Entrepreneurial Learning: Taking The Road Less Travelled Differently
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Entrepreneurship of today is like the gold mining industry of the ‘wild west’ 150 years ago. Many are drawn to entrepreneurship because of success stories fuelled by media of people becoming ‘entrepreneurs’ to follow their dreams and becoming owners of ‘unicorns’.
Once you embark on the journey, a few years down the lane, it seems just the other day when you quit your high paying prestigious job and taken a step into the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world of entrepreneurship.
For many of us, there is no long-term vision and grand strategy.
There are 9 key learning, that can be shared by someone who took that life-changing decision 9 years ago and is glad that he did.
Define your own goal: What is your purpose of becoming an entrepreneur? Is it money, fame or some other purpose? Whatever it may be, remember it has to be yours. You have embarked on this journey to live your dream, not anyone else’s. And yes, your goals may evolve over a while.
Surround yourself with people who are experts in their field: When one starts on one’s own, rather than trying to hire a team, create a panel of experts who can guide you and work with you on projects. This ensures that the delivery is of the highest order without burning a hole in the pocket.
Focus on solving a problem: While money and successful exits are important, remember the purpose of setting a business is not making an exit but to solve a problem. Valuation is a by-product of the problem solved.
Walk the fine line between not being afraid and being foolhardy. How does one cross a busy road? One does not rush across blindly nor does one stay to one side forever due to fear of crossing. In life, there will be situations, which push one out of their comfort zone, be cautious in analyzing and preparing but then back it up with the courage to act.
Use your experience but do not stop learning: It is imperative to intensify the learning in every way possible. Be it reading, or taking different assignments or even enrolling in higher studies, learning never stopped. This plays a critical role in adding value to the clients as copy-paste rarely works.
Spend where it matters elsewhere practice frugality: In today’s digital world, the digital presence is becoming more important than the brick and mortar world. As an entrepreneur when the budget is limited, it is vital to understand and prioritize expenses. One learns to prioritize between a swanky office and spending on travel for business, between advertisements or creating a digital footprint by sharing knowledge. One spends on what is vital and essential, not necessarily desirable. Invest in a good CA, a lawyer, and a coach.
Give more than what you receive: Trying to give something more in terms of effort, thoughts and time is one of the most important aspects. This is very relevant, be it in the personal or professional space. do try to give something of yourself to others less fortunate than you. Trying to give knowledge or time that one has to someone less fortunate is a perfect example. And even though one may feel that the 'returns' may not be appropriate; the experience and learning always hold you in good stead. It is also like giving something back to the universe for all that it’s given you.
Decide your worth and yet be humble: The corporate world can be very seductive and may give an exaggerated sense of self-worth. One tends to forget basic courtesies like responding to emails or giving appointments to people who may not be having the same professional clout as us. Being surrounded by people eager to please us may make us slightly arrogant. But life is VUCA, and hence it is vital to remain grounded and humble at all times irrespective of whether one is interacting with an industry leader or the peon in the office.
Embrace the blessings of the universe: Entrepreneurship like any journey has its ups, downs, twists, and turns. Just like a surfer at the beach, one learns to ride the waves. Yes, there is always that unexpected wave that throws you down. But then count the blessings of the universe and get up again on that surfboard. Resilience naturally comes when one counts one’s blessings.