The intention of this article is not to compare the two individuals who are great in their own way. They both were seen as ‘Face of the Nation’ at least in the technology sector. They both had initial set backs but were able to come out of that and built a great organization.
I’ve great admiration for both these entrepreneurs and comparing them and claiming someone is better than the other is a disrespect to both these great men. Then why the title is so?
My intention is to bring out the challenges of the entrepreneurship in India compared to the west and pay tribute to the Indian entrepreneurs (including Mr. Murthy) who’d done it overcoming those challenges.
The challenges are manifold. Right from the Government encouragement to entrepreneurship to supportive Eco-system to individual mindset. I’m restricting myself in this article to peep into mindset of Indians which restricts many to enter into the world of entrepreneurship. These mindsets were developed over the years due to historical and cultural reasons.
Let us dive deep to examine the mindset of Indians on entrepreneurship.
– The biggest stumbling block for Indians is the fear of failure. The society sees someone fails in their attempt to do something new as good for nothing. They brand the person as a failure rather than seeing it as an isolated incident where the person failed at something. Even worse, the individual who failed the attempt himself believe that he’s a failure instead of realizing it was an opportunity to learn and re-attempt.
– The Indians must develop a mindset to accept failures as part of eventual success to become successful entrepreneurs later on.
- Look forward for appreciation
– The Indians were conditioned during the Colonial rule that only way to get recognition was to work hard as per the rulers expectation and await their appreciation. Appreciation was the driving force for them to work hard. That’s what it took them to various countries like Sri Lanka (Ceylon then), Singapore, etc…and convert those barren lands into a cultivable land and contributing to their growth.
– Even after many years of Independence still the above mindset persists, looking forward for appreciation for the work done. This is the reason that many Indian work force still stuck with the corporate. On the contrary, an entrepreneur often faces negative criticisms, eyed with doubtfulness, accountable for all the things that go wrong and has no one to appreciate.
– Indians need to be thick-skinned, open to criticisms and self-motivated (ie., do not wait for appreciation from others) to become successful entrepreneurs.
– The Indian society respects the people who work in large organizations which provide stable salaries. Many individuals give-in to this temptation. They do not want to lose the respect in their social circles by getting into unknown territory – entrepreneurship, where the success is uncertain.
– Indian bridegrooms face a unique problem when it comes to entrepreneurship. In India more than 90% of marriages are arranged by the families of brides and grooms and unfortunately entrepreneur groom would be least preferred by the families.
– The mindset of the society should change and see entrepreneurship as a respectable profession.
- Preference to predictability, stability & Certainty
– India was once land of abundance. We’d everything from eclectic spices to expensive golds. The south of India were ruled by Cheras, Cholas and Pandiyas which gave a stable government. There were no chaos, no uncertainty and everything was in order, everything was so predictable in life. These orderliness has somehow entered into Indian genes. This could be the reason that Indians prefer predictable corporate jobs to chaotic entrepreneurship.
– people should be trained to see the chaos as an opportunity to address a need and hence generate a value.
- Avoidance of Decision Making/Accountability and Adherence to Hierarchy
– Entrepreneurship is all about decision-making all the while, it’s secondary whether the decision is correct or not. But Indians definitely take backseat when it comes to decision-making. It can be observed in the political scenario, corporate scenario even in day-to-day life in India.
– Developing a strong attitude to take accountability of your decisions is the need of hour. This can only be possible if the fear of failure has been overcome.
- Importance of $$$ as a child
– Last but not the least is as parents we fail to teach our kids the importance of money and how to handle it. We take care of all their needs such that they are not even aware of cash flows and attach least importance to money.
– This is the reason why many budding entrepreneurs with the above background fail since they do not know how to get things done with less/constrained resources.
– If we allow our kids to manage the money when they’re young and guide them by asking thoughtful questions like “What value do they create for themselves with the certain amount given to them? What are the different options they can come up with? etc…” I’m sure that our younger generations would be far better than us when comes to decision-making and get more value out of fewer resources.
Most of the post modern successful Indian entrepreneurs faced all of the above-mentioned challenges and emerged as successful leaders who proved to the world that Indians can be successful entrepreneurs and can build great organizations that can compete globally. They could do that because of their strong will and self-belief and they refused to go with the flow like everyone else in this country. I take this moment to salute these great Indian entrepreneurs and wish many more to follow from this great country.
Disclaimer: India is vast, complex to understand and hence it always hard to generalize. Hence, I may be wrong in my generalizations and apologize upfront if I’ve offended anyone.