There was a time when politics was about public service, making a difference, and politicians cared about solutions and working together. Now it seems like it has become a career and profession rather than a call for doing something productive for a greater good. I sound like a cynic, you bet! Recent events like the budget fiasco in the U.S., continuous ups and downs in the EU decision-making, and the announcement of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the Indian retail sector which was rolled back only a few days later due to opposition all point to the same things; politicians are generally out of touch with ground realities, and they act and react to things rather than have a definite roadmap for us. With financial markets see-sawing every day and economic environment so uncertain, what can we as entrepreneurs do? Plenty it seems!!
- Build Alliances: Unlike other specialized areas of management theory, Entrepreneurship is a collaborative process where you learn different things that you had no idea or training in by doing it over and over; by observing & building a network of allies, mentors, vendors to help you navigate all kinds of market environments; and partners with complementary skill sets to keep you learning and growing. Business is all about relationships, and put together, all these alliances will help you when going gets tough.
- Diversify: It’s a cliché financial planners often use to remind clients not to put all eggs in one basket as different asset classes have less than perfect correlations, and so diversifying helps in somewhat mitigating risk. It’s not a stretch to believe that if we offer different products across different price points in different markets, net effect will be less disruption to our business model and better risk management. But we ourselves forget this rule many times and have seen many businesses falter because they were too concentrated to the vagaries of one market or few clients. We don’t want to be everything to everybody, but at the same time, we need to diversify outside the core wisely.
- World is Our Oyster: Because of technology revolution, we can now connect with new, like minded people across the globe on Linked-In, post jobs on Craigslist, raise funds on Kickstarter, sell music on I-Tunes, charge credit cards on our smart phones, sell hand-made product on Etsy, write blogs on WordPress. We’re truly in a global era where there’s massive convergence in tastes and desires, and many wonderful things can happen to those who “Dare to Dream and Dream to Achieve”.
- Focus on Logistics: We may’ve the best concept, product or service in the market, but it’ll never get anywhere without fantastic logistics and customer experience. Many of the Daily Deal Sites and their Sponsor VC’s are burning through massive cash in short period of time and still are not profitable because developing logistics and marketing infrastructure is expensive and challenging. So unless our business model has something so unique that no one can live without, we better focus on logistics and delivery regardless whether it’s a product or service that we’re offering.
- Be and Stay Relevant: I recently saw a video of Ethan Allen CEO Farooq Kathwari on CNBC. His three points primarily struck a chord with me: 1. Embrace Change; 2. Restructure and Manage Chaos; and 3. Stay Relevant. No earth shattering management theory here, but clear, concise blue print for us to navigate the choppy waters of Entrepreneurship.
So let’s tune out the noisy politicians, and do what we can to survive and make this a more productive, inclusive and dynamic marketplace. What do you think?