Passion and Mission – The Bedrock of a Successful Enterprise
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Was it encouragement and support from others, or an idea that kept coming back to you and had to be turned into reality, which you dreamt of and lived for a long time? Or dissatisfaction with your earnings and your present job? Or the need to earn more money and the belief that you could do it? Or the inspiration from other people who made it big? There could be other reasons too.
Entrepreneurs are people with special attributes. They need to be prepared to go where others have not gone and put their insecurities aside and take risks. They need patience, conviction, and perseverance. The motivation should not be a quick buck or a shortcut to dizzying success. This cannot be planned and often becomes the wrong starting point. Nor can it be peer example-led. The stories behind entrepreneurs’ success often do not reveal the pain, struggle and failures encountered before they broke through to success.
An enterprise born out of passion and a sense of mission is the best recipe for self-growth and satisfaction. It may be very successful or moderately successful, or may even fail due to external circumstances beyond our control or our own mistakes, but it is a life-changing and elevating journey.
What are the other critical factors?
Choice of Partner/ Collaborator/ Lender-Remember, you always have a choice. Do not start an enterprise with a person with whom your comfort level is not high and your purpose and sense of ethics is not the same. For example, if their sole objective is to make a quick buck, you will be pushed to make uncomfortable or unethical choices. Also, ask yourself, do they treat you as an equal or with respect?
Type of Product - Whether you have control over IPR, supply and manufacturing lines or is it dependant on others, who do not have the same dependence on you or tenuous resources?
Sustenance and Cash Flow - Can you sustain the business without outside funding for at least two years? Is your cost of manufacture/ procurement/service more than 50% of your realisation? If so, think of something else.
Market Study/ Trial Marketing - It is important to get a feel of the marketplace directly or through a credible agency. You may still not get all the answers or take a risk based on your gut feel, but it would still be a recommended prerequisite.
Environment/ Social Purpose - Will your enterprise fulfil a social or human need? Will it elevate people or lead them to sloth and degradation? If it serves the former, it will create goodwill and trust, which will serve you well especially during bad times.
Self-confidence and personal optimism is a virtue, making decisions based on confidence and optimism about the market or the outside environment in the future can be dangerous.