The Pursuit of Passion: The Key to Successful Entrepreneurship
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Passion is a simple yet profoundly all-encompassing narrative to describe the essence of a true entrepreneur. Passion, in my opinion, is the chief driver of successful entrepreneurship anywhere in the world. With passion, an entrepreneur possesses an inherent fuel and inexhaustible stamina that constantly drive his actions forward. This superior energy helps overtake and surpass various challenges and injects a certain indescribable strength to continue pursuing goals when difficulties arise.
Passion will Always Lead you to a Successful Career
Since childhood, I was always inclined towards retail as a business in India, but had not been able to pursue it proactively. After a stint with a UK-based merchant banking company and later with a leading stock-broking company, I returned to India to run my family’s stock-broking business.
However, I still felt a strong desire to follow my dreams to venture into retailing. Therefore, we soon acquired a listed retail company and got the opportunity to head the business very early in my career. I was then involved in revamping the business and rebranding it, which enabled us to grow the company and ultimately led it to become a national player in specialty retail.
We did go through several challenges, as well as learnings, and had to shift base for almost two years, to manage a large store that we had set up in Bangalore. Although I was always passionate about the business, I had to be willing to let it go, if the situation arose. After running the company for almost two decades, we were offered to sell the company and I took that call and fully exited the business. The question then, was what to do next.
Following my passion of building brands and being associated with retail, I got the opportunity to form a JV with a leading textile export company, to set up a domestic business to distribute premium bed linen in India under the brand name of what is known today as Boutique Living. Today, I am blessed to be doing what I have always wanted to pursue.
Your passion will always be a defining element in your professional journey, and will eventually lead you towards your true calling.
Attributes Required for a Successful Entrepreneur
A successful entrepreneur is someone who can take any idea, a product or service, no matter how ‘unrealistic’ it may seem to others, and possesses the will, skill-set and grit to take extreme risks and allow this idea to be crystallised by introducing it into the market. This is the tenacious entrepreneur – one who can dream of the unreal, and work relentlessly to convert it into a reality.
Apart from tenacity, successful entrepreneurship also involves confidence and self-motivation. Instead of following the complacent norm of ‘maintaining a status quo’, entrepreneurs are encouraged today to stretch well beyond the traditionally established industry rules and indulge in newer thinking and initiatives. While challenges are inevitable in any professional journey, entrepreneurs should be willing to fail and start over again. An entrepreneur should consistently motivate himself by internalizing the life-lessons through the years, to create something new, improved and more beneficial. To be innovative, you have to unlearn, re-assess and create bespoke outfits to serve the present-day requirements.
A Basic Checklist of Requirements to Ensure Successful Entrepreneurship
Certain factors are important to keep in mind consistently while running your enterprise. Some of the pointers to ensure a successful trajectory in your entrepreneurial roadmap are:
- Sharpening critical business and leadership skills: Attending entrepreneurship conferences, reading books and articles on the subject help to keep abreast of the latest news. One must also seek to learn from others failures and from success stories.
- Maintaining a positive frame of mind at all times: Attitude is everything. A simple smile and showing confidence, is what your team would always expect from you
- Networking is key: Being part of trade bodies and associations like ASCENT, the Rotary Club, etc. will help in increasing your contacts and opportunities.
- Foster Innovation: In today’s competitive landscape, an entrepreneur must be able to provide a monopolistic, out-of-the-box idea which helps users solve the most unique challenges with ease and efficiency.
- Embrace new technologies and avenues of marketing: Social Media, applications and new ways of digital marketing are the key to success in today’s competitive landscape.
- Be passionate and persistent: Successful entrepreneurs are driven primarily by a need for achievement and the desire to make a meaningful difference,
- Get mentors as your sounding board: This is very crucial for entrepreneurs to avoid the feeling of being lonely at the top.Mentors act as a useful sounding board, filtering ideas and providing new ones.
- Peer-to-peer learning platforms: All the above points can be checked by simply being a member of peer-to-peer platforms that are coming up today. These form as eco-systems for entrepreneurs, creating a holistic universe of all matters related to entrepreneurship.
Pitfalls to Avoid while Running an Enterprise
Entrepreneurship, although certainly a privilege, is one that must be shouldered responsibly. Certain cautions must be tracked to avoid any mishaps, especially for entrepreneurs who aspire to scale up in their businesses. Some of the important pitfalls to avoid while running an enterprise are:
- The right company: Entrepreneurs should seek to surround themselves with smart, innovative thinkers who have a burning passion for the venture’s success.
- Avoid expensive consultants and advisors: Professional consultants and advisors tend look at matters rather objectively. They lack the impersonal touch which can go a long way for an entrepreneur.
- Seek mentors instead: Mentors provide inexpensive and priceless perspective and can expend vast personal experience that traditional professional consultants are unable to offer.
- Avoid “Yes Men”:Leaders must be wary of appointing “Yes Men”, who although may serve pleasantly, could possibly leave deep holes in the business, in the long run. Hire someone who is strong in analysis and is not afraid to voice their opinions which can often be beneficial.
- Keep emotions and sentiments aside: Often a thumb rule for a good leader, personal and professional aspects are always compartmentalised during work hours.
- Never be too rigid with your ideas: A fresh perspective is always beneficial to the business, so embrace different opinions, for opinions are mostly shaped by experiences.
- Always document and maintain regular reports: Documentation of work and roles, such as maintaining MIS reports, keeps a good control over your business; such a practice ensures better governance and can help plug holes at early stages.
How Peer-to-peer Platforms Play a Significant Role in the Success of one’s Entrepreneurial Journey
Today’s entrepreneurs are exponentially lucky to be able to avail the benefits of helping diases like peer-to-peer platforms. These platforms play an important role in the start-up ecosystem and fill the gaps in the entrepreneurial journey which entrepreneurs cannot fill through traditional interactions. Peer-to-peer platforms provide a structured approach to entrepreneurship.
Initiatives like the ASCENT Foundation founded by Mr. Harsh Mariwala, which is a vibrant and rapidly growing platform, have helped hundreds of entrepreneurs across the country to understand the entrepreneurial ecosystem better and have helped scale up their entrepreneurial journeys. Learning from others and sharing experiences is the best way to learn. Most of us who are entrepreneurs face similar issues in running our operations. Peer-to peer-platforms help in interacting and sharing and receiving timely help through experience sharing. Through such platforms, entrepreneurs can attend interesting events like an annual conclave, retreats and mixers and gives an opportunity to meet people and share knowledge and experience.
At such platforms, matters related to HR, IT, operations, brand-building, fundraising, family issues, health issues etc., can be discussed in a confidential environment. It also helps you to be more disciplined and structured in presenting your issues and seeking experience sharing. Getting feedback on a new product offering or the marketing plans, setting goals and monitoring the same and being accountable to your Trust Group, etc. It is almost like having an external Board of Directors who share their experiences and help you grow your business.
At the end of the day, they say that if you have a passion, you can turn it into a purpose, and if you have managed to turn this purpose into a profession, you are a winner. Keeping your main goal and objective all through, as well as the above few tips in mind, an entrepreneur today can definitely envision a successful journey towards entrepreneurship. After all, as the millennials of this generation have rightly pointed out – “Passion is merely the difference between having a job, and having a career.”