Trigger the Entrepreneur in You

The thought rolls back to days when we used to pore over discriminating the terminologies ‘Engineering’ and ‘Technology’. As given to understand, Engineering is a design process bringing in innovative thinking and customized solutions in any field, be it construction, power distribution or design of machine intelligence. And by contrast, Technology is a process or tool to execute these designs. Over twenty five years back, as a young engineering aspirant, some of us have debated on this dichotomy of nomenclature, a civil-mechanical-electrical engineering as against a chemical-production technology. Nevertheless, ‘a professional course’ as we call it moulds and directs the student to make a profession of his/her stream of study. Apart from the opportunities in the mainstream functional areas like Project management, Design, Research & Development, or Pedagogy, the quintessential commonality in all streams of study also helps ‘the engineer’ adapt to swings of the market and make smart shifts in career. Year 2000, for instance witnessed a phenomenal shift of career of engineers from all streams of study into IT, a sector which then exhibited a tectonic boom.

Till a decade ago, our country continued to run short of the number of engineers produced annually as against the intake in both the private and public sectors as per a survey. The statistics shows that engineering colleges sprung up in number from a fair 1500 colleges in 2007 to a mind-boggling 3300 in 2015 in India, with a small state of Kerala alone shouldering over 150 engineering colleges. Has this lowered the bar or shrunk the demand for the profession, is for experts to comment. However, living facts like, India presently churns out more engineers than US and china put together, may add food to these thoughts. Haven’t we stratified multifarious our output of engineers in India. The premier group of IITs followed by a group of corporate backed institutes, NITs, the pick of state colleges and then the rest. On one, we see a brilliant topper from IIT Mumbai walk away with a plum crore plus annual CTC on campus placements and on the other an engineer from strata lower down, still struggling for an upkeep in the initial years. A leading UK based global recruiter firm suggested that engineering roles were the hardest to fill as has been agreed upon by 45% of recruiters globally. As per Nasscom report in 2011 only 17.5% of engineering graduates were deemed employable. India’s information technology industry spends nearly $1 billion a year to make them job-ready, the report said. Again, telling upon the prevalent quality crunch. Eventually we heard reports like, over 50% merit quota seats vacant in Kerala, AICTE bringing down the number of engineering seats by six lakhs etc.

The scenario here triggers the need for an entrepreneurial upbringing of our young engineers. If we track the career path of engineers from premier institutes in India in the recent past we can see that a good share of them either venture on their own or take a short term industry exposure and then go enterprising. The story from the premium B schools in India is no different. Moreover their curriculum itself introduces entrepreneurship. IITs and IIMs have shown growing fervor for entrepreneurship with as high as 4-5% of students preferring startups to plush placement offers. At IIM Kozhikode 15 of the batch passed out the previous year are entrepreneurs. A recent report reveals that 41 students out of the new batch of various IITs are at various stages of their startup blueprints. Interesting statistics there! The question is, why are such initiatives just restricted to premium institutes and not others? Why can’t we raise the bar and bridge the gap. To be a successful entrepreneur is perhaps the toughest of all assignments, but certainly the most gratifying one at the end of the day.

Let’s go through a few successful examples. Sachin and Binny Bansal, two ex-IITians from Delhi after some initial exposure in Amazon, ventures into an e-commerce start up in 2007 beginning with small transactions of book and electronics. Now, in less than eight years the company has evolved into a billion dollar business house Flipkart, on an M&A spree gobbling over all small timers. The case study of Make my trip, OLX and UBERs of the world, unfolds similar success stories. A 19 year old young lad, a Harvard sophomore invented a networking tool with a simple intention of getting connected to his friends in college, in 2004 which turned an instant hit. The site now is one of the biggest in the world with over 40crore connections, Facebook by Mark Zuckerberg. Endless goes the success stories of startups in India. This is not just restricted to the IT and e-commerce sector. Services sector, logistics etc also has witnessed flavors of success through startups. Redbus, Taxi4sure goes the names of innumerable startups conceived by brilliant young engineers and in a span of just 7-8 years established a, strong brand equity. Grey orange robotics established in 2009 is the first of its kind venture offering logistics automation solution. Robots move shelves stacked with various products scanning barcodes, yet again the brainchild of two BITs pilani youngsters.

“Zao Foods”, a Mitali Khalra vision to inculcate a habit of eating nutritious food. She came up with ‘cafe Crostini’ in south delhi. Indiblogger. in was started as a free blogging platform, but the founders had some bigger game plans, to connect the corporate world, companies and brands to their customers as a revenue model.

‘Under the mango tree’, a social venture promoting bee keeping, by Vijaya Pastala, an MIT alumni took 14 years to establish. Swapnil kamat and his wife Ruchira had to undergo hardships before establishing their dream venture, Work Better-Training and Development, an executive training company focusing on teaching behavioral and cognitive skills to corporate employees. Helpingdoc. com, an online venture by a team of medical professionals conceptualized the idea of providing medical support online. An overview reveals that, innovative ideas have explored all facets of life, low cost energy, artificial intelligence, robotics, biotech, health, fashion, food, technology, service, and what not. Investors are now running after genuine ideas of business to fund for. Not just the angel investors or venture capitalists but even the corporate allot funds to invest in startups.

Ratan Tata, the ‘Tata group’ honcho, stepping aside from the day-to-day responsibilities of the corporate conglomerate, took interest in investing in 10 startup ventures shortlisted. The investments typically vary between 1-5 Crore and spread across dotcoms, health care, clean energy etc. The pick of them all is ‘Swasth India’, a Mumbai based affordable healthcare setup providing medical services to low income population, again an IIT Mumbai alumni venture. Franchise India, recently hosted a forum in Mumbai inviting business ideas. We also have Pro Bono consultants providing services to startups non-profit with social relevance and commitments. IIT Mumbai has an Entrepreneurship Cell, a non-profit independent student body which instills the spirit of entrepreneurship among students and working professionals. The Entrepreneur cell of IIT Kharagpur recently held an entrepreneur awareness drive, a massive initiative to encourage students across the country to embrace the concept of entrepreneurship. These E-cells incubates startup ideas by connecting investors and entrepreneurs of similar interests. The Global entrepreneur summit, Eureka – International Business plan competition etc are some of the events which drive the young budding engineers. IIT Chennai also runs an incubation cell C-Tides and Research Park for Startups. Kerala is no behind in startup initiatives and promotions. We have Kerala Startups Society, a not-for-profit organization with the objective of building a vibrant startup ecosystem. Regular meets are organized to interact with investors, successful entrepreneurs and players. Based in the IT technology park- Trivandrum, is Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) formerly known as ‘Techno-park-Technology Business Incubator’. Under the guidance of Kris Gopalakrishnan of Infosys we have the startup village, another technology business incubator in kochi.

An innovative business model is all about identifying a social problem to work an effective solution. Thus the startup drive is not just a commercial drive but one of social relevance. A friend of mine recently travelling from Orlando airport to the hotel while on a business tour took an airport cab to destination paying about 90 bucks, but on return smartly took a Uber cab for as low as 25bucks for the same distance. A cost effective solution offered here. A decade ago if one planned a multi city travel in India, it involved a lot of planning and follow-ups with travel agents, hotels, cabs etc. Whereas now it all gets done in a jiffy fiddling with a chosen smart mobile App. Instance of life made easy and smart with start ups. Understandably the mortality rate of startups, are high and not all ventures flourish evenly. But for the youth it is a learning curve to introspect, re-model, and evolve to success.

The recent business visits by the Indian PM to the US, EU and middle east especially the one to the silicon valley, has generated overwhelming response in terms of investments proposals to India. The digital India drive by the Prime minister intends to generate innovative ideas in digital Technologies which include Cloud Computing and Mobile Applications. As we all know the new generation engineer is sharp, innovative and creative with a higher level of IQ than their predecessors. Now we have the brains, the bucks, the governance and all it takes is some out-of-the-box thinking to churn out the “ideas”. Let the academia with the conducive faculty instill this passion in our youths.

May the buzz line for the budding engineers be ‘trigger the entrepreneur in you’. Thank you!

(The writer is a Mumbai based corporate marketer)

How to Be a Successful Entrepreneur – Making Decisions, Part 4 of 6

Placed Successfully!

Congratulations! You are really doing well with your deep dive into planning, making conscious choices, sorting through a number of decisions, and crafting your strategy for starting a business. It might feel a little overwhelming – or maybe it feels a bit tedious and slow – but hopefully it is bringing you clarity and narrowing your focus! What you are doing now is ensuring your success and the ability to sustain your venture. You’re not leaping without thinking. Being actively engaged in creating a process is a lot of work and it will really help keep you moving in a common sense, organized fashion!

One of the things to consider is where do you want to do business. What are some of your options?

WHERE, personally, would you like to do business?

  • from your home with unrestricted hours (to meet a variety of time zones or because your life and work are intertwined by choice)
  • from your home, knowing that you are a part-time resident of several locations rather than of one year-round residence
  • from your home with standard business hours
  • from an office but with trips to clients, for instance, as a consultant or insurance broker or financial adviser
  • from a retail environment – your store or restaurant, for example)
  • from out in the field (think about drilling wells or training horses)
  • from a warehouse or manufacturing environment

WHERE would you like to your customers to be?

  • in cyberspace, shopping online from you
  • In your local market only (ie, someone who comes directly to your store for purchases)
  • In regional markets
  • In domestic only markets
  • In a combination of domestic and international markets
  • Only in one foreign country – or anywhere overseas

WHERE would you like your customers to work?

  • Are you selling directly to individual consumers (B2C)
  • Are you selling only to other businesses (B2B)
  • Are you selling to companies in a certain revenue category – only Fortune 500 companies, for example
  • Are you selling only to non-profits
  • Are you selling only to schools or to government entities or to religious organizations

WHERE can you access things important to small business start-ups – and what things are important to new business?

  • How many patents are issued per 10,000 people (the national average is 1.8)
  • What is the cost of living and can you find access to affordable and/or flexible lease space (the Council for Community and Economic Research calculates cost of living indexes specifically for the self-employed)
  • Can you find creative talent and/or a skilled work-force (what is the density of universities and/or tech schools and community colleges with job-training programs)
  • Is there a density of small businesses and/or incubators with a track record of creating start-ups
  • Is there access to private seed capital and/or a track record of such monies being available to start-ups
  • Is there a state income tax
  • What is the franchise tax cap
  • What are the local zoning laws (including parking regulations) and do they allow for or promote co-working space
  • Are there regular gatherings or networking events for start-up minded folks?
  • Are there financial incentives and are there mentoring opportunities, some of which are often provided by business incubators or business accelerator programs
  • Is there access to low-interest business loans
  • Is there access to government contracts
  • What is the corporate tax rate
  • Are there tax credits available promoting certain industries or certain geographic locations

The fact is new businesses start everyday and they start even in places that can’t claim to have everything on the list above. If you are willing to move and interested in moving, you might increase your odds of success by making a decision to move to a location that meets the majority of the considerations listed above. I happen to be quite fond of Beaufort and believe there are many attributes here that will contribute to your success, not the least of which is quality of place. My personal bias says that living in Beaufort, SC – a community where people you don’t know wave when they drive by or say hello when they walk by, with people who slow down to let you walk your dog across the street or who stop to chat in the grocery line even if it slows things down, a place that celebrates our Gullah influences, our French beginnings, our military presence and sacrifice, and a place that provides beautiful flowers and bench swings so that living here is calming and visually pleasant – means living in a place where you are reminded that being an entrepreneur is just one component of your life, a life that is interconnected with family, friends, and community. And besides, the more of us who commit to being part of job creation and the entrepreneurial scene here in Beaufort, the more vibrant our town will become!


  • DO keep constantly in mind that planning to start a business is a process that requires you to lay a foundation. Keep deliberately slogging through this decision making process in order to create a business that meets your needs and lifestyle
  • DO consider your flexibility, or lack of it, in considering where you want to live when you start your business and as you grow your business. If you start a business with a physical location you have committed yourself to staying put. That is neither negative nor positive – just make sure you have decided in advance you are content with that outcome.
  • DO consider whether traveling is something you want or can accommodate. A good friend recently advised me he logged over 200,000 flying miles last year – and he has twin 9-yr-olds at home. He loves his work and is very successful – and he loves his family. But it takes a lot of energy to travel that much and there are very real sacrifices made by all because of the type of business he does. I also know of people who limit their travel by limiting the frequency and destination of their trips. But they go on buying trips to places they would have traveled even wthout a business. Having a business purpose to visit their favorite places is a real bonus for them on a number of levels!


  • Don’t choose a new location for starting a business based on the false pretense that the grass is always greener somewhere else. If moving makes sense after doing your research and laying your foundation, then go. But don’t go TO somewhere new just to get away FROM your current dissatisfaction. Problems have a bad habit of traveling with you so it’s best to fix things right here first.
  • Don’t minimize the impact of a move on your family members. If you aren’t single, consider the issue of ‘the trailing spouse’ – will there be things your ‘significant other’ can do for work and recreation that they will enjoy enough to make the move satisfactory to both of you? These days we often spread out pretty far geographically but it does create considerations when there is a need to be close to aging parents or a desire to be close to young grandchildren. Don’t forget to consider the whole big picture when deciding on the best location for your new business and it’s success.


  1. Sit down and review this article. Write down where you want to work from ideally, where you anticipate your customers will come from, where you anticipate the bulk of your sales to come from, and where there are resources that your business will need for its success.
  2. Think about where you spend the majority of your time now and where you’d like to spend your time – in one place year-round, in one location for the summer and a different one for the winter, not currently tied anywhere and interested in visiting or living briefly in as many places as possible? Also think about where your family members are now and determine if their circumstances will affect yours in the next 1-2 years and the next 5-10 years, and think about how this might affect your choice of where (and how) you want your business to operate. Depending on the type of business you choose and its success, you may create greater freedom through increased flexibility and finances. If these are your goals be sure you are clear on the outcome you want and in understanding if the business you propose to start will indeed land you this outcome.

2 Simple Steps Before Starting Your Business

There is so much small business information available today that it’s easy to be bogged down by the sheer volume of it all. Where does one start? Well, it’s safe to say not all the information you’ll receive will be of equal value. So it’s important to be discerning when you’re thinking about applying any suggestions to your new business. In many cases, you’ll find some suggestions don’t match your business type, management style, budget, or industry. This could lead to wasted dollars spent and time lost. So learning how to research and compile information will be key in developing a plan that is tailored to fit your business needs.

What I suggest is a methodical and basic approach to starting your business. No matter what the industry, in most cases, these two initial steps will always be the same.

  1. Take a crash course in small business. There is no better place to start then Not only will you find dozens of free tutorials on business planning and managing but you will also find important information regarding legalizing your business in respect to your location and your industry. In addition, you will find links to other leading small business sites and resources. Visit the site and remember to bookmark this page. Try to develop a schedule and visit the site on a regular basis to familiarize yourself with small business ownership and all its related issues, regulations, requirements, and rewards.
  2. Network with other small business owners. Join community websites specifically geared towards small business owners so you can find solutions to common problems such as time management and financing. It’s also the best way to build a support system while you are planning to launch your business. Some entrepreneurs give up because they feel they are going at it alone! But there are so many other people out there going through the same challenges and are more than happy to assist you.

Don’t let your confusion or the amount of information available overwhelm you into paralysis. Once you’ve gained knowledge on how to become a successful entrepreneur don’t stop there. Each day try to work more and more towards formalizing your plans. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Remember, you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you but these first two steps will ensure you don’t head into entrepreneurship ill-prepared.

Success University – Enhance Your Direct Marketing Skills Today

Do you want to develop your marketing plans? How can you develop your direct marketing skills? How can you boost up your business online? With these questions in mind, you will be able to analyze what you have to do with your direct marketing skills. What career path would you like to have concerning about your business?

If you have a business online and you are having a hard time getting customers or readers’ attention, chances are your marketing skills are not working for your business. Time to do some changes in your methods and apply new ones that could help boost your direct marketing skills. And that is where Success University could help you. If you would like to have a career in direct marketing, learn the techniques, develop more of your personality about marketing, then Success University is for you.

With Success University, you can develop and improve more of your entrepreneurial skills. You will be able to plan better ideas, apply new marketing principles and strategic planning in your direct marketing skills. Success University will be able to help you have that marketing attitude that could get prospective clients listen and deal with you. You become a man of integrity and you will learn to listen to clients, become responsive with whatever benefits they would like to ask from you. You will be more attentive of the details in your business by being more focused, straightforward and driven. The proper attitude, advance methods, and principles in marketing will be shared and taught to you by the best teachers in the marketing and business industry. You will get to hear from the top entrepreneurs how they have developed and found ways to add to their direct marketing skills. You will be more creative with your ideas and business strategies that could wow potential clients. Success University will give you a strong foundation in the elements of direct marketing. You will build your skills faster, avoid mistakes, and enhance your marketing ideas.

Enrolling at Success University will teach you the proper ways of marketing and business elements. You will learn everything that you need to know about strategic planning, business elements, entrepreneurship, and marketing attitude. You will have the guarantee that you will be well informed what with enough resources available to enhancing your direct marketing skills. You will have preferences in your marketing media as well, since Success University is an online education, it will also provide better options for your marketing media.

Boosting your career in marketing will give you the result of making it big in your online business. To achieve this, you have to get the right information, proper tools and develop a better personality that will mold you into a better entrepreneur. Take the best education for you because you deserve to have the best in your career.

To get the quality education in direct marketing and to learn how you can improve and become a better entrepreneur, opt for Success University where you will learn the skills and methods. Get the right education for you. Enhance your direct marketing skills at Success University and you will learn what success really means.

The Potency of Your Plan A

It is a truism that anybody that aspires to succeed must have a plan. This is because even though success normally starts with a dream, without a good plan, nothing tangible can be achieved. But with a good plan reinforced with determination and energy that can be constantly available by persistently recharging your inner batteries, you will be able to safely paddle your canoe to the shore of success. In business, for instance, if your desire is to achieve success, you need to have a well-composed business plan that communicates the direction of your business in a bid to accomplish the most important goal, that is, profitability


Naturally, to be able to successfully execute your plan, you need to be flexible. So, flexibility is one of the fundamentals critical to easy execution of your plan through which you can achieve success. If your initial plan does not work, you can always modify it to be able to reach your desired destination of prosperity. This is the efficacy of Plan B. What is Plan B?

Explanation and importance of Plan B

Diversification is very critical to success in all areas of life. That is why countries that cherish fast development diversify their economy. Therefore, to achieve success in time or avoid relying on just a financial source of survival, individuals and organisations need to have Plan B in addition to Plan A. Basically, Plan A is the plan you will use if things work out as expected, while Plan B is the alternative plan you will switch over to if Plan A fails.

Just like I said in my background information to the review of the book “The Power of Plan B”, written by Sam Asekunowo, there is no denying the fact many corporate organisations close down today due to lack of an alternative plan in the event that things fail to go as initially planned. Many workers also lack Plan B with which to cushion themselves against sudden loss of their job(s). Self-employment or entrepreneurship may be the Plan B of workers that have vision. Lack of Plan B is like putting one’s car on the road for a long journey without a spare tyre.

Paradoxical potency of Plan A

Even though it is always stressed that flexibility is critical to successful execution of one’s plan, and Plan B is therefore repeatedly echoed as a powerful alternative means of achieving tremendous success, Plan A is very paradoxically critical to success. As opposed to the general notion that you need to diversify your strategy or planning by having Plans A and B, and even relying on Plan B for enduring success, there are times that you need to rely on Plan A alone to be able to succeed.

Let me clarify the paradox. An employee with a vision normally has Plans A and B. His or her Plan A may be paid employment while Plan B may be self-employment or entrepreneurship. The moment he or she starts his or her business later, the initial Plan B, that is, self-employment or entrepreneurship now becomes his or her Plan A while the former Plan A, that is, paid employment now becomes his or her Plan B.

In the same vein, if somebody is very passionate about self-employment or entrepreneurship right from school, and immediately he or she graduates, he or she starts his or her own business, it means his or her Plan A is self-employment or entrepreneurship, while Plan B is paid employment. To be able to achieve success in these two scenarios of resigning to start your own business and starting your business immediately after graduation from school, one needs to stick to one’s Plan A and discard Plan B, which is paid employment. If not, one’s Plan A, that is, self-employment or entrepreneurship may never work because of the confidence that one has the alternative plan of paid employment.


In the words of ken Gaub, a great motivational speaker, “Early in our planning process,… flexibility is fine, but as we get closer to our goals, it becomes necessary to commit. The time comes when we must get rid of Plan B, or Plan A never will work.”

In the same notional vein, William Matthews, a motivational speaker says the first law of success is concentration, bending all the energies to one point, and going directly to that point without looking to the right or left.

John Mason, a renowned motivational speaker reinforces this assertion by saying the most successful people have always been those of concentration who have struck their blows in one place until they have accomplished their goals. “They are of one specific idea, one steady aim, a single and concentrated purpose,” Mason expatiates.

Linguistic illustration

As a linguist/grammarian, I would like to further justify potency of Plan A by illustrating with Noam Chomsky’s Mentalism theory of language. Why is it that while children (automatically or easily) ACQUIRE languages in the second-language environment by mere exposure to those languages (that are not their mother tongue), adults undergo stress to LEARN those languages that are not their mother tongue or first language? Chomsky establishes in his language theory of Mentalism that the simple reason is that children have a natural Language Acquisition Device (LAD) that makes them speak languages automatically whether their mother tongue or a second language.

Beyond the LAD, children are able to easily acquire all languages in their linguistic environment because they stick to their linguistic Plan A. That is, they will continue to be committed to any target second language by communicating in it alone in that context. But adults will quickly borrow words from their mother tongue or first language, that is, their linguistic Plan B, to replace words of the target language that they do not remember or understand. That is, they resort to what is technically referred to as “Code-mixing” and “Code-switching” (mixture of languages) in Socio-Linguistics. With this style of quickly switching over to their linguistic Plan B when linguistic Plan A seems to pose a little challenge, it is difficult for adults to attain proficiency in the second language.

Last words

Even though Plans A and B are necessary to achieve success in life, when it gets to a stage where your Plan A becomes self-employment or entrepreneurship, you need to remain focused and determined on your road to success. Do not behave like a typical Lagos, Nigeria commercial driver that will change from lane to lane on the road to their destination and even get stuck in the process because of impatience. Plan A is indeed paradoxically potent. So if you are determined to board your Plan A plane to destination of success, God will definitely crown your efforts with tremendous prosperity.

How Entrepreneurship Training Programs Help You Excel in Your Business

Have you shunned the 9 to 5 job and ventured into a business to become your own boss? This will probably be one of the most tumultuous times you’ve ever had. There are myriads of aspects that need to keep track of, such as how to raise funding, creating the right team and ensuring your paper work is in order. Even a small slip up could result in disaster.

Why Entrepreneurship Training

Entrepreneurship comes with more baggage than you would expect. From developing a logo to selecting a financial planner, a lot requires to be grasped and executed simultaneously to succeed in commercial endeavors. The order and pattern of things could be specifically tough to comprehend if you are a novice entrepreneur. Here comes entrepreneurship training that can enable you handle the business of doing business in a better way. If you already own a business, then also entrepreneurship training can enable you get more efficient, by bridging any gaps there might be in the way you run your show.

How to Find One

Most training program packages offer many modules spanning from personal finance to business strategy.

Entrepreneurship courses and trainings are generally offered at vocational schools, business schools, and often online schools. Training can include a broad array of classes to aid the dreams of initiating and running a successful new enterprise.

What Entrepreneurship Training Program Offers

If you are planning on venturing into a new business, or are contemplating the purchase of an existing business, vocational schools could be a prudent option to gain entrepreneurship education. Studies will encompass training in business management. Students will learn the nitty-gritty of cost, benefit and competitive assessment; investment returns; legal aspects; e-commerce; marketing and sales; supply and demand; and prevalent tax laws.

To the aspiring entrepreneur, a college degree alone cannot ensure success on the world’s business stage; but right education in entrepreneurship can enable you to better comprehend the business aspects of smoothly operating a new venture, and how to capitalize on intrinsic talents and learned skills.

Who Should Opt for Entrepreneurship Training Programs

Additionally, entrepreneurship training is of essence to those who will ultimately be hiring and developing a winning team of performers. After completion of course of study, you will not only be able to effectively ascertain which candidate will be most productive for you and your business, but you will also be able to realize how to efficiently manage, finance, and launch your small business; identify new and potential business enterprises; and design strategic business plans.

Entrepreneurial Thinking – Connect With Your Higher Business Potential

When you think of a successful entrepreneur your immediately think of personality traits or values that define who they are. Richard Branson is associated with fun. Anita Roddick was an environmentalist. Steve Jobs lived by simplicity. Each one of these evokes an emotional connection with what they were good at (Richard still is).

So what is an entrepreneur? What is entrepreneurship? There are many definitions, but the one that rings true to me is that of Peter Drucker

“This defines entrepreneur and entrepreneurship – the entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.”

Does this ring true with you? Do you aspire to think like an entrepreneur?

Here are five features of entrepreneurial thinking based on my work with clients who I mentor to shift their own internal barriers to move on to create incredible change. If you are a business owner and are stuck in a rut, use these strategies to break through the chains that are holding you back:

1. Have a goal and a plan – and work on it

Make sure that your goal is as specific as you can get it. If your goal is to increase your income, be specific about how much. Decide your time frame – when you want your goal to be achieved by. Create your plan to achieve your goal and get started. Don’t procrastinate. If your plan isn’t going the way you want it, don’t give up. The secret is to have a plan. The content of the plan may change, you will make corrections as you go along, but as long as you persist on a regular basis, you will reach your goal. It may be uncomfortable at first. You may feel that you’re not making progress, but after a time things will start happening very quickly to help you reach your goal. Persistence works.

2. Get over your limiting beliefs

It’s very likely that the one thing that is stopping you from achieving what you want to do is YOU. Your attitudes and behaviours are influenced by your self-belief. Stop and listen to the voice in your head. Is it negative, telling you you’re not good enough, or that you can’t afford xyz? Where is that coming from? When you face a problem, sit down and try to write down as many reasons as you can think of (and some) on one half of a sheet of paper why you can’t. Then on the other half, write down the exact opposite. Focus on why you can. It is a really good exercise for working out what in your past or childhood influenced your mind to believe the way it does. When you’ve finished – FLIP THE SWITCH. Use positive wording. When you wake up in the morning, make your first thoughts positive ones as they will influence your mood for the rest of the day.

3. Your five best friends

Jim Rohn, a well-known entrepreneur and motivational speaker said “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. Look around, who are you spending your time with? Are these people able to motivate you to achieve your goals? Can they help you on your journey? If you friends are living a mundane existence, chances are it is comfortable for you to do the same. Snap out of it. Seek out new alliances to help you get to where you want to be. Start with your goal and identify what skills and supports you’ll need. Identify five people and connect with them. One may be your mentor. One may be someone with characteristics you wish to emulate. One may be someone with the contacts and networks you need. Examine your networks. Are there new networks you can join that can open doors for you.

4. Get a mentor

As Richard Branson said, when you think about the missing link between a promising businessperson and successful one, mentoring comes to mind. On a lonely journey to discovery and success, a mentor provides a trusted arm and beacon along the way. You don’t have to be a business owner to have a mentor. You just need to have a goal and a strong desire to get there. A good mentor will guide you along the way.

5. The power of the master mind

Napoleon Hill in “Think and Grow Rich” told of the power of the master mind. Bring two or more minds together and you create “a third invisible intangible likened to a third mind (the master mind). Bring two or more people together to work on their own businesses in a mutual, trusting, tough love environment, coupled with voluntary accountability, will over time, strengthen each business. A master mind group that works well will achieve results through learning, sharing new ideas and stimulating new ideas and business models.

Put these strategies into place and watch as the world moves to make way for you and your goals.

Your Own Business – Risks Vs Rewards


Your own business – an expensive German car or even a red Italian one, holidays in the Swiss Alps, your own condo on a remote island – all potential benefits of having your own business. On the other hand you have the prophets of doom that highlights the long hours, difficult employees, economic recessions, stress and high rates of bankruptcies in business. What is the reality?

In actual fact most new entrepreneurial ventures fail within the first few years. Only a small percentage really makes good money. There are various risks in starting your own business that cannot be ignored. These risks can, however, be drastically reduced with detailed market research, proper business planning and effective management. The potential rewards, for the successful entrepreneur, make the effort more than worthwhile.

Some of the more important risks are:

Financial Risk

The personal financial investment of having your own business is generally quite high. Business failure can mean a substantial financial loss for the entrepreneur (and for other stakeholders) and it can even cause bankruptcy.

Social Risk

A business requires much input from the entrepreneur. This implies less time for family life, friendship, sport, entertainment and holidays. The potential of losing a friend and even a marriage partner is very real.

Career Risk

When an entrepreneur starts his or her own business they normally resign from their present job. If things go wrong it can be difficult or even impossible to resume a career.

Psychological Risk

People handle stress different. Good stress, called eustress, gives a person enough adrenaline to handle difficult situations in a positive way. Distress, on the other hand, can be destructive to the entrepreneur and the business. It can leads to serious burnout and depression. Distress can be caused by working too hard over extended times, too much worries about the various aspects of the business (especially if everything is not going to plan), no proper support system (e.g. from a spouse) and even the feeling that the business was a mistake and that the entrepreneur is climbing the wrong ladder.

Fortunately substantial rewards await the successful entrepreneur, including some of the following:

Financial Rewards

A successful business has the potential to make good profits and provide substantial wealth for the entrepreneur. If this wealth is handled with care it can make a big difference in the financial well-being of an entrepreneur (and his or her spouse and descendants).

Social Rewards

There is seldom a higher reward than making a positive difference to another person’s life. Entrepreneurship is already creating most of the new jobs and wealth in the world. The successful business provides jobs, pride and financial security for its employees. Personal wealth can also be used to make a difference to a family member, a friend, the community or any worthwhile cause.

Independence Rewards

Your own business provides you with the privilege to work for yourself, at your own pace, without a boss and having a sense of freedom. Financial success increases the independence potential.Growth Rewards

The whole entrepreneurial process is a personal growth process and an entrepreneur learns about failure and success, difficult people and situations and especially about themselves. Knowledge about various disciplines will also be enhanced. Successful entrepreneurs generally experience a sense of self-actualisation.


Having your own business definitely carry substantial risks. If you, however, have the right personality profile, the necessary expertise, and the will to prepare diligently and work hard the chances of entrepreneurial success improve drastically. The potential rewards then outweigh the risks by far.

Copyright© 2008 – Wim Venter

Options for Entrepreneurial Retirement – Gaining A Real Peace of Mind

At some point in every entrepreneur’s life, they have dreamed of starting their own business. When that newly minted entrepreneur steps away from corporate employment and into the wild west of self-employment, they take on the full responsibility of their financial destiny. Gone are the days of contributing to a matching company 401k plan.

These small business owners are now responsible for setting up and contributing to their retirement plan. According to a recent TD Ameritrade survey 7 in 10 self-employed people are not regularly saving (if at all) for retirement. I recently spoke with Heather Banks, a Certified Financial Advisor with First Bank Wealth Management in Asheville, NC. Heather shared with me her impressions of how retirement savings has shifted over the years. “For too many years, U.S. citizens have been reliant on social security benefits to fund their retirement. Social security is simply not capable of fully funding a retirement with any realistic expectation of maintaining the lifestyle they grew accustomed to during their working years. It is vital that small business owners take advantage of the retirement benefit options available to them, and work with financial professionals (financial advisors, accountants, etc.) to determine which option is the most beneficial for them.”

There are several programs a self-employed person can utilize to help them achieve their retirement goals.

SEP IRA(Simplified Employee Pension plan) is a retirement plan that allows a self-employed or solo-entrepreneur person to make pre-tax donations. It is a plan that is similar to a traditional IRA. It does, however, allow you to have a much higher contribution level. This type of program is one of the easiest of open and maintain. Most banks and investment firms can help your open and maintain this kind of account. With this plan, you can contribute as much as 25% of your net earnings from self-employment. The contribution limit for 2015 is $53,000. The deadline to open an account is April 15th following the tax year.

ROTH IRA is a retirement plan where the contributions you make are not deductible in the year that the contributions are made however they grow tax-free and are not taxed when they are withdrawn. The maximum contribution in 2015 is $5,500 if you are under the age of 50 and $6,500 if you are over 50 years old. These amounts begin to phase out for high-income earners who make $116,000 (single/head of household) and $183,000 (married). The deadline to open an account is April 15th following the tax year.

SIMPLE IRA Plan (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees) is a deferral of the compensation plan. It is easy to open and maintain with banks and investment firms but keep in mind it has a lower contribution limit. This plan is good for businesses where the owners have other income sources as it allows them to set aside a larger percentage of profit. You can put all of your net earnings from self-employment in the plan up to $12,500 in 2015 through salary reductions. If you are over the age of 50, you can increase your donations by $3,000. The employer can also contribute up to 3% of employee’s contribution. This plan is best for self-employed people with fewer than 100 employees. The deadline to open an account is October 1.

The SOLO 401(k) Plan is easy to open and requires little maintenance. It is designed for companies without employees and, therefore, the program is only available to the owner and his/her spouse. This plan follows the same rules and requirements as any other 401(k) plan. You can make salary deferrals up to $18,000 in 2015 plus an additional $6,000 if you are over the age of 50. If you hire employees and they meet the plan eligibility requirements, you must include them in the plan, and their elective deferrals will be subject to nondiscrimination testing. The deadline to open the account is December 31. The program will be required to file an annual report with the IRS if it has $250,000 or more in assets at the end of the year.

For more information on each of these plans, I recommend you contact your local Certified Public Accountant and Certified Financial Planner. They will be able to help you choose which plan is best for you. I agree with Dave Ramsey, who said “I believe that through knowledge and discipline, financial peace is possible for all of us.”

Business Is So Much Fun

There are two things to aim at in life; first, to achieve what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. – Logan Pearsall Smith.

How can one ensure that entrepreneurship is fun and not a stressful activity? Follow Mr Richard Branson of Virgin or Vijay Mallya of Kingfisher to learn the joys of risk and enterprise.

Business can be fun, if you enjoy what you do, but easier said than done. If you can, take one of your hobbies and make it the way you make a living. Passionately loving what you do is such a joy. Working with others who share your passion for similar reasons is also vital. But beware, making your hobby into a career can be stressful at times because one tends to loose the balance when one is passionate.

Starting a new business is like giving birth to a baby. One must work hard in the initial years of business, go through the labor pains (pangs of birth or teething troubles), nurture it with sacrifice like a baby and then we can reap the rewards once the business has bloomed into a success. Until then, entrepreneurship remains a rocking stress boat. But if the focus is on learning something new every day and the passion is the driving force, one is bound to overcome the teething troubles successfully.

Nigel Clayton, Entrepreneurship Coach believes in turning entrepreneurs into Ultrapreneurs. He says, “There are many things you can do to make it fun and not a stressful activity. One thing you can do is divide the tasks you do into three categories, those you are bad at, good at, and love to do. If you don’t know the difference, become aware of how your energy is when you are doing each task.”

We need to differentiate between things we are good at and things we love to do. Things we are good at still drain us whereas things that we love to do reenergize us. When you are only doing the tasks you love to do, each day will have an element of fun and other tasks can be delegated, wherever possible. As a budding entrepreneur one is always cutting cots and one may be forced to do tasks which one does not love to do, but as we cross the break even point and have extra resources at our disposal, we can always look for people to whom we can delegate avoidable work.

Initially what one starts as a hobby, grows into a full-fledged business requiring more managerial tasks and consequently less time is left for the hobby. Often entrepreneurs complain, “I like what I do, but it has been a long time since I actually did that task on a day to day level. Now I spend my time taking care of the business and people instead of doing the original task that caused me to start the business.”

Theoretically it is good to have fun and remain stress free, but practically hard to do. When cash flow and staff’s next month salary is at stake, it’s not fun. When 10% of workforce is about to be fired, then it’s not fun. Entrepreneurship cannot be 24 x7 fun of course. One therefore needs to be mentally prepared for the good, bad and the ugly at times.Entrepreneurship can be stressful when you have survival issues, high overheads, no innovations or ideas to offer to your customers or business partners. Entrepreneurship is fun when you make money, you connect with your customers, keep developing great products/ services, empower all people around you to think and work like one towards your goals.

To conclude, if one has the right attitude and some back up to fall upon during the bad times, business can be an enjoyable process. It is also good to have a few NGO clients, if possible. Though profits may be low, but NGO clients tend to be less competitive and more positive and enjoy watching others succeed immensely.

All said and done, business can be so much fun.

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