Entrepreneurship Advisory

Our advisory service is really a check that you understand the realities of entrepreneurship before proceeding with setting up your own business. Much of the topics covered, we like to pretend don't exist, such is our zeal to get up and running. But the instinctive sounds of concern in our minds are worth listening to.

Our insightful proprietary materials underscore how naivety can get an entrepreneur in hot water, how common sense makes for an excellent starting point and how you don't have to make all the mistakes to be successful. Finding the 'optimal path' is what you must seek, and it will be different for everyone, but many of the steps can be avoided, and money and time can be saved. You may even save your business.

Our entrepreneurship advisory is a guide to understanding the procedural requirements, as well as the support facilities in place for Singapore-based entrepreneurs. It also seeks to aid the entrepreneur in avoiding the pitfalls of entrepreneurship that result from their approach to starting their business. While considerable attention is given in the media to "success stories" or charismatic billionaire entrepreneurs, the infamous 95% failure rate testifies to the fact that people may have their eyes on the goal, but don't have their feet on the ground.

The difficulties in starting a business are universal, and you will face the same issues in Singapore as any other location in terms of getting people to pay for the products and services that you wish to produce. In some cases, Singapore presents particular challenges, especially the size of local market and physical distance from Europe and the USA. In other cases, Singapore is especially advantageous, such as ease of setting up shop and operating, compared to countries like India or even France.

Professional Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is often considered to be pursued "non-professionally", where one breaks the rules and norms in order to establish new footholds and markets. The reality is, however, that entrepreneurship is among the most ultra-professional of careers in order to execute properly, simply because there are no safety nets, like resources to tap in emergency, colleagues to lean on, established operations and markets to churn out work, while you mull your next move, or latest setback.

The most boring aspects of business, such as market demand and research, production abilities, accounting and staff retention are what determine your success, rather than the neatness of your idea, or your own belief in it.

Luck plays a great role in helping you to survive the challenges you will face, but successful entrepreneurs will also tell you, make your own luck. Opportunity knocks constantly, in equal measure with disaster. Only when you have outgrown susceptibility to the constant small knocks to your ship, can you ride the normal waves with ease. Should you reach a comfortable size, at this stage you may become susceptible to complacency, and the entrepreneurial cycle must begin again, or you will be left behind while others grow around you.

The Idea versus the Reality

Are you thinking in terms of a blue sky project based on an idea you think will catch on? Or one where demonstrable market demand, access to resources, support from team mates, advice from mentors, the ins and outs of the industry, barriers to competition, ability to promote and sell to the end-customer, cash flow procedures including managing payments to and from your firm, production and delivery processes are all well understood and ready to be put in place with no crucial requirements missing?

Consider the entrepreneurial idea to be the direction you wish to steer your ship in. And consider everything else that makes it a business the ship itself. Clearly, the idea itself is not enough; the viability of the underlying business is what determines your success. And the ship must be seaworthy, crewed with competent, experienced and loyal people, and containing enough resources to make it from one port to another, and you as the captain able to decide when to change direction according to the prevailing elements.

If you set sail into uncharted waters ignoring, or not knowing, where the ship has sprung leaks, or is missing vital provisions, crew or navigation information, you may have bitten off more than you can chew. Perhaps you might wish to consider a smaller craft in shallower waters while you learn the ropes.

We all know the "95% of start-ups fail" statistic, and indeed many of the basic ideas that motivated the failed start-ups were excellent in theory, and may even have been executed well by later entrants. Once the bright flash of the innovative idea is over, it is time to focus on the cold, hard tasks of building a framework and product, a pipeline of clients, a team of focused professionals who know what to do and when, and constant PR. Much later after this stage the entrepreneur will settle into the warm glow of prosperity, but note the idea is merely the start of a long process of making savvy decisions, taking calculated risks, developing the killer instinct, finding creative solutions to unforeseen circumstances, and management of resources.

Motivations

Analyse your motivations as an entrepreneur before beginning. As you are leaving business school, your head is likely filled with vast amounts of useful information that you cannot wait to put into practice. This is not a good reason for starting a business straight out of business school.


Hubris versus visionEntrepreneurship as an act of rebellion
It's easy to confuse the two. Wishing to create something big and return home the conquering hero is not a reason for starting a business. In fact, it may cloud your common sense in making business decisions, such as starting small, and changing direction when circumstances dictate. There is no doubt that having a great vision and realizing it is a worthy endeavour, but only in retrospect. Your vision can and must change, what will determine your success is your ability to deal with day-to-day issues, not map out an extraordinary idea and carry it out blindly. Hubris is the enemy of patience and common sense, qualities of successful entrepreneurs.Are you going about this because you think you have failed in other areas, and this is the chance to prove yourself under your own terms? Are you making a statement against previous job experiences where you felt you could not grow as you wished to? The margin for error in entrepreneurship is far smaller than in choosing employment, as you have nothing to fall back on, and you may wind up more embittered if you don't understand why you didn't succeed. The less your reasons and motivations are about yourself, and more about serving a market, then the clearer your thoughts and greater your flexibility will be, and thus the stronger your chances of success.
TimingLearning experienceLack of suitable alternatives
Are you impatient to get off the starters blocks? Does it matter that you know enough to chart a course ahead, or do you simply want to get started doing something? Is your product or service suitable to begin selling, so you can build a name for yourself, or are you still working out the glitches? Timing is everything in sales, you need to be ready to move when the race begins, hence don't start out of impatience. You have a certain amount of personal resources too, like passion for your idea, energy, motivation, confidence and trust of other people, which may become depleted while things are not moving.Entrepreneurship is not meant to be a learning experience, even though it is. It is meant to be a very serious, professional business where you are responding to what you believe is a market need that you wish to serve, and trust your abilities to deliver given the prevailing conditions. With any luck your MBA learnings will aid you as and when they are relevant, however there is no connection between taking a business course, and being prepared to start a business.If you are simply stuck with nothing to do at the end of the year, it is probably not the best time to take on a bold project, especially on your own, and in debt. The entrepreneur should be driven by a mixture of belief in this being the right time and place to execute on the plan at hand, with a sense of realism as to the feasibility of executing it and the demand for the product or service.

 

Are you impatient to get off the starters blocks? Does it matter that you know enough to chart a course ahead, or do you simply want to get started doing something? Is your product or service suitable to begin selling, so you can build a name for yourself, or are you still working out the glitches? Timing is everything in sales, you need to be ready to move when the race begins, hence don't start out of impatience. You have a certain amount of personal resources too, like passion for your idea, energy, motivation, confidence and trust of other people, which may become depleted while things are not moving.