Wednesday, October 19, 2011

To be or not to be ... an entrepreneur - The STAR online by Tan Thiam Hock

MY big aunt once told me that I should be very proud of myself because I built a business from nothing.

I told her I would have gladly exchanged places with my cousins who went straight into their big family business upon graduation and became major corporate players by the age of 30. I spent 10 years of my life looking aimlessly for that one Big Idea that will instantaneously transform my business life. I never did find one.

The Big Idea is a myth. It is the figment of a wannabe entrepreneur's imagination. More so in the current world where there is stiff competition in every single business that you can think of. Tell me which Malaysian tycoon made his zillions legally from that one big idea that swept the world? None. Did I mention legally? None.

The low cost carrier model was based on a very successful Ryan Air in Europe but AirAsia took the opportunity and adapted it to the Asian airspace successfully. Astro brought in pay-TV which started 15 years earlier in the United States. YTL had a lucrative first bite at being an independent power producer when the opportunity arose, but again privatised utilities were nothing new.

For any successful entrepreneur, it has always been about having a keen nose to smell an opportunity and that is what separates the men from the boys. Nowadays they called it Blue Ocean strategy, or something like that ...

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