What Entrepreneurs Need to Know
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India has a north of a billion people so, obviously, as a consumer marketplace, this is the one untapped market that I have never been able to conquer. My journey as an entrepreneur started back in the early 80s selling products on TV in the United States. We were able to go to Europe, Latin America and parts of Asia but when we tried (in the mid-90s) coming to India, it was very difficult. The business environment was just not ready for us to come here. Operations, logistics etc, everything was different but now we are ready to make an advent into the Indian business ecosystem. Now, we are looking to do big things and investments in India.
Three Entrepreneurial Qualities that I Look for as an Investor.
WILLINGNESS TO LEARN: I look for somebody who is willing to accept some advice and guidance. I like those entrepreneurs who are willing to accept some great advice from the investor or otherwise. Do you know what the most common motivation is for contestants on Shark Tank? If you said funding, you know would be wrong. People go on Shark Tank because they want access to the “shark.” They want a mentor and advisor more than the investment. I go to events for the same reason. I want to partner with a person who has a great idea, a great business, and a great plan. I’m looking for entrepreneurs who know what they want and where they’re going. Learning from mistakes also matters.Even the most experienced businessmen are mistaken, not to mention ordinary employees. The main thing is not to be afraid of failures, but to consider them as an impetus to positive changes. How to squeeze the maximum out of failure? Dissect the mistake, decompose it into its components, and let the employees solve it themselves. Analyzing their own mistakes and suggesting ways to solve them, the team not only feels responsible for the common cause but also gets experience.
VISION AND PASSION: I love an entrepreneur who has vision and passion. Passion is very important because as we all know that there are obstacles at every step in the life of an entrepreneur. So if you go into it without passion the first obstacle you encounter might knock you down. The vision to succeed also counts for entrepreneurs. If you have vision and passion, the value you give makes life better for others before you ever get a dime or any kind of benefit in return.
THE DREAM TEAM: The last thing would be an entrepreneur who would like to have a dream team. When we get involved in an investment, we’d like to bring the dream team of experts to help and support the entrepreneur and so I think it’s important to have an entrepreneur who says, “Yes I need a dream team!” From my own example, when I started as an entrepreneur, in my early days, I was good at marketing but I didn’t have the finance background. I didn’t finish college so I was a little stubborn in the earlier days on getting the right kind of dream team. Success Is Not a Solo Act. To experience 100X success or even 10X success, you need to challenge your current way of thinking. You have to be prepared to do things differently than what’s been done in the past — you can’t be a solopreneur. Hence, I believe that creating the dream team is important and having an entrepreneur with that vision who is willing to do that and knows how to do it is great. Bottom line — the right team in your corner multiplies your impact and effectiveness exponentially.
(This article was first published in the May issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)