In this series of “A to Z of Entrepreneurship” I have been covering various aspects regarding entrepreneurship, qualities and traits of an entrepreneur, Challenges for an entrepreneurs and opportunities available for them in business world. In my previous blogs, I covered below alphabets :
A: Attitude B: Business Plan C- Capital D- Discipline
E- Enthusiasm F- Failure- A Stepping Stone G- Goals
In this blog, I will be covering next 5 alphabets H, I, J, K, and L.
H- Honesty is Still the best policy
”Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” – Thomas Jefferson
Rajat Gupta an alumnus of IIT, Delhi and Harward Business School, achieved stellar heights in corporate world in India and America but reduced to a convict in one of the biggest insider trading cases in USA. Chanda Kochar Cost Accountant ( ICWA) and Gold Medallist in MBA from prestigious Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management, Mumbai, Padam Vibhushan awardee, became MD and CEO of ICICI Bank, the largest Private Sector Bank of India, had to step down abruptly from ICICI Bank amid charges of corruption and cheating. High profile CEO of Yes Bank, Rana Kapoor got arrested for alleged fraud and embezzlement of funds.
Above examples are learning lessons for young entrepreneurs as why Honesty, ethics, trustworthiness, moral values and Integrity are of paramount important in business and professional life.
Most entrepreneurs face ethical and moral dilemmas on daily basis. It is easy to succumb to the temptations of finding a short cut to reap gains for success in business. While giving in to illegal, unethical and immoral practices could lead to short term gains, it is harmful for the growth and reputation of the company in the long run, As someone rightly said ” Success without integrity is failure”
A successful business is not just about impressive top line, bottom line, product range or technology edge : Success also has a lot to do with an ethics based in Management philosophy, organisation culture and business practices. So entrepreneurs need to understand that there can be no compromise when it comes to honesty and ethics and there are no easy short cuts to success.
Companies like Tata, Mahindra, Wipro, Infosys , HDFC etc. have a strong ethical culture and this is the main reason for longevity and survival of these businesses.
I- Idea to Execution
Every startup begins with an idea, but from that point forward, it’s all about execution. What truly differentiates, successful businesses from unsuccessful ones is the way in which the idea behind the business has been executed. Converting an idea into a reality (regardless of the required investment of time, money and resources) is never an easy task. In fact, it is extremely difficult. Whether you are an entrepreneur or corporate executive, “giving ideas life” is much like giving birth to a child. The ability to execute an idea at the right time, leveraging the right resources and turning odds in your favour is what truly differentiates an entrepreneur. Success does not necessarily come from a breakthrough idea but from impeccable execution. A great idea alone won’t help win a battle; It is important to also know the difference in creating a strategy and implementing it in a cut-throat business environment.
J- Judicious Decisions
As an entrepreneur, you have to take number of decisions on a daily basis. These decisions can make or break the future of your business. There is no full proof mechanism to have 100% right decisions but certainly by having scientific approach we can take decisions which are based on gathering right information and assessing alternative resolutions.
Here is the 7 steps process of effective decision making :
Step- 1 Identify the Decision
You realise that you need to make a decision. Try to clearly define the nature of the decision you must make. this first step is very important.
Step- 2 Gather relevant information
Collect some pertinent information before you make decision, what information is needed , the best source of information, how to get this information. Some of the information are available internally and for some information you may have to depend on external sources.
Step- 3 Identify the alternatives
As you collect information , you will probably identify several possible paths of action or alternatives. In this step, you will list all possible and desirable alternatives.
Step-4 Weigh the evidence
Evaluate whether need identified in step 1 would be met or resolved through the use of each alternatives. Place the various alternative decisions in priority order based on your gut feeling and experience.
Step -5 Choose among alternatives
Once you have weighed all the evidence, you are ready to select the alternatives that seems to be the best one for you.
Step- 6 Take Action
Now you are ready to take some positive action by beginning to implement the alternative you chose in step 5.
Step -7 Review your decision
In this final step , consider the results of your decision and evaluate whether or not it has resolved the need you identified in step 1.
Story of Yahoo: How wrong and delayed decisions can change the future of business :
• In 1998, Yahoo had the chance to buy Google for $1-2 Million in its initial stage since incorporation. They said Google’s Page Rank is not worth to buy.
• In 2002, Yahoo had a chance to buy Google for $5 Billion. Yahoo backed out by stating that Google is overvalued.
• In 2008, Microsoft proposed to acquire Yahoo for $45 Billion. Yahoo rejected the offer by stating that they are undervalued by Microsoft.
• Finally Yahoo got sold to Verizon for a mere $4.8 Billion while Google is being valued at over $1000 Billion today . It’s a fraction not only price offered to Yahoo by Verizon, but also of what Yahoo was worth throughout much of its public life.
Getting your technical and Management knowledge from Engineering colleges or Business Schools are important. As an entrepreneur , you must acquire and enhance your knowledge base. You can have few role models in business world to whom you look for motivation when it comes to making big in Industry. Learning from those who have achieved their own success is an excellent way to enhance your knowledge of business. Below are the some of the biographies and books, you can read to learn the intricacies and challenges of business world.
Dhirubhai Ambani -Against All Odds: This book takes a thorough look into the life of one of India’s biggest business tycoons, Dhirubhai Ambani. The founder of Reliance Industries has seen phenomenal success in his lifetime, and this rise has prevented many people from looking beyond the wealth. This book is about the man that Ambani was, and the struggles that he went through in order to attain such heights.
Business Maharajas: In this book author Gita Piramal, chronicled the story of business tycoons like Rahul Bajaj, Aditya Birla, R.P.Goenka, B.M.Khiatan,Bharat Shah and Ratan Tata. Most of them have faced up and downs which are part and parcel of the business world. By any yardstick, the achievements of these men would rank among the great business stories of our time. How did these men build their enormous empires? What are their management secrets? How did they thrive and prosper even as others failed? What is their vision for the future? This book gives answer to all these questions.
The Magic of Thinking Big : In this book, Dr.David Schwartz elaborates on the ageless principle of ‘you become what you think’. What is so refreshing about this book is the very practical approach to the problems and the offering of subtle solutions. This book does not ask you to write some self-assuring line for 100 times daily. This book does not ask you to stare at yourself in a mirror – except on one rare occasion – and repeat some ‘magical phrase’ so many times to encourage yourself. All this book asks you is to “think and to think BIG.“
The Tata Group: From Torchbearers to Trailblazers: The Tatas are known for salt, software, cars, communications, housing, hospitality, steel and gold. But how did they come so far? How did they groom leadership, delight customers, drive business excellence and acquire global corporations? How did they maintain a brand and corporate values that are considered the gold standard? This definitive book tells riveting tales and provides insider accounts of the adventure and achievement, conflict and compassion, dilemmas and decisions of dozens of Tata companies.
Believe to Succeed like Azim Premji:We must remain ‘trustees’ of our wealth for society, not its owners. — Azim Premji To decode success, one must borrow a leaf from an accomplished life. In this book, author Rajiv Agarwal, shows the strategies used by the czar of the Indian IT industry, Azim Premji, to chart his route for success.He shares an insight into the vision and principles of a man who started his entrepreneurial journey with a small vegetable oil company at the young age of 21 and went on to build Wipro, one of India’s leading IT organizations.
N.R. Narayana Murthy : A Biography : This book takes you through the fascinating journey of a seventeen year old who had to sacrifice his entry into the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology because his father did not have money to pay his fees, and who ultimately came up in life to head a global Information Technology company. NRN Murthy had no money, no family backing, but just a quiet gritty determination, and faith in what he believed was the future of business. The one constant factor throughout his life journey has been the adherence to the values he imbibed from his family, which he has personally and professionally lived by – hard work, fairness, decency, honesty, transparency,striving for excellence and belief in meritocracy.
Apart from these books you should also keep yourself updated by reading Financial newspapers like Economic Times and business magazines. You should also use professional networking site like Linkedin to connect with right people. You should also watch my YouTube Video on Marwari business Mantra to get insights about their business acumen, frugal working practices, networking skills and financial planning.
An entrepreneur needs to lead a team to get success in business world. However many entrepreneurs and business owners focus their attention on everything except how they are leading the teams. An entrepreneur, has to see a big picture, he has to pick right person for the right job, he has to take tough business decisions, he has to motivate people, he has to steer his business in right direction, and he has to set objectives and goals of the organization.
Former president of India , missile man Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam in his biographical book explained important 6 traits a leader must have. First, the leader must have vision. Second, the leader must be able to travel into an unexplored path. Third, the leader must know how to manage success, and even more importantly, failure, the fourth trait is that the leader should have the courage to make decisions. Fifth, the leader should have nobility in management. Every action of the leader should be transparent. And finally, the leader should work with integrity and succeed with integrity. Below anecdote of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam is one of the best example how a leader behaves in managing success and failures.
Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam was the Project Director of SLV mission and Prof. Satish Dhawan was the Chairman of ISRO at that time. That was the first time India was building its own rocket launch vehicle in Sri Harikota,India. After ten years of hard struggle, they were ready to launch their first experimental rocket Rohini on August 10,1979
The Countdown started and Dr.Kalam along with six other experts monitoring the launch anxiously. When it was four minutes before the satellite launch, the computer began to go through the checklist of items that needed to be checked. One minute later, the computer program put the launch on hold; the display showed that some control components were not in order. Everyone was stunned not knowing whether to proceed or not. The whole country was waiting for the good news.
The experts advised Dr. Kalam to go ahead with the launch and they were confident about their calculations. The decision was Dr.Kalam’s to take and he decided to bypass the computer, switched to manual mode, and launched the rocket. In the first stage, everything worked fine. In the second stage, a problem developed. Instead of the satellite going into orbit, the whole rocket system plunged into the Bay of Bengal. It was a big failure.
The whole world media was waiting for the press meet curious to know what had happened. Dr.Kalam was very frightened to face the media and answer their criticism of wasting millions of people’s money. Prof.Satish Dhawan, the chairman of ISRO took Dr.Kalam to the press meet and made him sit aside and he took the blame for the team’s failure and said “We failed! But I have a very good trust in my team that next time we will be succeeding for sure” and made everyone to believe in the team.
Next year, 18 July 1980, the same team led by Dr.Kalam successfully launched Rohini RS-1 into the orbit! The whole country was proud and cheering for the success of the launch. Prof. Satish Dhawan congratulated Dr.Kalam and the team and asked Dr.Kalam to conduct the press conference that day!
Well, this sums up what Leadership is all about! Leadership is not just about ‘leading’ someone to achieve a task but is about ’empowering’ someone to achieve greater deeds.
This is the 3rd blog in the series of “A to Z Of Entrepreneurship” (Series of 6 blogs). Hope you might have found it useful in your entrepreneurship journey.
About Author: Nitesh Kataria is Pune based Marketing Professional having 23 years of Experience in Sales & Marketing, Business development, Digital Marketing, Advertising, Branding and Distribution network Management. He can be reached at 9822918211