Who is a smart entrepreneur?
Who is an entrepreneur and who is a SMART entrepreneur? If you always thought, to be an entrepreneur one needed to be smart, among many other things, you would not be wrong. What makes an entrepreneur really smart is having a complete strategy for long-term survival and prosperity that incorporates a thorough understanding of customer needs, an ability to manage finances, a regular course-correction exercise and a solid contingency plan.
The world of entrepreneurship is often witness to ventures that start strongly, wobble in middle parts, and in the absence of timely corrective measures, meet unceremonious ends.
So what does it really take to be a smart entrepreneur who can make an effortless take-off , effectively manage the mid-air turbulence and continue to soar?
Is it all about a great product?
An impression gaining ground lately is that, creating a great product is what entrepreneurship is all about and if you have one such product, other things will take care of themselves. After all, we have had instances of products such as Instagram and Whatsapp being lapped up by tech biggies like Google and facebook for unheard of sums. But, a great product may not necessarily help create a great company, but a great company can very well create many great products – or simply acquire one with the resources at their disposal.
So how to do things right?
- Build a team you can trust: Recognising the kind of talent you are looking for in other people, communicating your own ideas attractively and clearly to interest them enough and giving them the opportunities to unleash their creativity is one way to build your dream team. Building a great company is synonymous with building a great team.
- Customer is King/Queen: What a customer really wants is the most important question entrepreneurs should be asking themselves. The exercise of tailoring your clothes first and trying to fit into them has a high degree of uncertainty associated with it. Understand the needs of your customers first and then cater to them in the best possible manner.
- Watch your finances: Managing your finances needs a strong understanding of cash flow, overheads, hidden costs and the like. We have all admired how our mothers managed home finances – no extravagance, but no cutting corners either. The word that springs to mind is optimum utilization of resources, but with a human touch.
- Expect the unexpected: A SWOT analysis is a good way to anticipate your risks, and prioritize them based on the severity of the dangers they pose to your business. One can be reasonably prepared for loss of a key member of the team, but cushioning your business against vagaries of market and policy changes require much better preparedness.
The way forward
Find yourself a mentor of the ‘been there, done that’ type. Networks like LinkedIn are a good starting point. Most will give you a patient hearing and may pass on a crucial advise or two that could make the difference between your eventual success or failure.
Do not be hesitant to ask, as what you are essentially creating is a mutually beneficial relationship. For, learning never stops – for you or for your mentors.