by Benjamin Koh
When people talk about entrepreneurship, the things that often come to mind are the riches and fame that are associated with it. I guess I won’t deny that those were probably some of the reasons why I wanted to start a business. Furthermore, the lure of not having to be subjected to authority is also far too enticing for me to resist. Although these reasons were compelling enough for me to take the plunge into entrepreneurship, it was however another factor which triggered my interest and determination to make it as an entrepreneur. However, before I reveal the name of the game, please bear with me for a couple of paragraphs.
In today’s microwave culture, instant gratification is expected. For example, I would curse and swear if I do not receive an instant reply for a text message sent to my friend. (Hands up, I am pretty sure many of you are guilty of that as well.) Bringing this back to the point of entrepreneurship, I feel that this character trait has unfortunately cascaded down to our expectations of my business. Perhaps subconsciously, I nonetheless expect and demand my business to be booming overnight and that customers would be knocking non-stop at my door step. However, if the aforementioned scenario does not happen in double quick time, I would consider the business a failure.
Another unfortunate trait that is rather unique to the Singapore culture is the prevalent culture of spoon-feeding. Since young, we have been sheltered from the storm, protected from vices and hand held in every step of our life. Putting this into the context of an entrepreneur, this has certainly made us very reliant on governmental help as well as the help from the people around us.
Back to the main factor which triggered my interest in entrepreneurship. Challenge. It was the immense challenge that the path of entrepreneurship could afford me that convinced me to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. However, over time, the cultural factors mentioned above have made me both unrealistic and demanding. I needed success and I needed it quickly. In addition, I also expected everyone around me to be supportive of my endeavour, be it in terms of government funding or morale support.
Thankfully, what jolted me back to reality was when Mr Patrick Khor (in the talk) mentioned that an entrepreneur finds true joy not in the amount of money his business generates, but rather, in the fact that he has managed to overcome overwhelming obstacles to make his business a success. He added that governmental help is not an obligation but a bonus for entrepreneurs and that we should not be reliant on it. I am grateful for the awakening that Mr Khor has provided and I am determined to return to my first love, the love of challenge, which really is synonymous to entrepreneurship.
I would also like to take this opportunity to implore every aspiring entrepreneur to remain steadfast in their adventure of entrepreneurship. Always remember that only with the lowest of valleys that you will be able to climb to the highest of peaks.
Well, if entrepreneurship was so easy…I think I would not be interested in it. I think many of you would agree with me as well.