By Manvir Singh:
Entrepreneurship is made out to beÂ glamorous, flamboyant and at times, larger than life. But honestly folks, it’s about getting your hands dirty to build a great team which works towards creating a recognized brand and positive cash flow. I thought this would be great opportunity for me to introduce you to the ‘5 P’s of entrepreneurial DNA‘. I learnt these a few days back during a conversation with a mentor and no, this is not something an MBA would teach you. Here’s the list –
1. Passion: A prerequisite. We often hear people telling us to beÂ passionate about the problem weÂ are trying to solve and that’s of course a valid perspective. Many a times, we bump into ideas which show a lot of commercial sense on paper/excel (for most consultants) and think of putting it to execution, however, that can’t be mistaken for passion. In actuality, that’s an “area/subject of interest” andÂ this differentiation is extremely important. Execution is important- at times more than the idea.
2. Paranoia:Â This is a characteristic only the founding team can understand. A state of restlessness, anxiety, uncontrolled excitement, depression at times. Honestly, it’s a by-product that comes from passion. If you are passionate about your business, product or client, paranoia would come naturally. Sometimes, being restless and aggressive, helps get things going instead of inactivity.
3. People:Â Reid Hoffman once said, “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” Probably the most critical aspect to any startup is the team, founding team to be precise. Your businessÂ might be making X amount of revenues, but if you are a single man army, you should call yourself “self-employed” instead of an “entrepreneur”. Since you’re not creating jobs, you have just found yourself a job that you own and which pays well. While saying that, I believe in the lean startups/hiring; hire if you need, hire if it’s the demand of the business, not because you need to be boast of your team size in front of external stakeholders.
4. Process — Most significant aspect which differentiates a startup from a business is Process. Subway’s founder said “Making a sub sandwich is easy, but replicating the same sub sandwich across 62+ countries and 13,000+ stores is what differentiates us from a roadside outlet, it’s the systems you build, which determine your longevity and scalability”. You need to find that formula/modus-operandi that’s working for you and build a process around that to standardize your offerings, delegate that to your colleagues and focus on improving that process.
5. Perseverance — Biz Stone shared a fantastic quote – “Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.”Â Believe you me, it’s easy to slog it out 10-12 hours, do the same work with 110% dedication, sincerity and passion for a day or a month, but sustaining that passion for years takes a hell lot of commitment, tenacity and determination. You often juggle many roles and face countless setbacks -lost customers, internal disputes, increased competition, staffing problems, all while struggling to build cash flow. But *surprise surprise*, great things take time and patience, what is important in this phase is to “keep listening to your customers”, be slightly flexible with one’s thought process and be willing to “pivot” to a better model if something is not working out for a sustained period. We always start with an idea but on giving time to it, we understand the “bigger picture” — that’s when the actual business starts taking shape.
To conclude, you need to know that you are the hero of your own story, go out there, believe in yourself and start building value for yourself and the people who believe in you.