Entrepreneurship- A Habit to a Lifestyle

Entrepreneurship; a buzzword floating around globally and considered an ultimate goal of life in the modern era, bringing fame, a legacy, and the motivation to lead. In the modern context, the word entrepreneur is derived from the word ‘Entreprendre’ which means to undertake and to launch. It is the action of undertaking innovations that create value through the development of solutions to problems and therefore bringing the majority of people on board. 

Despite this, there is still a small misconception that is passed on from one mind to another, i.e. a businessman and an entrepreneur are the same and though to some extent this is true, there are major differences that differentiate an entrepreneur from a conventional businessman. Let’s take a food vendor for example who is selling mangoes on a hot summer day. Every day he goes to the wholesale fruit and vegetable market to buy two ten kilo cartons of mangos, which cost him PKR 700 per carton. Upon his return to his small place of business, he sells those mangoes for PKR 110 per kilo thus selling all his mangoes for PKR 2200 and making a profit of PKR 800. 

On the other hand, another fruit vendor having a similar amount of money and going to the same wholesale market starts feeling a little under the sun and wants something to quench his thirst. He has an idea and instead of buying two cartons of mangoes he gets one and with the remaining amount he buys a small juicer. He returns to his place of business and starts making mango juice. Now let’s suppose there are 15 mangoes in the carton and he sells a glass of juice for PKR 120, which means he makes sales of PKR 1800 thus making PKR 1100 profit. By converting a simple mango into juice, the latter has brought innovation, added value and full filled a need of the (thirsty) consumers. And though his initial investment could be a bit higher than the former, the value addition he has brought into his business will ensure he has greater sales. 

Let’s move forward towards the other end of the scale. The world’s most successful entrepreneurs have developed a phenomenal résumé and most people dream of one day becoming like them. However, what we see as the multibillion-dollar lifestyle began with humble beginnings, and that journey from start till the present day has never been a smooth one and filled with a roller coaster ride. However, the common thing among these successful entrepreneurs was that they possessed a ‘think big, start small’ mindset, which ensured that they developed their ventures sustainably and turned them into the global leaders they are today. To explain this further we can use the iceberg illusion model. 

When we look at an iceberg what we see is always the top bit which is a small chunk i.e. the success of an entrepreneur, but what we don’t see is the major chunk of the iceberg that lies below the surface. And it is this major chuck that makes the biggest difference. For an entrepreneur to be successful they have to face many things including sacrifice, rejection, stress, failure, and disappointments, etc. What makes them attain a high level is best explained by 8 D’s which through practice becomes a habit and in the end characteristics that drive their lifestyle. 

First and foremost, entrepreneurs are Dreamers i.e. their experiences and self-belief allow them to develop a long-term vision regarding their future and how it will impact society as a whole. This also means that they are Decisive. They consider time is the most precious tool one can have and this is what makes entrepreneurs excel, i.e. timing of their decisions. They eliminate the element of procrastination, therefore, allowing swift decision-making. Based on decision making and setting an action plan entrepreneurs to jump into action by implementing their goals (Doers). They are determined to make sure their cause is successful and are therefore fully committed to it. Another element that makes an Entrepreneur successful is Dedication. 

They love what they do and it is this habit that keeps them moving forward, especially when tough and challenging situations arise. When a person develops a long term vision and implements action plans it is vital to have the key information to ensure that the journey one embarks on is done so with calculated risk and this is where entrepreneurs are extremely focused; they pay attention to critical details, which include self-development, through reading books, practicing various skills, evaluating their weaknesses and working on improving them. In addition, they are always ‘Scanning the Environment’ to look for opportunities, problems that need to be solved, threats they may face in the present or in the future, and requirements of the society. Since Entrepreneurs are ‘Trend setters’ they need to be proactive and vigilant. 

They possess a growth mindset, which means they are masters of their own destiny and that of society as a whole. They want to be change-makers but want independence to be able to drive that change. Though they are independent, the growth mindset means they are strong believers of collective community development and strive towards win-win situations through the Distribution of knowledge, collaborations, and teamwork that has a positive impact on society. This leadership trait develops a high level of trust and belief and allows people to raise their hands and take ownership of the tasks and activities. 

The most common examples of well renowned and globally recognized entrepreneurs include Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Jack Ma, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and J.K. Rowling, etc. Even Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, a famous wrestler turned actor, turned his fortunes around and has become one of the most famous and well-liked personalities today. However, in this instance, we are going to focus on the local examples and how their journey brought them to where they are today. The late Junaid Jamshed, founder of J. when through a lot of struggles. After leaving the music industry as one of the most recognized singers, Junaid Jamshed changed his path and turned towards religion. During his new journey, he faced many hardships and at one point he was only left with PKR 100. 

Though in a hopeless situation, he had an idea in his mind that if the west exports jeans and shirts to Pakistan, why can’t Pakistan through its traditional norms, develop a contemporary clothing brand that can reach out to the rest of the world. He met a guy in his local mosque, who later became his partner and they agreed to start that brand, but the condition was that both were to invest equal amounts of money i.e. PKR 2.5 million each. Now the real struggle was to arrange that amount of money and Junaid Jamshed felt under extreme pressure. He got little support from his close one and in desperation had to sell some of his major assets to get the money. Eventually, the money was arranged and both partners invested it all and bought a variety of clothes and since the holy month of Ramadan was coming, it provided them with a great opportunity to get started. However, the hurdles didn’t stop there, as when they were cutting multiple patterns all of them came out in the wrong size. With both partners demoralized and lost, an opportunity which most people would consider a ‘miracle’ arose.

They got introduced to a person who proposed to them that a large amount of readymade Shalwar kameez were required in Bangladesh, however, it was requested that the pattern sizes should be smaller than usual. They had luck on their side, but if we really think about it, they were prepared for the opportunity, though the opportunity was to arrive from a different source and not what they had planned for. In the end, what they were supposed to sell in one month got sold in a matter of two days. With success early on they visited a well-known religious scholar to seek his guidance on how to ensure that their business is successful in the long run. 

The scholar gave them the most valuable advice which they implemented and turned J. into a worldwide brand. The first advice was to critically evaluate the scenarios which would cause their business to go in loss. The second piece of advice was to make sure that both partners would stay honest with each other and not break the element of trust. Finally the third and most importantly they were advised to think about how their business would not only create value but would be used to help people and develop the community. In the end, their business created almost ten thousand jobs, by bringing back the dying art of making khaddar cloth, a hand-woven method that brings out a rough-textured fiber, which is high in quality. From there on J. brand never looked back and developed a legacy that will last generations by contributing towards giving an identity to the Pakistani market. If we analyze this story closely we can relate to the 8 D’s that were mentioned earlier and how multiple struggles, failures, and challenging situations provided a learning curve to develop a new sense of motivation and mindset that lead to successful brand development. 

The lesson for us in this matter is that Entrepreneurs are no different to rest of the human beings, but where they do have an upper hand is that fact that they are extremely disciplined, goal orientated, habitual in their routine, keen learners, and team builders and these traits help them develop a lifestyle which has made them global leaders and personalities that most people ‘dream’ of becoming. For most of us, the first step has already been taken, it is now time to become the ‘Pilots of our plane’, be decisive and implement that dream so that it becomes a reality.