Once I was invited to a workshop on Entrepreneurial Development Program. The presenter explained the importance of entrepreneurship and how to start a business and the challenges involved in setting up an enterprise. He said that he had his own business and was working as a consultant for several companies on setting up enterprises.
He shared the challenges he encountered initially when he set up his own small business as there was resistance from his parents. He showed a video clip of a few successful entrepreneurs who started from nowhere and reached the pinnacle of their entrepreneurial journey. It was an inspiring session full of entrepreneurial ideas and insights. I decided to explore this topic further for the benefit of my students and those who have myths about entrepreneurship and are passionate about it.
There is no doubt that Indians have an entrepreneurial mindset and most of the students want to become job providers rather than job seekers. However, most parents don’t encourage their children to set up businesses as there are more challenges involved in it. In case of failure, nobody comes forward to support.
There is no governmental support. There are no social security measures. In case of bankruptcy, the law takes its own time to clear the cases. There is a social stigma attached to failures in India. Likewise, there are several reasons why Indian parents don’t encourage their children to pursue their entrepreneurial journey. They encourage their children to play safe and advise them to become job seekers.
Since most of the parents are in middle and old age, they want their old age to be secured without any financial hiccups. They have apprehensions about what would happen to them in their old age if their children fail in business.
Job seeker versus job provider
If you are money-driven, become a job seeker. In contrast, if you are value-driven, become a job provider. If you have the mindset of ‘accumulation’, become a job seeker. In contrast, if you have the mindset of ‘contribution’, become a job provider. If you brood over the problems become a job seeker. In contrast, if you find solutions to the problems, become a job provider. If you think inside the box, become a job seeker. In contrast, if you think outside the box, become a job provider.
If you want to survive like any other ordinary person, become a job seeker. In contrast, if you want to succeed like an extraordinary person, become a job provider. If you want to get into the rat race, become a job seeker. In contrast, if you want to stand out and be a trailblazer, become a job provider.
Challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurs
The students must remember that it is not easy to set up their own businesses. There are many challenges involved in it. They have to encounter several challenges from beginning to end. They must know how to convert threats into opportunities. They must learn to see the door that is opened rather than the one that is closed.
Michael Gerber rightly remarked, “The entrepreneur in us sees opportunities everywhere we look, but many people see only problems everywhere they look. The entrepreneur in us is more concerned with discriminating between opportunities than he or she is with failing to see the opportunities.” They have to work round the clock. They must arrange capital. They must face cut-throat competition. They cannot predict what happens next resulting in high-stress levels.
Most of the threats arise from the external business environment. However, they can face all these challenges easily if they are passionate about entrepreneurship. They must understand that entrepreneurship is not for fainthearted, but for the brave-hearted.
Students must learn that whatever business decisions they make might not result in success as some of them are bound to fail. They must also understand that the success rate for an entrepreneur is low. Brian Tracy, in The Psychology of Achievement (2002), talks about four millionaires who made their fortunes by the age of 35. They were involved in an average of 17 businesses before finding the one that took them to the top.
They kept trying and changing until they found something that worked for them. If they have a passion for entrepreneurship and are willing to take the risk and learn lessons and move forward with tenacity and resilience, then entrepreneurship is the right option. They must learn that there is an element of risk in jobs also as there is no guarantee in getting the employment and ensuring its longevity even after employed as employees can be fired at any time.
They must understand that there is risk involved in being job seekers and job providers. Above all, they must overcome the fear of failures and criticism to succeed as entrepreneurs.
If Dhirubhai Ambani remained as an employee as a petrol pump attendant, would he have set up Reliance Empire? If Narayana Murthy remained in Patni Computers as an employee, would he have founded Infosys Technology Ltd? Hence, remove your mental limitations; and take risks to excel as successful entrepreneurs.
Debunk the myth that Indians work for others, not for themselves. If Indians work for themselves by setting up enterprises imagine the amount of wealth we would create for India and the type of India we would live in. To sum up, if India has to grow as a strong economy and a global superpower, we need more job providers rather than job seekers.