Organisation : Entrepreneurship: What it takes

David Wee is Founder & CEO of DW Associates and the Asia Speakers bureau. He is the primary developer of Entrepreneurial leadership and creating new space in a crowded market™. 

Email david.wee@pacific.net.sg and website http://dwassociates.blogspot.com/


In the recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2006 benchmarking of entrepreneurial development in Singapore, here's what the study say about Singaporean;

 

1.     5 in 100 people of Singapore want to be entrepreneur.

2.     4 were out of opportunity and 1 out of necessity.

3.     3 were male and 2 were female.

4.     1 in 4 Singaporean perceived to have the skills to start a business.

 

Would the sole reason you would be starting your own business be that you would want to make a lot of money?  Do you think that if you had your own business that you would have more time with your family?  Or maybe that you would not have to answer to anyone else?  If so, you had better think again.

 

On the other hand, if you start your business for these reasons, you'll have a better chance at entrepreneurial success:

 

An entrepreneur must have a passion for what he is doing.  The important thing to remember is that he will hit lows during the process that will make him question his decision.  Belief in the idea is important though, and your passion will keep you going.

 

You should be able to build a competitive edge in the business.  It could be in technological processes, marketing relationships or solutions you offer customers.

 

Entrepreneurs work hard and are extremely goal oriented.  Along with hard work, comes the ability to work unsupervised.  It is a critical requirement of entrepreneurship.  As a paid professional, often someone can blame the system for not providing either the direction or the resources.  As an entrepreneur, you no longer have that latitude.  You have to work hard, very hard.

 

Entrepreneurs are flexible, opportunistic and recognize the power of 'emergence'.

 

I love this story about IBM and its founder Thomas Watson, Sr.  It was 1934 or '35.  IBM had built the first accounting machines for banks but in the Depression years, no bank was buying anything.  IBM was on the brink of bankruptcy.  Watson's wife forced him to accompany her to a social event where he was seated next to a middle-aged lady.

 

While talking with her, Watson described to her the machine IBM had built.  It turned out that the lady was in-charge of the library system in New York City.  She told Watson that they were in complete disarray, unable to manage their books, and told him that she would need half a dozen of these!  Next day, he sold her five of the machines.

 

Until that moment, Watson had never thought of his computing devices as machines for tracking books.

That one sale pulled IBM from the brink of bankruptcy.

 

Had it not been for Watson's capability to go with the emergent flow of events - moving from accounting machines to the recognition that he could make general purpose computers - IBM would not be what it is today.  We all know that the essence of entrepreneurial ability is about building a future and living in it.  Sometimes, it is about 'willing' a course for the enterprise.  Yet, things do not always go the way you plan.  Destiny tests you all the time, plays pranks and shows tiny openings in a moss-covered brick wall behind which often a whole new world awaits.

 

When it comes to the success of any new business, you - the entrepreneur - are ultimately the "secret" to your success.  For many successful business owners, failure was never an option. Armed with drive, determination, and a positive mindset, these individuals view any setback as only an opportunity to learn and grow.  Most millionaires possess average intelligence.  What sets them apart is their openness to new knowledge and their willingness to learn whatever it takes to succeed.

 

So why do businesses fail?

 

·  Failure to anticipate market trends.  Lack of market research when entering new markets, resulting in poor sales and return on investment.

·  Overspending.  Or spending too much on frivolous luxuries instead of products and services that improve the bottom line.

·  Poor cash flow control: paying creditors too early, buying too much stock or giving customers payment terms that are too long, late payments and bad debts. These can all lead to a lack of working capital and cash flow problems.

·  Failure to listen to customers.  Listen to your customers and adapt accordingly.

·  Lack of innovation.  Some businesses never change, but they lose their market share when a new company comes along with a new way of doing things

·  Loss of financial support/investment.  If an investor pulls out, you may find it hard to attract another one in time.

·  Reluctance to seek professional services. 


Copyright 2007 - David Wee 

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