Five Lessons in Entrepreneurship
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Entrepreneurship is all about having the right idea and the right ideas can start from anywhere. With a social media post or someone noticing a recurring scenario all around and most importantly the need to find a permanent solution to a problem at hand. Once you have that in place, its easier to build a business model around it and there you go, you have become an entrepreneur with your very own first venture. Well, easier said than done.
When you are working on creating something for a target audience that pretty much always knows what is best for themselves then it isn’t about marketing, it isn’t about sales. It’s only about the product, what goes into it and how its made. Everything else is secondary. This is the most important realization on which everything is centred. While the entrepreneurial journey is deeply satisfying, there have been a few critical lessons as well.
1. Build a Brand with Purpose - Purpose allows you to have clear goals and provide consistency in everything that you do, from sourcing to the people you hire on your team. Brands built on a purpose have a better connect with a customer spoilt for choice. The purpose or reason for existence is to make it an enjoyable experience wherever and whenever, without compromising on any product attributes.
2. Be Consumer Obsessed – Importance of consumer obsession cannot be emphasized enough. As a rule of thumb, listen to at least 10 customers every week. Listen to and not ‘speak’, because consumer obsession does not mean ‘doing’ as asked but doing before and beyond what is asked. This happens only when you listen closely and constantly to your consumers. A lot of so-called ‘experts’ may deter you but your customers will guide you in the right direction. This will help in innovation and improving the product, taste, experience, quality and service. Customer feedback is critical and understanding the consumer pulse will help you sustain in the long run.
3. Keep Innovation in Real Time– It may take several months to get it right and launch your first product. Post-launch, instead of bolstering marketing around the SKUs in the market, at times, it's imperative to take the drastic call. You may end up diverting 70per cent of your marketing budget into innovation towards newer features or improvisation or upgrades. It all depends on real-time customers feedback. This may also work in your favour big time.
4. There is Nothing Called ‘Perfect’ – Entrepreneurs at times get obsessed with perfection. This is sometimes a risk aversion strategy and can impact the overall speed and relevance of your business. Leaving product development aside (where we take no risks), work on an optimization principle which is driven by learning on the ground. Don’t wait for all the learnings to come to you in your office and then assimilate them and incorporate them before hitting the ground. You keep adding more along the way ensuring, you better, with every addition.
5. Execution is the Key: Everyone has ideas, and most of us even have one or two ideas that could actually change the world. But, the world cannot be changed with the ideas in your head. Ideas have to be executed and executed brilliantly. There is more scope for differentiation in the execution of an idea that the idea itself. An entrepreneur loves seeing the brain waves he/she has, in action, rather than making presentations and excel sheets around them. Dedicate time for ideation, one day a month, but the remaining 29 days, focus on execution.
Launching a venture in a country like India is a great learning experience. With an ear to customer’s feedback and eye on your operation and mind on the future, one could make a success of any business!