My daughter is a serial entrepreneur. She is 6 years old now, but since the age of 4 she has wanted to do things. One of her first entrepreneurial venture was to be the toll collectors on the toll booth on highway. Her logic for getting into that business was very simple. I give a note to the toll operator & he gives me back a few notes & a piece of paper. So the toll operator must be a very rich guy who can just give out so many notes every day. She has since moved on after noticing that currency notes have different values & giving away money need not make you rich.
Her next venture was even more interesting & really grand. She likes painting & learnt that good paintings are kept in exhibitions so that every one can enjoy. Since she could generate about 1 painting a day (not more considering she has to give due respect to her supreme god (…I mean teachers) by studying)) she would need a large space. A nearby park about 5 Acre big would suffice. She wanted me to withdraw money from bank & buy the piece of land. She had already chosen two partners (not her friends, because they did not have the requisite expertise) but one of my friends (a Mr. Shah) to look after finances & the father of a close friend of hers as he can speak well on a mike & is good to people (incidentally, he happens to be in the top management in marketing in a FMCG company). The pricing & the work timing were all worked out. The only reason this venture could not go further was because the Angel investor did not have deep enough pockets to buy the required land.
This and the many more entrepreneurial ventures, got me thinking. Our role models when we were young were professionals. Today, while we as parents have not encouraged any particular ones, seem to entrepreneurs.
What are the qualities that we want in our children. What are the qualities that we would like in our employees. Entrepreneurs vs Professional? Subroto Bagchi has a wonderful treatise on what a professional should do & I for sure love that book. It have really brought out that a professional does work with genuine passion, demonstrates responsibility & produces great results. If there is one quality of professional then he is “dependable”. The one who will do thing correctly.
On the other hand an entrepreneur brings out a different image. He is focused on the results, is innovative (is ‘jugadoo’ at times), takes risks. Entrepreneur takes ownership for his own success & thus is ready to subordinate other things. Also he usually is far more customer focused. Entrepreneur need to consider anything & everything that can impact their endeavor. He charts his own course. The one who will be focused on the end objective.
Ideally we would want both the qualities but life is not so fair where you can eat the cake & have it too. If one has to choose, then in world where the result can be measured fairly, where uncertainty is high, I would always love an Entrepreneur. There are a few areas where I don’t know how to measure success & would prefer a professional.
When it comes to children, though it would seem to be too late to think about it, I would prefer an Entrepreneur. Because an entrepreneur takes responsibility for his or her success. Adapts & learns, which is very important in the unpredictable world out there. Instead of feeding man if you teach him to fish you feed him for life. The same way an entrepreneur will chart his way far better. Entrepreneur will become a professional if that is essential for the success of the business.
So my daughter is on the right track, she already knows what to do, knows her limitations, what kind of team to build, the skill sets required & cares a lot for her customer. They are her friends. How many companies can say that. This is true of most of the children of her age. They are far more entrepreneurial in their quest that we as professionals are. Lets cultivate the entrepreneur.
My learning from serial entrepreneur continues…. a game bus which can be parked in our society…. The angel investor is still short of money……