Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Thoughts on Entrepreneurship

I posted some of my thoughts on Entrepreneurship as comments while responding to a posting discussing whether we need an advacned degree like MBA to be a successful entrepreneur at  Escape from Cubicle Nation. Pamela, the author of the blog found those comments to be thought-provoking and took them to a post with a new question "Is a soloist or small business owner really an entrepreneur?". I have slightly elaborated on what I believe on being an entrepreneur and starting a business in the new post. I am posting those comments here again, as both comments combined fully reflect what I believe.

If one want to get out the current cube and want a bigger cube, YES, MBA is a must. But if you want to get away from cube entirely, no one need an MBA. It doesn't harm if you have one, though. One can read 1000 blogs or get degrees on how to drive a car and know in and out of the mechanics of an automobile. Or get a single driving class and start driving. You don't need an MBA to figure out which one is better.

To my knowledge, MBAs have produced abysmal number of inspiring entrepreneurs, despite 1000s of Business Plan competitions every year. They are sure to lead companies as Managers, CXOs. Not as entrepreneurs or business owners.

Many often call self-employed people as entrepreneurs. I disagree. Rich Dad-Poor Dad offers a striking distinction between to understand it better. If you stop working now, do you make money from what you are doing? Having control of your job, self-employment does not make it a business. And doesn't make an entreprenuer either. I believe so.



Going by the dictionary meaning 'Entrepreneur' is a person who set up a business. Sole proprietorship is a legal business entity. So one can call a soloist an entrepreneur.

But my understanding and belief goes little beyond the terminology. Even if the most remote goal of 'escaping the cube' is to achieve some level of financial freedom, then 'soloism' or 'a business with one person' does not pay off, unless you derive hefty royalties or passive income of your work. (Like a a rockstar or Oprah or a scientist with lots of patents for example). Otherwise, no matter how great you are, your income cease to exist once you stop working, just like your job.

Even if your goal is realization of your ideals or great ideas, to have your ideals live longer than your younger and healthier breath and nurture your family and possibly generations, an organization that can survive without you would be a defintive answer. I mean an organization that is started and propelled by you but can run without you. That is the whole idea behind building a business. It does not necessarily mean a billion dollar company with thousands of employees.

Solo business is a great starting point. Because it gives all needed self-confidence and self-reliance to achieve your goals. But it is just that.

I am software consultant by profession. I can quit my job and start as an independent consultant. I prefer to call myself an Independent Consultant rather than a Entreprenuer. When I partner with a few like minded folks and start a firm and recruit some more like minded folks and build a structure and organization around it then I would call my self an Entrepreneur. Because, now I built a business that can run without me. More over, now it gives me more freedom and more power to venture out on my new dreams.


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