This can well be called the golden era of entrepreneurship, with the steady rise of entrepreneurs in India. But what goes into the making of a successful entrepreneur?
David Karp, founder and CEO of Tumblr, defined an entrepreneur as someone who had a vision for something and a desire to create. NXg asked veteran entrepreneur K.B. Chandrasekhar about what goes into the making of a successful and consistent entrepreneur, during a chat organised by The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Chennai.
Understanding the situation
“Once you see a business need, the urge to cater to it arises. The key is to understand the problem that you’re trying to solve. It is all about what the customer wants.” Talking about the challenges that an entrepreneur had to face, he said, “Getting your first customer is the biggest challenge. Their first question usually is whether the product is valuable or not. Once they become associated, the customers want the entrepreneurs to grow as well.”
On a personal level, Chandrasekhar said that entrepreneurship was a very trying experience. “This is a profession where everything is learnt on the field. With limited funding and finite resources, unless one does something different, there is not much chance to make it big. Entrepreneurs also have a responsibility to their employees, so it is important to be open about the situation.”
Education plays a big role in developing one’s entrepreneurial skills today. “We are going through an evolution. Over the past 10 years, we have developed the infrastructure and the field is no longer taboo. Young entrepreneurs are adding value and credibility and taking it to the next level.” He points out that education should kindle youngsters’ curiosity and restlessness. “Otherwise, it is not possible to make youngsters think out of the box. It doesn’t matter if one is from a small college or a big university, all that matters is one’s ideas.”
While ideas form the crux of an entrepreneurial venture, it takes an extra something to turn them into reality. Casting aside the safety net of a secure job can be scary, but “an entrepreneur should be willing to sacrifice, hungry enough to make it to the next level, have a passion to make it work and be open-minded to accept inputs of others.”
Prachi Shah (Soon to start a P.R agency for fashion, lifestyle and entertainment)
Inclusion in academics
Coming from a business background, it was definitely a dream to be an entrepreneur one day. And I have always wanted to prove myself. My college education helped in this process. People around me were so talented that it motivated and pushed me to work harder. My part-time course in Mass Communication also boosted my confidence. I believe that college education should incorporate the basics of entrepreneurship so that youngsters can start understanding business!
Andrew Paul Verghese (Artist)
Platform for recognition
I started selling my artwork from 2012. My biggest hurdle was being recognised. I had to be visible in the market for investors to see and invest in my art. I overcame that by strengthening and enhancing my marketing skills. Fortunately, my college education gave me so much liberty to think outside the box, learn on my own and experiment. We even had a subject called Entrepreneur Development Programme. This was useful in encouraging open-minded learning and helped me do better and work towards realising my dreams.
Pradeep T. (Founder of Cups and Teas, which sells different tea flavours, kitchenware, and ceramic pottery)
Practical experience helps
I started Cups and Teas in 2013 by chance. When it comes to entrepreneurial education, I would credit it to my practical experience. Challenges in the job motivate me and improve my ability to think on my feet. I feel that, be it school or college, education should ensure the practical aspect of what one reads in books.
Vaibhav Sisinty (Third year engineering student and founder of Crazyhead Solutions)
Give support and guidance
It was my dream to become an entrepreneur. My school taught me how to communicate (an important quality for entrepreneurs) and how to deal with situations. It was tough initially in college but once I proved my entrepreneurial skills, my college supported me. Entrepreneurship should definitely be included as a subject, right from school. It cannot be taught in a day. Not everyone can become an entrepreneur, but a lot of people who have amazing ideas are held back for lack of proper support and guidance.