• Priya Sharma Shaikh

To be or not to be an entrepreneur

An entrepreneur is a dreamer that uses his/her natural gifts and talents as tools to make the world a better place; and does so by getting into action to make the dream a reality. The dictionary meaning of entrepreneurship says, it is a desire of ownership of a business with financial risks and an intent of profit. And why not, profit after all makes a business sustainable. So the next question is what is a sustainability? It is the ability to maintain a certain level of existence - i.e. for an entrepreneur it is essential to be able to maintain his/her monthly expenses of office rent, salaries, electricity, telephones, stationery, business development expenses etc. by arranging for funds in the firm of equity, debt and generating revenue.

When an entrepreneurship is born it creates opportunities for people to earn money, which improves their lives as they are able to buy new products and services provided by other companies, which then have increased sale of their products/services and are then able to employ more people and expand their business further in turn creating more wealth. This is the kind of domino effect caused by entrepreneurship, which creates wealth not only for itself but beyond itself, for the economy and the world at large.

Entrepreneurship, if approached with the usual drill of thought, planning and persistent effort can be hugely rewarding as is seen in some of the worlds most successful companies, that started small and are today at the top of their game and are adding wealth to millions of homes.

Entrepreneurship is like a tease that gets you titillated and starry-eyed about what the future could hold for you and the only way to find out is to roll up your sleeves and get into the trenches i.e. finding out for yourself first hand. Needless to say, once you do take the step it is a commitment for good and you have to do the necessary drill mentioned above and overcome the hurdles that come along the way. However despite the best of intentions sometimes entrepreneurship ends up in a black hole and soon the enthusiasm ebbs, making the business venture become a forgotten dream.

Why does this happen? I'd like to use an analogy here to understand this. When you set out on a journey with your family, you pack according to the type of place you are headed for i.e if you are going to a cold place you need woolens, it is advisable to carry adequate money, a map, set milestones for re-fueling (assuming you are traveling by car), carry snacks and water etc. Once you are en-route there is a likelihood that there are hurdles e.g. you suddenly have a flat tyre. Typically the person who is the expert in fixing the flat will change the tyre, snack boxes will get opened to calm down the children and you will do course-correction to fix the flat.

All of this will delay your arrival at your destination and cost you money - but basically you will deal with the problem at hand and that is exactly what you need to do in entrepreneurship as well i.e. do your homework, get geared up and be prepared to deal with what comes forth on your journey.

Typically what you should do is:

  • Do your homework: Study the market well - is there a need for the product/service you wish to provide, understand your target market, what is the pricing that will work, what should be your distribution strategy

  • Choose your team well: your team is an extension of you and if you choose the right people they will be able to make your vision a reality

  • Plan your finance: project your expenses to run the business and identify your sources of income. Make a cash flow statement and have a business plan with milestones. Take the advice of your chartered accountant or a well-wisher who is already running a successful business.

  • Be prepared for adversity: it is not going to be a clear sky on each day and there is no fun in a game if there are aren't any challenges to overcome. In business adversity could come in various forms e.g. unexpected competition, tax or regulatory norms, environmental hazard etc. There are always ways to deal with a situation you find yourself in

I'd like to conclude by saying entrepreneurship requires taking on responsibility and doing your bit every single day to further the cause of your venture and although it could get rough; it is advisable to press on relentlessly, as the tougher the journey the sweeter is the joy on reaching your destination.

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