‘Tere bina kick mujhe milti nahi’ is the lyric from the popular Salman khan movie ‘Kick’ released in 2014. The reference to a kick in that movie is different from what we need in our life. Kick in our sense means a spark, a jolt to our creative mind that suffers from or is locked in bouts of depression and laziness. As one seems to stabilize in his professional life, his life becomes a programed robotic routine where the person tries to migrate more towards leisure and ease. The question is whether this is advisable from a professional point of view? Definitely not. You have never been passive in your life. You have not only been active, but proactive and aware enough to make adjustments for all upcoming dangers.
I was in a RTC bus, travelling through the crammed but beautiful streets of Hyderabad on a Saturday. The rush and the scene were like any particular Indian city. The bus was advancing slowly towards Koti area in Central Hyderabad. The last day (month being May), I had been thinking about enrolling myself for a PHD but was not able to zero in about a particular topic of my research. Being a regular newspaper reader, I keep reading the Economic times and other financial literature. As the bus zoomed past the Bank Street area where the Head office of State Bank of Hyderabad is located, I noticed four SBI Branches within a span of 1 kilometer (SBI, SBH, SBM and one service branch to be precise). My mind got the creative Kick right then and there. On an earlier day, I had also read in the press about how the Finance minister is emphasizing about consolidation in the fragmented Indian Banking sector and how India needs 3-4 world class size banks. The topic which I thought was ‘Post merger integration in Indian banks or companies’. How would SBI manage to address the problem of too much branches within a small radius post its integration with smaller SBIs? What was the approach used in the earlier wave of consolidation? I just got my topic (They now function separately because they are a part of separate legal entities. I am still to zero in on a topic though). My work was done. This is what we need. Learning from our surrounding environment as well as trying to adapt.
The above example is just a small specimen about the possibilities and the sources from which one can derive anything meaningful. The most most most important aspect is the willingness to learn. This willingness to learn will take you leaps and bounds if you keep learning. Entrepreneurship can be the last but the most profound step in your professional career (assuming that you succeed in your venture and remain in it lifelong ).
Some factors which determine this creative ‘kicking’ in entrepreneurship are
1. Reading is still best way to learn.
Nothing can ever replace reading as the best way to learn. The importance of reading in our life is so much that a small description like this cannot justify it (planned future article). You can utilize your reading skills to train your mind to tackle this opportunity. Bill gates, Ackman, Mark Zuckerberg etc. post their summer reading list each year and do read the books in toto. If they are so damn successful, then why do they still keep reading? The reason is ‘they want their mind to be firing on all the cylinders and be kicking’. Bill gates’ one favorite book is a 1954 book. Anyone from us can never think of reading this old book. However bill read this book as it still matters to him today.
Therefore keep reading. Broaden your mind’s horizon. If you keep your mind busy enough, you will never feel tired mentally or suffer from a prolonged mental uneasiness (temporary depression can still be there because it is a part & parcel of human life).
2. The surface might look stable, but on a microscopic level, there are gaps and troughs wide enough for you to fill and accomodate.
Gap analysis is one of the most profound tools that MBAs use to find a new market segment or market opportunity. Let us suppose that you are an aspiring entrepreneur with a good source of cash/ investment but you are still not able to finalize what your venture will be. There are two options for you, one being the business that you know and the other totally new. Statistics and probability say that the greater the risk, greater will be the reward. Applying this theory here, your returns will be higher if you choose the unconventional or unfamiliar path (same applies for loss as well).
Think of business, think of profession. Let us suppose you are practicing CA with a good overall knowledge which is beyond chartered accountancy. There are two possibilities. a) You practice as any other normal xyz CA and advice the client only to the extent required b) You enquire more about his business (though not beyond the point of comfort zone) and try to advise him beyond accountancy about the business opportunities, strategies required etc.
In the scenario ‘B’, the likely outcome will be more than a service provider-client relationship. It will be an extended relationship in which you will be the likely beneficiary of the future endeavors of that person. So this can be your differentiating factor which differentiates you from the other CAs. What if you start providing ‘Entrepreneurship Advisory Services’ (prerequisite- knowledge and credibility). Possibilities are endless. There are gaps which you can identify. Big 4 have succeeded on this strategy and will keep leading for the foreseeable future based on this aspect only.
Therefore, drop the habit of limiting yourself and give an expansionary kick (but with a limit) to your mind.
3. As a beginner, try following and learning from what others do.
Our world is mathematical. We cannot just imagine how each and every aspect of our life can be expressed mathematically. Probability is a strong aspect of our life. Everything that we can do is limited or guided by probability.
Let us take an example.
Mark Zuckerberg’s present worth is around $ 30 billion (2015 average). The present probability about you being a mark Zuckerberg is one in a seven billion (7 billion being world population).We will assume that the world can accommodate any number of zucks provided that the cap on his wealth is $ 30b (the cap is mandatory because this is his present shareholding in FB. Since there is and there can be only one world leading company as successful in social media as FB , we assume that the world’s capacity is to accommodate only one company as large as FB).
Let us increase this probability to two in a billion. Therefore there will be two Zucks now and his wealth halved to $ 15b. If the probability is increased to twenty, the wealth of average zuck will be $1.5 b. If the probability is increased to 200, average zuck will be worth $150 million. Keep increasing the number and the net worth will recede to a point where Mark will be like any other entrepreneur and not so noteworthy on a globular scale. This is where probability kicks in.
(All of the above is guided by the law of large numbers which assumes that there is a theoretical and numerical upper limit in business)
As seen above, not everyone can be as successful as the most successful. There are virtual limitations on the number of possibilities. Therefore as a beginner, we can learn from what others do and do not do.
Thankfully, today we have the vast expanse of social media for learning what others are doing. Just go to twitter/ Facebook/ Blogosphere and you can find world leaders and entrepreneurs there. Tim cook, Elon Musk (my personal fav. And surely the next Steve jobs), Steve wozniak, Ratan tata etc are people that you can follow. These people are successful no doubt but their starting-from-scratch approach will assure you that anything is possible.
To sum up, learning from other’s failure might help you to devise your own strategy.
4. There is always a right time and place for entry and exit in any venture. Untimeliness can be fatal.
There is always a right time for entering into and exiting an idea or a business. Any hasty entry results in over concentration and average returns in the business. Many large businesses have failed and seen their net worth erode into zero because of lack of proper timing.
The question is what is then this right time? This question is highly subjective. A good and enquiring mind will concentrate more on the minuses and less on pluses in such a situation. Accountants are trained for this aspect already simply because they have been following this principal in preparation of accounting statements.Most people rush to an emerging sector or opportunity when it is at its peak and therefore do not have the first mover advantage. They end up being like any other mediocre firm and remain stuck in this black hole.
To summarize the article, most important kicking points for your mind should be
i. Keep reading and learning.(levels and depths to vary)
ii.Try thinking out of the box, not pure randomness, but a well-researched and thought one.
iii. Be strong in networking. Have friends who share your interests. Create Interest groups.
iv. Learn to be secretive as well, because an opportunity shared can be an opportunity lost (a good example will be that of Charles Goodyear, who despite being innovator lived in poverty)
v. Learn from the most unconventional things. Therefore develop interests well outside your core areas (simply because core areas are already populated).
vi. Have a very long term vision and the knack & gumption to stick to it.
vii. Ground work for anything needs to be initiated as fast as possible.
viii. Have a good noise to sound ratio. Listen to what others say but inculcate only what your Heart, Mind and Brain say collectively and simelteneusly.
ix. Make technology your friend. Utilize social media, E-books, Internet and blogosphere to the most positive extent possible (negative aspects, you already know :P)
x. Have a good mentor. A third-person view is always the best view and therefore always try to have an impartial guide who will judge you rationally and will not just soothsay.
Thanks for reading. Have a very nice and successful time ahead.
Au revoir, till then.
- Rohit Jain
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Last three articles on CACLUB
(Quizup rank-3 India in 'Business')