#5 Prerequisites to Start Your Journey of Entrepreneurship
You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
Entrepreneurship is a strange thing. It is like being caught in the crossfire of the exhilarating highs of hope and the basic necessity of survival. You would have to strike a balance between two extreme opposites. While it requires you to be often brave in your thinking, it also requires you to be pragmatic in your execution.
In an age of unicorn startups, billion-dollar valuations and high profile exits, entrepreneurship has become a dream profession of sorts. But I’d like to think that we always had a rich culture of entrepreneurs in our country. The entrepreneur of yesteryear and today still share some common traits. Let's try to highlight some of the other traits that are prerequisites to taking the road less travelled-
It is okay to sometimes not have a plan:
An entrepreneur must have the humility to learn from his immediate environment and adapt consciously and quickly to cater to the ever-changing needs and demands of the consumers. Let me elaborate a little further by illustrating my own example. When we started off wanting to venture into the world of beverages, we were often chastised for entering a highly competitive and cut-throat market. But we went with the strategy of being a category creator rather than a me-too player. Our understanding showed that the market at that point of time was dominated by drinks that carried fruit pulp juices. The traditional thing to do was to make a product that would have probably a better quality of fruit pulp. This helped us get a clear differentiating position when we launched and allowed us to establish a niche for ourselves.
Patience with a capital P:
Trying to say that an entrepreneur must be passionate is like saying that a wild animal needs to be passionate to survive in the forest. Instead, a lot of virtue must be laid on the other important P that the wild animals seem to have in abundance. The P of patience. Entrepreneurship is to learn the art of weathering a storm, learning what caused the storm and how to be prepared for possible storms that are likely to happen in the future. The greatest expression of this is in the form of a wild animal in the forest. A seasoned animal knows that a right time to strike requires the ability to sit through long amounts of time just preparing for the hunt. And that requires tremendous reserves of patience. A clear mind helps here.
Enjoy the ride:
A panel of entrepreneurs was asked once to describe the one great thing and one terrible thing about entrepreneurship. One of the panellists remarked that the best thing about entrepreneurship was that it’s incredibly gruelling, it will take up a lot of your time, and can be an incredibly rewarding and a learning experience at the same time. The worst thing about entrepreneurship was that it’s incredibly gruelling, it will take up a lot of your time and can be an incredibly rewarding and a learning experience at the same time. You get the drift. Entrepreneurship can be an incredibly lonely experience. The highs and the lows are all yours. The skill of equanimity helps here.
Look beyond the self:
You will have to think of ways and means beyond the interests of the self. You can only create something truly wonderful if you cultivate a habit of devoting yourself to something that is greater than the cause of yourself. Nothing of great value can be created alone or in isolation. The world exists in a system so as to ensure connectivity between various machines that operate a bigger well-defined complex ecosystem. To go back to the primal world, an ocean is a perfect example of this ecosystem. Small fishes, big ponds, Big ponds, small fishes.
One must learn how to recognize patterns. You would then work on processes that can optimize these patterns to produce the outcomes that you would need to achieve your purpose. And that purpose can be different for everyone. Remember, in this highway, you drive the car at your own speeds, make your own pit stops and mark your final destination as well.