An entrepreneur is fighting a war, a guerilla war. The enemies have more of everything: money, people and resources. They are the defenders. To stand a chance of winning, an entrepreneur needs the “Mother” of Business: Passion.
Passion is what comes from within, it is that fire and energy which can help the entrepreneur surmount even the most difficult of obstacles. Passion is perhaps the single biggest differentiator for an entrepreneur. In the words of Jack Welch, “If there’s one characteristic all winners share, it’s that they care more than anyone else. No detail is too small to sweat or too large to dream. It doesn’t mean loud or flamboyant. It’s something that comes from deep within.”
During the early days of IndiaWorld as I went and met various content providers, it was this passion which perhaps helped me convince them of their participation. In the first few minutes of the meetings, I had to make them see the future of the Internet and see me as someone who was just the perfect partner. For those brief moments, size mattered little as I sat across the table from them. It was one person to another person. It was one entrepreneur to another entrepreneur. Making people feel that they can make a bet on the person across the table, however audacious the idea, is what passion can do. It was about making them, for a fleeting moment, make them see in the person across the table, their own past, their own struggle, and make them want to say Yes.
Passion is what is most visible in the entrepreneur, who as a General also has to motivate the troops. The team an entrepreneur may not always have the best people – in fact, at the early stages of a business, it is not easy to attract the most outstanding of talent. An entrepreneur’s challenge is to infect those around with that same passion to excel, and make ordinary people do extraordinary things.
Passion is not the only thing. What is necessary for an entrepreneur’s passion to be well channelised is a strong belief, based on rationality and realism, that the war being fought can be won.
Realistic Entrepreneurs? A euphemism? No. Entrepreneurs are not trying to do impossibilities. They have a dream of tomorrow, but one that is within the realms of possibility. Entrepreneurs see the same things that every one else sees, but based on their unique experiences and thinking, are able to put these together differently. Entrepreneurship is not about taking the greatest risk known to humanity, but about reducing risk in the endeavour to create what is within the bounds of mankind.