Ideas & opportunities for new entrepreneurs

Last Updated 31 October 2010, 13:13 IST

An entrepreneur asks: What business ideas and opportunities do today’s entrepreneurs go after ?

MentorSquare response:

Today’s entrepreneurs are usually in a tearing hurry to start, grow and scale the highest peaks, all in a matter of a few years. Therefore it is only natural that they would be more inclined to tilt towards ideas that are easy to start, and do not require a huge capital. Rather than investing time and resources into doing an opportunity plan, they use information that is already and readily available on the internet.

Most of these ideas are simple applications, aimed at addressing evident, ordinary pain points, often which, the entrepreneur himself might have faced at some point of time in his life.

Another trend is to indulge in the flavour of the season. Lately, Cleantech is the hottest buzz area, huge interest is shown in waste management. Everybody has a business of solar lamps and just everyone is exploring alternate sources of energy. As MentorSquare Mentor suggests, ‘An Entrepreneur gets his business ideas from his passions, pains and pleasures.

Today, an entrepreneur goes into business to satisfy a passion or a craving, to fill a void that he sees in himself or in society. They are keen to start ventures in which they feel a lack of availability, as was the case with Deepa Kumar, an entrepreneur who felt frustrated that she did not get dresses suitable for her when she was pregnant, that she started Momming a store dedicated for pregnant women.

Identifying an opportunity

There is no dearth of ideas in our country. The Indian market is a growth market and not a mature efficiency market like the ones in the Western markets.  Thus, entrepreneurs have the advantage of looking at what has worked in the Western markets and try to adapt it to the Indian markets.

Some are successful while others fail miserably. It is no longer suicide for an entrepreneur to think of a ‘me too’ idea in today’s world. They are increasingly found to tweak already existent ideas, give it their personal touch, and its ready to be launched in the market, as their very own!

Young entrepreneurs are not only looking at opportunities within India but also leveraging global opportunities either for buying, manufacturing or selling. This would invariably lead to them having to solve major problems which they are unfamiliar with, that will not only create economic wealth but also social impact.

More often than not, they get stuck with so many choices and alternatives. There are no precedents and the challenges of the Indian market are sometimes overwhelming to a first time entrepreneur. However, they have fewer inhibitions when it comes to implementing their ideas. They are more willing to jump into the deep end of the pool, knowing the risks associated with it.

This is as a mentor puts it, due a change in the business environment, that has become more flexible in recent times. Unlike before the risk of going into business and losing the security of a job is much lesser. Most feel, if this does not work out, they could easily get another job.

Today, especially, in technology companies, being a failed entrepreneur is not a stigma but an asset, since the entrepreneurial journey would have imparted the knowledge about business which can only be got by the hard knocks that a business owner gets.
This is not to say that most young entrepreneurs are successful.

The intensity and speed with which these businesses start, is invariably the same with which they go down. Most are just not able to face the hard knocks of the market place. Entrepreneurs imagine a slew of products and services, which they believe, or rather hope, will create a buzz in the industry.

They avoid the time consuming task of validating opportunity, which involves going to your prospective market segment and testing it. Not only does it delay their project from being kick started, Market Research is also an expensive affair.

As one Mentorexplains the cause behind this trend, ‘the ideas are usually low capital intensity ideas, they cobble together a team, some money and then launch something which they hope will generate buzz among the young.  Somewhere along the line when they discover the humbling nature of the market place, they start seeking out some senior counsel.’

First step after idenifying an idea?

So what are these entrepreneurs looking for ? As most of mentors would agree, the answer is simple – Money. It is considered fashionable to raise venture capital funding. Present day entrepreneurs are like ‘kids in a candy shop’, spoilt with a wide range of choices and an ocean of opportunity.

Once the entrepreneur has developed their idea enough to come out and speak about it, they are looking for money. MentorSquare recognises the importance of money, but urges such entrepreneurs to go through a framework of risk mitigation to develop the idea into a successful enterprise with the help of Mentors. The world is their oyster, and these entrepreneurs are out to get their fair share. With valuable guidance they will.

(Published 31 October 2010, 13:13 IST)

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