Sukanto Tanoto is a successful entrepreneur today, having businesses that have a global reach with manufacturing operations in Indonesia, China and Brazil. Even though he is a successful entrepreneur now, the spirit of entrepreneurship in him never dies and will never die. We all know that a business or a new venture is at its most unstable period during its infancy stage. That is why people often say that the start of a business is the most difficult process and as long as they are able to pass that stage, the future of the business should be relatively easier. Well, that is true to a certain extent. However, the truth is, the later stages of a business development is no where easier than the initial stages.
Let’s take a positive example that a business start-up is fortunate enough to have a smooth beginning, everything running well and operations began within the desired timeline. On top of that, profits are generating at a rate that puts smile on shareholders’ faces. Within months, we break even (that is, very positive example). However, yes you may take a short break and indulge in this happiness, maybe show-off a little bit to the friends and family around you. But sadly, reality may not allow you to take such a holiday for a prolonged period of time. The responsibility for business continuity and sustainability is resting on your shoulder!
The later stages of a business development is complex. There will be a lot more issues and problems that will arise from your business if you do not make proper preparations beforehand. This matter is made worse when human nature such as complacency and greed sets in. That is why it is important to always have a reality check whenever a new milestone is achieved. Different stages of business development requires different mindset and methodologies to run the business.
Sukanto Tanoto once shared his idea on Entrepreneurship in the later stage of a business development. In any initial stage, entrepreneurship begins with survival in mind – how the business will survive. In this phase, persistence and unyielding spirit is the key to success. In the next stage, growth and expansion of the business are expected. This is also the phase where the business model has been established and the next emphasis will be on process improvement, establishing good governance and finding out best practices through the application of continuous improvement (or kaizen). Lastly, we have what we call new opportunities for entrepreneurship. In this phase, each company or business group is unique and has a different approach. There are business groups that will remain in the same industry but venture to other markets that was previously untapped. There are also other business groups that may choose to work on the same market, but take advantages of opportunities in other industries.
The challenge is on how an entrepreneur can remain constantly on the ball, constantly seeking for new improvements to push for breakthroughs and never running dry of their drive and passion.