Accidental Enterprenuership
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Accidental Enterprenuership

  • Written by UnivAdmitHelp
  • Category: Mentoring
  • Published on 19 Feb 2019

I think of myself as an Accidental Entrepreneur. Never in my career before had I thought that I would not be working in a secure environment that would ensure a steady salary at the end of the month. But here I am, an entrepreneur in the edtech domain. My plan of retirement shattered within 15 years of my working life. And then I look around and see many others like me starting up and wonder what happened. I came to the following conclusions:

  • Technology has impacted almost all the domains impacting job security. This leads to the first type of accidental entrepreneur – the mid/senior level professional who has lost his job to a young techie or an outsourced tech enabled resource. As job opportunities dry up, they look for consulting assignments to do specialized tasks. The rise of specialized network of professionals like Maven is a direct output of such entrepreneurship.

 

  • The second type is a beneficiary of the technological boom. (S)he has identified a niche while working on a project at a big company, studied it closely, pitched it internally as a new line of business, been given a lukewarm response and so, felt confined at work. As the cost of starting up has come down, (s)he decided to take a risk and follow-up on the project and form a company.

 

  • The third type is the disillusioned corporate guy who has done well in his career but now wants to return to something that he had given up in the past. Writing books, teaching subjects like mathematics, starting up after-school programs or coding challenges, corporate sports tournaments management companies et al are startups that have seen their share of such entrepreneurs.

 

Now the reason this segment is important is because of a few features their start-ups typically sport:

 

  • Usually, these startups are driven by a mission and a vision, so focus on systems and quality is higher from day one. Most of the times the investment in systems is of a disproportionate nature (the entrepreneurs tend to bring the big company mindset and feel more comfortable in a familiar setting, hence splurge on systems early on)

 

  • The desire to scale-up is much higher than the ability to scale-up: Inordinate amount of upfront expenditure in non-essential systems and early investment in projects that would need a larger amount of outlay eventually are typically made without adequate resources being available (it is difficult to transition the mindset from a big company mindset with a much larger resource base to a limited resources startup environment)

 

  • Though I am still looking for data to back this up, my sense is that these startups would remain “zombies” (companies that are unable to scale up or grow but continue to survive as long as the entrepreneur can sustain them) for longer than the usual entrepreneurial endeavors

 

Why is this important for an admissions blog?

Because I want to highlight to a new student that irrespective of whatever your plans maybe, (s)he should spend time to familiarize himself/herself with the basics of business, human behavior, selling and accounting whenever (s)he gets a chance. Most programs today offer the flexibility to take up interdisciplinary courses and that should be taken full advantage of.

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