“The Entrepreneur” – A Sense of Balance

By Mona Vyas

From the moment of conception to the surrender of the last breath, entrepreneurs have to fight innumerable battles: political, cultural, economical, sociological, psychological, metaphysical, geopolitical, hereditary and biological.

The world today reflects a complex, unpredictable and incalculable playground. Are there underlining factors surfacing and steering the success and failure rates of enterprises? 

Predictably, the headlines are covered with business closures throughout the globe. The UK has a very high failure rate for start-up businesses. It is reported  two-thirds of entrepreneurs fail. In 2011, 23,600 businesses collapsed. This is expected to hit 25,600 in 2012 and 25,800 in 2013[1]. These are startling figures that cannot be ignored.  How many jobs are lost? How many families are effected? How many health problems arise and literally how many lives are lost?

One of the great failures is a poor fit between the entrepreneur and their venture. But we must question “poor fit” at which level? The entrepreneur and “the markets” or the entrepreneur and “the mind”?

Another reported fact is that 69% of VAT-registered businesses cease to trade within ten years of registering for VAT[2]. This figure does not take into account the failure rates amongst the majority of start-up businesses, which undoubtedly is higher, some predicting almost 80%.  Naturally, this means our societies are accepting these great failure rates.  So how does an entrepreneur achieve success when faced with  growing, interconnected markets with so many varieties of inner and outer conflicts? Can a balance between competing interests truly be achieved?

The world of global commerce is fast-paced and set within a polarised world; the right wing and the left wing; the republicans and the democrats; the rich and the poor. It is fragmented yet intertwined at best, the coalition government an example. The world of commerce has no global governance, no global regulations and indeed, the absence of a global model that is aligned throughout economies. It is evident that opposites are in conflict, and the “modern entrepreneur” is placed facing a fractured world. The entrepreneur is competing for victory in every encounter of the fast changing global world.

Despite the downturn, the global economy has expanded, albeit at a slower pace than in 2010. This year the U.S economy has grown by 1.8 per cent, and the GDP of the troubled eurozone rose by 1.6 per cent in comparison to 2011. Asia has reported an outstanding economic growth of 7.9 per cent for this same period[3]. A reason for this expansion? Perhaps a greater sense of balance has been achieved by entrepreneurs.

So what is an entrepreneur? An entrepreneur is an enterprising individual who builds capital through risk and/or initiative, contributing significantly to its economy, and thus the global economy. Entrepreneurship is unquestionably the back bone of each community, economy, country and continent. SME’s in the UK account for 99 per cent of all enterprises, employing 13.8 million people and have an estimated annual turnover of £1.5 billion[4]. In a recent study[5] between 2002 and 2010, 85% of all net new jobs were created by SME’s. 

Yet, alarmingly, it has been reported that there was a 20.3% increase in businesses failing in Quarter 3 2011 compared to the same period in 2010 and a 7.8% increase in failures for Quarter 3 2011 compared to Quarter 2 2011[6]. These are astonishing figures. This sector can no longer be overlooked and is screaming for aid. But why do they fail?

The most common reasons are inadequate understanding of the business and insufficient capital to sustain the venture. Even though these are the two most obvious contributors cited, entrepreneurs face two conflicting yet interlinked sensory battles on their path to success prior to these. I believe the journey in 2012 is into the more personal aspects of entrepreneurship and a new dimension on solving difficult problems and conquering challenging times.

“I believe the journey in 2012 is into the more personal aspects of entrepreneurship…”

– Mona Vyas

The inward battle – the physiological, the sociological, the determination, the culture, the mythology, the natural creativity, and one’s integrity, morals, ethics, and disciplines; and

The outward battle – the systems, the government, the bureaucracies, the geopolitical constraints, the turbulent markets, the challenges and obstacles beyond one’s control and predictions.

Within these battles are underlining principles that surface and form a great part of the journey to an entrepreneur’s success. It is these underlying (and often overlooked) principles that determine the success or failure of a venture, and indeed, the entrepreneur; in advance of the common factors being brought in to play. This article serves to highlight the importance of the underlying principles. In conjunction rests the notions of conflicting but intertwined inward and outward battles. A successful enterprise can only be achieved by accepting that neither the inward nor outward battles will be sustainable without the other. In essence, it requires a conscious “sense of balance.”

Underlying principles:

An introspection of “the self”

At the core of all enterprises lies evident the “seed planted”. An introspection of your own strengths, weaknesses, cultural assets and indeed, your life’s purpose; how can one connect to the world of entrepreneurship? Fundamentally, it is an examination of the inward battle.

It’s an examination of one’s attributes, discipline, ethics, morals, determination, and creativity, and aligning that to the venture itself. It is the relationship of how these core tenets will enhance the venture, and the examination of how they will interplay with outer influences; how they will affect the market place, how the business will be a reflection of the entrepreneur’s core being. Unless there is a perfect alignment between the founder of the enterprise and the venture itself, there will be a high chance of failure.  This exercise is vital prior to putting any business plans into action.

Vision & Mission

The vision will be the greatest personal resource of an entrepreneur. A visual that is perfect and reflects a compelling cause of the future outcome will lay a strong foundation.

The mission is the drive to achieve the vision. It can be condensed to a statement that defines the enterprise at the most basic level that drives your vision forward, serves as a reminder of your vision and guides the actions of the enterprise.

The Game Plan

Great thinking precedes great achievements. Intelligent strategic planning will usually result in a fortunate future. Planning for the future requires long-term thinking; setting priorities and concentrating until they are accomplished. It is being aware of the obvious such as securing capital, the premises, the employees, the business plans, to the unobvious of identifying, and forming relationships with, key players who impact and add value to the venture, as well as setting quarterly targets, monthly milestones, weekly agendas and daily disciplines. It is here where an entrepreneur will sometimes collide with the outward battle, but minimising risk is taking a step closer to achieving success.

What is the end goal? How will you get there? There is a fine line between the altruism and the enlightened venture’s self-interest that ensures long-term profitability. Profits must be kept in their appropriate framework. The late Peter Drucker, the management expert, said it so well: “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” Be clear on your activities. It is the power of focus, for clarity precedes success.

Cultural awareness

Deal first or relationships first? Informal relationships or formal relationships? Decisions, decisions… It is imperative to appreciate patterns of cross-cultural business behaviour across the globe. Cross-cultural influences cannot be escaped in an increasingly globalised economy.

Cultural differences impact everything from communication, attire, organisational culture to project management. Entrepreneurs who take cultural differences into account and practically prepare strategies for global liaisons will stand a higher chance of success than those that are ignorant. This interplays with an earlier tenet of introspecting oneself; realising the value of one’s own culture, which is interlinked within the global business culture.

The venture will only enhance to the degree the entrepreneur is willing to learn and develop. In today’s globalised world, culturally educating oneself is a prerequisite to success. Understanding self-development is a lifelong learning process can only elevate an entrepreneur’s success.

Philosophy

Many say philosophy is for fools. But much of the history of the 20th century is more or less the product of a small number of philosophical ideas and the philosophers who created them: Marxism ruled the lives of more than a 100 million people; Fascism destroyed the lives of millions of people and caused a World War; both Marxism and Fascism were opposed by men in the name of Liberalism, Democracy, Catholicism, Protestantism, or Science, each of which are themselves either specific philosophies or derived from more comprehensive philosophical systems. Whilst Marx and Nietzsche were regarded as unsuccessful, it can be argued that their ideas and values created and destroyed civilisations.

The lives people lead and the choices they make are the result of the philosophies they hold, whether they are conscious or unconscious of this fact. Human beings orient their lives around their perceived realities, what they believe is the prism through which they explain their experiences and relationships with others and the basis upon which their moral code is formed and developed.

Similarly, the entrepreneur’s philosophy is one of the leading causes affecting the success of the enterprise. Fundamentally, philosophy deals with the logical side of life’s information and thinking habits. What we know determines our philosophy, how we feel about what we know determines our attitude toward market conditions. It is the “business philosophy” that will determine the direction of the venture and steer forward the enterprise.

Never before have enterprise creation, economic risk, political barriers, regulatory framework and geopolitical aspects been more closely intertwined.  Entrepreneurs must accept the conflicting inward and outward battles. Entrepreneurs must consciously capitalise on their strengths and weaknesses learnt from the sensory plains of inward and outward introspections.  Failure can no longer be accepted; perseverance must be the course for steering the enterprise. Through a sense of balance and alignment, entrepreneurs must renew their own determination to conquer the venture’s mission and enhance global economies.

Mona Vyas – CEO of Global Portfolio Partners Ltd (UK)

Mona Vyas demonstrates a wealth of international commercial experience and expertise. Widely respected by both clients and investors alike for her dedication and professionalism, Mona has been associated with ground-breaking projects, using her extensive business connections to secure contractors and provide comprehensive strategic business evaluation.

Mona has worked on a number of large scale real-estate projects in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Central America.

Throughout her career, the business activities of Mona have been wide and varied with focus on three principal business sectors; business analysis, turnkey solutions and valued engineered solutions for integrated resort schemes.

Cultural nuances may be important too, and understanding them can be a vital ingredient in developing successful projects. She speaks four languages fluently in addition to English, and is comfortable operating all over the world.

With 25 years of experience in international business development, Mona has developed a refreshing and innovative approach. She has sound business acumen, and possesses a highly-developed sense of personal integrity, combined with an altruistic nature. She sees no conflict between these attributes and gaining commercial success – indeed quite the opposite.  She believes that it is only with these attributes that she, and her clients, can achieve the full extent of success they strive for.

All of the above skills are supported by a robust and impressive education track record; at the core of which you will find a specialism in Business Administration, International Marketing, Business Finance and International Leadership (I.F.L.P).

Contact details – www.Gpp-ltd.com | partners@gpp-ltd.com


[1] A report by  BDO LLP -Industry watch survey

[2] FinancialPreneur.com

[3] Knight Frank Global Wealth Report 2012

[4] Department for Business Innovation and Skills November  2011

[5] Presented by the European Commission

[6] Equifax Quarter 3 Business Failures Report 2011


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