Sunday, June 23, 2019

Book Review: On Entrepreneurship and Impact - Desh Deshpande

On Entrepreneurship and Impact, Desh Deshpande
“Every article highlights a value, principle, mindset 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 very few actually commit themselves to it. Reasons are obvious but the uncertainty. And writing about entrepreneurship with real life experience and wisdom is possible only when you tread the water. There are a number of books on entrepreneurship by professors and many successful entrepreneurs on this subject. 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 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. It looks a very small book but has covered almost everything about the entrepreneurship in very lucid manner. It gives solutions not just advice like many academic books do. 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 indirectly says that it is not possible to build a sustainable social enterprise but creating sustainable solutions to problems and these must be done by 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 introduces 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 as 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. 

For entrepreneurs, harsh realities, failures, bad decisions and mistakes are something with they have to deal with every day but how they deal is most important irrespective of the result. Also at the same time the entrepreneur must be able to acknowledge the competition and respond meaningfully. 

Focus on building a start-up that valuable and the valuation will automatically take care of itself’, author indicates towards the new challenge that entrepreneurs are exposed too but the author does not stop here he does 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. 

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 suggests that local situations must be solved using local resources by creating local capacity and ownership must be in hands of local stakeholders and this should be done local problem solvers. If this can be achieved a permanent solution to social problems can achieved. These five locals give a social angle to the entrepreneurship. This can be achieved only when there is general public engagement in the whole picture. This is the most important part of the whole book. And the fifth and sixth sections are dedicated to explain and present these issues only. 

‘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

- Rajeev Upadhyay

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