Sukanto Tanoto – In an interview with Sukanto Tanoto, he was asked ‘What does it take to be successful in pioneering: create something out of nothing and what kind of people we need to lead this kind of business?" His reply was "people who take calculated risks".
Tanoto Entrepreneurhip Series is a programme organized by Tanoto Foundation and University of Indonesia Faculty of Economy in order to support and promote the entrepreneurship spirit in Indonesia. It is a programme aimed at changing people’s mindsets about entrepreneurship and discovering the potential benefits (together with its challenges) of becoming an entrepreneur.
The programme includes inviting prominent individuals to come down and speak and share their experiences to the participants. One of such prominent guest speakers is Joko Widodo (more commonly known as Jokowi), who was the governor of Jakarta and the newly elected President of Indonesia in the 2014 Indonesia Presidential Elections. Despite having a busy schedule, Jokowi was more than excited to share his experiences with the students present at the event. Beyond sharing his life experiences, Jokowi also shared some practical tips on how to be an entrepreneur, ultimately hoping to stir the entrepreneurial spirit in the participants.
“An entrepreneur must possess the ability to study the needs and wants of the market, and provide the goods and services of high quality at reasonable price to compete in the market. He or she must also have the right general management abilities to put the right system in place.
These factors are crucial in determining the sustainability of the business because of the direct impact they have on daily operations of the business.” Said Jokowi.
Imelda Tanoto, daughter of Sukanto Tanoto, representing Tanoto Foundation also added that the one of the most important factors of Entrepreneurship is knowing how to empower the human resources, leveraging on their experiences, skills and education to achieve great results in business. This may sound easy but it is more of an art that is not easily mastered. Afterall, dealing with human resources requires lots of effort and the right heart to groom them.
Entrepreneurship is not something that can be learnt overnight, but rather, a lifestyle and working style that pushes one to put his or her dreams into actions.
1) Planning – Any bright idea will never materialise unless the brain starts to enter into the planning mode. Planning in this sense includes writing down of action plans and thinking through the possible scenarios that could happen. Writing out your idea is a necessary process of purification whereby your brain automatically filters out unwanted information in order to get the the final clean idea. This also keeps you more on track to systematically carry out your plans.
2) Network – A good networking skill is crucial to put any entrepreneur at a higher bargaining power than others. This skill enables you to form a safety net should you face any difficulties in your business. Network here is not about superficial relationship, but a real genuine network of relevant people whose relationship with you can provide a win-win situation and mutual benefits to both parties.
Sukanto Tanoto believes that networks are opportunities. Networks are relations with individuals that provide access to resources such as investors, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders of any kind. It is also through these networks that most of our opportunities come from, which help to create strong competitive advantage for any businesses. Never underestimate the power of networking. Nonetheless, one should not focus too much on networking and forget the strong foundation of structural requirements of a business. Financial capital and networking come hand in hand, complement and propel one another to work to the benefit of the business.
3)Perseverance – Without fail, an entrepreneur is definitely going to face a point in their lives whereby they feel like giving up. It is this crucial period that determines the success of an entrepreneur. At times, many negative words are constantly drilled into their heads about what are the impossibles, but you need to be firm and not let these thoughts drown your entrepeneurial spirit.
Sukanto Tanoto once shared with his employees, “Take one step at a time, keeping your eyes on the stars but at the same time, keeping your feet on the ground to do the hard work.” Do not let go of your dreams and visions without putting a strong fight because the successful ones are often the ones who overcame their challenges and difficulties. Indonesia is known as the heaven for entrepreneurs due to the large market size and relatively untapped resources. Though it is not easy to be an entrepreneur, but these conditions should act as an incentive to spur the nation’s next generation of entrepreneurs.