Sunday 21 June 2015

What Kind Of An Entrepreneur Are You?

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Are you the kind who starts a business to be able to sell it someday, where your whole start-up itself is a commodity – being refined to sell in few years? The kinds who like to call themselves founders, and have a few names in their profiles, as many as four startups in three years before they are twenty five years old. The only two things they focus on are, an opportunity and a market. If you are asking yourself what else is required, to run a successful business? You need tenacity to continue, live the graph, face the music and treat business like business, not a short lived thrill till  you pass it to someone else to make something of it.

Are you someone with a technical bent of mind, always looking at using technology to make life easy with a great product, service and innovative solution? Someone who is so inclined to get the best product that its commercial viability often takes a back seat. 

Howard Gardner reminds us there are those people with a different kind of intelligence, the one who are people smart. So it is not a great idea or that one terrific solution or their attention to detail that puts them at the centre of business but their ability to connect with almost everyone. It is their enthusiasm, charisma, passion for the product that actually rubs on others really fast. Try explaining these leaders the basics of business – strategy, market penetration, business projections, one of you will be lost into oblivion.

Then you have the kind who will pursue a tested business idea in realm of e-commerce or something, just as common. It is perfectly alright to be a follower – it is actually a smart move for first timers as not everyone is rich with innovative ideas. The concern is when they continue to call the business idea their own, completely unaware of its existence since ages. That is the point - some entrepreneurs are selling their idea to important stakeholders even before a basic feasibility study is done.

There are people whose first criteria to run a business is not to follow anything conventional and traditional. They are so far sighted that it is a little difficult to relate to it initially, in current times. They are far ahead into the future and they really need some rewinding in time machine to be able to articulate those ideas to designers and investors of today and draw some sense out of it. Do you get the hint? I always thought I will need a wrist watch, just to see time.

The type you meet most often is the social entrepreneurs who believe in profit with social justice and are able to successfully connect cause with a revenue generating sustainable model. The only issue here is the urgency they will have to seek funds with their cause and speak a language which is altogether different. mainly in support of their product and program, rather than the cause.

How can we ignore the corporate entrepreneurs – the lot who reached the executive board of a multinational company in their late thirties and really did not have patience to wait another decade to be a CEO – The fastest route to get there is to jump into a promising start up or get started on your own. I have met a few of them who are getting ready to be entrepreneurs, while waiting for their pay check.

Just one more type and I should be done for this season – The types you will find scattered almost everywhere - who have no mission, long term vision, no credibility, no experience, no inclination to learn, no dream to make a difference to the world, no team who will ever trust them. The only thing that made them think business is the buzz word – Venture capitalist and that they are too lazy to ever excel in their jobs. All they need is a business summary that will get them funds. Most of them are even clueless how much funds they need. 

The point is every kind of entrepreneur has a learning gap, just the degree varies. You have a few training institutes certifying CEOs now. Enough said. 

If you are contemplating entrepreneurship and can relate to one of the types above and need to know more, you can respond to BECKON qualifying questionnaire that has approximately fifty odd questions based on which a high level Learning road map will be shared with you.

Wednesday 3 June 2015

Learning to Retire

You do not retire when  you are rich. That is a myth.

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You retire in your mind first - Things you absolutely cannot do without is the propelling force behind that move.

Can you do without a corporate job, a label, the brands, the sycophant empire around you, the travels, the steady check, that cozy corner cabin, the urge to prove a point, the need to be recognized - Is this drifting towards sainthood? Then let me stop here and explain

It is just anti validation theory or call it disruptive thinking, where you create a sound and sensible lifestyle for yourself against all conventional patterns and seek no validation from the external world if you are doing right because you learnt it the hard way - all this while you were not doing right.

Alternatively you can call the period Sabbatical - time to introspect, soul search and reflect - Pick your favorite word. It is almost like a trailer for retirement. The earlier you take that break, say - mid thirties or late thirties, the better the learning. I was ready for the trailer when I touched forty. I worked hard - very hard to retire early and do my pet projects - write a book, make a documentary, long walks or just stay away from the gadgets. Familiar?


Your learn to live without anticipating a pay check or a bonus or an incentive or increment. The retired life sans the insecurity of never being hired again. Because you know you are physically still able, mentally active and can go back any time you want. You will get hired after a few rounds of salary hiccups and justifying why you took a break.


You are initially not taken very seriously about what you are trying to do as the world is full of left brain dominated people - the logical ones -  who have no idea why you would do a crazy thing like quit a job. I still face those raised brows - What NGO? What learning framework? Why? I know the answers. They will know soon enough without my telling.  That is your second learning - to deal with people who mean well for you and are constantly wanting you to live their life. I had neighbors even come to me with Newspaper so that I apply for an advertised vacancy. Bless them.


I was not there in my native home when I lost my father three years back. I flew home after he was gone. I realize now, the last few years it was just them - my parents in that single bed room flat in Kolkata -  and me busy making a corporate company rich with my skilled services and buying houses, in another city. 

In the past eighteen months I traveled with my mother - That is the final learning, priceless - to know when to stop and why.

Learning to retire is about drawing your energy towards the center and not moving towards the circumference. It is about altering habitual thought process to focus inward. It is about that self awareness, self discipline and achievement with you as your own yardstick

As part of the foundation that I am associated with, that promotes Dignified Ageing, I was preparing a learning module for active seniors with ways to earn from home - I will use the same module to prepare others in their mid thirties and mid forties to fast forward their lives and learn what could possibly be their priorities then.

Pause. Reflect. Learn

P.S Did I write a book? My debut novel Still Beyond will hit the stands by this year. Edits in progress.

The book the senior man is reading in the image is a tourist guide - Now that should get you thinking, dreaming and visualizing!