Entrepreneurship is a way of life

(I was invited to speak at Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies & Research, Pune, by National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) on Jan 18, 2009. This is abstract of my speech. You can download the presentation from here.)

To understand what entrepreneurship is; one must be an entrepreneur.

The essence of entrepreneurship cannot be captured in text books or articles. One has to go through the pains to get a feel of it. This however doesn’t demean the courses ran by academia and is no substitute to the rigorous thought process that must be put before pursuing an idea/concept.

One need not start with a vision. But one has to start with a market need.

In my opinion, contrary to advice people give, the idea or concept need not be novel. It should however, address the need of market and there should be enough market size. There are several examples in history and today, who started either without a vision or modified their vision in the journey. Take example of Sony. Sony’s first product was a rice cooker. When Hewett and Packard started HP, they had very little idea of what kind of products they want to make. Flickr started as an online gaming company; but when the founders stumbled upon photo sharing application and saw an opportunity there, they changed the vision of the company. It is perfectly all right – not be innovative if you can sustain and address a market need.

Entrepreneurship is hard but fun.

An entrepreneur must remain committed and be prepared to move out of comfort zone. There are several entrepreneurs who have shared their experiences to state that – be prepared to loose money, to loose friends and to loose sleep. What one gets though is an experience of life time!!

‘Sales’ is the key to success!!

Be it your first customer, your first employee or your first vendor, an entrepreneur has to sell. Sell hard !! Prospects ask “Why should we buy from you?”. Prospective employees ask “Why should we work with you?” and so on. An entrepreneur’s role thus boils to selling. Master this art and you will flourish.

Mentors and Network are the key elements!!

Mentors will save you from mistakes. They are your guiding posts and the light at the end of tunnel. Develop your mentors and choose right mentors who will guide you to pursue right opportunity, caution you against pitfalls and draw from their expertise. Network is crucial to cross check your ideas and market.


Honestly, I don’t know how to approach recession. And I believe no one knows either. This however doesn’t imply that we must stop planning. I only want to emphasize that one must be prepared to anticipate the unanticipated. Few trends / thoughts here. Companies will tend to cut costs, conserve resources and focus on sales. So an entrepreneur has to make itself inline – help his/her customers achieve sales and cut costs. This is also good time to upgrade talent. I also believe that some of the opportunities which existed earlier will continue to exist. Two important trends to be highlighted here – Opportunity for bottom at the pyramid and Co-creation / Collaborative Creation.

  • Posted on 2009-03-07
  • posted by Dhiraj
  • Comments(30315)