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Entrepreneurship in India #3 : Be a guru

Friday May 07, 2010 , 3 min Read

This is a guest post by Alban Leveau-Vallier of Socialter.This is the third post of Socialter Series on entrepreneurship in India.The aim of Socialter is to spread the good ideas using social media. As they travel, they spot interesting social entrepreneurs and then they write about them on the blog, make video about them, and spread their word and their good ideas through facebook and twitter. They also offer to advise them on the use of social media.

A French writer, Guy Sorman, made a remark on his book on "Indian genius" (Le génie indien). According to him, most of Indian people, no matter their origin or background, try to find their own appropriate guru.

Is is not only true about religion, but also about politics, journalism, (blogging?)... and as regards entrepreneurship. As Cyril, another French blogger who writes about India, once said, Indian successful entrepreneurs gather around them many other entrepreneurs. They are not only the owner of a successful company, they are also the center of a network and leaders of a movement. They are gurus.

And in a way, an entrepreneur has to be a guru. As was said in the last post about faith and entrepreneurship, you need to make the people believe in you : partners, investors, clients and employees must have faith in you. When you create a company from nothing, be a guru.Gaurav, an young entrepreneur we met in Mumbai, had understood it well. He had already started a company that had more or less failed. "I was too young and I went too fast" he said. This time, before creating his company, he was doing a lot of research and writing a blog on his target market. His aim was to become a reference on his topic before creating the company. If he becomes that reference, clients and investors will easily come to him.

The problem, if you reach that status of guru, is that you are no more questionable. Some of the entrepreneurs I met in India – I will not mention their names – were dangerously over-confident. They were so confident that they sounded like absolute truth was on their side. How will they know when they are wrong if they don't listen to others any more?

Maybe another quotation of Guy Sorman would answer to this. According to him, Indians are the most frank people he ever met, even to their superiors. In fact, in indian movies, you generally see the heroes tell what they think quite bluntly to their bosses, teachers (see Three idiots...), politicians, mafia godfathers...etc and it may be true, to a certain extent, in the real life. It is the ability to speak out of the disciples that will save the errant guru. So, if you are a successful entrepreneur and feel that you became a kind of guru, make sure you surround yourself with big mouthes...

And you, who is your guru?