Column: On Managing The Transition

It is one story to be a professional and another to be an
entrepreneur. Not many realize the fine line that separates the two. A
professional, by virtue of his or her experience, has a bonus vis-à-vis a
fresher wanting to get into an entrepreneurial mode. A professional has the
foundational skills that one needs to start a new venture. However, that’s a
necessary but not a sufficient attribute to become an entrepreneur. The primary
reason for that is that entrepreneurship is not just about having an idea, but
clarity of what you want to achieve.

Transition, in any form, is one of the biggest challenges
at the workplace. This is because any transition involves a new set of
challenges. However, the challenge of entrepreneurship is a little different
from that of being a professional. An entrepreneur needs to have the core idea,
possess high energy levels, be extremely pragmatic and, most importantly, have a
burning passion to covert the idea into reality. Does that mean that a
professional does not need these qualities? No, these attributes are the key to
success for everybody. However, what makes the situation a little more difficult
for the entrepreneur is that s/he has the sole responsibility of giving life to
the baby (the venture); nurturing the infant during growth; steering it in the
right direction and finally ensuring that the baby is strong and stable enough
to take charge of its life with the right kind of partners to help it sail
through the rest of its life. Therefore, the right level of motivation is the

The next important question that comes up is: when is the
right time to change into an entrepreneurial mode. Every professional has
certain amount of skills that s/he brings to the table. In addition, there is
the advantage of having delivered on core business operations and functions.
Make sure that you have developed the right kind of contacts that will help you
take your plans and business forward. Establishing a proper networking channel
is an important parameter for success. Finally, one needs to be prepared to
translate the experience from a professional career into a viable business; have
the ability to identify gaps in the business and develop action plans to plug
these gaps and create a venture that goes beyond just the individual.

Leadership is a key component for both roles. A good
professional is necessarily a good leader, but a good leader is undoubtedly a
great professional with strong management skills. If you have a natural flair to
build teams; infuse passion; lead people to live your vision; build consensus
around your vision and generate momentum, then GO for the KILL because these are
some of the skills that are must-haves in entrepreneurs.

professional may have the foundational skills, but that’s not sufficient
for entrepreneurship…the entrepreneur has the sole responsibility of
giving life to the ‘baby’

Make sure you have an appetite for risk and are ready to
face the unforeseen. Entrepreneurship is not for weak hearts. The bottomline is:
work for the best and be prepared to face the worst. You cannot afford to lose
patience and stop dreaming because of one failure. Remember failures are the
stepping stones to success. Finally, be prepared to drop your ego at the drop of
a hat when you start your own venture. You may need to wash coffee mugs in the
office the first few days.

Ownership is fundamental to success. Whether you are a
professional or your own boss, you need to develop a sense of ownership towards
your work. Ownership is not something that can be developed overnight. It’s a
quality that is in-built in the human psyche-a sense of responsibility and
belonging towards what one does.

Going back to the infant analogy, you are like the parent
in this infant-parent relationship. Your child is strong enough to take charge
of his/her own life and you have built the perfect team to carry your dream to
greener pastures from here. It’s probably time for you to chase and give shape
to newer dreams in your career.

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