In 2014 I was called by a student to provide a talk in a conference called HPAIR short for Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations). Well, as I am full of entrepreneurship feelings, I decided to prove to the students that being entrepreneurs is the way to go. Then I noticed that other speakers are also focusing on this point ( I thought I was the only one). One person from the audience asked: why is HPAIR focusing on Entrepreneurship and how can the students gain the skills needed to run a business.
I had given a long explanation, but basically my reply was simple, teach them at school, let them run businesses while in college, give them the means and teach them the scope. I had few examples of course, as few of the schools had always asked me to mentor the students for their projects and I helped my students at college to prepare their files on their project which runs over a whole week. In both of these cases some students proved their abilities and some learnt the hard way not to be ambitious.
However what I found is that the teaching of entrepreneurship is not provided in a simple way in both schools and colleges. Let me list for you who can be an entrepreneur: doctors, dentists, accountants, lawyers, financial advisors, product developers, microbiologists,… that is only to name a few. All of these people study to work somewhere and then they open their own centres. Do they know how to do human resources, accounting, marketing, advertising and so on? these are skills that one requires to run a successful business.
Entrepreneurship simply means anyone who takes the risk and opens a business, if you look at shopping malls, all of those shops belong to entrepreneurs (some started hundred years ago and became conglomerates of course and some stayed as small shop owners). As you can see entrepreneurship is not a difficult thing to do. Nevertheless we will need to explain it to students in both schools and universities. Maybe we create entrepreneurs who can become conglomerates in the future. Even teachers themselves can be entrepreneurs by starting an after hours teaching centres for kids. Thus the teachers themselves need to have entrepreneurship skills.
What are the needed attributes for entrepreneurs:
We need to remove the word FEAR from our dictionary.
Then we need to have the idea
We need to have the word perseverance in our thoughts
We need to try to learn how to stay on track and not stem out with new ideas in the beginning
We need to make the idea itself simple (look at it from all directions, talk about it with friends and family and don’t be afraid of imitations)
We need to have the money, and that too is easy, your family and friends and your own savings will be ok, we refer to funding from these sources as the three Fs, (family, friends and fools)
We need to have perseverance
Last but not least we need to have the skills.
These skills are mainly in the “what we need to do part of the startup”: how to find the best place, best equipment, best furniture, best team with the lowest prices. you should always think that you need to grew your idea and then reap the benefits. Do not hire people unless you need to, and especially now that you have your phone (your everything) in your pocket. You may not need staff unless you are of course manufacturing something.
Never, ever depend on people 100% of the time, its your idea and your passion, so you have to do it yourself first and in every promotion, take those that will learn about your idea with you and then depend on them after trying them out.
Most importantly, remember people will buy/use your company, what you need is to learn to give the best so you will get a recurrence in the business. If people notice that there is a deficiency or your product is not what they had visualised, then they will not return back. Make it very clear that what you said you will do is what you are giving to them.
I will keep this paragraph for the knowledge that you need to have to be a successful entrepreneur:
Accounting and book keeping skills
Finance skills (to deal with banks and your lenders)
Writing skills (for your advertisements)
Learn about your competition
In the subject of entrepreneurship 101, all of these things need to be taught and more.
example: I know a very poor guy, he started his business by selling water to the people waiting at the traffic lights, suddenly I noticed millions of people selling water at traffic lights. Is selling water a good idea?
The best advise: choose an idea that cannot be copied or replicated easily, and always make advances and changes so your competition cannot copy you.
Names of few entrepreneurs: the picture above has the main ones, but you can find them anywhere else, say in UAE you will have Alhabtoor, Juma Almajid, and many more: In Bahrain you can find Almoayed, Alhalwachi, Alhaddad, Kanoo, and many more. you can add my name to the list too
Good luck with your idea.