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TECH TALK: Entrepreneur’s Enigmas

January 13th, 2003 · No Comments

The life of an entrepreneur is a confused one full of choices to be made and paths to be taken (or not). Every day brings forth its own enigmas, leaving the entrepreneur is a perpetual state of being caught between multiple worlds. And, surprising though it may seem, it is the entrepreneurs own making. It is a decision he has made of his own free will a life of continuous flux, uncertainty and unpredictability.

The life of an entrepreneur is, for the most part, a lonely one. He has few others he can talk to who can understand the situations he faces. Enigmas are an inherent part of an entrepreneurs work and life. We will explore some of the enigmas that entrepreneurs face, and how they tackle these challenges.

For an entrepreneur, the chances of success are infinitesimally small. But that does not deter him. The thrill lies not as much in reaching the destination but in the journey. An entrepreneurs first mistake could be his last. There are no right or wrong answers immediately apparent in the decisions the entrepreneur makes. There are no management case studies which can help in recreating the situations faced. For many an entrepreneur, management is learnt in the real world rather than business schools. And as such, the driver for many decisions is just raw instinct the gut.

There is an unflinching confidence an entrepreneur has in his business sometimes, too much, which can be blindsiding. An entrepreneur has no rule book the rules of the game are made up along the way. Amidst all the challenges that he faces, what rarely wavers is the entrepreneurs faith and belief that he will succeed against all odds.

Here then are some of the enigmas entrepreneurs face questions they wrestle with constantly, and the answers to any one of which could make the difference between success and failure.

Strategy vs Execution

One of the first enigmas an entrepreneur faces is on balancing thinking and action. Thinking only requires the entrepreneur looking at the big picture, while execution requires getting different people to work together in an co-ordinated manner and focusing on the details. The former is easy and controllable, the latter harder and dependent on many others to make it a success.

The danger is that in search of the perfect plan an entrepreneur overemphasizes the vision and strategy part (which he is comfortable with) and does not pay adequate attention to the execution. Just thinking through the problem and solution does not make a business. Revenues, customers and profits are what is needed, and that is much harder for a new business to garner.

Execution is the discipline of getting things done. More than the thinking, envisioning and strategizing, it is perhaps the single-most important factor that will determine the fate of a venture. Results are what matter. For results, the entrepreneur needs to, after the initial thinking is done, focus on implementation and use the feedback from the marketplace to do course-correction.

Tomorrow: Entrepreneurs Enigmas (continued)

Tags: Tech Talk

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