Though the primary influence of my thoughts in this post is "Losing My Virginity" by Branson which I'm reading right now,I think the book is just the fuse which only starts the fire which then fuels on the thoughts which were are running vaguely on a persons mind.
In the book,Branson goes to narrate his almost unbelievable life,in which the descisions he takes seem intuitive and succesful so many times that one can easily believe that he is making stuff up or glamourising things.But when I think on a broader perspective,I think that though it would seem extremely stupid to take such intuitive descisions,it seems even more so to the Indian psyhche as we are brought up in a very protected lifestyle where one does not take risks in his her career for the sake of something as minor as creative satisfaction.
Though today,the mindset in India is changing,the actual situation how I see it is somewhat like this.As the salary of the Indian graduate has soared,he/she now can afford to take the risk of actually asking his/her mind previously taboo questions like-"Why am I doing this job?" or "Am I satisfied with what I am doing?" or "Is there something which I want to achieve after all this work?". In short,the idea of being satisfied of what and why you are doing what you are doing is gaining more importance.In my view,this is the basic motivation that drives a person towards entrepreneurship.
To subsatantiate my point,if one looks at businesses very crudely,there are actually very few NEW businesses which actually start,and that solely depend on some huge scientific discovery.A situation rarely happens where a person develops a new technology,strikes gold,and then starts a business on it and becomes highly successful.What generally happens is that a person sees business' around him,and feels that if he had the opportunity to do things,he would do so in a different way which he sees as better.It is his way of doing things that actually drives the business,wich is what finally makes his business unique in comparision to others.
Today,in India,there are a lot of students who graduate and end up taking high end jobs and then are dissatisfied with it.A huge section of these people are dissatisfied because they don't just want to work doing some meagre job with a lot of hours for a high pay that doesnt satisfy their creativity,and are ready to consider a living that may not give as much return but results in something that they can proudly call their own,which has the stamp of their idea on it.I think this is the very group of potential entrepreneurs in the country.But they fear to even think in that direction,due to two reasons.
1)Due to the whole fear of how risky entrepreneurship is compared to the cushy job which they have right now(which it no doubt is).This,coupled with the system in which they have been brought up makes the jump to entrepreneurship all the more difficult. 2)The lack of education and awareness which makes entrepreneurship seem like a great feat,something which can be done only by the bravest of the brave,of which only one of a million will make it.
I strongly feel that we are heavily influenced with what our parents are.It may be either in the positive or negetive manner,but generally is influenced from what their ideas are.It may happen that a guys father is in a government company doing some boring job due to which he may decide that whatever happens,he is not going to do what my parents are doing.But what generally happens is that he ends up doing a different job,maybe in a different field,in a private company,but essentially she still works for someone else.The "radical" thoughts that influence his descision are apparantly not "radical" enough to change from being an employee to being his own boss.I think this is the primary reason why most Gujrati's are businessmen generation after generation.Its because they are brought up in an environment where starting up a business is not something incredible,not something unheard off and impossible,but something that's repectable but very normal.
The way I see it(I may well be wrong),present potential entrepreneurs consist of people who either have close links with entrepreneurs of the previous generation(like their parents,relatives or close friends) or people who are not very well educated and have not a lot to lose by trying it,or people who are technically extemely sound and use this to their advantage to become entrepreneurs(this would be going the other way round,having the technical ability,developing an idea and then developing entrepreneural ideas in oneself). There are a huge section of people who are well educated(though not supersmart),come from middle class backgrounds and have no exposure to entrepreneurship but are interested in giving it a shot but just dont have the information on what,how and when.I believe this is the section that has to be addressed,because this is the section that mirrors the conservative Indian mentality of the previous generation.It is assumed someone who is not exceptional has to work for someone else.The more the number of peolle in this section convinced of their capabilities and taking the step towards entrepreneurship,the more the mindset of the Indian educated class will change.
Note:This is an article based purely on the books I have read and from what I have experienced in the different places I have been to,both of which are minimal compared to the knowledge actually required to write a very good article on this subject(as my points are not exactly based on statistics n stuff).Hence,I would really appreciate it if we guys could have a discussion going on this so as to get a good picture.....