Entrepreneurship Series Overview III

Dennis Goh, River, Entrepreneurship, start up


Once you are clear about your vision, once you are clear about making a positive impact – then your odds of being resilient, determination to survive your entrepreneurship journey has just gone up. Necessary but not sufficient, I know – you could still crack – but without the former, you will surely crack faster.

Instead of stating “7 steps to success” or “10 ways to strengthen your personal resilience”, I am just going to say that it all starts with your mind and spirit, on why you are running a technology start-up

Think about this – if your sole reason for becoming an entrepreneur is to make a lot of money, become famous or just “I want to be my own boss”, then once you experience an absence of these outcomes – i.e. no money, everyone looks down on you, and you realise every potential client is pretty much your boss/some can be pretty nasty but you still need their business or support – you will reach the stage very quickly whereby you ask yourself “(Fill in your own name) – you pig, you dog, you cow, what are you doing?!!@#$%^&*()(*&”

What I have described above is pretty much the reality for 99% of start-ups out there – no YouTube (1.5 years to acquisition) or Beeconomics (7 months! to acquisition). For the majority of technology start-ups especially in Asia, the SPECTRE of no money, greatly looked down on by practically everyone except your family, and pitching the same idea to hundreds of businesses/people of which only 1% get it, – IS VERY REAL.

The reason is very simple – as a technology entrepreneur, you are at the forefront of a new product, new industry. You are going to positively change your industry, but as a visionary, you are ahead of everyone else. Hence, the early struggles to get others to see the future in your industry that you are bringing to the present. By default, there will be tons of sceptics, tons of blur (confused) look on everyone’s face when you pitch to them.

That is when your vision and clarity about making a positive impact comes in so handily. When you have a vision that is profoundly larger than your own self, somehow under grace and divine favor, you actually end up changing ¬†your industry and making an amazing positive impact. You end up being more resilient, and unexpectedly enjoy your entrepreneur journey instead of getting crushed by it. First you believe, then you declare, and then you see it. And every step along the way, you are learning and iterating, learning and iterating, seeing your “baby” (business) growing or getting more understanding from your audience/industry – it becomes an enjoyable journey. Of course there are real business considerations (cost, revenue) and constraints (broken revenue model) out there, but the point is really about the right state of mind to have before even tackling these challenges.

Do you now understand where I am coming from? – Every technology entrepreneur must be able to see this clearly in his/her head before taking the leap in – it will really strengthen your personal resilience and make your entrepreneurial journey that much more enjoyable and amazing


Does not matter how strong your vision, no man is an island – you need the right team

I can go on and on regarding what constitutes the right team. To cut a long story short, I broadly define it as the following:

1. It is a highly positive and encouraging team

2. It is a team that is willing to learn together

3. It is a team that is willing to suffer/sacrifice together

4. It is a team that celebrates together

I understand that it always starts from the top. The leader, down to the team. However, the key point I am making here is that no matter how much you fulfill any of the above, you can still be drained badly or your entrepreneurial journey made noticeably harder by a lack of positive team players. That is why it pays greatly to get the right team.

I will elaborate more on the right team in my subsequent posts