Jain Temple

Hot Spots

India Links
Call Home


Art & Culture
Book Shelf



About Us

Contact Us
About Us

Article by Mohan Babu

Dream projects: The risk factor

Entrepreneurs sometimes get so involved in their dream projects that they lose touch with the reality of the marketplace. Building the next killer-app or gadget should not be the sole goal behind embarking on an entrepreneurial venture, says MOHAN BABU in the second part of his series on entrepreneurship

In the first part of this series on entrepreneurship and new ventures, we looked at some of the trends shaping up and set the stage for a discussion on entrepreneurship. The reasons for a person to take up entrepreneurship could be many. The idea behind this write-up is to continue to examine some of the most common myths, explode them and to get the reader to examine the core motivation behind the urge to embark on a path towards ventures.

Myth: Build it, and they will come.

Reality: This catch phrase may have been okay in the movie Field of Dreams but real life is not a dreamy movie with a mushy-mushy ending. Entrepreneurs sometimes get so involved in their dream project(s) that they loose touch with reality of the marketplace. Building the next killer-app or gadget should not be the sole goal behind embarking on an entrepreneurial venture. The American landscape is littered with ‘dream projects’ where individuals spend their hard-earned savings on personal projects, hoping to sell it and make it big.

The American dream personifies such entrepreneurial dreams where ‘making the next million dollars’ is the thing to look forward to, even if it means sometimes thr-owing caution to the winds. The fact remains that serious questions like analysis of Return on Investment (RoI), evaluation of different scenarios and a serious market analysis should precede any new venture.

Myth: We cannot conceptualise an idea without a dream-marketing team.

Reality: This is a corollary to the previous myth: “Build it, and they will come.” Though good marketing is a key to success, that alone cannot be a driver. Investing in a dream-team of marketing professionals at the conceptualising stage may sometimes negate the creativity involved in entrepreneurship.

Striking the right balance between an awareness of market’s need and incremental innovation is perhaps one of the keys to success.

Let us take an example to discuss the two myths articulated above: A businessman from Satara in Maharashtra wrote to me a few months ago. His mail was simple and crisp. He had absolutely no knowledge of the medical transcriptions business, but on a friend’s advice had leased a huge commercial space and bought 50 PCs with all the paraphernalia, including high-speed Internet connectivity, etc.

His mail talked about his plight and pleaded for an ‘order’ for medical transcriptions which I could procure for him.

Now, most readers of this column know that I am a technologist with a ‘day job’ as an techno-biz consultant. I only have cursory knowledge of the medical transcriptions business, but sufficient to say, I intuitively realised that Mr Businessman from Satara was in deep trouble. With absolutely no knowledge of the business domain, he had plunged headlong into a venture and was now under the misconception that marketing his ‘venture’ was his biggest problem.

For those curious on my follow-up: Well, I sent Mr Businessman a polite but firm mail excusing myself and asked him to seek professional help ASAP and to plan an ‘exit strategy’.

Myth: I can feel the pulse of the market, so I know it will sell.

Reality: The examples quoted to articulate this myth include that of Tom Siebel who famously walked out of Oracle to found the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software giant after gaining insight into the need to manage relationships.

Not all entrepreneurs are this finely tuned to the pulse of the market. And even those who are astute enough to know about market conditions may not have the entire big-picture mapped out.

Knowing the pulse of the market is just one part of the equation. Realising how the trends will shape up and impact the future course of businesses is more an art than a precise science.

Myth: Big-bang theory.

Reality is that most big ideas start small. Even successful entrepreneurs sometimes fail miserably before the ‘dream’ takes off. Therefore, it is foolhardy to think that one can get a million (or billion) dollar idea and throw enough resources at it to make it big.

Most prudent entrepreneurs test the waters by going in small before committing resources, time and effort into a venture. Risks inherent with entrepreneurship can be mitigated by doing so. However, there are some ventures like laying undersea cables across continents, launching TV or radio channels that are resource intensive. Of course, these kinds of expensive ventures are not for everybody.

The ideas presented here are indicative of some of the most commonly occurring themes and I wish to stir some debate with readers by articulating these along with some anecdotes.

In this column, we looked at some myths behind new ventures. We will continue this thread into the third and concluding part of this series in the forthcoming column.





About the Author

  • A Bio and profile of the author, Mohan Babu, can be found at his homepage
  • Mohan has authored a book on Offshoring and Outsourcing (Publisher McGraw Hill, India), a link to which can be found here
  • Mohan has also authored an Online book on "Life in the US," available for free download.
  • Sponsored Advert

    Advert: Visitor's Travel Insurance

    Click for free online Quotes


    For FAQ, Trivia and Information on Life in America, visit the Ask-A-Desi section

    ©Mohan Babu: All Rights Reserved 2005

    Mohan Babu is an international consultant trying to find the ‘sweet spot’ where IT meets business. E-mail: mohan He is also the author of a recent book on "Offshoring IT Services"

    All rights are reserved. Mohan Babu ("Author") hereby grants permission to use, copy and distribute this document for any NON-PROFIT purpose, provided that the article is used in its complete, UNMODIFIED form including both the above Copyright notice and this permission notice. Reproducing this article by any means, including (but not limited to) printing, copying existing prints, or publishing by electronic or other means, implies full agreement to the above non-profit-use clause. Exceptions to the above, such as including the article in a compendium to be sold for profit, are permitted only by EXPLICIT PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT of Mohan Babu. 

    Disclaimer: This document represents the personal opinions of the Author, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of the Author's employer, nor anyone other than the Author. This Article was originally published in Express Computers


    GaramChai® 1999-2005