s and their preparation for the environment VUCA

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The opinions expressed by collaborators are personal.

Startups have their origin in the mindset of the entrepreneur, a true explorer. The 19th-century explorer who went to explore the unknown interior regions of Africa did so driven by curiosity to discover “what's ahead.” Many died fighting with hostile tribes, disease, wild animals, and many other causes. But the knowledge they sent home allowed other people to get to Africa with more accurate knowledge. Our modern entrepreneur is also an explorer. It may not die in the process, but the chances of failure are very high.

s and their preparation for the environment   VUCA
s and their preparation for the environment VUCA

s are helped by other entrepreneurs, something that has been possible thanks to the venture capital that started in the Los Angeles area in the United States, now known as Silicon Valley. The widely accepted terminology “venture capital” (VC) is characteristically related to high-risk, high-growth, and high-potential companies. Typically, these investors generally distribute their funds among various startups, knowing full well that most of them will fail, but that there will be a successful entrepreneur who will make them wealthy. Some early examples of companies that grew thanks to this type of financing include Xerox, Intel, etc. etc.

With or without risk financing, every entrepreneur with a startup faces volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous conditions (VUCA). To grow their companies, entrepreneurs must learn to mitigate VUCA challenges and be competitive in the industry.

The big challenge

With the rapid change in the business environment, the resources available, the opportunities to embark on, entrepreneurship has emerged as the most popular change to try your luck when creating a business. Although the entrepreneur is the individual who has innate traits for the creation of companies, entrepreneurship is the process that allows the creation of said company. At the same time, history says that these companies, for some that were successful, others succumbed to their weaknesses by failing to translate the signs that they were weak, but essential for their existence.

It has been observed that the existing knowledge about the entrepreneurship process and its potential to respond to VUCA situations in ventures is inadequate, especially in the Indian context. Some Indian startups made terrible mistakes in their entrepreneurship process that led to disastrous results. Failure in itself is not a disaster, but not learning from failure certainly is. Were some of the business styles flawed? Will failure continue if these entrepreneurs fail to learn from the past? Is it complacency or overconfidence? Why is there arrogance in a VUCA world?

Therefore, the research context explored in this document revolves around the entrepreneurship process and the entrepreneurial competencies necessary to counter and navigate the VUCA perspective on entrepreneurship. The business world is constantly confronted by VUCA and for companies, this is inevitable. In business, it is pertinent to propose the premise that the most appropriate combination to give an effective response to the business world of VUCA would be an 'entrepreneur-boss' and not a 'boss-entrepreneur'. The entrepreneur needs to assess the readiness of his startup to survive and grow in a VUCA business world.

This world is highly turbulent and unpredictable, but with a healthy business process and the right mix of entrepreneurial competencies, they could be expected to be VUCA ready.

Our focus

Do we believe that Indian startups are ready for the VUCA world? This question has been analyzed through qualitative studies in some 70 Indian startups and nascent ones in development stage. We use published information and triangulate it to neutralize bias. Additionally, we did extensive research on selected Indian startups and wrote some case studies, which inspired the topic.


Snap Deal went after a series of diversification even before it could consolidate the previous ones. Stayzilla was unable to analyze the prevailing market. Did you see the differences between “boss-businessman” versus “businessman-boss” in a VUCA perspective?

An important question has to do with identifying the healthy business process and developing the right mix of skills as 'entrepreneur-boss'. The responsibility of operating any business is passed from generation to generation as a baton to ensure its long-term growth and sustainability, especially in future VUCA situations. The strategy for effective succession planning and the Talent Management System must be modified. It is necessary to redefine the competencies of the entrepreneur-manager to be successful in the VUCA world of the future. Here, training to develop entrepreneurship can be of great help. After identifying the best talent with the correct mix of competencies, should the entrepreneur-boss answer to what level of depth has been thought? Thus:

  1. Are you open to change? (Paytm, Adpushup, iYogi …)
  2. How willing are you to experiment with ideas? (Freecharge, Vizury, Druva …)
  3. Are you adapting a style to what the situation requires? ( , Adnear, Car Trade…)
  4. Do you have a sense of passion and personal mission? (Book my show, Practo, Culture Alley …)
  5. Have you tried reflecting and recognizing mistakes? (Myntra, Micromax, Quikr …)
  6. Are you willing to listen to what others say with a sense of intrigue and humility? (Must see India, Policy bazaar, Knowlarity …)
  7. To what degree are you willing to learn? (Urban ladder, Cleartrip, Komli media…)
  8. Are you focusing on the future more than the past? (Ixigo, Common floor, Zomato …)

The entrepreneur-boss must be developed in an environment in which the eco-system is conducive to the development of this new type of entrepreneur. This document also focuses on the skills required for entrepreneurial entrepreneurs to respond to the VUCA business world. In this context, the following five skills will help entrepreneurial bosses stand out from the crowd and survive in a VUCA world:

Are you a change agent?

Inmobi brought the most powerful mobile advertising platform in the world. They quickly adopted, but have you?

Do you excel in a matrix environment ?

Flipkart changed the industry as a change agent working in a matrix environment. Orchestration is vital to business success, from product development to supply chain to sales and marketing, all tied to the underlying technology that connects with the customer. This is true for all functional roles in the management of any business. Are you ready on the technology front?

Have you had any epic experience of failure?

Micromax recovered from initial offers by honestly admitting the deviations and recovering its business process. How many of us are ready to fail and learn quickly from that failure?

Are you glocal?

Yatra's mission is to create happy travelers, with a link of: “It is a combination that requires empathy towards people of other origins, the ability to listen and the understanding that businesses are managed from a global perspective but are executed locally. How ready are you in this direction?

Are you a team oriented entrepreneur?

Big Basket, the largest digital food and grocery store in India, inspires many with the strength of its team. The way to win is through others. The entrepreneur-boss cannot be successful without the support of his colleagues and team. Have you ever wondered: Are you the type of person others will follow? Do you inspire others to do their best? Do you have enough security to surround yourself with different and more talented people than yourself?

A VUCA startup business world is unpredictable, but a robust response model will definitely help entrepreneurs. The authors propose the “VUCA Study Center (CVS) VUCA Response Model” for “entrepreneur-managers”.

The previous model is self-explanatory and requires no elaboration. s must have the spirit and courage to follow the previous model.


In a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous business world (VUCA), carefully crafted plans often do not survive, as soft trends often overshadow hard ones. There is an urgent need to decode the weak signals and translate them into powerful future challenges that could extinguish the company. Planning and execution do not become irrelevant to the manager-entrepreneur, but become basic requirements. But they will certainly not be relevant to an entrepreneur-manager in a VUCA business world. There are other capabilities for the entrepreneur-boss that are fundamental: such as the ability to feel, to be quick and precise, the ability to respond effectively, with agility and adaptability and the agility to quickly learn from and respond to experience with dynamic capabilities. from a VUCA apprentice.

Startups have suffered due to their unprecedented and rapid expansion into newer industries. Some have filed for bankruptcy, others are struggling to survive. The most important implication of those discoveries are the failures that could have been avoided. s may have practiced moderate expansion and gone from “boss-entrepreneur” to “entrepreneur-boss”. Most entrepreneurs display the 'move to signify' syndrome. They failed to review the reality of the world. The world will not become a stable and predictable system. Therefore, the findings in this document will help explore a direction for entrepreneurs and their companies to maintain growth while managing dynamic risks.

The discoveries highlight the need for entrepreneurs and their companies to spend time thinking, reflecting, and learning to anticipate and execute. They need to be humble, focused, assertive, and agile. They must make quick decisions based on their intuition while slowing down based on rationality. It is communication in which startups have to think fast and slowly in a VUCA world. Therefore, entrepreneurs must ask themselves the question: Am I ready for the VUCA world?

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