By Somali K Chakrabarti
Entrepreneurship in India is a growing trend, spurred by the boom in e-commerce and rising investor interest. With this burgeoning interest in entrepreneurship, a number of courses, programs and workshops have mushroomed with the claim to help in turning entrepreneurial aptitude to the story of untold riches.
How useful management education is, for an entrepreneur, is a question that pops up frequently. Can entrepreneurship be taught?
After all, some of the biggest businesses have been built by people who never attended a B school.
A few such questions and paradoxes that arise in the context of entrepreneurship are:
1. Returns vs Passion
A pre requisite for an entrepreneur to get funding is having a scalable idea. An entrepreneur is expected to have a very strong conviction of why his/her idea would work and the returns that can be expected.
So, I was pretty surprised when I came to know while researching for the -> brand stories that some of the entrepreneurs who founded popular brands did not have a concrete idea to begin with.
These individuals, who were incredibly passionate about something that they wanted to pursue, simply followed their passion. Availing the opportunities that emerged, they ended up successfully converting their hobbies into business.
Dilip Kapur, the founder of -> Hidesign was passionate about designing leather goods and started designed handbags as a hobby. Hidesign grew from a two men workshop set up in Pondicherry, into an international mainstream luxury brand.
Similarly Meena Bindra did not start -> Biba with a business idea but she followed their passion with full gusto, and took up every opportunity that came her way to grow her business.
So, while a saleable and scalable idea is needed to get funding, but passion, conviction and commitment are required throughout the entrepreneurial journey.
Passion – > idea – > execution -> commitment
2. Conception of Idea vs Execution
It is often taken for granted that great businesses are built upon great ideas. However, merely coming up with great ideas can never make a successful business till the ideas are implemented well.
Entrepreneurship is more about relentless execution of an idea than about merely conceiving an idea. During the execution some things will go right and many things will go wrong. Entrepreneurs always put themselves in the driving seat and own up everything that goes rights or wrong.
A manager, in an organization, on the other hand may blame the system, or some external factors when things go wrong, while taking the credit for all right things.
3. Entrepreneurial education vs lessons of life
Entrepreneurial education is often looked at with skepticism. Unless you have entrepreneurial aptitude and risk appetite, no B school can prepare you for the dangerous thrill or the risks of entrepreneurship.
However, besides having a strong understanding in say one area of business, an entrepreneur needs to have a decent understanding of all areas of business. That is where a management education comes in handy. B school equips a person with working knowledge of all business functions. Having said that one has to be careful in the choice of subjects that gear the person for more for entrepreneurship than for management positions.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
Entrepreneurship is a lonely journey and fraught with risks. An entrepreneur has to work leaving the security and the comfort zone of the office environment.
The route to success is not a straight one and is mostly paved with failures. More than the returns, the passion to create something keeps entrepreneurs going to such great lengths that the possibility of failure or even repeated failures don’t deter them.
What are the other paradoxes of Entrepreneurship that you can think of ?
-> Image source
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