22 Jul 2017 20:16 IST

Are you ready to be an entrepreneur?

A worthy idea that can solve a real problem is a core requirement when starting off on one’s own

Being part of a mentoring group for entrepreneurs is a fascinating experience. I come across many interesting ideas, people with high energy levels, dreams they believe in and some unrealistic expectations too.

One group of aspiring entrepreneurs with whom I have interacted often are students who want to start something of their own after they finish their course; a related group is of those who have finished their management education and are in their first job. In case you happen to fit into either of these groups, or your batchmate/classmate happens to be in such a situation, do read this carefully and share what you learn.

There are three aspects that help make the entrepreneurial journey easy. I am not saying ‘successful’, as that requires many more factors. Let me address the basic factors that which would enable people in their entrepreneurial pursuits.

Idea must be viable

First and foremost, a worthy idea which could solve a real problem is core for any entrepreneur. A worthy idea is something which is not only different or new but also something which is practical and viable. Therefore, any idea needs to be thought through carefully in the context of practical execution and implementation. Many ideas which look fantastic on paper might not be so when being implemented. This could be due to a variety of reasons and those need to be considered when evaluating any idea.

The other dimension is that the idea should help solve a real problem. This refers to the actual, practical and tangible outcome that such an idea can deliver. In the current context of technology and smart-phones, the temptation to work on an idea which remains in the virtual space is very high. However, any such technological intervention needs to ultimately have a physical impact in the real world. There have been many brainstorming and mentoring sessions where we would strive hard to connect an idea, often a technology-based one.

Backed by experience

The second aspect is with regard to the experience and understanding required to make the idea viable. Recently a person had approached me to mentor and guide him to start retail outlets. After hearing out his idea, which involved a loyalty card, a mobile app and various other components, the discussion turned to his capability to implement all these elements. Having studied computer engineering, this person was confident of developing the mobile app and was equally confident of hiring people to do the various other jobs required for the proposed business.

When I asked him how he would know if these people are doing their job properly or not, the reply was that he had read a lot about various retailers such as Amazon and Walmart. As such that would help him know about the business and, by extension, enable him to manage the people he hopes to hire.

(To be continued)

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