Realizing the Entrepreneurial Dream

– Sai Kumar Chandran –

Embarking on an entrepreneurial journey is a path filled with uncertainties and challenges, and if it works out, also has the potential for great rewards. It is a pursuit that requires more than just a fleeting passion or a transient dream; it demands a firm resolve, a clear vision, and an unyielding commitment to bring an idea to fruition. There is also the element of probability of success and your own luck with timings and opportunities that you will have to encounter.

Aspiring entrepreneurs are often visionaries who can see beyond the horizon, but what truly distinguishes them from mere dreamers is their willingness to take concrete steps toward their goals. They are individuals who combine their dreams with action, turning what could be into what is and what will be coming to fruition. Aspiring entrepreneurs are also sometimes innovators, blending their dreams with practical steps toward creation and growth.

For these tenacious individuals, success is careful planning and relentless execution allowing them to differentiate between whimsical fantasies and actionable objectives. The entrepreneurial world is unforgiving to those who step in unprepared. Therefore, to navigate this complex landscape, there are critical factors every aspiring entrepreneur must be crystal clear about, and each of these requires its own measure of focus and clarity. Here are a few illustrations for the aspiring minds:

1. Vision and Purpose
Know why you want to start this business. Your vision is your destination, and your purpose is the fuel that will get you there. Clarity here can be achieved through introspection, understanding your passions, and aligning them with a problem you want to solve. Your purpose may not be a huge ‘save the world’ kind; it can be as simple as being financially independent. Period.

An exercise: Apply Simon Sinek’s “Golden Circle” model (Sinek, “Start with Why,” 2009). An aspiring learner can dive deeper into this concept by reading Sinek’s book or watching his TED Talk on the subject.

2. Target Market
Understand who your customers are. Research and analyze the market to identify your target demographic. Gain clarity by interacting with potential customers and using surveys or market analysis tools.

An exercise: Utilize the “STP Model” (Segmentation, Targeting, Positioning), originally proposed by Smith (1956) in his work on product differentiation. More can be learned about STP through marketing textbooks and online business courses.

3. Value Proposition
Define what makes your product or service unique. Clarity in your value proposition can be honed by comparing your offerings with competitors and understanding your unique selling points.

An exercise: The “Value Proposition Canvas” by Osterwalder et al. (2014) is a practical tool to clarify your offering. The book “Value Proposition Design” is a great resource to understand this model in depth.

4. Business Model
Be clear on how your business will make money. Different models exist, so study them, prototype different strategies, and decide which works best for your product or service.

An exercise: Osterwalder’s “Business Model Canvas” (Osterwalder & Pigneur, “Business Model Generation,” 2010) provides a strategic template for developing new or documenting existing business models. The original book and online workshops can offer more insight. Additionally, the “PESTLE Analysis” model (Aguilar, 1967) helps in understanding the macro-environmental factors. Further exploration can be done through legal business texts and online legal resources.

5. Competitive Landscape
Know your competition well. Analysing competitors’ strengths and weaknesses helps you find your niche. Use SWOT analysis and market research to gain insights.

An exercise: Porter’s “Five Forces” (Porter, “How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy,” 1979) is crucial for analysing the competition. There is a great book by Porter that provides thorough guidance.

6. Financial Plan
Be realistic about your financial needs. Create a detailed business plan, project revenues, and expenses. Financial clarity comes from meticulous planning and consultation with financial experts.

An exercise: The “Three Statement Financial Model” integrates the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow. Books on financial modeling and courses from institutions like the CFA Institute or a qualified professional can provide further knowledge.

7. Legal and Regulatory Requirements
Understand the legalities of your business. Research the necessary licenses, permits, and regulations. Consult with legal experts to avoid future pitfalls.

8. Marketing and Sales Strategy
Have a clear plan to reach your customers. Test different marketing strategies, measure their effectiveness, and refine your approach based on data.

An exercise: The “7 Ps of Marketing” (Booms & Bitner, 1981) offers a comprehensive approach to marketing strategy. Marketing textbooks and professional workshops delve deeper into these principles.

9. Operations Plan
Be detailed about how your business will run day-to-day. Develop clear processes and obtain clarity by mapping out your supply chain, production, and delivery processes.

An exercise: The “Six Sigma” methodology (Motorola, 1986), TOC (Eliyahu M. Goldratt, 1984), TQM, and several other body of knowledge for process improvement can provide a systematic framework.

10. Risk Management
Know the risks involved and how to manage them. Identify potential issues, assess their impact, and develop mitigation strategies.

An exercise: The “ISO 31000” standard provides guidelines on risk management principles and implementation. Official ISO documentation and risk management certification courses are valuable resources.

As you align your focus on these factors, remember that the entrepreneurial path is not a sprint, but a marathon. Each of these aspects requires time to develop and refine. Some elements might benefit from a burst of energy and hustle—like networking to boost your marketing efforts or pulling together resources to meet an urgent financial goal. However, many others, such as developing a sustainable business model or building a loyal customer base, will demand consistent dedication and hard work.

Patience is an entrepreneur’s ally. Not every factor will fall into place immediately, and not every effort will yield instant results. It’s crucial to recognize the importance of building a strong foundation, which cannot be rushed.

In the pursuit of entrepreneurial success, it’s important to acknowledge the elements that are beyond one’s control, such as timing and luck. In the words of the ancient Upanishads, “You are what your deep, driving desire is. As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.” This wisdom reminds us that while we can steer our will and perform our deeds with diligence, the ultimate fruition of our efforts is tied to the destiny that unfolds. In a modern context, it emphasizes that while hard work and clarity are within our control, the timing and the confluence of opportunities that we often refer to as luck are not always so. It is a dance between making the most of what is in our power and being prepared for when the winds of change blow in our favor.

Thus, the aspiring entrepreneur does well to remember that success is as much a product of their clear, directed efforts as it is of the serendipitous moments that no business plan can predict.

Enjoy this journey, and have a plan that goes beyond just this journey! Bring entrepreneurship to your life, if you will, but don’t make it your life.

Sai is the founder of OrbitShift. He is a coaching & consulting practitioner and an entrepreneur at heart. He can be reached at

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