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Getting Down To Business: Entrepreneurship In Today’s Times

For anyone who swears by Apple, black turtlenecks will probably hold more sway than black shirts or crisp, black suits. Wozniak was the brain behind Apple 1, but he’s still the “Other Steve”.

For anyone who swears by Apple, black turtlenecks will probably hold more sway than black shirts or crisp, black suits. Wozniak was the brain behind Apple 1, but he’s still the “Other Steve”. The one who sold it, and the one behind the genesis of a $2 trillion brand megalith, continues to be the Steve who’s remembered even today.

Indian dreams too have been as great as the American ones, even in the times of a global pandemic. Last year saw 44 of them turn into Unicorns. One of them shattered a bulletproof glass ceiling. And there’s one common thread that binds together all of these tales of success: Entrepreneurial Prowess.

The Alchemy Of A Successful Entrepreneur

Wikipedia crunches down the definition of Entrepreneurship to six simple words: “The creation or extraction of value”.

This does summarize to some extent the quiddity of Entrepreneurship. But similar to how many pieces of profound advice from Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People can be married together to find success in different walks of life, the conceptual anatomy of a successful Entrepreneur is a jigsaw puzzle that comprises many traits. These are some of the crucial pieces:

a)   Customer Empathy: The cornerstone trait. Having a deep understanding of the customer’s needs is crucial for creating a product that caters to their needs and builds a strong market presence.

b)   Passion: The foundation trait. Every successful real-life entrepreneurial story begins with a protagonist who refuses to back down, no matter the odds. A passionate entrepreneur also brings commitment to the table, since they do what they do because they love what they do.

c)   Aptitude: The launchpad trait. Hard work is a prerequisite, and expertise in domain knowledge begins only when people show the willingness to put in the hard yards to acquire relevant knowledge. 

d)   Creativity & Resilience: The path-changer traits. While these words in themselves may be found on different ends of the emotional spectrum, these are the interpersonal abilities that successful entrepreneurs draw upon during times of difficulty and change.

e)   Charisma: The persona trait. While taking nothing away from Tim Cook’s presentation skills, we still remember Jobs’ keynote speeches more because of the confidence he exuded on stage. It may be in varying degrees, but founders also serve as the public faces of their brands. And having an aura of charm goes a long way in bettering brand perception.

The Entrepreneur Of The Future

The individual traits listed above will continue to serve as essentials for becoming a successful entrepreneur. But in the context of adapting to the future, it is also important to take cognizance of the changes that have altered the professional landscape in recent years:

1)   Agility in the Digital Era: Last year, the World Economic Forum listed adaptability-related skills — like active learning, stress tolerance and flexibility — among those in demand in the current job market. Increasing fluctuations in the business domain and evolving customer needs have reduced the timeframes for implementing strategic manoeuvres. Hence, being agile in methodology and adept on the digital front are prerequisites for aspiring entrepreneurs.

2)   Beyond Brick and Mortar: Over the last year or so, WFH has gained legitimacy as a conversational acronym. Remote working has changed the structure of many businesses over the past two years. As an entrepreneur, having the wherewithal to navigate the virtual workplace is a must.

3)   Diversity: This shift had happened at a relatively slower pace during the last decade. But global tumult over the past few years has sparked conversations about using the corporate apparatus for societal development . Since companies are now shifting focus to inclusion, cultural awareness, gender equality and other concepts of workplace egalitarianism, entrepreneurs too need to be keyed into these dynamics.    

As the pandemic continues to catalyze the evolution of the professional domain, entrepreneurs too need to constantly rewrite their narratives to stay relevant in these changing times.