How do you identify an entrepreneur today?
Is he/she the one who raised millions of dollars in funding and is running a loss-making business?
Or is he/she the one who has invested the last penny in their savings to fund their dream? or
is he/she the one, who has failed multiple ventures and now goes with the designation “Serial Entrepreneur”?
The word entrepreneur is so common today that the ones who call themselves businesswoman or businessman are just considered the poor cousins of “Entrepreneur”.
They are so old school. They are so out of fashion.
Everyone you meet today with a business or a business model or an idea want themselves addressed as “Entrepreneur”.
Without even understanding what an entrepreneur means they have added Prefix or suffice to entrepreneur word to define the stage of their journey they are at.
For ex, Budding Entrepreneur: The ones who are trying to stay afloat. They are in round one of the bouts.
The Entrepreneur: Ones who have the swag. They are usually the ones who have raised a huge round of funding and are buzzing with confidence to take down the world.
Serial Entrepreneur: No comments! I am still figuring out the right purpose behind the definition”.
On my way to becoming an Entrepreneur (now that’s a long one) : They usually are about to quit their job or have been deciding to quit their job for last few years only to be tempted back with the perks of a well-paying job.
They are still fighting their employee vs entrepreneur mindset battles.
When I was young the word entrepreneur was relatively an unknown term.
(it seems like ages since someone called me young. Anyways, I do not let my spirit dampen after seeing so many young entrepreneurs make it big, while I struggle to touch millions of dollars in turnover).
I try to make up for not being young by showing off my experience which as they say, “comes with age”.
Also unheard were words like startup, startup, disruption, out of box business models, etc, etc.
It’s not that ideas and innovations weren’t happening. They did happen. In fact, the year I passed out Orkut was still finding its feet.
Similarly, other ventures were too finding their methods to disrupt the market.
The only difference was how simple things were earlier.
There was no show-off. Businesses smartly and swiftly evolved with competition but no one spoke about how they are disrupting the market or how the out of box ideas generated by them are going to kill the world.
We only had one guy who was changing the way world listened to music, used phones, used PCs.
Steve Jobs was the man every business owner looked up to. He was well ahead of his times and was beating the competition black and blue with his out of box ideas.
He was the “true businessman” we all looked up to. Businessman with a lot of successful ideas and a profitable business model.
In those times, all we were taught was to look at our financial numbers and build a simple yet sustainable business model.
Raising funds, selling stake, raising money etc did happen but it happened without any fuss.
Youngsters did get rich (courtesy: IT MNCs offering lucrative package) but no one got as rich as the flipkart guys or Paytm guy.
And these are the guys are the ones who epitomize the entrepreneurs of today.
They are the “role models”.
Our role models were Dhirubhai Ambani and Bill Gates.
I recently started a new venture which is incidentally not the startup I wrote about earlier. Damn! All the hype goes down the drain ☹
The last startup could not take off because of some usual startup issues.
The new startup which is now 1-month old is a digital marketing agency which sells digital marketing service in form of packages. The firm also provides digital marketing training.
I know there are quite a few companies already selling via this model but I have done my research and have built a model which I think will succeed.
I have reset the button to my business journey with this venture.
We have taken a new space, hired fresh staff and are marketing from scratch to promote the venture.
Since we just started, our strategies are updated as we are moving along. We still are adhering to the good old financial sheet I prepare for all my ventures and I am using all my learnings of last few years to effective use here.
I am back to being the entrepreneur who is starting a startup from scratch. Oh, wait! Am I an entrepreneur or a business owner as per today standards?
I am meeting almost all the criteria:
- I am bootstrapping. Like all my earlier ventures.
- I am working on a concept which I think will “disrupt” the existing business models.
- I am working around the clock. Even on Sundays giving free webinars to students who might be interested in training with us.
- Doing all the ground work with the team. Marketing, sales, operations, finance. You name it and I am doing it now, multitasking from morning to evening.
- Working with a target in mind. Since we are bootstrapping, I have a set target (time and money) in mind to meet the target.
If the above list is the list to qualify me for being the new generation entrepreneur. I think I am fulfilling the definition of being an entrepreneur.
I know you are smiling. It has been a long journey and I am finally applying to get my “entrepreneur” batch.
I still am not the serial entrepreneur they show in TV or publish in newspapers but I am almost there.
Till date, I have only failed with my money and the money of my partners but never have I failed a business with the money of investors.
Now, how boring is that?
Before I end, how about we go back to our original question “Who is an Entrepreneur and what is entrepreneurship?”
and What is entrepreneurship in Business? (I am mixing both)
An Entrepreneur according to me is someone who can visualize the future with a vision and realistic plan to meet the dream.
An entrepreneur is someone who has the right attributes to build an everlasting enterprise which evolves with times.
And an entrepreneur is someone who knows from day one, the odds will be stacked against him/her. He/she should be relentless and passionate to overcome the hurdles.
Lastly, an entrepreneur is someone who really starts a startup with goals which are achievable and are in no way linked to raising funds from day one of startup.
As per wikipedia “the activity of setting up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.” is defined as entrepreneurship”.
For me, Entrepreneurship is the spirit of being an entrepreneur.
As I always tell the new generation entrepreneurs, Startups should bootstrap. Build a viable business model and then raise funds else they will be simply adding to the list of failed startups in 2016 which keeps increasing with every passing year.
For some reason, they find me an old school and move on in their pursuit to “raise funds”, spend a fortune to grow fast and then fail fast.
I prefer to be old school.