Baybars Altuntaş is a Turkish entrepreneur, angel investor, speaker and author based in Istanbul. He founded Deulcom International, a vocational training school in Turkey in 1992 and currently serves as the president of the executive committee of the company. He has been a Dragon on Dragons’ Den in Turkey, an adaptation of the popular Shark Tank TV program. He is currently a jury member on the new Turkish entrepreneurship program Do You Have a Business Idea?
In 2011, he wrote Off the Bus, Into a BMW (Otobüsten İndim BMW’ye Bindim), the story of his life and his rise to success in the business world.The book has been reprinted 24 times in Turkey. It was translated into Albanian in 2012 and translated into English in 2014. He was recognised by EBAN – The European Trade Association of Business Angels as the 2013’s Best Individual in Europe Globally Engaging with Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.
Key takeaway from Fireside chat were:
Different kinds of entrepreneurs
There is a vast difference between an entrepreneur and a startup. Believe it or not but most of them do not know where to position themselves and that is where the problem lies. An entrepreneur’s goal is to make business without any concrete exit strategy, keeping the customer in mind. A startup, on the other hand, focuses on creating a business with a concrete exit strategy keeping other businesses in mind.
If we look at various studies, about 95% of the economy is driven by SME and 60% of them are recruiting up to only 3 people. Which shows the importance of SME’s in today’s scenario. Look at various ‘entrepreneurial summits’ happening around the globe, for example, if the ‘Global Entrepreneurial Summit’ were organised back in 1950’s it would be called ‘Global Invention Summit’ instead.
We must know that anyone with an idea is not an entrepreneur, he is a potential entrepreneur. Whereas someone who has executed his/her idea into a business is an entrepreneur. Then there are smart entrepreneurs – smart entrepreneur is someone who very well differentiates his/her product to attract and retain the customer. He illustrated the difference via this example: A potential entrepreneur gets an idea by looking at a vendor successfully selling water bottle at the corner of a street. He builds a business and sells water bottle to this vendor – this way he evolves into an entrepreneur. At the same time, a Smart Entrepreneur observes the scenario and sets up another water bottle business showcasing additional values. These additional values and catchy messaging will attract the customer and in the longer run retains them.
Important stages of building an organisation
It all starts with an idea, but executing any idea will not make you a smart entrepreneur. The need of the hour is innovation, the customer has too many options in the market and he/she will choose only the ones that add value. Once the innovation stage is over, one enters into the marketing and selling stage which is the riskiest stage of them all. If you have mastered the art of messaging and selling you can move on to the next stage. Which is leadership, at this stage one decides if he/she wants to hire a CEO to lead the organisation and remain an employee or take up the leadership role by oneself. If you decide to lead, you have time and position to create more innovation.
Now look back, in the beginning, you just had an idea – no money, no network and no skill or know-how. Now you have all of it and a thriving business.
Choosing the right Mentor
Choosing the right mentor is important because the mentor brings in finance, know-how and required network. Mr Baybars Atluntas recalls how he had no mentor, no angel investor, no bank support and no VC. He had a different mindset and a different point of view. He regarded customers as his most valuable source of finance and mentorship because they do not ask for anything in return. According to him ‘One must have the required skills to reach out to the customers. There are only two ways to do that – learn from someone or discover it yourself.’
Which sector should India Focus on
Even though he has not researched the Indian market so much, in his opinion IT is one of the most thriving sectors.
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