Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 20th 2017 Contents APRIL 20 • 2017 guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
ENTREPRENOMICS | BG19
5 myths of
In our world, we have a lot of folk
tales, legends, beliefs and myths,
that sometimes shape our perception.
Entrepreneurship is no different
and if you see them as just myths it
will hold you back. If you demystify
them, you will open a new way of looking at
starting your new dream venture.
Entrepreneurship, difficult ven-
One of the myths of entrepreneur-
ship is that starting a business is difficult and
hard to pull off. This could be the No 1 reason
most aspiring entrepreneurs have to contin-
ue working for someone else. They think the
process of starting a business is risky, long and
full of uncertainties. While this might be true,
a budding entrepreneur understands that ven-
ture creators follow a process, it will be easier.
This process has stages: identifying the oppor-
tunity, define your business concept, assess-
ing your resource requirements, getting the
resources and executing the business concept.
2. Entrepreneurship is easy
Some would-be entrepreneurs think:
I have seen so many people start a suc-
cessful business, then it should be easy; after
all I have what it takes.
Sometimes we see successful entrepreneurs
and infer that it was just yesterday they started
and look how easy it was. What some may not
know is the backstory to it all. Entrepreneurs
sometimes take years identifying opportuni-
ties, with dead ends and failures. After they
have done that, they must capitalise on the
opportunity by putting together a business
model and strategy.
Entrepreneurs also must analyse the neces-
sary resources to launch a successful business.
Where do I find these assets (financial and
non-financial) so that I can improve my chanc-
es of success?
Do I really need a great location when I can
go to an online store?
Entrepreneurs are good at leveraging re-
sources by doing some magic with it. A low-
cost way to start an accountancy practice is
to launch from home, if you have limited re-
sources and a young baby. Home is rent free
and since no one will be visiting you, it makes
sense to turn your home into a business. Tell
your client you are between offices!
Most successful entrepreneurs, started out
of their houses or garages. Think Michael Dell
and Henry Ford.
Entrepreneurs can make the process look
easy as they know how to deal with pulling all
the disparate resources together and creating
an organisation that can capture that identified
3. Entrepreneurs are born
The belief that entrepreneurs are
born a certain way and there may be
some genetic drivers for risk taking and dealing
with uncertainty is not true. We all know our
DNA is not our destiny, so you don't have to
go back and choose your parents differently.
The world around us help to shape us and if
we know how to think innovatively, the ideas
and solutions will flow.
Entrepreneurs must not only be creative,
thinking about new things, but by doing new
things. Innovation is about "newness" in prod-
uct, process or business model creation. If you
are not innovative you are just like the average
bloke in business or, as I like to say, you are a
Ideas are difficult to find
According to Dyer, Gregersen
and Christensen in their book ti-
tled, The Innovator's DNA, there are five skills
that innovators must have, a necessary trait of
a successful entrepreneur.
The first cognitive skill is associating.
Can you connect the dots and create some-
thing out of nothing?
Can you take something from one field or
industry and create an improvement?
Subway co-creator Fred DeLuca uses the
moving production line to deliver a fairly com-
plicated sandwich, that has dozens of topping
and sauces, in speedy time. DeLuca must have
known about the moving assembly line that
the automobile manufacturers used.
The second skill is questioning.
Do you accept things the way they are?
Do you assume that things will always be
DeLuca could not think that Americans
would continue eating fast food and becoming
unhealthy with no end in sight. So, he thought
Americans would need a solution to obesity.
The third skill is observing.
When Steve Jobs visited Xerox's Palo Alto
Research Centre it inspired him to create the
Mac's innovative operating system and the
The fourth skill, according to the authors,
is networking. It is a myth that entrepreneurs
work alone, while they spend much of their
time tinkering with their innovations, they do
spend time talking with customers, experts
and opinion leaders to get feedback or solution
for their ideas.
The fifth skill is experimenting to find out
what the real world will allow. This could in-
volve testing your assumptions, views on ac-
ceptability and what changes are needed to
refine the idea. The world for an entrepreneur is
a laboratory, testing and observing what works
and does not work. Sometimes things don't
work out as planned, but an unexpected result
could give rise to an opportunity. 3M's Post It
is an example for the usual use of a weak ad-
hesive (or the glue that will not stick) to make
a $100m product.
Entrepreneurs are high risk takers
One of the big myths of entrepre-
neurship is that these persons love
risks to the max. While they do take risks, they
are somewhere in the middle of the continuum
of low and high risk takers.
Risk averse people put their money in a bank
and want it to grow. High risk takers put their
money on numbers that could win them US$8
million. The last group are gamblers, entrepre-
neurs do bet, however, but they do it in a more
calculated way. Moderate risk takers, but it's
more that the intensity, it is the management
Entrepreneurs manage risks differently from
say insurance companies. Insurance firms ask
for a premium as your bet that if something
unfavourable happens, they will compensate
you. The premium collected from a large group
of clients will hopefully be enough to cover
for any claims.
Entrepreneurs do it differently, they bet
small amounts on things that have uncertainty
embedded in it. Let's say they have an idea to
test a geera and jerk chicken combo, entre-
preneurs would make a small pit and do it at
a busy corner, sometimes flaunting the law.
Making small bets on numerous ideas with
a potentially big payoff makes sense. Why bet
the farm when you are not sure?
The myths of entrepreneurship can be easily
dispelled with proper research and study. Ask
any successful entrepreneur about how they
got started. It is usually a story of either neces-
sity or opportunity as their driver. They started
because they needed to get out of poverty or
they had a good career, but saw a potential to
When Dennis Ramdeen started Pepper Ad-
vertising, he saw something that the industry
did not have. He could have continued work-
ing for a large corporation, but he chose to try
something different and so reap the benefits
of being an opportunity entrepreneur.
Sajjad Hamid is an SME & family
business adviser. He can be contacted
via email: email@example.com or
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