The Cutting Edge

By Team YS|21st Feb 2009
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- A weekly look at advocacy, media and entrepreneurship

The entrepreneur’s check list, 5 things every start up entrepreneur

should know


An entrepreneur can sometimes be a creature of mythical proportions, with clear vision, strategy and delivery. And as India is on the fast track to deliver many wealth and value creators, it makes sense, especially in today’s challenging economy, to take a look at what a start up entrepreneur needs to keep in mind:-


1)   What is your idea, will people buy it? : The Business Card Test


As all things begin at the beginning, it is of vital importance that one should be very certain about what your value proposition is. An American television news trainer once told me that if you can sum up your story on the back of your business card, you have a story. The rest is all trimmings, if you can’t communicate your idea well, it doesn’t exist. It is also vital for every start up entrepreneur to test if his idea is viable and to know your customer. Prajakt Raut, Co-Founder of Orange Cross, a venture in the healthcare space, recommends making “well-informed and educated assumptions on aspects like price points, conversion figures, reach, and indeed any other aspect that may determine the feasibility of the venture. In working out assumptions, it is wise to overestimate costs and underestimate revenues.”


2)   Think very Big and Maximise Resources : Be a Commando


The Indian army’s Special Forces undertakes challenging operation making use of all available resources and that is what a start-up entrepreneur must do as well. Be daring, dream the big dream and then roll up your sleeves and plan well to achieve your ambition, making sure that every resource is used to its fullest potential.


3)   Network, Network, Network : The Talk, Connect, Meet Cycle


Every start –up entrepreneur should be obsessive about networking. Every good entrepreneur loves to interact, you can never say from where you will hit upon a useful connection, idea, input or sale. The very first cost estimate I drew up as an independent entrepreneur was for a project with Greenpeace India. And the person, who helped me figure out the actual costs vs. the inflated market prices, was my photographer. It makes great sense to be a part of networking platforms, especially with other entrepreneurs who are willing to mentor.


4)   People Matters, The right team


The best entrepreneurs I know are great people to chat with, with equally good teams. For a start up, the kind of people who first join up can make or break your venture. Start ups require a highly committed, self-driven team who can roll with the punches and think outside the box. And such people also need to be recognised by the team leader and empowered to perform.


5)   Jumping the Clock: The power of Innovation


Working in a space that uses technology to create beauty, I confess that I am a geek with a love for the joys of technology and gadgets. And this is important. In today’s fast changing world, it is very important to update yourself with technology that can help you make your business more efficient, ahead of the pack and bursting with new ideas. From new ideas come new value propositions.


What hold this checklist together is the ethical honest entrepreneur, who cares for the society he works in, it is these people who create the best businesses that survive the test of time.


Some networking resources to consider:


1) http://www.nenonline.org/

The National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) is a not-for-profit initiative working to support the next generation of high-growth entrepreneurs in India.


2) http://www.woman-in-business.org/

Woman-In-Business Forum (WIB) is a not-for-profit organization, dedicated to offering women Entrepreneurs and Professionals a wide range of Executive Development and Networking opportunities.


3) http://www.tie.org/

Fostering entrepreneurship globally through mentoring, networking, and education



Next Week: Media as Advocates for Social Change


- Paarul Chand

The guest columnist is a communications entrepreneur, specializing in social advocacy and research, writing and life skills training.

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