Entrepreneurship is Fashionable
These days, entrepreneurs are everywhere. From Silicon Valley to Sao Palo in Brazil, and from Boston to Bangalore, starting one’s own business is indeed the rage among the young and the restless.
Moreover, ever since the Great Recession of 2008, full-time jobs have become scarce and in addition, with the rise of temps and the Gig Economy (the term used to describe the freelancing and the part-time work model), most professionals are literally and figuratively “on their own”.
Apart from this, with the technological advances wrought about and brought about by the Mobile Computing and the Smartphone Revolution, Entrepreneurship is the de facto choice for anyone who wants to ride the crest of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”.
Entrepreneurship is Not Easy
Having said that, it is not always the case that Entrepreneurship is easy or rewarding without much hard work or even chance and pure grit.
Indeed, globally, only two to three out of ten new ventures stand a chance of success and even among them, only a few actually go on to become the market leaders.
Just like in the 1980s and 1990s, for every Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, there are hundreds and thousands of others who have “bitten the dust” and thus, in the 21st Century, for every Mark Zuckerberg, there are countless others who are either bankrupt financially or have abandoned their quest.
Some Thoughts on What Makes Entrepreneurs Tick
So, what makes some startups succeed and others fail? Similarly, with so much of “hot money” or the term used to describe the “avalanche of funding” from Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists flowing into startups, what is the future of entrepreneurship and where is it headed?
To answer these questions, we need to dig into history as well as peer into the future and at the same time, keep ourselves focused firmly on the present.
Just because “easy money” due to Ultra Low Interest Rates by Central Banks is finding its way into Entrepreneurship does not mean that this would continue to be the situation going forward.
Indeed, with the Federal Reserve in the United States “signaling” its intent to raise rates, it is by no means certain that investors would continue to pour money into startups.
At the same time, with exponentially accelerating technology, the “shelf life of ideas” and products are getting ridiculously shorter and compressed meaning that what is now a hot App or Software would quickly be overtaken by the next big thing.
If not anything, these two trends are enough to make the would be entrepreneurs jittery and think twice before they see stars in their eyes. Though this does not mean that would be entrepreneurs should abandon their dreams, what this certainly means is that their feet must be firmly on the ground.
Globalization and Entrepreneurship: A Double-Edged Sword
Apart from this, the globalized world economy has indeed “shrunk” distance and anyone anywhere and everyone everywhere are essentially competing with each other.
For instance, with bandwidth and steady and reliable infrastructure being the determinants of the ecosystem in addition to easy human resource availability and access to funding, it is clear that worldwide the startup capitals such as the Silicon Valley and Bangalore are in direct competition with other startup capitals around the world.
However, with rising protectionism and the threat of retreat of globalization, the future of entrepreneurship would also be local or a mix of global and local or Glocal (the term proposed by the famous author and columnist, Thomas Friedman) to describe the adaptation of the global to the local so that one benefits from global trends and at the same time, do not lose sight of the purely local on the ground conditions.
This can take the form of more locally focused and driven startups such as the various food and grocery ventures in India to the eCommerce and transport sectors in China.
Entrepreneurship and the Gig Economy
In addition, with freelancing becoming the norm rather than the exception, in future, entrepreneurs anywhere in the world need not be constrained by national boundaries and can tap into the abundant armies of freelancers around the world.
Further, with mobile phones and Smartphones becoming ubiquitous, it is also the case that future entrepreneurs should combine technology with ease of use of their products so that even the layperson would benefit from this merger.
Avoid the Gung Ho Attitude
Apart from this, another trend which is noticeable (especially in recent months) is that startups and their founders have to ensure that they remain on the right side of regulators and do not break the rules or flout norms in their quest for market share.
Indeed, the celebrated founder of the ride hailing app, Uber, which is a global success story, now finds himself out of his post (though this might be for a few months) mainly because of the “gung ho” approach which he adopted towards everything from dealing with regulators to treating his employees and especially dealing with cases of sexual harassment and discrimination.
Thus, it is evident from the preceding discussion that while the future might be rocky for entrepreneurs, it is also rosy for those willing to be cutting edge and at the same time, not lose of old fashioned values such as ethics and a steady and stable approach to business.
Indeed, if there is one single takeaway from this article, it is that one should be powered by technology and cutting edge products, one must also be driven by pure business sense and an understanding of economics which has served previous generations of entrepreneurs well.
To conclude, being an entrepreneur can mean that one looks backward as well as forward without losing one’s present feet on the ground poise.