Let us start with a question.
What do you think is the most viable career choice post-qualification? (can be any qualification - Degree / Masters / Professional qualifications)
B. Employee generation?
Most of you would choose option A.
What do you think are the reasons for that choice?
• Safety and almost no risks involved
• Fixed income
Employment - is to be a part of an organization so as to aid the organization in specific functions.
The employee chooses the function based on interest and most of the times, market requirements.
Employer fills in their employee requirements through an interview process which tests the knowledge, skills including soft skills and also whether the candidate would fit well with the company's policies.
As an employee in the long term, it is expected to be loyal and serve the employer company. Career growth and job change to a higher position mostly depends on company's promotion policies, market requirements, competition and experience. Nevertheless, the employee is required to possess and improve consistently on the necessary knowledge and skills to not only pursue the chosen function but to be able to grow the corporate ladder.
Employment generation, the less chosen option, flips the table for you.
You become the employer!
Let us set some context.
An entrepreneur is a person who sets up a business or businesses taking financial risks in the hope of making a profit.
A business is an activity of buying and/only selling goods or services entered into for making a profit.
But, here comes the most important question - Why start a business at all when there are so many up and running already? Why not just work for them instead of taking risks and starting one from scratch?
A one-word answer for this is - ‘Innovation'.
Let us understand better with some examples. Taking the list of some successful Indian start-ups of the decade 2010-2020:
• Swiggy (Nandan Reddy, Sriharsha Majety, Rahul Jaimini) - Provides food aggregator service. They give the most attractive option to citizens - to order the food of their choice from the restaurant of their choice with some clicks from the drawing room!
• Oyo (Ritesh Agarwal) - Provides easy on-the-go room booking services by listing verified hotels on their mobile application and website. They also perform quality checks and audit to ensure the hotels listed adhere to their quality norms.
• Redbus (Prakash Sangam)- Brought all private bus providers on one platform, making intercity commute so much easier.
• Dunzo (Kabeer Biswas) - A very simple idea of providing intra-city courier service took off successfully. Now you can share food among your family members living across the city or simply Dunzo your last guest their mobile phone they left back at your home!
• Ola (Bhavish Agarwal) - A cab and auto aggregator. Need I say more?
• Zivame (Richa Kar, Kapil Karekar) - Exclusive online shopping portal for women clothing. All women fashion needs under one platform.
• Bigbasket (Hari Menon and team) - Online grocery shopping portal. Everything from fruits to provisions to meat available on the portal to shop from and delivered at the door step. Loved by working professionals. Literally saved us all during the covid lockdowns!
• Byju's (Byju Raveendran, Divya Gokulnath) - A business in the Edtech space. Provides online interactive classes to school children making tuitions more fun than ever and of course made life easier for Indian parents!
Let us look at some small businesses too:
• Connect Easy (CA CMA CS Virag Shah) - This venture provides virtual corporate training sessions, investment training including virtual CFO. Makes it easier for professionals to obtain post-qualification training and knowledge enhancements.
• Bottled Bliss (Mansi Mehta, Sonal Khandelwal) - Sells hand-made unisex personal care products using natural resources. Inspires users to move away from chemicals and choose hand made safe products.
These businesses as you can see provides unique solutions to common citizens' problems. Sometimes creates unique choices to make life easier.
This is what Innovation does!
Some more interesting effects:
1. They are using locally available resources. Let it be local restaurants, local hotels, local fresh produce of fruits and vegetables, local commute options to name some. This assures
a. efficient utilization of locally available resources. Resources available locally are identified, exploited and utilised optimally.
b. These businesses in-turn help local markets and traders flourish.
c. Hence, removing the need for imports of raw materials and finished goods.
2. They use the locally available employee force to run their business - employment generation. This point is certainly given a lot importance from the beginning of this article. These businesses are utilizing the knowledge and skill already available locally in running the operations of the business, at all levels.
a. At one point of time India suffered something called a ‘brain drain'. Most of the educated and skilled youth would leave the country to take up employment in other countries say USA, Canada etc.
By setting up businesses, we are providing employment opportunity for many in our home land. We are recognising talent and utilising the skills to its fullest.
b. To add on through innovation, we make way to additional skill development and career choices for students of today.
To summarize, by setting up a business we aid in community development.
Personal benefits of being an entrepreneur are endless - Being your own boss, enjoy being creative, enjoy a sense of satisfaction when your business flourishes and so on.
Ok, now it is time to look at what are those most required skills and traits to be an entrepreneur:
• Passion - a drive to be an entrepreneur
• Creative - to come up with innovative and unique solutions
• Ability to take calculated risks
• Responsive - To be able to blend with the market fluctuations and changing demands of your consumers.
• Great communication and leadership skills.
• In-depth Knowledge and skill of finance, costing, tax, corporate laws, HR, administration and most importantly the focus area of your business.
A non-professional would look for external help on these specific areas. But as qualified professionals i.e., as a CA / CMA / CS, you already possess in-depth knowledge on the functional areas. Which means as professionals we are already half skilled to start a business. You are capable enough to make business decisions because we learn and we are trained to think business.
If you have the drive, then hone your soft-skills, gain in-depth knowledge on your business area and the stage is all yours!
• Last but not the least, Confidence. We have to train our minds that we are capable to be self-sufficient (as a country and as an individual), we are capable of starting from scratch, we are capable of taking our business to any level. And this must start from school years.
The goal has never been about being an entrepreneur or starting a company. It has always been about solving a problem we deeply care about. - Shashank ND, Practo
If you don't build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs - Dhirubhai Ambani, Reliance
Don't be afraid to assert yourself. Have confidence in your abilities and don't let anyone get you down. - Michael Bloomberg, Bloomberg
Start-up founders should learn not to impress anyone. They have to make the business work and with clever employees. - Sridhar Vembu, ZOHO (Built the country's biggest technology company providing services globally, without raising a penny from external investors)
Sources for list of successful businesses of the decade - www.wikipedia.com, www.startuptalky.com