Self-Check guide to Entrepreneurship
Evolve your own ‘guide to entrepreneurship’
Are you planning to start your business and willing to be your own boss? Obviously a good idea, cherished by many and many tested successes as well. Many failed with bitter experiences too. Some research shows that 7 out of 10 employer firms in the US survive 2 years. Which means 30% fails in two years time. If you think that the situation is better in India, I am afraid that it is not factual. According to a 2019 report, more than 5 million startups are founded every year in India and only 10% of them survive for the long run. So, all is not very easy about entrepreneurship. And how can it be? Entrepreneurs are known to be pathfinders and a pathfinder’s route to success can seldom be easy. A considerate and consultative approach prior to jumping into your new journey may help you evolve your own ‘guide to entrepreneurship’.
Considerate as you better carefully assess all the pros and cons of your decision. Using a fishbone diagram to document all the areas can be helpful in the long run. It becomes a useful document to assess all the permutations and combinations. Consultative as your decision may affect your known people directly or indirectly.
You have a moral responsibility towards all such people. Furthermore, consultation with family and friends may help in resolving many or your future problems.
What drives you towards your entrepreneurship mission?
Sometimes back I met a person, who with all his earnestness narrated the reason for his willingness to be an entrepreneur. All through his expressions, his ambition of earning a lot of money by any means was evident. The dream of creating something was not visible. He seemed to be unaware of the fact that a big dream, hard efforts to reach the dream, risk taking, being ethical and remaining socially responsible are some of the minimum requirements of an entrepreneurial journey today. Do you think that he is mature enough to take the plunge?
I presume that he needs a lot of introspection and thought refinement before taking the decision. The successful entrepreneurs that you see are only the tip of the iceberg. There are many who open and shut in quick succession.
Your emotional readiness comes ahead of everything else in your entrepreneurial journey
- Do you look at your watch for day break from work? In a conventional work environment, you may have an official work timing. In contrast, during the beginning few years of your entrepreneurial journey, you certainly may have to compromise with your working hours. There will be extended working hours and endless flow of work, that you have to take up proactively.
- Are you ready to do anything that you would normally not do in a job. By anything, I mean actually anything. Sometimes it may be preparation of a proposal, taking its printout, calling a courier boy, traveling by train to save cost etc. You should be ready to work with minimal support and to some extent forego some of the lifestyle elements.
- Do you change your decisions frequently? The pressure could be so high that many times you may feel disappointed. Your close friends and near ones may sometimes fuel the fire. Questioning or repenting your decisions may bring you to the end of the journey.
Your preparedness and planning can provide the extra edge in entrepreneurship Once the emotional readiness to accept the challenge is sealed, you may look at other areas like,
- Product/ service offerings: Are you looking at a completely new offering or something that is already available? How are you planning? How different is your product from others in the market? Is it tested with satisfactory results?
- Target client: Who are your potential clients and what are their preferences? How are you planning to target them? What strategy are you planning - pull or push?
- Use of technology: Today’s business success is largely determined by use of technology. Do you have a robust plan in place?
- Launching: What is your plan for product launch? Are you planning a test marketing strategy?
- Funding: Have you assessed your investment requirements? How are you going to raise funds?
- egal/ commercial matters: Do you have access to good advisors who can advise you on legal, contractual and commercial matters?
Such questions may go endless. Ultimately, your readiness is critical for taking the plunge.
There are a few self assessment tools like, BDC, Glasshopper. However, they are indicative in nature and can not be your sole decision maker. As a future entrepreneur, you have to know yourself, prepare for the challenge and make a decision. No too can replace your interest and instinct. I say that you have to prepare your own guide to entrepreneurship.
Concluding the guide to entrepreneurship
Many plan to be an entrepreneur but a very few really understand the role and professional responsibilities that an entrepreneur needs to follow. The problem generally lies due to looking at only the rosy side of successful entrepreneurs and remaining completely unaware of the difficult side. For an entrepreneur, emotional readiness is most essential. Preparation of a self check guide to entrepreneurship can be of help.
- 1. Do you have what it takes? Owning your own business will impact every area of your life. Let's assess your emotional readiness.
- 2. Running your own business may be the hardest job you'll every have. Let's assess your personal work style.
- 3. Business ownership can be financially rewarding but you will be taking a financial risk that could effect you and your family. Are you ready?
- 4. Being excited about your business idea isn't enough. Does it make sense and does it meet a customer need/want? Let's find out.
- 5. Are you sure there is a market for your idea? And what about your competitors - how will you stand out in the crowd? Let's see if you really understand your potential market and have identified the threats and opportunities in the marketplace.
- 6. You want your business to be a long-term success, but having the right resources is key to that result. Do you have the skills needed to run a successful business? And do you know how to find the right help at the right time?
- 7. Our last question: Access to capital is the lifeblood of all small businesses. Do you have have enough money to start and grow the business? Can you really make a profit?