Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for people starting their own businesses?
Based on my experiences, there are three things that Id like to tell people starting their own businesses:
Dream Big: I think vision is very important. More than anything else, it is the Vision Thing that drives an entrepreneur. Passion comes from the Vision the ability to see a future that is different from today. It is this future that the entrepreneur seeks to create. This is the higher-level purpose that an entrepreneur has to build something that does not exist, to explore horizons that others have not. Never be afraid to dream big, but then also take steps to make that dream a reality.
Use Failure as a Teacher: An entrepreneur must be prepared to experience and learn from failure. As an entrepreneur, there will be more down days than up days. These days and periods test the entrepreneurs patience. There are times when one may feel like just giving up. But one must persevere. Failure and success are two sides of the same coin. One will come with the other. Success hides the problems, failures magnify them. It is failure that teaches us how to do things right provided we are prepared to accept failure and learn from it.
Combine Optimism with Realism: Even as entrepreneurs are the ultimate optimists (and they have to be), that has to be tempered with the ability to also confront reality. A balance is needed. In the early stages of a venture, it is only the optimism of the entrepreneur that will help tide over the challenges. But as time goes on, it is also necessary to do course correction based on the reality of the situation. Entrepreneurs have to be careful not to be blind-sided by developments, and for this it is necessary to expose themselves to alternate viewpoints.
In addition, I would recommend reading the columns on entrepreneurship (much of it based on my personal experiences) that I have written on my weblog:
An Entrepreneur’s Growth Challenge (Sep 2004)
Creating Options (Sep 2004)
From Employee to Entrepreneur (Aug 2004)
A Tale of Two Summers (Aug 2004)
Crucible Experiences (May 2004)
The Company (May 2004)
An Entrepreneur’s Attributes (Nov 2003)
An Entrepreneur’s Early Days (Sep 2003)
Reflections on Ideas and Entrepreneurship (Jul 2003)
Entrepreneur’s Enigmas (Jan 2003)
The Entrepreneur’s Delights (Sep 2002)
Life as an Entrepreneur (Oct 2001)
Leadership Lessons from Lagaan (Aug 2001)
Entrepreneurial Learnings (July 2001)
Entrepreneurship (Mar 2001)
tech talk my life as an entrepreneur+T