Entrepreneurship, I asked myself often – what is it??? Is it a new bull in a china crockery shop shattering many a traditional beliefs and value systems or is it something more relevant; perhaps an idea whose time has come for most of us!!!
“Should I develop my own idea or should I join a high paying MNC.” A good number of the current batch of Spartans seems to have challenged this Marxist dogma: floating with the downstream flow of the ungodly river of perception that once in a ‘safe’ job all is well. No more is a perpetual source of income stimulating enough for these young lads.
“Start working for yourself before others makes you work for them. Working for others and earning respect and fame through them or under their name doesn’t satisfy my thrust. I want to earn my name through my means. Along with this, being from a business family I have naturally inherited risk-taking business-intellect which is most necessary for being an entrepreneur”, quotes Tushar Arora, a current student at Great Lakes and cofounder of OKRASOFT that develops ERP solutions for its clients.
In these turbulent times of uncertainties, the speculating judgements are out! Macro and micro don’t seem to be economically happy anymore in their nuptial bonds of blissful associations. Nonetheless these men of steel (whom the lesser mortals like us term as entrepreneurs) are busy planning for years ahead.
Tushar reflects back, “My experience so far has been very enriching but unexpectedly adventurous. Developing a complete ERP solution was itself a big achievement for us. We didn’t get much success; however, we were able to make few clients.”
There are innumerable actors in play that come together in such scripts; hence it becomes imperative for us to learn from their experiences. Everybody wants to discover the ‘aha’ idea! Even mister Einstein once famously stated, ‘If at first the idea is not absurd then there is no hope for it.’
As a painting substantiates the feelings of an artist, Nitish Salian, another student at Great Lakes who was running his own Travel Company before he joined the coveted MBA program, confirms my doubt, “In a small setup, there are constraints, mostly in the form of funding and intellectual capital. The other major constraint is lower bargaining power with suppliers. Note that I choose the word traveller and not tourist. My belief is to provide experiences to my guests rather than just site-seeing. The golden egg lies in hitting it off with your customer. Most customers (first timers) are, let me put this bluntly, stingy, choosy, annoying and ruthless; despite that, treat them like gods. So make sure you keep the customer happy, deliver the best possible service, and throw in any piece of conceivable freebie that you think is a value-add, like providing a hotel room on the top-most floor the with the best view, picking a hotel that would reduce the cost of travelling, etc. This will go on to add immense value to your guest at no added cost, something your guest will appreciate very much. Be in their shoes before you plan to sprint!” Amusing as it may sound but like the ethnographic survey that most marketing graduates are versed with, such simple but practical advices are the only solutions.
Here is an excerpt from the interview with Tushar & Nitish and their subtle insights on their mantra of success (or failure if you consider it necessary on your learning curve) as budding entrepreneurs.
Tushar: “My main source of learning was through newspapers like mint etc. We started inviting other ERP solution providers to come and meet us to sell their product. We returned being disappointed by clients. But that never stopped us. The key learning which we all take from OKRASOFT is that knowing your product is not enough. You should be able to make others understand your product better than you. Also, fail, fail and fail till you learn to fail better. Currently, I’m working on two business plans. One is online solution for Paying Guests and the other one is a transport solution in tire-2 cities. I believe ideas have very short expiry date. They expire before you think to implement them.”
Nitish: “There are ‘experts’ who think that traditional brick and mortar travel companies should have been dead and buried, which is plain B.S. The online travel companies have taken a considerable share of the domestic air ticket. Agreed… But, since when was the entire travel industry only about domestic air ticketing? Packaging and selling products/services can be aped, it hardly provides for any competitive advantage. What differentiates you from your competitors is your business processes. Therefore, as a budding entrepreneur it is of paramount importance that he/she learns to organize the IT infrastructure and processes for the company in a cost effective manner”
Entrepreneurship is in real sense survival and an important tool to nurture creative thinking, sometimes even acting as a refuge for a dynamic individual who feels lost in crowd. But having a ‘Genie’ in your pocket is not enough. Hopes and dreams are built and shattered with every boom and doom. You should know how you can use it to your best like Nitish and Tushar.
– Shashwat Rai