Entrepreneurial Skills: Beg, Borrow, Steal?

We have heard a lot about entrepreneurs bootstrapping. Bootstrapping is often referred to as doing more with less. Here are some broad ways in which it is practiced. If you are an entrepreneur, check to see if you have used some of these methods?

Beg: Entrepreneurs typically should not have an ego. They will go to any extent for the sake of their entrepreneurial dreams. They will do anything to see their dreams turn into reality. But I come across a lot of entrepreneurs who can’t ask others for stuff! This is because their egos’ don’t let them ask. To be a successful entrepreneur one must learn to ask. Ask like you cannot live without it. Lesson: Learn to ask (literally beg if needs be) for resources your start-up requires.

Borrow: Entrepreneurs should not buy stuff, but they do. The moment a start-up sees little money, it is spent buying assets. Buying should be the last on the list, but very often it is the first action that the entrepreneur engages in. Many times entrepreneurs take loans (debt) to buy assets. Borrowing does not seem to occur to entrepreneurs as an option because they worry that others might copy their idea. They worry that borrowing could lead to competitors. They also believe that borrowing is costlier than owning! Yes it is from a purely financial perspective for established / mature operations. This rule does not apply for experiments. If you can borrow capacity for production, you must. If you can borrow office space, computers, machinery, except probably co-founders, you must. Lesson: Borrow resources before buying into any.

Steal: If borrowing is not practiced enough, stealing is almost considered sin. The famous quote from Picasso comes to my mind – “Good artists copy, Great artists steal”. Does that not apply to entrepreneurs? Absolutely! I will re write the quote as: “Good entrepreneurs copy, Great entrepreneurs steal”. What does stealing mean in this context? It means looking for good things that others have already discovered and trying to incorporate them into our business. Why reinvent the wheel? Lesson: Keep an open mind to pick and use what has already been created. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

If you are not doing enough of these then maybe you are not using enough of your entrepreneurial skills. Try to see how you can practice them. I will elaborate them in future posts!

Share your thoughts and ideas on these and good examples of these in practice that you have observed.

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3 thoughts on “Entrepreneurial Skills: Beg, Borrow, Steal?

  1. Completely agreed sir, about ur Beg Borrow & Steal,
    One has to leave His or Her Ego to be into Business.

    1. You nailed the requirement Aniruddha – it takes effort to leave the ego aside when getting into business. Ego makes us emotional in our decision making and this hurts the business. In fact a strong ego will not let the entrepreneur / business owner practice the above three! Thanks for bringing up this point.

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