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Illustration: Kriti Vichare

Perspective

The six pack of entrepreneurship
Here's what you need to survive in the competitive start-up world

Neeraj Batra

Survival of the fittest. The import of this Darwinism extends to every walk of life. So here is an insight to gain the Six Pack that every aspiring and existing entrepreneur must have to be fit in today’s competitive world.

 Pack 1: Love your business

This one is easy. Passion trumps ability all the time. If AR Rahman was made to sit in an audit firm or Sachin Tendulkar had joined a banking career they may have had a pedestrian future. It is critical that your work never feels a chore. If you feel like singing your way to work on Monday mornings you will never fail in your business venture.

 Pack 2: Emotive content of your brand

People buy products and services. But they are only loyal to their emotions. Great businesses understand the importance of gaining emotional traction from their customer. A brand should always inspire and provide emotional satisfaction beyond the product needs. This can range from trust, value, exclusiveness, desire, passion and hope. What does Chanel or Louis Vuitton represent to its customers? Surely more than a bag.

Pack 3: Financial discipline

We are living in grey times. We are going through a tough economic environment. The entrepreneur who thrives is the one who survives bad times. Financial discipline or the lack of it can be the difference between prosperity and perish. The business that has low operating leverage, which has good cost control, has high accountability and liquidity will thrive during good times and will easily counter troubled waters. Great companies such as Costco are shining examples of this.

Pack 4: Motivated employees

That is the essence of good management — it's called team work. It’s quite simple actually. If you have five horses and two are pulling in different directions your horsepower is only one. If you have two horses pulling in the same direction your horsepower is two. Many business owners focus so much on the product and the customer that they forget the very people who deliver value to the customer and enhance the product/service experience. Motivated employees are invaluable. The classic example of this is Google, which is highly employee centric.

 Pack 5: Systems and controls

Never ever predicate the success of your business to one individual. It is important to have systems and standard procedures to allow greater uniformity and accountability of action within the firm. Great companies like McDonald's and Starbucks understand this well and provide a standard level of service worldwide.

 Pack 6: Evolve and innovate constantly

The large T-Rex disappeared but many simple bacteria survived. Adaptation starts with innovation. Business and product cycles are getting shorter as the rate of flux rises due to technology and digital media. You have to constantly scan your environment and look for signs of change. The best way to predict the future is to invent it. During the heydays of Sony Corporation, Akio Morita drove the company with a very simple philosophy — “To make the company’s own products obsolete before the competition did”. Innovation is the heart and soul of progress. Apple is the beacon that immediately comes to mind.

Well that’s it folks, you have your entrepreneurial six pack. You are fit and appealing to the eye and ready to take on any challenge the markets will throw at you.

Neeraj Batra is the co-founder and chairman of OnCourse Vantage and tweets at @batra_neeraj

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