Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 22nd 2014 Contents Are you tired of life in a cubi-
cle and wondering what
options you have? Another
job may mean the same
unfulfilled expectations as
this one. You think about
your potential and the skills and talents you
possess, but here in the cubicle world those
skills are just wasting away. You might as well
be in the Twilight Zone.
You think about the entrepreneurial option
and wonder what should your concerns be?
One of the best things of being an entre-
preneur is that the sky is the limit when it
comes to income. The richest person in the
world, according to Forbes magazine annual
2014 rich list, is Bill Gates. He is worth US$78.4
Look at your rich neighbours and it is a safe
bet they are all entrepreneurs. If you want to
get out of poverty, starting your own business
is the best route.
Reach your full potential
Money is not everything and it is likely you
would want to achieve your dreams of being
Working for someone is very likely not going
to get you there. Starting a business in the
area of your liking gives you the opportunity
to be all you can be. At work, they tell you
to think outside the box, but when you own
your enterprise the story is different. It s more
like thinking there is no box. You can start
with a blank sheet of paper and go in whatever
direction you desire. Another advantage is that
if you do what you like, your work becomes
fun. Work and fun are the same.
Change the world
If you had to choose a field that could give
you a chance to impact the world in a profound
way, entrepreneurship can do just that.
Michael Dell brought us the customised
low-cost personal computer through the
Helen Bhagwansingh did not invent the
retailing of construction materials, but she
brought us the chain hardware concept with
self service. No more ordering from a counter.
She also established the UWI Diabetes Edu-
cation, Research and Prevention Trust, donat-
ing $5 million to its start. That is certainly a
way to be remembered.
Google s founders, Sergy Brin and Larry
Page changed the way we access and find
things on the Internet. Now you don t have
to think, you just google it. It is hoped Google
doesn t eventually make people stupid!
What qualities do entrepreneurs have you
might ask that separate them from the ordi-
It is no surprise that entrepreneurs are risk
takers. Many of us shun risk taking and uncer-
tainty. The average person will abandon plans
as soon as things get a bit fuzzy. Most of us
like things clear cut.
Entrepreneurs are different. If they are on
an airplane and it is experiencing difficulty,
preparation for an emergency landing would
not be enough for them. They would fix the
plane while it is flying.
But there is method to the entrepreneur s
madness. The risks they take are calculated
and they are often in the middle in the con-
tinuum of riskiness. They are not high risk
takers like gamblers, neither, do they have a
low propensity for risk like people who put
their money in the bank.
Can you create a million-dollar business
just from the simple items in your home?
Bette Graham, a single mother who worked
as a typist, got an idea one day to use wall
paint and a small paint brush to cover over
her mistakes (her nail polish bottle). Using her
artistic skills she mixed more paint to match
paper colours and was giving them out to her
colleagues. She sold her first bottle of "Mistake
Out" in 1956 making it in her garage and selling
it part time.
Business grew and, by 1968, she moved out
of her home and invested in a factory. Bette
had turned her part time, home-based business
into a large and profitable one. She eventually
sold what became The Liquid Paper Company
for US$47.5 million in 1980.
One of my friends, Dindial Sikumar, an agri-
preneur, experimented with grow-box farming
during the time of the 1990 attempted coup.
While the average person may have thought
that this was not a time for investing, Dindial
was confident that his method was a more
controlled solution to the vagaries of open-
field farming. He thought "out of the box"
and saw the future in one.
Most folks see a problem, an obstacle or a
block but not a new way around that issue.
In the early 20th century, automobiles were
the toys of the rich.
The average man could not afford a car but
one man had a dream that he could make cars
cheaper. While Henry Ford did not invent the
automobile, he found a way around the expen-
sive production process by applying the moving
production-line method. This new production
process started in 1913 and was one the biggest
innovations in the industry.
Today, you can still find the moving pro-
duction line at your local Subway store; as
the sandwich artists prepare your meal, they
customise it while you move to the cashier.
Entrepreneurs are magicians when it comes
to using limited resources.
Fred Deluca started his sandwich shop in
1965 with US$1,000 borrowed from a friend.
Deluca was struggling to make ends meet and
was trying to make fast food healthy yet tasty
by serving sub sandwiches.
At the time, McDonalds and KFC were the
dominant eating places and who would want
to compete against those giants. But America
was getting fat.
He was bold with an innovative way and
today, Subway is the largest chain (in terms
of number of branches) in the world.
The dark side
While you recognise the good side to entre-
preneurship and the qualities that entrepre-
neurs have, you might want to ponder the
other side. Entrepreneurs take risks and they
can lose some or all of their capital. This has
happened countless times to Donald Trump.
However, entrepreneurs keep coming back,
even from bankruptcy.
While entrepreneurship could lead to unlim-
ited riches, it is quite possible that your new
business may not give you the return that you
So, before you take that leap into entrepre-
neurship, make sure you consider all sides and
prepare for a rough but interesting ride.
Sajjad Hamid is an SME consultant.
He can be contacted at: entrepreneurt-
SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt JUNE 22 • 2014
Is entrepreneurship for you?
Dindial Sikumar, an agri-preneur, experimented with grow-box farming during the time of the 1990 attempted coup.
Many of us shun risk
average person will
abandon plans as
soon as things get a
Most of us like things
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