Entrepreneurs are born and made!

Pankaj Thakar
February 1, 2021

This is the statement I am hoping will put new light on a question that has been asked time and gain and lots of scholarly people have tried o answer it in their own different ways. I tried to take a shot at it and went back in my own past to find answer. Was I born to be an entrepreneur or was I made? Well answer is obvious and as clear as it can be that I was born as an entrepreneur and then made better by various inputs! Yes, it is a kind of  oxymoron but I genuinely think that is the way it happened. So here is my submission to explain the above statement.

Entrepreneurs born out of problem faced: Post numerous interaction with the entrepreneurs and being a serial entrepreneur myself, I firmly believe that a quest to solve a persistent problem that has been staring at ones face it the first stage when the entrepreneur’s bug bites. Such problems may not be critical in life but it is something that everyone faces sometime or other, either frequently or once in a while or even once in a life time. There are many examples and I am sure readers can figure that out. Uber is one great example where the founders decided to solve the daily commute problem for people who do not wish to drive every day to work.

Born out of unfulfilled need: Since life is ever demanding and the needs of an individual are growing with the time, there are so many needs that remain unfulfilled leaving a void in ones life. An Entrepreneur is born as one decides to fulfill those needs for self and many other around the world who face same or similar problem. The process, the tools, the execution, the strategy and the way to fulfill the need becomes the venture and an individual becomes the entrepreneur from a normal human being. Facebook is example where the need to connect to friends and family in real time got resolved as a Facebook member.

Born out of better solution found: it is given that there are many ways to solve a problem and many a times a new solution is better than existing one in more that one ways. Mainly it is more relevant that already existing solution. Thus both, the venture, along with the people involved as entrepreneur, are born. Google is one such example where the founders created an algorithm that could search internet faster and better thus creating a better than existing solution and the founders, who were researchers, were reborn as entrepreneurs!

Born to disrupt: Not all ideas are disruptive, however, some people who are extremely passionate and committed take it upon themselves to change the way things are done just to make everyone’s life better. These people are there to disrupt the way people live, behave or conduct their life as they are on mission to deliberately change the world for better. Their aim is to challenge the status quo as it leads to inferior or sub optimum living. Tesla is one such example. Ion Musk not only challenged the exiting automakers but created a vehicle that is set to change people’s mindset on automobiles as now they can help reduce carbon footprint.

Born out of curiosity: There are individuals who are continuously looking for way to generally improve way people live. They observe and keep looking for challenges faced by people and how to overcome them. There motivation is simply to create product and services that futuristic and to address the needs that are hidden and if given a chance to use better products and services, people at large will lap it up even if the world wont stop without them. iPhone or smartphone is one such example. People were living fine without them and Steve Jobs decided to change the way the phones should be. He did not face any problem but always thought consumers need better phone instrument. Well this was not his first as he had done it many times before iPhone and continued after that too.

Born out of social fabric: As the world shrinks due to internet access, the social inequality becomes more visible. Individuals get motivated to bridge this gap by finding innovative solution that can be percolated to lowest level of society and help them bring up to a respectable level. These social entrepreneurs are born out of their compassion towards humanity and their venture can impact people globally despite of their non commercial nature. Khan Academy is one such Impact venture other than Gates Foundation.

Well there is also strong argument for Entrepreneur’s being made better and it is thru continues learning .

Made better because of failed venture: There are enough stories to back this claim as many individuals become better entrepreneurs when they fail. The desire to solve problems of the world become even more aggressive and to try again becomes the mission. I have experience this myself and I can very proudly say that I failed but did not give up. It made me a smart person and I decide to take another shot. I decided not to repeat the earlier mistakes while applying all the learning’s on how not to fail in the next venture. The learning were many and it definitely made me a better entrepreneur next time around!

Made better from analyzing others: One quality that can be found in all good entrepreneur is that they are always scanning the horizon to learn and absorb. Keeping track of successful entrepreneurs as well as at failed ventures can teach a lot. Analyzing what went right or wrong with peers can provide some very useful insight. Reading about Cat Edmull and his journey help me understand how to build process that can propel creativity in an organization. Steve Jobs bio gave many insight into his good and not so good personality so that one can choose the good ones and forget the not so good ones.

Made better by going back to school: An important part of entrepreneurs journey is to stay relevant. Off course one can do that in many ways but I would recommend going back to school and take some relevant executive courses form time to time. Good institution have refresher courses and these are well researched and hence can provide insight into use cases, case studies, organization, technology, changing human/consumer behavior etc., etc., that shall help one stay relevant with all these extremely important aspect of any venture.

Made better by a Mentor: Lats but not the least, a mentor can really help and teach how to navigate thru the difficult times, open doors to investors and buyers, help tweak and even pivot biz plan, assist in tech, build POC and MVP, suggest revenue model and additional/alternative revenue stream, answer "scale or not to scale now", etc., etc.. In all a mentor can help validate a venture very early so that if it has to fail, it fails early else make an individual, a SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEUR! It may sound a tall claim, however, the data suggest that individuals who took on an early mentor, raised more money and had higher survival rate! So adopting a mentor can make one a better entrepreneur.

To conclude, I would say be born and strive to be better. To be born as entrepreneur, don't ignore the problems faced, look at each one of them carefully, analyze them and find solution . To be a better entrepreneur, keep learning from your own mistakes, others mistakes as well as achievements and finally stay relevant.

Wishing everyone a successful, productive, progressive and financially beneficial 2016.