Don't waste one year of your life, one year will just pass by faster than one would imagine. The experience would be valuable, as part of life’s learning, but it may not add much value to one’s resume. Rather it might appear to make one look like a quitter.
The positive dimension to all this is that there are an increasing number of people who are aspiring to become entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is a profession and perhaps ranks amongst the top, in the list of most difficult professions. What’s most important is not how hard it is, but how passionate and committed one is to what one sets up as a goal.
Success of a venture is not directly proportionate to the complex algorithm that one has developed. It’s simply about trying to solve a relatively common problem in the simplest way. Take for example Uber or Airbnb and the opportunity and market share they hold today. Most successful enterprises are built on simple ideas. Try not to follow the herd. There are several “blue ocean” areas where simple solutions can simplify life for tens of millions of people, and who would be willing to pay for it. That is the key to your success.
Clarity of mind and purpose are most essential qualities required of an Entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint hearted. Remember:
- It takes away an unbelievable amount of time and energy, both physical as well as mental. You’re thinking and working all the time. You don't look at the clock anymore or imagine about lazy weekends
- You set stretched goals and drive yourself and your team to achieve it
- Uncertainty is something that you have to learn to live with from day 1
- Thinking and perspective has to change from being “boss-like” to a deep sense of service mindedness and value creation for your customers
- You need to be able to always display the most positive image, even in front of the worst adversity that you may be facing
- “If something can’t be done by anyone else, I’ll find a way”, kind of attitude is most critical
It’s a rocky road. The challenge is not to let it grind you into dust, but into a brilliantly polished gem. With each challenge that is overcome, you become more and more stronger, ready to take on even greater challenges. The fruits of hard work will realize one day, but till then one needs to continue to be persistent and passionate and work hard to deliver highest level of customer delight. And then your customers will speak and sell for you. <.>