Sunday, June 23, 2019

Book Review: Desh Deshpande, On Entrepreneurship and Impact

“Every article highlights a value, principle, mind-set or an approach at the foundational level rather than providing a popular tip or a technique. The focus is on the long-term rather than gaining from a fleeting advantage.” 
N R Narayana Murthy, Founder Infosys 

Entrepreneurship is an adventure which attracts perhaps everyone but a very few could actually commit themselves to it and reasons are none but the risk and uncertainty involved. When it comes to writing about entrepreneurship with real life experience and wisdom, it is possible only when you tread the water yourself. This small orange book has been written by a serial entrepreneur who has been successful in establishing big corporations if not the biggest. 

There are a number of books on entrepreneurship by professors and many successful entrepreneurs on this subject that deals with large number of issues that entrepreneurs have to face on the ground. Those books have written either on the basis of observations and theories or experiences. There are really very few books that uses all these three; theories, observations and experiences. This book stands out there by using all these three. 

Considering the backgrounds, psychological conditioning and the pressure under which of most of the entrepreneurs work, this book stands out uniquely in the ocean of books on entrepreneurship because it has mainly been written for entrepreneurs keeping their needs in mind. The language is simple and the author has used words wisely to communicate about a very vast subject and he has clear cut idea about his audience needs and specifically deals with the same and that too with very limited words. 

Desh Deshpande has been a serial entrepreneur and founded many successful start-ups and whatever experiences he has gained; he has summarized in his book ‘On Entrepreneurship and Impact’. This book is divided into six parts, start, manage, grow, develop, impact and engage where author discusses different issues faced by an entrepreneur on different stages of any start-up; its journey from scratch idea to its engagement with broader society. 

It looks a very small in size but has tried to cover almost everything about the entrepreneurship in very lucid manner. It gives solutions not just advice like many academic books do. However those advices may not universal and is quite possible that those may be outdated in a few contexts. It explains how and why a social entrepreneur needs to engage with the general public for creating sustainable solutions as well as sustainable organizations. He is indirectly trying to say that it is not possible to build a sustainable social enterprise without providing sustainable solutions to the problems of society and that too with local participation. 

This book has foreword by N. R. Narayana Murthy and an acknowledgment and introduction that is integral part of whole books. These two sections introduce to the theme and set the tone of the book. Besides these, book has been divided in six parts; each dealing with different phases that an entrepreneur faces while establishing a successful organization. Accordingly chapters have been distributed. The book starts with the most important question ‘Are you ready to be an entrepreneur?’ and ends with suggestion on how to engage general public to support your cause. 

Every entrepreneur wants to establish a big organization that have competitive advantage and is leader in its industry but achieving this requires not only some brilliant marketable ideas but ability to build a winning culture is also important. When author says, ‘Building a winning culture should be a priority for all leaders – irrespective of the size of the company they are building’ and ‘Delegation is the key to scale’; he not only talks about the importance of culture but also about the trust, effective communication and alignment of strengths. These are the ingredients that help establishing a successful organization. Not only culture but ecosystem is as important for success of start-ups (Baughn & Neupert, 2003). 

For entrepreneurs, harsh realities, failures, bad decisions and mistakes are something with they have to deal with every day but how they deal and react to these is the most important irrespective of the results. Also at the same time the entrepreneur must be able to acknowledge the competition and respond meaningfully. It also talks about the technological disruptions and their impact on start-ups. However the ability of technological disruption to bring change and providing competitive advantages is being questioned by many (Abbosh, Savic, & Moore, 2018). 

For any organization, value of the firm is an important indicator of its success. This statement by the author ‘Focus on building a start-up that is valuable and the valuation will automatically take care of itself', indicates towards this challenge that all the entrepreneurs are exposed to. But the author does not stop here. He tries to give the right answer as well. If the start-up is valuable and can be marketed, the entrepreneurs need not worry about the valuation. The investors themselves will find out the right valuation. The entrepreneurs are just needed to create value. 

There is a social role of entrepreneurship (Zahra & Wright, 2016). Entrepreneurships not only helps in economic growth but in inclusive growth and development (Upadhyay, 2012). In this book author not only talks about building an organization but also about how to build an ecosystem for entrepreneurs. For that he has proposed five locals such as local situation, local resources, local capacity and local ownership to creating local problem solvers. His experiences suggest that local situations must be solved using local resources by creating local capacity and the ownership must be in hands of local stakeholders. Also these solutions should be provided by local problem solvers. If this can be achieved by organizations, a permanent solution to social problems can be achieved. These five locals of entrepreneurial journey give a social angle to the entrepreneurship but with a caveat. This can be achieved only when there is general public engagement in the whole process. This is the most important part of the whole book particularly for the social entrepreneurs and in general for all the entrepreneurs as at the end of most of the entrepreneurs end up providing solution for the general public or customers. The fifth and sixth sections of the book are dedicated to explain and present issues relating to social entrepreneurship. 

‘A competitive advantage, particularly a unique one, happens because you see something in marketplace that other don’t’. 

Desh Deshpande, On Entrepreneurship and Impact, Prolibris Publishing Media, New Delhi, 2016, 105pp 

Bibliography :-

  • Abbosh, O., Savic, V., & Moore, M. (2018, January 29). How Likely Is Your Industry to Be Disrupted? This 2×2 Matrix Will Tell You. Retrieved from Harvard Business Review:
  • Baughn, C. C., & Neupert, K. E. (2003). Culture and National Conditions Facilitating Entrepreneurial Start-ups. Journal of International Entrepreneurship, 313-330.
  • Upadhyay, R. K. (2012, January 2). Business Environment in India and Entrepreneurship. Retrieved from The Deliberation:
  • Zahra, S. A., & Wright, M. (2016). Understanding the Social Role of Entrepreneurship. Journal of Management Studies, 610-629. 

No comments:

Post a Comment