Wishing you best of health on all fronts physical, mental and finance. I am writing this blog to talk about one of the most common characteristics of entrepreneurs, especially Indian entrepreneur. To understand this, we shall take example of Cricket.
We have “Team-India” consisting of eleven cricketers. Who are those eleven cricketers? Undoubtedly, “Team-India” consists of those cricketers who are best in this game. Can you imagine how tough it is to get selected in Indian cricket team? Thousands of players are in waiting. There is so much of interest in this game in India that probably you may find a complete team in every locality of this large country. There are thousands of cricket-teams in every state. It is truly very difficult to be part of Team-India for a cricketer. And one who is selected is one who has best of talent, skills, training and fitness: both physical and mental. The cricketers selected in “Team-India” must have passed through so much of training, practice, learning that practically he is an expert of the game. He knows everything about the game. With this knowledge, talent, training and exposure when he joins the team, he is still given a coach by BCCI. BCCI has a bowling-coach, a batting-coach and a fielding-coach. This is one of the important factor to be observed by you Mrs. & Mr. Entrepreneurs, that best of the persons in the cricket team, still needs a coach. In addition to a coach appointed for guidance and training of a cricketer in every field of cricket, most cricketers have their personal-coach.
Let’s see an example of the master class of cricket. Mr. Sachin Tendulkar, who is probably one of the most successful cricketers in the history, had a coach on both the days: “the day he started cricket as a career” and “the day he retired”. Mr. Ramakant Achrekar, the coach of Mr. Sachin Tendulkar, obviously has played a “most important role” in shaping Tendulkar’s “talent of into class”. Mr. Ramakant Achrekar devised those strategies and plans for Mr. Tendulkar, which were needed for Mr. Tendulkar to enable him, to reach at the top of the world in his field of cricket.
We know lord KRISHNA, who is known as “Jagat Guru” (Guru of the world) also had 24 gurus in his life. We know Bhagwan Ram had gurus. Every god probably had a guru.
What about you Mrs. and Mr. Entrepreneur?
Do you think you need a coach, a business guru, an expert for your business?
Yes, agreed you may have education, skills, talent and knowledge of business, you might also have required experience of business, but still there is a need for you to have an expert as your coach or mentor.
The common characteristics of most Entrepreneurs in India is that they did not feel the need of a guru. This is probably because of the fact that most businesses in India are family businesses. In a family-business, traditionally, you find your father, uncle, elder brothers as your mentors and the processes goes on. But now the situation is different. The market dynamics are constantly changing. The levels of competition, need for continuous up-gradation and expansions, the impact of external factors, fast-changing consumer behavior, role of social media in marketing, online market portals and solutions, availability of financing options, changing technologies are the factors among others, that our businesses are now severely impacted more by external factors then by internal efficiencies.
In today’s competitive business world, a business continuously requires a coach for expert-inputs on market knowledge, relevant innovative strategies & solutions, workable action plans, finance and technology options, new methodology and options, fresh ideas, new market segment and growth plans, expansion plans, acquisitions and merger possibilities, management information systems, decision making process etc.
Entrepreneurship is a journey into the unknown. Every day you shall have something new – a new challenge, a new problem, a new possible solution and yes of-course new opportunities, new markets, new ideas and new way to look at things around. Entrepreneurship is exciting because of these uncertainties. Every challenge can be converted into opportunity through right mentoring.
A coach is definitely a must for sustainability and growth of a business.
Selecting a Right-Mentor is very important. It is not as easy as choosing any dress or food or holiday destination. The process of selection should be proper and detailed.
Mentor should be well experienced of the field in which you want his guidance. You should analyze his experience in detail. He should be transparent. He should be positive thinker and one who also acts as positive role model. He should be able to define clear goals and vision for you. You should also see the track-record of the mentor in terms of turning around some other units and businesses.
Few points mentee should bear in mind while choosing a right mentor:-
1. Mentor should be a good listener:- A good mentor should be a good listener. To understand someone or to understand someone’s problem one needs to listen, and therefore a good mentor should be a good listener. Mentors are like guides and therefore they should not spoon feed you answer even if they have. This quality of a mentor encourages the mentee to express freely. Most mentors have a habit of one ways communication, whereby the mentee is unable to express their issues or understanding.
2. Willingness to share skills, knowledge and expertise:- A good mentor is willing to teach what he knows and accept the mentee where they currently are in their professional development. A good mentor is willing to continually share information and their ongoing support with the mentee.
3. Practical Approach:- The mentor should be very practical in his approach towards problem solving or achieving vision.
4. Reasonability:- The financial cost of his plans and suggestions should be reasonable in relation to financial gains expected.
5. Personal Interest:- The mentor you select should not be self-centered and should take personal interest in mentoring relationship. Your goals should be his goals and your outcome should be his.
6. He should challenge you and try to convert your weakness into strengths:- A mentor should be able to understand your weaknesses and make every effort to convert them into your strengths.
7. Sugarcoating:- Don’t pick someone who will sugarcoat things too much. A mentor should be good enough to appreciate you when you do well and at the same time, he should be worst to punish you when you are wrong.
8. He should be motivating:- Despite several failures a mentee should be motivated enough by the mentor to oversee his failures, attempts and continue to strive ahead towards achieving his goals.
Most successful tech IITians have founders who had mentors. Facebook's MARK ZUCKERBERG was mentored by Steve Jobs. STEVE JOBS was mentored by Mike Markkula who is an early investor and executive at Apple. And Eric Schmidt mentored Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google.