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Why Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates should not be your only business inspiration

During my Business Coaching Program, I realised about a problem that every wannabe entrepreneur especially those who wish to venture into non-IT businesses like manufacturing, construction, retailing, servicing, franchising etc. goes through – A Misleading Business Inspiration.

Zuckerberg-Steve Jobs-Bill Gates - Business Inspiration

Whenever I ask my participants about their business inspiration, 90% of the time irrespective of the businesses they are in, three names among others surely pops-up – Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. And more shocking is that these wannabe entrepreneurs are inspired by their heroism of becoming billionaires after dropping out of college which most of them feel is very necessary to start wildly successful businesses like theirs. I would only blame the media who has over-hyped about their heroism. Most of them wrongfully think – a successful business is created only if we start at an early age.

Let me admit that, their stories are really fascinating to read and I have immense gratitude towards their revolutionary contributions to the world. But these handful of wildly successful high-tech innovators should not be the only list of business inspirations for wannabe entrepreneurs especially those who are venturing into non-IT businesses. The reason is that the fascinating stories of such high-tech innovators will contain only a few actionable lessons that could be derived by ninety percent of entrepreneurs like me and you from all walks of life who want to start a business outside the IT sector. Even in the IT sector, though you can learn few strategies from those heroes, the age factor is completely disagreeable for a successful business.

The actual fact is that the number of such tech-wizard heroes who make it big in terms of money and fame at a young age and mostly male is less than 10% of the overall entrepreneurs on earth. They are fortunate to be invested by high esteemed investors and get most of the media attention. But, there is also a negative side of such start-up heroes and their businesses – they experience the highest rate of failures. About seven to eight businesses in ten disappear within 5 years of their inception – Webvan is a great example of a big failure. That is why I say, not to make them as your only business inspiration.

The research done by Kauffman Foundation on the subject of successful entrepreneurship says a very different story. Among successful entrepreneurs, many never went to a college (forget about dropping out) and others did not start their venture until they have got well along in their careers. The age of an average entrepreneur when he starts is about 40 years. As an example, think about Subroto Bagchi of MindTree Ltd. who started at the age of 42 and got the company MindTree to IPO in a record 9 years of time. Eighty percent of all new companies are started by people who are above thirty-five ( who had a stunning career of 15 long years ). I was amazed when I learned that, more entrepreneurs are between the age of forty-five and fifty-five and entrepreneurs over fifty-five now create more companies than those under thirty-five. One more surprising fact is that the chances of a new company surviving increases as the age of the entrepreneur rises. This is because of the natural maturity and corporate experience that they carry compared to the young blooded entrepreneurs.

The problem with today’s wannabe entrepreneurs is the fact that, they get too much carried away by the fancy media attention that ten percent of start-up heroes get at a very young age and try to emulate them resulting in a business failure. Wannabe entrepreneurs should learn from the fact that, 90% of successful entrepreneurs started late and made it big and strong but hardly get any media attention. If you are still at the beginning of your career, I would suggest you make your company as a school to learn start-up lessons like how to organize a team, how to sell a product, how to acquire another company, how to build client relationships,  how to maintain legal and regulatory information etc. The truth is an average entrepreneur would have been an employee for almost 15 years before launching a start-up.

Everyone needs business inspiration to start up. Your business inspiration should be from the one who has done splendid work in your core business area. For example, if you wish to venture into retail business, then, Kishore Biyani of Future Group should be your business inspiration, if software services is your interest, certainly, Ashok Soota ( who started the company at the age of 69) of Happiest Minds Technologies should be a great business inspiration and so on. Do not get carried away by the fancy media hype around few starting entrepreneurs as it would only be for increasing their brand value. The actual story could be a lot different and darker than you can imagine. Know the real facts. Also, do not ignore those fellows who silently got into the field to play and were knocked away. Those entrepreneurs and their failure story can give you loads of insights on how-not-to-do business.

Hope you enjoyed and learned a lot by reading this blog post. Feel free to comment your opinion below.

Further Reading:

[Become a Businessman: Transform Yourself From Self Employed to a Powerful Businessman]

About Subhash K U

Subhash K U
Subhash.K.U is India’s leading Business Explorer and highest paid Business Strategist. He is famously known for his business blog BusyMonk.com. He helps aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners to take their businesses to the next level through strategic business programs that he conducts throughout the world. He loves speaking to business owners to learn and understand their successful business models and strategies as he strongly feels that there is no single fixed formula for every kind of business.

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  1. Sir which field is better to start business ..?

    • Subhash K U

      Its not the field that matters. What matters is your efforts and dedication towards it. If you put your 100% into anything, you can see fantastic results. All the best dear 🙂 !

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