Students' Corner

The emerging art of entrepreneurship – Reach new heights –

    Nelumi Opatha

    MIT- Level 2

    Everyone is born creative. Everyone can make a change, but not everyone can walk towards success. A person has to be dedicated to what he does, sacrificing time and effort, and showing endurance. That is what separates success from failure. Most of the success stories are built, with the acceleration given by a single mind-blowing idea.

    Entrepreneurship comes along with the concept of “standing out from the crowd”. What is entrepreneurship? In simple words, entrepreneurship is the venture which bridges the gap between intent and action. Professor Howard H. Stevenson, Harvard Business School’s “lion of entrepreneurship” as described in Forbes magazine (2011), has defined entrepreneurship as “the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled”. Here in this definition he precisely highlights the purpose of entrepreneurship, and it is the act of chasing a dream or a solution to a problem, despite the challenges and obstacles in the journey.

    There is an important skill set you must acquire, to be a successful entrepreneur. Critical thinking, strategic thinking, analyzing, effective communication, accurate decision making, good interpersonal skills, and financial management skills are a few of them. Creativity and perseverance should be running in your veins. The first stage of the entrepreneurial process is idea generation. When you get a mind-blowing idea, you should see both the possibilities and the impossibilities. Then you should plan how to convert those impossibilities into possibilities. Your idea does not have to be big. If it is totally yours, you have all the freedom to convert it to something amazing.

    After the process of idea generation, then comes the opportunity evaluation. In simple terms this is where you ask yourself and others, “Is this product or service worth embracing?” or “Is this the ideal solution for the problem?”. The difference between the idea and the opportunity lies in the hands of the entrepreneur. You should turn the product or service into something marketable, which can generate revenues and finally bring profits.

    Next comes planning. Planning is extremely important. Planned ventures are more likely to walk towards success than those based on guesswork. A proper plan has the power to foresee the future and to direct you to walk in the correct path. It helps you to identify the sole objective of the venture and the resources required to implement the plan. This plan is all about capitalizing on the opportunities which you have realized in the early stage – opportunity evaluation. Here, you should identify both the financial and human resources required for your venture.

    Moreover, planning plays a major role in the entrepreneurial process. As this entrepreneurial process is a collective process, identifying the right human assets is important. The founders are advised to form a diverse team of 3 – 5 members who can bring invaluable human and social capital. Most of the time, not the lack of financial capital, but the inability to identify and build the right human assets is what impedes the growth of any venture.

    After planning, comes the company formation. Once you have a favorable opportunity and a proper plan, your team will choose the suitable form of corporate entity and convert your venture to a legal entity.

    The final stage is growth. This stage is where you execute your plans. Your company works towards creating the product or service, generating revenues, and promoting sustainability. No product or service is perfect. Therefore, continuous improvement must be there. The execution process consists of market research, business development, forecasting, operations management, budgeting, sales planning, financing, and R&D management.
    Now let’s move on to some important aspects of entrepreneurship.

    When you talk about entrepreneurship, equifinality is important. Equifinality means that the same result can be obtained with different initial conditions and through different paths. There are many paths that differ from one another to obtain one specific result at the end. This diversity of paths and means divides the role of an entrepreneur into 5 categories.

    1. User entrepreneur
    2. Take-a-break entrepreneur 
    3. Moonlighting entrepreneur
    4. Accidental entrepreneur
    5. Make a dent entrepreneur

    The user entrepreneur is someone who tends to experience a need to fulfill a requirement. As he is not satisfied with the existing product or service, he seeks a solution to the raised problem. They come up with innovations for their personal use and then commercialize them.

    A take-a-break entrepreneur is someone who moves away from his day-to-day life to spend time thinking of what is the big problem that eagerly needs a solution.

    The moonlighting entrepreneur, before committing to his idea completely, tests it in his spare-time. He does experiments and tinkers over his idea. He spends his free time fine-tuning the idea and as he continues doing his regular job full-time, he tries his best to gain the skills and resources he will need to start the venture, and he also creates the network of people required, to start the venture with confidence.

    An accidental entrepreneur is someone who has never thought of being an entrepreneur. He starts with an action, and it leads to another action and this process goes on until it becomes a venture.

    The “Make a dent” concept originated from the world-famous entrepreneurial legend Steve Jobs. He expected a venture to put a dent in the world, that the life before and the life after would not be the same, because of this significant venture. One who starts off this kind of venture is a “make a dent entrepreneur”.

    To conclude, success lies in the hands of those who believe in miracles. It lies beyond your comfort zone. Therefore, realign your comfort zones and embrace challenges. Life transforming things happen gradually. Think out of the box. The more people click with your idea, the more it will change the world. Entrepreneurship is all about turning the stumbling blocks you find in your journey, into stepping stones. First, acknowledge the obstacles and make a proper plan to focus on what you can control. When the need arises to ask for help, do not hesitate to meet the right person or get the support you need. Initiate your venture today; Hope you will reach new heights!

    Comment here