I have experienced failure, closely very very closely, couple of times and tasting success now. I have also seen startups failing, almost 99% fails, they say and I got opportunity to study the successful founders. Being an entrepreneur for startups and a startup mentor; evaluating 300+startups ideas and mentoring 75 + startup founders I believe – apart from all business jargons, and success mantras, what need to succeed in business is THE ENTREPRENEURIAL MINDSET.
A typical entrepreneurial mindset and core skills of a successful entrepreneur can be like this –
Passionate: Without the love for work, no one can achieve great levels and no one can work harder. A passion for business is a key, extremely key ingredient. H/she need to be crazy enough to dedicate his soul for the work; atleast for initial 10 years. Google guys were passionate about ‘searches’, creating search engines for the world. Risk Taker: The prime skill which differentiate an entrepreneurial mindset from a 9 to 5 employee mindset is the ability to take risks. A successful entrepreneur is the one who has the art of risk taking. DhirubhaiAmbani was a big risk taker, taken big risks and build empire.
Cool to fail: He will need to fail initially, to understand, to really figure out whats happening, may be customers, employees, funds, cashflows and etc. He will only master after committing couple of mistakes and learning from those mistakes. Those who are scared of failures, early losses, no customer, no sale, no money situations, they cant pass through the tunnel. So, people who are cool to fail and if its ok for them to and the keep moving, they have more probability to succeed. Before Airtel, Sunil Mittal failed couple of times and tried many things before he created India’s largest telecom giant. Learner; big time: Business can hardly be taught in B-schools , any book or training workshop can hardly produce an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship starts within, and it never ends. The markets, the business environments are continuously evolving, they are extremely dynamic. So, learning will never stop for success. He need to be a learner, perpetual, period! Hustler: If he can’t manage his resources efficiently, soon the ship will sink, the business will die. Businesses are all about money and people. Both need to be managed understanding they are scarce and fast moving. He need to learn to live cutting costs wherever and whenever possible.
Visionary: If he can see what others cant see, he is a visionary. He need to be good in foreseeing, predicting trends and take the organization to the future which others cant see. He need to drive his team to reach those levels for mutually profitable, promising future.Steve Jobs, Apple was one of the visionary entrepreneur whose company became the first company to touch the valuation of 800 billion dollar. Explorer: There is no pre-defined or set formulas for everything in business. He need to always explore new things and experiment new things. He need be good in exploring and trying new!
Researcher:An attitude of getting into the depth, analyzing every idea before implementing, continuously developing products and services as per the need, as per the research is vital.
Team player:He need to build a team of co-founders, employees and all stake holders who can help him in achieving his goals and who are aligned with his vision. He need to learn to value that people are not only bones but brains! Leader, not a boss :Agreatsuccessful entrepreneur is the one who leads, who leads from front. Leadership skills are extremely important to grow in business. Mark Zukerberg, Facebook is one of the example of great leadership.
Motivator :He need to always motivate his team to work hard and be positively charged always to achieve results. People don’t work always for money, they need other motives as well. Planner: A good business planning is required before jumping in directly in the bandwagon. Good planning in terms of funds,marketing,operations,systems,people is crucial before things go haywire. Contingency plans are helpful in crisis management.
Executer : Plans never fails, executions fails as they are the crux. He should be well in executions; getting the things done, hook or crook. Without execution, no idea works, no plans proceeds, no strategy succeeds, no entrepreneur grow.
Salesperson: The idea may be big, the product may be world class, the technology may be very enabling but if he cannot sell, there is no value. Without selling skills he cannot move, he has to sell to his co-founder, he has to sell to his investor, he has to sell to his associates, he has to sell to his stake holders, he has to sell to his customers. Marketer: The need must be identified, the wants need to be understood well, the markets need to be tapped, the product need to be build, the services need to be given, the value need to be created and etc. A lot of insights need to be evaluated. These all falls under ‘marketing’. He need to be a good marketer.
Accountant :The track of each and every resource is critical, especially in the early stage startups, he need to be very detail oriented person in planning funds,investments and fundraising.
Networker: Businesses are nothing but people connecting and exchanging! He need to have a mindset to network.
An entrepreneur can startup a business with or without the right mindset and skillset, but he cannot survive if he don’t have the correct combination of the above. If you have all of these, and you are still in the comfort of 9 to 5, its time to think big, dream big. If you have atleast some of these and you are flexible to imbibe other, you can think of starting up. And if you dont have any of these and don’t wish to change yourself, don’t enter in the bandwagon.