on July 28th, 2015

Politicians of all stripes are calling for more innovation and entrepeneurship in the economy. No doubt realizing that large mega corporations aren’t going to create the jobs and taxes for the future. The trick when setting up a new venture is...

 

Dear Colleagues,

Politicians of all stripes are calling for more innovation and entrepeneurship in the economy. No doubt realizing that large mega corporations aren’t going to create the jobs and taxes for the future.

The trick when setting up a new venture is certainly to look for a market (or ‘driver’) for what you propose but also to realize that the chances of failure are quite high. But to persist vigorously even though there is this high probability of failure. Believe me – I know this - as I have failed enough - and think that 9 out of 10 new companies failing is probably an optimistic view.

What is a Good Job for Engineering Professionals?
There is an expectation that when you graduate with an engineering degree or diploma that you then need to seek out employment and a good job (preferably with a blue chip company).

Due to the rapid changing and often chaotic job market, I believe it is critical that all engineering professionals think about their jobs as entrepreneurs and innovators. I know this can be extraordinarily difficult (and believe me I have been there many times - it can be exquisitely painful to set up a profitable company) but if we can encourage everyone at school or college to start thinking about setting up their own operations and innovating, we will make the economy more vibrant and unemployment less of an issue in the tough times. It doesn’t have to be a massive megacorporation – it can be a sole trader – just you, yourself.

It is certainly not easy being an entrepreneur and creating your own employment. It can be massively difficult with lots of challenges thrown your way. However, I believe the era of large corporations offering unlimited employment to all our school and college graduates has long since passed. The large companies are unable to adapt to sudden economic shocks and to stay in business will often suddenly lay huge numbers of people off.

I do still remember our young kids operating a lemonade stand on our street making a few dollars or busking with their violins in the city (and earning good money). Under close parental guidance, I might add. Most young kids have the entrepreneurial impulse when they are younger (although this can be beaten out by an uncaring education system). This entrepreneurial impulse needs to be nurtured.

Your Entrepreneurial To Do List
This requires you or your kids to think along the lines of:

  • Identify the gap in the market (it may only be for a short time – such as a one-off project)
  • Ensure the job or company you create is something you are passionate about
  • Create an innovative simple solution (KISS)
  • Look at comparative offerings and see how you can be better
  • Be flexible in your thinking and operations
  • Do not be afraid to fail
  • Seek advice from others who have proven track records
  • Persist in seeking out the best solutions
  • Work hard on marketing and business development
  • Communicate well to staff, clients and suppliers
  • Understand the need to be profitable
  • Look after your personal health and well being at all times.

One of the finest areas of endeavour is naturally engineering and technology. So go for it. Encourage your peers and kids to think about being entrepreneurial and running their own businesses. Hopefully employing others and enjoying themselves. Well; most of the time.

Yours in engineering learning,

Steve

Mackay’s Musings – 28th July’15 #575
125, 273 readers – www.eit.edu.au/cms/news/blog-steve-mackay


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