The Business of being an Entrepreneur
So you are an entrepreneur or may be you are planning on being one. In either of the cases, here’s something for you to chew on.
As Wikipedia describes it: An entrepreneur is a person who has possession of a new enterprise, venture or idea and assumes significant accountability for the inherent risks and the outcome. The term is originally a loanword from French and was first defined by the Irish-French economist Richard Cantillon.
From the above definition it is very clear that we are talking about an enterprise. Every enterprise is a business hub. It is like a signal amplification device in an IT network that receives data and transmits or distributes it with some amount of value addition in one form or another. The same is true with every business. One has to realize the purpose of the business. No matter how young an entrepreneur you are, once you have started, it is about doing business. A bank always wants to see a good balance sheet, and so do investors. Being a young person will get you very few brownie points in this scenario. If you are losing money and have no plan in place to reverse that cash flow, you are in trouble. “I’m just 21” is not a statement that will help. Having said that, I do not wish to undermine your confidence in starting off on your own as an entrepreneur.
All I am saying is learn the rules of the game.
One cannot play cricket with the rules of football in place. When a game is played by an individual, the rules of the game, as well as its spirit, have to be respected. Business knows no ethics and yet businessmen do. It is important that one sticks by them in order to foster goodwill and establish a trustworthy reputation in the market. As an entrepreneur, learning how to maintain a balance is essential, along with understanding cash flow management, the basic laws pertaining to business, and more.
If you are starting off a business just based on an idea, I’d strongly advise you to team up with someone who understands the business front of things. Feel free to choose someone with an open mind to something new despite his experience in not-so-new ventures of yesteryears. You can definitely go it alone and learn along the way, but that costs a lot of time. In my book, I would rather own 50% of a 10 crore company than own 100% of a 1 crore company. If you are reading this from outside India, feel free to replace the term ‘crore’ with ‘million’. And if those figures are achieved in the same time interval then the value of it becomes exponentially higher.
Even Thomas Edison, the man who invented the light bulb, failed to run the company, GE, when he founded it. It was only after Warren Buffett took over that the company began to grow. It is symbolic since the light bulb is often used today as a graphic representation of a new idea. And here we see that the creator of that very light bulb, an outstanding achievement and a gift to the world like no other, was the same man who just could not run the enterprise and brought it to near bankruptcy.
Look up the books “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” and its must-read sequel “Cash Flow Quadrant” for more on rules of the game I mentioned earlier.
In the end, it is your business, and the buck stops with you. Call yourself an entrepreneur of any generation you like, make it sound as fancy as your imagination lets you, and yet if you are not doing good business it is not worth it. Businesses go through ups and downs, and that’s a part of the game. Yet, profitability is the essence of business and Money is the oxygen of business. You, as an entrepreneur, are responsible for all of this and a lot more!
P.S: If this has scared you already, I suggest you start brushing up your CV and get on with a job hunt! Else, here’s wishing you all the very best.