A panel discussion on Secrets to High Growth Entrepreneurship. The participants were 3 entrepreneurs -from different industries-an online bus ticketing service, an organic farming co, and a travel planning service for the Indian middle class consumers, joined by representatives of a Venture Capital firm, and Centre for Entrepreneurship Development. Amidst a bunch of ISB students, entrepreneurs, mentors, and some aspirants in the ecosystem.
It was interesting to hear the recipe of success. While each of them had anecdotes to share their experiences in their journey so far, what was distinct-was the clarity of thought and the focus-while they set about achieving the objectives they planned for their organisations, while adapting on the way-to battle and overcome the temporary hiccups.
1. Contrary to most beliefs-the most critical factor was NOT " money"!Unanimously, it was TALENT!!
Speaker after speaker, reiterated-that it was the team that made all the difference. Not just identifying the right persons, whose personal interests were aligned with those of the companies interests, but the ability to retain them. Which also meant- letting go of the wrong persons, if need be-to ensure the right energies in place.
The motivation for the right employees-too was not 'money'-for each of them explained how they were among the lowest of 'paymasters' !!
2. FUNDING was seen more as an enabler that allowed the team to focus more time for execution!
Capital was often referred to as hygiene. While all agreed that a huge amount of failures of ventures happen -despite great ideas and wonderful execution, as a result of undercapitalisation, it was pointed out that all of them gained from the mentor ship & guidance -that came along with the right investors! In terms of getting the business model right, by adapting & tweaking the operations, to the changing customer expectations.
3. Another aspect which most speakers dwelled upon-was to decide how to scale up-especially since it is in the DNA to grab all opportunities that come by. The key was to decide whether to 'diversify' or to 'be the best in the niche' they have focused on.
While there were many temptations -the winners clearly didn't stray from 'what they had originally set out to do..to solve a pain point of the customer'!
It was interesting to note that as the companies grew -in India, the senior management team spends more time on 'improving the execution aspects' while in the west, the emphasis is on 'customer acquisition'!
Looking back- what I learnt wasn't rocket science. Just another reinforcement of keeping things simple. Do the right things right. Each of the winners had backed their instincts, followed their heart -and stuck to the course!
Well, I am delighted to be a catalyst- part of the most vital ingredients of the ecosystem-that helps companies identify the best talent, while enabling shaping careers for a better world tomorrow :-)!