Friday, April 15, 2011

So you want to be an Entrepreneur?

For the past few months, I have read lots of interview experiences[mostly MBA] and have conversed with several people. In many cases, people say that they want to work in a company for 4-5 years, get some corporate experience, save some money, and then start a business of their own: That is become an Entrepreneur.

Now if 2 or 3 people were to tell me this, I could have believed them. But when almost every Tom, Dick and Harry begins to say this, I have no option but to be skeptical. Nowadays it has become a fad to say that someone wants to be an entrepreneur. Not withstanding the fact that he or she may not know the heads or tails of entrepreneurship. Out of 10 MBA aspirants, 6 or 7 will say that they want to be an entrepreneur so that is why they are doing an MBA. Interviewers have become so frustrated after hearing such clichéd answers that they automatically assume that when a person says he wants to be an entrepreneur, he is obviously lying.

Here are a few reasons as to why so many people say that they want to be an entrepreneur, especially with respect to contemporary Indian scenario.

1) The Cool Factor: People think its a cool and fashionable thing to be an entrepreneur. They also believe that they can become famous easily, and launch a mind blowingly innovative product or franchise, and go global within a few months, and become world renowned. Nowadays entrepreneurs have replaced film stars as role models for many.

2) The Money: Somehow, many young people have this impression that becoming an entrepreneur will help you in making some quick bucks. That they will become a millionaire instantly as they feel that they have some unique idea or business plan. They forget the amount of hard work and patience it needs for an entrepreneur to gain success. On an average it may take 8-10 years for an entrepreneur to get fully established. Moreover, 9 out of 10 entrepreneurial ventures end up as failures. Somehow most people ignore their fact and believe that becoming an entrepreneur is in their genes.

3) No Boss, Please: Everybody wants to be his or her own boss. Most people detest the idea of a megalomaniac boss running after them 24 x 7, barking orders on the top of his voice. They feel that by becoming an entrepreneur, they have automatically become the CEO and are hence answerable to nobody but themselves. They feel that they can work whenever they want to, and can relax and take holidays whenever they want, as the business is their own. This is obviously a very false notion and can lead to disaster if the person indeed tries to launch his own venture.

There are several other factors too, but am not mentioning them. The truth is that NOT everyone can become an Entrepreneur. You need to have certain skill sets if you do want to be a successful entrepreneur, risk taking and social skills included. For details you can read a good book-'The High Performance Entrepreneur' written by Subroto Bagchi.

The worst thing you can do is to jump into entrepreneurship without evaluating the pros and cons of it. Remember just having one brilliant business idea does not mean that you can be a great entrepreneur. You need to have the ability to execute it and lead it to a chain of ideas which can develop into a sustainable business over a period of time.


Monk Avant Garde said...

i agree with most of it
one thing i would like to add is
India right now is a country which is like a sweet spot for entrepreneurs.
as people here have got extra disposable income
spending habits have changed
and there is not a lot of top notch competetion
biggest market in the world with 330 million + middle class which growing at a brisk pace.

the atmosphere is busteling with the spirit of entrepreneurship
anyone with wee bit of talent feels he can get a job anytime he feels
people are btter placed to take risks
and everyone wants to give their drams a chance :)

Mary said...

Good post! While I am far from being a entrepreneur, I do own my own business. Only because I am very stubborn sometimes and when it comes to working for someone else, I don't take a lot of ****! Do have to admit, at the peak of my business, my income was more than what I could have ever made working for someone else. No boss? Well, I am my own boss and my worst critic :( A born perfectionist (Virgo) I expect myself to be perfect. I am my own worst nightmare in a boss' roll.
Now, it's only fair to include that with owning your own business, there is no clock to punch and your job never seems to stop. Also, unless you have employees (which I do not), when you go take a weekend off or take a vacation, the work is still there for you upon your return. Depending on what you do, that can make a huge difference in your income. One last point, in my business, I only get paid once a month. I deal with doctors, so sometimes I don't even get that.
So...if you are thinking of having your own business, make sure you are truly dedicated to the idea and disciplined.

Motifs said...

Good one,Satwinder..and always thought provoking,and challenging.There can be countless debates where this is concerned...each one with their own view point.

soulcandyd said...

Good one!going through the MBA process myself, I've also come across these people.But I think its the mentality that the ultimate end is to be the boss,and that people will take soul sucking jobs just to get the capital.A nice analysis

Sakshi Mathur said...

In my opinion more than 80% MBA aspirants in India have no clue what they are in for.
Also when they say the crammed up lines about their 'long-term plans' hardly do they know why are they asked for it.
For a befitting MBA student profile Entrepreneurship is a required quality not a required aim/dream. I am sure no entrepreneur and no successful entrepreneur for that matter knew that he/she was going to start their own business in coming time. As they say, these things just happen and for it to happen MBA degree could only be an additional asset but not necessity of course.
Coming back to entrepreneurship as a quality, MBA aspirants need to understand that MBA career even as a paid job includes a lot of entrepreneurial work and that's why its a management position. MBA aspirants should build up there profile of independent working and small entrepreneurial ventures to really understand what they are in for.

Satwinder Singh said...

@Mayank: Agreed with your point. :)

@Mary: Thank you for your interesting reply. What you said is very much valid. :)

@Alpana: Thank you Alpana-ji. :)

@soulcandyd: Thanks a lot. :)

@Sakshi: Excellent analysis. :)

Rishikesh Patil said...

I agree wid u...panelists in an MBA interview are bored of this cliched' answer and assume that the person is lying when he says his ambition is to bcum an entrprnr! But then why shud sum1 like me, who's damn serious about it suffer? I wanna start a venture which wud be in the renewable energy sector. Now in all the PI's I 've given, none of them really took interest in my biz-plan. They just heard the word 'entrepreneurship' n interrupted me when i was about to expln the details.

The fact is that India today needs more of job creators than job seekers! So if more n more ppl wanna get into this entrprnrship thing then its a good sign. But the thing that worries me the most is that not many of them actually have that fire in the belly to go ahead n take up the challenge!!

Aragorn said...

Good take on the cliched types. Yes, the cliche may exist, but i doubt if one can say tat to an interview panel and get out easily. The panelist will be able to make out the 'me-too' people from the real wannabe entrepreneurs.

You have mentioned few skill sets required for entrepreneurship. I feel that's irrespective of your skill set, its the 'passion' for the idea which eventually succeeds as a business. One doesnt have to bother about the required skill sets as they can be cultivated as time goes on...


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