Now that's What I Call Entrepreneurship - Are You Ready For It?

Date:   Friday , April 01, 2016

In the early nineties, when I was at what is now one of the leading Indian global technology companies, entrepreneurship was seen through the lens of the seven founders. It was all about first-mover advantage, thought leadership and unique selling proposition. If you did not have a proprietary idea that was before its time - there were more chances that you would probably fail. There were many organizations, especially in the IT space that had ideas of chip design and telex.

In the dotcom era, sold only apparel and sold only cosmetics. The thinking was that the focus should be on what one is good at. Then with technology innovation, liberalization and new age economies, it all started to change. There were more opportunities and better times.

The likes of Amazon that started with books, started selling almost everything under the sun on their online platform. The market allowed a larger number of companies to play in the same space. Take for example Uber and Ola, Whatsapp and Hike, or FoodPanda and Swiggy; the list is endless. These companies are hardly unique and have very similar models, yet they all seem to be growing their business.

Today with cloud computing, it is so much simpler to start a business due to the ease of use of the internet and mobile technology. Age and gender, that were big barriers two decades back are now non-issues for most. Favorable government policies; a plethora of products and services to be built on unlimited emerging technologies; a market that has enough capacity for both push and pull demand; several funding options, mentoring opportunities and more make these times the best for any woman entrepreneur.

Sure there are challenges which women and men entrepreneurs need to face. There is also the accepted reality that there are some issues that are unique to us as women. But the environment today is so conducive that if you want to make it as a successful entrepreneur, there is no holding back! All you need is a good business idea and some strong business essentials to see it through, A few of such basic requisites are:

Perseverance: Your passion will develop your business idea and strategy to execute it. It is your perseverance that will help you through all the challenges and mundane tasks that are just as important to grow your venture into a successful business. As entrepreneurs you need to be persistent and never give up. If you fail, you learn and try again.

Self-promotion: The founders will always remain an integral part of the company reputation and image, no matter what the scale of business is. Invest in building your personal brand and market credibility. Your business will always need your identity to grow. Silently working behind the scenes will not take you very far.

Jill-of-all-trades: Yes, you have got to be a female jack of all trades and independent when it comes to your business. Entrepreneurs need to be versatile and at least have the basic understanding of every function of your business. This understanding can be built by asking others, reading or even taking on additional qualifications. As CEO, you need to be able to understand every part of your business and know how to successfully steer it all with the help of others, if needed.

Business Intelligence: This involves being perceptive, prudent and insightful complemented with market knowledge when it comes to your business. At times you may even have to be dispassionate when making a business decision.

Business Plan: Ensure that your business always has a comprehensive and well thought out plan. Entrepreneurs need to constantly review business developments against time frames and resources deployed. There is no muddling along for a successful business. Alter the plan as required and it will also prepare you for any unforeseen business crisis.

Human Capital: Building the right team for your business with individuals who share the same vision and passion can be very tricky. Spend all the time and effort needed on this one and make no compromises. If your business idea is viable and others can sense a strong no-nonsense execution plan, then finding the right people is possible.

Cash Flows: Finance is the end-all of your business and without it there is nothing to go after. As an entrepreneur you have to always manage the cash flow. Be practical while taking financial risks and always have sufficient funding for at least the bare-bones of your business.

Proof of Delivery: Having a great business idea is not enough. You need to find an approach that will prove and deliver the value of your product/service to your customer. Once you have this in place, customer acquisitions and business growth will follow.
You can continue adding to this list of essentials. What\'s important as a woman entrepreneur is to prepare yourself thoroughly, have complete confidence and take that plunge. Go on! There are several opportunities out there knocking at your door.