(Excerpts from his speech at the YourStory Entrepreneur Forum Summer 2009).
The odds are always against you
if you are undertaking a business, any time is a good time and any time is a bad time. However, downturns, in particular present a great opportunity to start one's entrepreneurial journey. Google, MTV, Walt Disney were all started during the recession. There is a theory – the "concept of a wave" which has been observed in history several times, instances where one has seen certain events have occurred leading to large wealth creation.14 out of 75 richest Americans of all times were born in the 1830s. The reason in hindsight is that when they grew to be 35 - 40 years – a massive industrial revolution was taking place and they benefited from it. The same wave repeats itself at the onset of the IT revolution post the Great Depression.
We are at a similar point in India. We are at the cusp of the wave, a young country, growing income levels, speeding economic reforms, etc. These 3-4 factors come together and when taken together form a large market which propels a critical mass in consuming populations, and when this growing consuming population is given a product that addresses any of its needs it responds positively. I believe we all are in a unique moment. There will be ups and downs but the next 30 to 40 years are filled with great opportunity.
A few qualities really separate the successful entrepreneurs from the rest. The first being perseverance - the ability to keep going, ranks the highest amongst these. Optimism and the ability to keep learning are also two important qualities. Finally, the ability to be an important salesperson and being able to sell convincingly is critical.
Entrepreneurship is not about big risks, its about taking manageable risks and moving towards their goals with the limited resources they have. Entrepreneurship is not about blowing money...money is no predictor of success. Difference between managers and entrepreneurs is that managers start with goals and then they figure out what resources are needed to manage that goal while entrepreneurs start with resources (relationships, customers, money, etc.) and convert them into a goal.
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