Starting up is great but staying the course is key

22 Apr, 2016

What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur? Ability to take risks, a great idea, passion…I believe it takes much more. But you don't have to know all of that when you start or are a few years into your business. You need to learn, at every step, in a structured manner to make your entrepreneurial dream turn into reality. As individuals and professionals, we cannot stop learning even for a single day.

I am often asked whether entrepreneurship can really be taught? And my prompt and emphatic response to them is 'yes'. A detailed understanding and learning on entrepreneurship can give you insights like never before, giving you a fighting chance to survive in the challenging world of entrepreneurship. Starting up is great, and I am excited to see our country witness an unprecedented wave of entrepreneurship. To me, however, staying the course is the key differentiator.

Learning entrepreneurship does not mean that you will suddenly chance upon a great idea or have a renewed passion or your risk taking capability will tremendously increase overnight. What it will give you is perspective, it will help you identify a good idea from a bad one by learning from others, it will help you think like a consumer, it will help you keep your passion alive through all the ups and downs in the journey through networking, it will help you take calculated risks by observing the paths successful and not-so-successful entrepreneurs have taken, and above all, it will eradicate the mindset of failure. Being a counter-intuitive subject, a traditional teaching approach doesn't work for entrepreneurship. One needs to look at it heuristically and learn from the experiences of others; exposure to what's happening around and real-time mentoring is essential. There are many examples – both successes and failures - from which we can learn a lot.

A key milestone in India's entrepreneurial journey would be introduction of entrepreneurship learning right from school or college

If you are sitting on a disruptive product or business idea, an entrepreneurial learning will help you take your first steps with understanding it. If you've been running your own company for a few years, and scale, brand and value creation are some of the crossroads for you now, educating yourself on this will help you take your business to the next level. For an existing entrepreneur, even revisiting what pain points you are solving helps give you a great deal of clarity.

If you have always feared failure or are not confident in your risk-taking capabilities, but that has not stopped you from diving head-on into the world of entrepreneurship, equipping yourself with an understanding of others' failures and understanding that failure is never the end of the road is essential.

A key milestone in India's entrepreneurial journey would be introduction of entrepreneurship learning right from school or college, so that we have young India fuelled with knowledge and raring to pursue its dreams. More than 40% of millennials want to do something of their own and we need to provide them support at every stage if we want to become the numero uno country for entrepreneurship.

I strongly believe that only if we make entrepreneurship a discipline in our country, will we be able to succeed in harnessing its full potential with the most energetic and passionate people. There is a strong need for our country to inculcate entrepreneurial thinking in its citizens.

The author is founder of UTV Software Communications and former managing director of Disney UTV India. An entrepreneur and investor, he now has a new set of businesses – U Education, USports and UDigital – and has also invested in several startups through his private equity firm Unilazer Ventures Pvt. Ltd.