By Pavan Soni, Research Fellow at IIM Bangalore
Entrepreneurs love to disrupt the status quo, they venture where others dare not. Entrepreneurs are a rare breed of individuals whose tribe continues to grow in India. But all entrepreneurs are not created equal, some through their exemplary success end up being more equal than others. So what differentiates the outliers from the wannabe’s ?
The essential difference sprouts from character traits and habits that successful professionals develop over years. A habit is said to have taken shape when a newly learned behaviour starts to occur unconsciously. For instance if you decide to wake up at 6:00 every morning and use an alarm during the first week, you will realize that from the second week onwards you wake up at 6:00 despite not using an alarm clock. Thus you have formed a habit of waking up early.
Given below are some traits and habits that can be cultivated by anybody who want’s to be successful.
- Mindset: Entrepreneurship is a way of life. Our country prime minister Shri Narendra Modi can be considered to be one of the biggest entrepreneurs in India. He brought new thinking into the political landscape and crafted a paradigm that other political entities could not match. He is a disrupter of the status quo.
- Manage Risk: Entrepreneurship is about managing risk and not taking risk. An organization faces different types of internal and external risks in it’s operating environment. Anticipating such risks and ensuring there are systems in place to handle them separates successful startups from failed companies.
- Curiosity: Entrepreneurs are by nature curious people. They have the curiosity of a kid, they need to explore things. Curiosity is about putting the objective of learning something ahead of fear of failing. Example: Americans are highly curious people and also very successful. Many of them tend to backpack around the globe while their counterparts in Asia tend to be more laid back.
- Optimism: There is very little that can douse the optimism of an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are intrinsically optimistic about their ventures. A pessimist would fail very early on before realizing the potential of his business idea. Optimism can’t be taught but can be learnt by observing optimistic people in the fields of sports and business.
- Networking: A wide network plays an important role in the success of an entrepreneur. Professional networks needs to be broad and shallow while your personal network must be small and deep. Solitary geniuses are a myth, they usually have a team backing them.
- Experimentation: Entrepreneurs are born experimenters. Investors always invest on people and seldom on people. So an entrepreneur who is willing to experiment will not only learn new things but will stand out from the crowd. Great businesses don’t run on B-Plans, businesses run on Plan-B’s because most of the time when you go to the market your Plan-A usually falls short of expectations.
- Associative Thinking : Entrepreneurs don’t compartmentalize their life, they don’t keep separate compartments for life, work, travel, business and hobbies. Entrepreneurs don’t think straight; they are anti-fragile. The are always connecting the dots.