In my opinion, based on my "R&D", on the subject of entrepreneurship for over six years and being myself a tiny entrepreneur after retirement from Escorts in 1996, entrepreneurs are Self-Made! Entrepreneurs are surely not born! Of course everyone, almost, is born with an equal intelligence which is also called, "Born to Win". But each one is confronted with a different set of opportunities over the years. Some of us, grab tiny opportunities to be on our own and in the next 10 or 20 or 30 years become great entrepreneurs. And most of us just survive and give up when confronted with difficulties while working on our opportunities.
We have collected entrepreneurial stories-small, medium, large- of Indian entrepreneurs who have done extremely well considering that just over 100 years ago we were a country of "snake charmers", who were also entrepreneurs! If you are looking for secrets of success in entrepreneurship in these stories you are unlikely to get any! However, if you are focusing on to self- inspiration and self-motivation to become self- made entrepreneur-you will get plenty. There is one limitation in each story i.e. it does not give too many details as each story has to be told in 360+ words. What to do` Well, in life get inspiration from a cow! Cow does not give milk, milk has to be extracted! Right` So, whichever story you like, see the net and write to the source and request for their PR literature.
`Entrepreneurs increase employment and reduce poverty: it is wisely said, "know your onions" which means to know your subject well. At 75, knowing entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs is now my profession, mission as well as my passion for the last six years. Why` Well, when I retired in 1996 from Escorts after 33 years, I became purely by accident a tiny entrepreneur! Fortunately I got good advice from a friend who said if I take employment, I will have to retire again after a couple of years and that I am going to live long! I took the risk and it turned out to be a good decision. I am doing what I learnt in Escorts and I am liking what I do very much. And with the benefit of freedom to do whatever I like, whenever I want, my own boss and "plenty of money" too! To me this is success!!
Now, I consider what I am doing is a good and noble deed because whatever little I do, I am spreading the virtue of encouraging the younger generation eco-environment to become entrepreneurs now or someday. The eco-environment in our country today is very good and becoming better and better for entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs. Plenty of favourable factors to become successful, never instantly, but in the next 3 to 10 years! Stories Sells: Facts Tell! Therefore, some entrepreneurial stories. Let us take Narayana Murthy who started with Rs.10,000 borrowed from his wife, Sudha, quit his job at Patni, and worked from his bedroom. Along with five of his associates he started Infosys. It is surprising and very unusual for all of them to have stayed together and today have around 1,30,000 employees with male and female ratio of 70:30 i.e. empowerment of the "girl-child" too!
Sai Ramkrishna Karuturi of Karuturi Global. To make his wife happy, he was searching for long stemmed roses and when he did not get what he wanted, he started producing world class roses himself! Simple, no rocket science to it. His passion, entrepreneurial spirit with managerial skills, he has become, with-in a decade, the world's largest producer of fresh-cut roses. It is a "made-in-India" and "self-made" entrepreneurial story. Every story when you read it remember the wisdom in the saying, "Stories Sell: Facts Tell!`
Mark Zuckerberg of Face book is also an accidental entrepreneur because he took the risk of launching his own venture. Fortunately in India, there is now an encouraging trend for entrepreneurship which has become a fashionable and popular career option. This is because entrepreneurs are often motivated by necessity and opportunity. But, always remember: one among a million entrepreneurs come on the cover page of TIME before they hit 30, others have to walk on sand at noon before they can come around to sleep on silk. Mark has created a platform where 600 million users are "networking". He was a Harvard University drop out like Bill Gates! He is 2010 Person of the Year of TIME.
What Fuels Entrepreneurship`
Entrepreneurship is a mindset of having an approach to solve problems, creating, nurturing and growing a venture to create value via acquiring resources and providing leadership. Therefore it becomes an art rather than a science!
`Many of us would attribute success to luck. To me, this is the attitude of a defeated person and amongst us, there are unfortunately, many. This Planner is not for them. It is for those who are looking for self-inspiration and self-motivation.
`I am not an academician nor do I claim to have a literary bent of mind. I don't claim to have any expertise either but purely my "labour of love" with which I have put together some ideas and thoughts. I have "plucked" these from the media. I have not given the source because then it would, in my opinion make a very jarring read. I want to give inspiring ideas from here and there for my readers so that they can take advantage of them. Therefore, I am not the author of this work I am only an editor.
You can read each page in three minutes! My own experience is that many of us are not fond of reading books and this Planner gives success stories in 360+ words. Readers will get the "big idea". I am confident that this is much better than not reading at all about the entrepreneurs and what good things are happening in India. To me, success is incidental and accidental! It just happens!!
Our entrepreneurial energy has been there since long as we were once a sea faring nation with adventurous traders and smart businessmen. Its proof is one of our oldest text Arthashastra, meaning study of commerce. Colonisation came and the spirit of entrepreneurship disappeared. This was followed by our society treating merchants and traders as profiteers.
`With LPG (liberalisation, privatisation and globalization) there is a sea change in our country today. And I have a hunch that in the next decade or so our government would start awarding Bharat Ratnas on January 26 to Indian Entrepreneurs who genuinely create employment and reduce poverty.
In 2007, Tata Steel celebrated 100 years of excellence. Its Jamshedpur has been selected as a UN Global Compact City, edging out Bangalore! It was selected because of the conditions of sanitation, roads and welfare. It is the finest tribute to the visionary Jamshedji, IRD and now Ratan Tata. Tatas still have the same vigour and passion to create width and give it away and consuming very little of it for themselves. Tatas represent the true spirit of Indian entrepreneurship and among us there are hundreds and hundreds more which space does not permit me to go into.
`Evolution (gradual development) of Gandhijee, as world's best, tallest and most innovative entrepreneur!
We as entrepreneurs can learn a lot from Gandhijee the way he communicated his ideas and thoughts. His style of living represented his values of simplicity and humility and it communicated very well to his `customers` in India and the world over. His spoken and written words were full of simplicity and vision. From the day he was thrown out of a train, it took him 36 years to achieve his goal. Patience la action.
In my opinion, he is the first wonder of the world who brought a paradigm shift in the mindset of mankind to achieve goals through non-violent means which were recently replicated in Egypt and that part of the world. No wonder, TIME magazine in their hit of 25 all-time political icons of the world chose Indian political geniuses, of Mahatma Gandhi and Emperor Akbar. His satyagraha struggle paved the way for other social movements including America's struggle for civil rights.
`Gandhijee was an entrepreneur too! Why` Because he could and did visualise India to become a nation of entrepreneurs. In a nutshell his greatness is well described by the 44th President of USA. He said, "I might not be standing in front of you as President of the US had it not been for Mahatma Gandhi and his message that inspired the Americans". What made Gandhijee` Well, an incident, when he was thrown out of the train! In my R&D I have realised that the trigger for becoming an entrepreneur is based on an ordinary event and during the entrepreneurial journey some events make the entrepreneur reach heights which were beyond his or her own expectations. We have many, many ills in our society. True! But thanks to the current crop of Indian entrepreneurs who are so focused on educating our population that even Obama had to say to kids, "When students in Beijing or Bangalore are working harder than ever...your success is not just going to determine your success, it will determine America's success."
Coming to what fuels entrepreneurship there can be several factors and a few of them as thought starters are:
- Believe In Yourself:
`When you decide to become an entrepreneur, never go only halfway through. Remember God helps those who help themselves. You have to have a compelling passion to be successful in whatever you had decide to undertake. There is no failure except in no longer trying, differently, what you decided to do. There is no science to it but surely entrepreneurship is an art.
- To Become A Smart Thinker:
Here is a story to illustrate the point. Akbar asked the navratnas: what will you choose, if given a choice between justice and gold coin! Birbal blurted out: the gold coin! Akbar asked why` Birbal replied: hazoor, in your kingdom justice is available to everyone but gold is not that much and therefore I would love to have gold! An entrepreneur has to be very smart or hire smart people and manage them professionally.
- Avoid the Debt Trap:
Over confidence in your product or idea is good but market takes it own time to accept. And therefore ensure that you have double or triple the money you may ever need. Also overestimate your expenses as things take longer time to get done. Taking risk is essential part of entrepreneurship but you have to have "sixth sense", which in fact does not exist! This is the beauty of entrepreneurship and you get your own "sixth sense" when you "walk on sand at noon" for several years.
Harvard Business Review studied entrepreneurship in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. They found hundreds of world-class ventures poised for significant growth there. Today entrepreneurs anywhere can create value with little capital. Barriers to entry in almost every industry have come crashing down, opening vast opportunities for small companies. These innovators just might revive the global economy! In each country the average age of founders is 33. They have similar inspirations and mindsets. Most are self-financed at start up. Most have three to five years of experience in large companies. Entrepreneurial talent is being distributed around the world as the best and the brightest leave the West and return to their home countries to start companies of their own.
Entrepreneuringly Yours For Ever, Promod Batra