It is not easy to study in school these days. It is difficult to work in a competitive workplace today. It is even more difficult to set up shop. So why do it?

I enjoy the clean taste of espresso or americano, without the trappings of chocolate, milk or sugar to cloud my enjoyment of just black coffee – call me a purist (or maybe just a middle-aged guy watching his waistline).

I frequent a cafe (part of a regional chain) often, simply because their frontline managers are friendly and welcoming, and the coffee rather decent. Mind you, their coffee offerings aren’t cheap if you compare to the neighboring hawker center, but you get a friendly atmosphere to relax and take a break in.

One of their managers recently offered me a taste of 2 of his own blends – espresso style. I was curious why he did that. I tasted them and they were smooth, with a pleasant fragrance, and no roughness whatsoever.

He told me his desire to start his own cafe, and these are his own research and blends. He sought my opinion to compare the standard cafe blends with his, and described just how he created his own blends.

I meet alot of people in my course of work as a keynote speaker and facilitator. There are many people, young and old alike, who at some point have told me they want to start a cafe or something related to food and beverage. Invariably, my question to them was, “Do you know how to cook or handle the operations of the food business?” And almost 100% of the time, the answer was “no, but I will employ people who know how to”.

I am unconvinced you can be an entrepreneur unless you know the nuts and bolts of the business. Even Mr Warren Buffett would often only invest in businesses he could understand, and that is wise indeed. Should there be problems in a business, and there will be plenty during the course of running one, the owner-manager would have some knowledge of fixing the problems, or have the field experience to work with people to solve those problems together.

Flying the entrepreneurial flag is the ultimate frontier of the business arena. It takes guts, perseverance, humility, continuous learning, and most of all, passion. Those who believe in making a quick buck and then make a quick exit, invariably fail quickly because they lack the fundamental attributes. And here, we toast to you, fellow entrepreneurs flying the flag high, we salute you who put in blood and sweat in all that you do, and may you enjoy continued success in this turbulent world.

PS – Here are some videos that are worth watching.

Bill Gates, and the late Steve Jobs, sat next to each other in the D5 Conference, and Steve Jobs talked about entrepreneurship.

And if you can spare 20 minutes or so, watch the late Steve Jobs during his years of founding NeXT. To me, the NeXT is one of the most elegant workstations and operating systems ever.