Sunday, 19 October 2014

5 entrepreneurship lessons to learn from Walter White!

I never believed that a sitcom based on a renegade would succeed in sweeping me off my feet. I've completed all the seasons before I could know and now I've come to realize that Walter White was not merely a character, he was a phenomenon, You knew Walter White's life was a ticking time bomb and he was just able to dodge and circumvent a few grisly turns. You knew his arrogance would knock him down, you knew that from the inside he was completely vanquished by his recurring cancer and it was just a matter of time. But yet you tarried on just to see how far Mr. White or Heisenberg, as he was fondly called, would go to stay afloat and to live another day of adventure and enigma. The story of a school teacher who earned a morsel 43k per year and who eventually rose the top of the drug distribution mechanism in a state that is known for debauchery and binge. Walter White did it all in those last 2 years of his life and gave us with some valuable business lessons to embrace and ensconce in our own ways and to help us become as profound as him specifically when it came to getting what he needed. 

1. You're never too old to start up!

It was his 50th birthday when he realized that his life's savings were never going to suffice for the needs of his family. A man who had given his all to the science of Chemistry and to take it amongst the school going fledglings and minnows to turn them into experts, was struggling even to have enough for his chemo treatment. If it wasn't for Walter's nimble thinking of starting out as a top notch meth manufacturer, he would have vanished in thin air and so would his family. So Walter White taught us that it does not matter how many years you've spent in the rut, you've still got enough in you to start a million dollar business all on your own. You just need the right idea and right partners. 

2. There always has to be a core value proposition 

In order to cut short sales and marketing budgets, word of mouth referrals can always be seen as a viable way for market penetration and also inducing brand trails. By including the cult blue color which came as a result of methalamine as an ingredient, not only did Heisenberg's meth became impeccably pure, it even got a strong brand association - the blue tinge. Meth heads soon started identifying the blue color with the promise of high quality and the product became an instant hit. What's more? The blue color even became an agent for inducing top of the mind recall. 

3. "Your business" v/s "The business"

You can always masquerade your actual business under the pretense of another business. This keeps your rivals from knowing what you're upto and they simply believe that your actual business is where you're seen. However, they never know where you're found. It's because behind the veil of what the world believes to be your business, you've got a business of your own. This prevents you from anxiously prevaricating any questions on tax evasion and other violations because your actual business is always clean. Moreover, you can also use capital gains in the core business to grow your identity business and even to diversify the risk. Walter White's car wash did just that. 

4. Look for a capable business partner 

No matter how good you are, you cannot run a multi-million dollar business all on your own. You need a partner who synergizes with your capabilities and talent and takes business a step ahead. You may have to capitulate to his demands but his expertise comes at a cost and so does his radical perspective on some of those tricky business decisions, Sooner or latter, you'll call upon the services of this partner to take care of various other aspects as the business grows. Like terminating a threat to the ongoing operations of your business. Pay your partner well and allow him some personal space to take care of his own needs. Also be open to endowing them with stock options and other sops. Even if that means embezzling your own product and consuming that. At least you've got an in-house tester who can vouch for your product quality and also deliver instant results on any new formulation experiments!

5. A ceo with big large glasses is capable of doing anything 

It does not matter what your usual call of duty deems mandatory for you to do or indulge in. Getting into a business means getting your hands dirty from day one. You may have to do those things you always considered execrable, you may have to deal with scurrilous clients who'll demand all sorts of caveats. But you have to keep going. You have to keep your ears and eyes open and have to remain paranoid. You also have to envisage possibilities for possible ingress into line extensions or even brand extensions. Walter White trading methalamine which was otherwise an ingredient, was one such instance. But as a ceo, you just have to be ready to execute any and every operation. Because then and only then do you become as prolific as Walter White and only then do you leave a legacy and fortune as big as that of his.   

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