Now, first and foremost my apologies for being off the radar last weekend. I guess many of you my fans must have really missed the weekly blog. Occasionally circumstances beyond control make me fail to fulfil my commitment. Anyway, that is that.
Then, to our topic of today! I just thought I should do more justice to the topic I started last time – I mean, critical thinking for an entrepreneur. By the way, you might ask me what things are non-critical for an entrepreneur. You might love it that way. I leave that to you. I’m talking about the things that in my opinion you cannot ignore in your entrepreneurial journey. Things that I strongly recommend you carry along or pay attention to as you practice entrepreneurship. OK?
So, in addition to the things I mentioned last time such as process, product, people, proposition, place etc, what other things are vital? Let us quickly proceed and consider them now. Even if you don’t agree with me, just come along and we see what happens.
- Logical thinking and action. Candidly, I think logical thinking and action is another critical consideration for an entrepreneur. Don’t you think so? As far as I know, the brand of entrepreneurs who always act impulsively and without logic do not last for long in the business world. Possibly you have a different idea. I don’t know. By the way, while emphasizing on logic I’m not minimizing the power of creativity and innovation that originates from the right side of the brain. Gut feeling also works for some people – but logic helps you support and strengthen that gut feeling. Do you get me? The logical left side of the brain is very useful for you Mr. Entrepreneur. This is what makes you think twice if your calculations show an abnormally huge profit – though you need profits. Isn’t it?
- Knowledge and information is power. You have got to know that you need knowledge and information Mr. Entrepreneur, and then you get on your way acquiring them. I know I have spoken so much about this in my blogs, that you might start getting tired of it. Nevertheless, I will continue to do this because the majority of entrepreneurs burn their fingers because of limited knowledge. Possibly one of my next blogs will just dwell on this alone. Knowledge and information about your business line (the specifics), general business management, the business world, economics, some mathematics etc. is critical for your entrepreneurial success. Don’t you agree with me? Come on, you might not like numbers or additions, subtractions and multiplications; but you need to know how to do business at a profit – and this is an aspect of numbers also. Short of this you might easily take some hits, blow away your capital, and blame everybody else except yourself for your business failures.
- Competition and choice. Again Mr. Entrepreneur, the business world you intend to operate in, or you are operating in, has competition and choice. These two ‘Cs’ are important for you to think critically about. Don’t ever dream that you are the only one in that location, business, industry or whatever, that has the entrepreneurial mindset or a business idea. OK? Don’t even dream that people will always come to your enterprise to get their needs and demands met. OK? I mentioned value proposition in my last blog, and instead of living in a dreamland you had better think along the value proposition, uniqueness, competitive advantage line, before you become another entrepreneurial fossil. Do you understand me my friend?
- Understand the dynamics at different stages of a business. My dear entrepreneur, you need to know that different stages of an enterprise have different needs, challenges, operational dynamics etc. If you think that the approach you used – such as holding to the cheque book very tightly – when you were in that small enterprise in one location, will work when you open branches, then you need to think twice. By the by, am not advocating for tight keeping of cheque books – leave aside those words you find our friends the bankers always write on cheque books regarding lock and key whatever. If you think that you will continue financing that enterprise from your personal savings, you will later realise that your personal savings cannot meet the enterprise demands. The big guys use public money and not personal savings. By public money I mean the capital market. I mean moneys the bankers and other finance houses mobilise and are available for borrowing. Don’t go stealing public money in the name of starting an enterprise please! I beg you.
- Risks and rewards. I’ve written about what an entrepreneur must know about risks before. There is a delicate balance between risk and reward in an enterprise. You could go back and read my article about business risks if you like. I’m not forcing you, OK? Critically, your understanding of risk and reward and how you manage this interplay, is vital for your enterprise success. If you always desire to ‘play it safe’ you might have very measured (read limited) success. Again, if you over dare, you might crash. Don’t ask me about the right balance. I will only tell you the principles. You will learn the rest from the streets of business. OK?
- Accountability and responsibility. Fellow businessmen and businesswomen (stop thinking about which should come first for now), every serious entrepreneur must critically think about accountability and responsibility. If you think that because you alone dreamt and started that business, and because of that you will deal with people, the public, staffs, government agencies etc in whatever manner you like, you are in for a big surprise! Mr. Entrepreneur, an enterprise is beyond yourself. There are many stakeholders, and if you are not careful, you will discover some stakeholders – such as the tax guys – along the way in unpleasant circumstances. Don’t say nobody told you. Do you agree with me?
- Your mindset and attitude matters very much. Again, closely connected to the issue of accountability and responsibility above, is your mindset and attitude. You need to critically think about your attitude and mindset. Don’t you think so? As a starting point, while your objective is gain or profit, money is not everything in this world. Mind about people, the environment, etc. Have a positive mental attitude (PMA – I’m not talking about Plan for Modernization of Agriculture for now, or some other thing, as you might think. He he he) because thoughts are things. Your attitude determines your altitude.
- Communicate and negotiate. I also mentioned in one of my recent articles that communication is cash. What business image are you communicating? Do you communicate effectively to all your stakeholders? Do you understand the language of negotiation and the negotiating environment? Do you know that you could negotiate your way to getting most of the things you need for your enterprise? Are you focused on getting always and not on a win-win situation?
I think I should stop here for today. It has been quite a lengthy one I guess – but it’s worthwhile after a break. Don’t you think so? Are you now beginning to see that the above are critical issues for an entrepreneur? Possibly!
And now, with every good wish.
The Wise Entrepreneur