One very important aspect of entrepreneurship is perseverance; unwavering dedication to the cause is needed because day-in and day-out one gets to meet several different people with varying attitudes towards businesses and their risks & return.
You need to learn and remember very early in the game that despite listening to everyone else, you always need to decide and do what you find satisfying and correct. With this kind of determination, the path would be easier to cross and interesting to go through.
However smart one might be and however talented one might be, irrespective of that the importance of experience can never be undermined. If you are lucky enough, you would realize this in only a couple of months after you join your practical life. People with experience have a far more firm grip on things and know better how to tackle things; but do we really need to look for a replacement for it?
The thing that differentiates human beings from other mammals is their ability to grow their knowledgebase on the shoulders of their ancestors. What it means is that ‘humans are humans because they learn not only from their own mistakes & experiences but also from the experiences of other fellow human beings.’
So, what needs to be done is to be human & learn from others’ experiences. If you are smart enough, you would be able to put others’ experiences to good use for the benefit of yourself, your organization and the entire humanity!
The bottomline is: Experience doesn’t have a replacement; but it need not necessarily be yours!
Education’s importance can not be emphasized more when it comes to entrepreneuship. Indeed, an enlightened mind would be better prepared to handle the vagaries of the domain, however, it’s not that the highest qualification or the most expensive business school graduation would definitely lead you into a dominant entrepreneurial position.
In the story of Coca-Cola Bangladesh, a leading successful bottler had his two sons sent to USA for further studies. One studied at Boston University, the other at Harvard. After their graduation, they both got six-month training in Coca-cola Atlanta head office. Returning from there, it seemed like they would quadruple the family business in no time. What happened, though, was a lot of arrogance, indifference and lack of initiative took them into complacency, which eventually took the company operations into huge losses by 2005.
It’s funny how people start believing they know everything, or almost everything and disregard any one else. Precisely this is when the downfall of great people, businesses, empires and states start.
Although firmness is good, but rigidity is a weakness. Flexibility & humility are great strengths that go a long way to deliver in entrepreneurial pursuits.
Entrepreneurship is all about seeing opportunities. It’s also about creating opportunities, where everyone else just sees risks. It’s about perspective. It’s a mindset. After the credit crisis spiral, the world has seen a depression, the worst ever any working person has seen in his lifetime. It was bad. It is bad. Many analysts forecast a turnaround in this year, some skeptics seem unsure of even this suggesting that the remnants of this terrible disaster are going to haunt us for decades to come. As true as that might be, have you noticed that during these crises years, there have been many new millionaires around the world? Howcome people from the emerging markets are making their mark more and more amongst the richest people in this world?
It is about mindset. Once you start developing an ability to see the positives in and around yourself, you start noticing opportunities much faster than others do. Availing those opportunities makes you feel better about yourself and make others feel you’re better than them. What these people have difficulty coming to terms with is that it’s not about risks, it’s about calculated risks. Hence, these could be different for every person. Perhaps someone with a lot of engineering knowledge would find it easier to set up the factory floor operations, whereas someone who has only been associated with accounting might find it very risky. The same accountant could also see opportunity in what many others find risky.
The idea is to intentionally change your approach to looking at things, consciously looking out possible opportunities everywhere. After some time, you won’t have to make a conscious effort on the same and you’d look smarter.
The world out there is changing; for entrepreneurs, this is a blessing in disguise. Tomorrow belongs to those who work on them today.