Are Entrepreneurs born or made?
Running a successful business today comes with its own challenges. Let’s see what
it takes to run a successful business.
1. Inspiration / Motivation – We have seen many examples of successful businessmen who
were inspired or motivated to change the outlook of a particular industry and the way
people around perceive things. Take for example Lee Iacocca, the man behind the revival of
Chrysler and face of Ford automotive who recently passed away. He changed the whole
idea of Gas guzzlers and was motivated to revive the American automotive industry by
launching the sleek & stylish Ford Mustang. He revived the sinking Chrysler by introducing
the minivan in competition with Japanese brands and even released TV commercials stating
“If you find a better car, then Buy it”! These were traits of great business minds who had
the inherent motivation/inspiration to change things around them and tread a new path
not explored before.
2. Innovation – With competition breathing down the neck and the customer wants
changing by the hour every businessman /businesswoman needs to start Thinking out of
the Box and innovate at any given chance to make their products/services better and
different. Let’s take an example of Steve Jobs who made the Iconic Iphone. Iphone was all
about changing the behavior of how to /purpose of using a mobile phone. Until its
introduction mobile phones were just means to attend / make calls and messages. But his
innovative ideas taught us to touch, tap and swipe and made mobile phones aspirational
that can digitize our lives and share our experiences with everyone. This innovation
quotient even taught us that as consumers how we can look at mobile phones in a new
grand new dimension.
3. Perseverance – Well like the saying goes “Quitters cannot be Winners”!! Anyone wanting
to be successful in business needs to have the “Never say Die Attitude” to overcome the
failures that might crop up in the course of venturing into unexplored areas or daunting
competition. Take for example the case of Maggi (Nestle India) that had over 80% market of
India’s noodle market as of May 2015 reduced to just zero within a month. Hope you
remember when Maggi faced a 6 month ban on allegations that it contained monosodium
glutamate – a flavour enhancer beyond the permissible food safety limits. By end of June
2015 huge consignments of Maggi were burnt down and the company brand took a severe
beating affecting the market share of its other products in the market. To overcome that
Nestle had brought in Mr. Suresh Narayanan as its India CEO who put heart and soul in
changing the perception of Maggi by communicating with all stakeholders – regulators,
media and consumers and then pushing advertising thereby addressing the communication
failure. Also, Nestle India diversified moving away slowly from packaged food to focus on
health and nutrition products backed with research on consumer trends that would reduce
market risk and not end up putting all eggs in the same basket. So this shows that even a
failure can be seen as an opportunity to create new avenues for growth and address
lessons learnt that are hallmarks of a successful businessman.
So, yes many traits above can be acquired or get rubbed over through experience but then
the inherent urge/drive/intuition is something that no Business school could
teach/inculcate so easily.
Most of the successful CEOs/CMOs say that when it comes to taking decisions it is only
natural instincts that can help you backed up with some data. See some famous quotes
“It’s the greatest time to be a marketer, because it’s not just about big data. We still have
creativity, and everyone values that. You still have to ask the broad questions so that you
don’t fall into just data telling you something” Diana O’Brien, global CMO, Deloitte.
"Although quantitatively driven decision making is important, at the end of the day, you still
need to rely on the human element and realize that data can’t track a potential smile you
bring to the face of your target audience. Use data, but still trust your gut feel"- Raja
Rajamannar, CMO, Mastercard
Did you know that a former successful CEO had written a book “Straight from the Gut”??