Prof (Dr) Manoj Joshi

Dr. Manoj Joshi is a Fellow Institution of Engineers, Professor of Strategy, Director, Centre for VUCA Studies, Amity University, with 30+ years of experience in industry & research. He has authored 100+ articles, co-authored four books “VUCA in Start-ups” “The VUCA Company”, “The VUCA Learner”, “Technology Business Incubators” and is also on the Editorial Board of several international refereed Journals.

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Women entrepreneurial strategies and foresight in the VUCA world

Learning advance technologies and new methods of business operations, interpreting the plans of the competitors and focusing on the improvement areas of business working are compulsory to operate in VUCA conditions.

The term ‘Entrepreneurship’ is invariably related with men, and women are given a secondary recognition. Despite, the global acceptance of the philosophy of women entrepreneurship and   the graphical escalation of females choosing the entrepreneurial business as their career options, still it is crucially important to analyse every aspect of the women entrepreneurship for elevated economic growth of the society. We have been living in a patriarchal system that now needs to be broken.

Commonly, females are observed as care-givers and men as breadwinners. But with the gradual dilution in the conservative approach, the horizon of women entrepreneurship has widened. The entrepreneurial journey of Shahnaz Husain, distinguished as the 'Queen of Beauty Care,' can be propounded to realise the orthodox communal pressure she underwent before becoming a leading light in the global cosmetics industry.

Focussing on the concept of females as competent entrepreneurs can generate paramount impact on economy in terms of job, sales, innovation and economic growth. 

Various societal rules of conduct are considered as cardinal in the entrepreneurial choices made by women. The dominant patriarchal mindset, low confidence, prime responsibility of child-care and home affairs, minimal support of the family in business set-up are major social challenges, while limited economic and political resources, constricted information of business and women rights are considerable structural hurdles for them. The struggle of Aditi Gupta in the Foundation of ‘Menstrupedia’ an online website and comic series to spread educational awareness for menstruation amongst young girls can be best adduced here.

This is an ignored reality, that women basically limit themselves from stretching their business to maintain equilibrium between life and work. The impediments like the lack of family support, limited social network, insufficient capital accumulation, bleak resources, unpredictable and competitive market conditions act as a catalyst for females to show inhibitions in stepping into the entrepreneurial world and expand it.

There are many challenges linked with the progress path of the female achievers which can be significantly eroded with right opportunities of mentorship and vocational training programs in the fields of their interest. Regular counselling, improving social skills, strategies, right career guidance, knowledge of domestic market and constructing a strong network system shall be made inclusive of the mentoring program. 

In this direction, various Indian govt. policies like STEP (Support to Training and Employment Programme) as well as The Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) are introduced to provide skills and entrepreneurial development. A foresighted outlook needs to be essentially developed in terms of female entrepreneurship to resist the predominance of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity (VUCA) challenges in the business world.

At one time, the traditional markets had a monopoly and had least possible threats of being replaced but the increase in the complexity of the customer base, altered patterns of consumer behaviour and demands along with their increased buying capacity have become the stimulator for the surfacing of newer innovative firms, product and services.

A successful female entrepreneur should mitigate the turbulence and complexity of VUCA to sustain and remain stable. A clear hindsight-insight-foresight vision combination is a successful strategy to overcome the forces of VUCA. The hindsight helps to critically analyse the past actions and plans, insight connects the present with the past and foresight aids the vision of futuristic plans and strategies.

Just like successful male entrepreneurs, even the female entrepreneurs can transform their existing business into the high-growth firms by using their strategic intellect and intentions of market expansions, promoting innovative products and arranging more funds for futuristic expansions. The high growth women entrepreneurs exhibit the qualities of having organised structure of business strategies, openness to technological changes, agility, better planning, heed to team work, concern for reputation and quality, enough capital resources and most importantly, strong leadership qualities. 

Innovation in entrepreneurship is closely connected and is highly instrumental in the creation of latest business models. It becomes compulsory to conceptualise unique business options and explore new ideas of business venture for remaining dominant in the ever-increasing competition and hidden VUCA conditions. A befitting sampler in this connotation is ‘Sheroes’ founded by Sairee Chahal, serving as one of the most innovative digital platforms for women aspiring to carve a niche for themselves. 

The adaptability to change, diversification of products and services, having a global approach with local presence, a team-oriented entrepreneurship and most importantly the acceptability of learning from failures are the key skills to endure the VUCA world. The future belongs to those who are ready to embrace technology and digitalisation in their business strategies. The VUCA world requires agility and a vision to sustain and women entrepreneurs are fast out pacing men.

The old-fashioned business patterns and models are needed to be annulled to showcase innovations in business in the VUCA world. Strategic foresight, innovative business models, adaptability, sensing customer needs, contextual awareness are some of the managerial solutions to handle VUCA conditions effectively.

The commercial world constantly gives the surviving firms the nagging threat of substitution and extinction. Advent of an innovative idea can easily outplace the conventional ones but the undeniable risks of the copiers of the generated idea can impose volatility too. Therefore, to capture the market, it becomes fundamental to analyse the market size, the behaviour of customers and the prevalent industry pattern.

The entrepreneur in action must capitalise upon the market gaps and few emerge as master players who are always ready to translate the bleak prospects into visible opportunities. An entrepreneur with a strategic intent uncovers vast opportunities in a turbulent environment of fluctuations and gaps. Divya Gokulnath’s BYJU’S, the most loved online tutoring app for children is the best illustration of innovation and technology integration. Its revolutionary business idea has secured a predominant position for itself in the commercial world especially amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

It can be truly stated that the business organizations must develop the strategic intent of a discoverer to remain prepared for the unexpected future conditions which are full of complexities and insecurities. The entrepreneurial strategies must be revised and amended to overcome the VUCA conditions. Learning advance technologies and new methods of business operations, interpreting the plans of the competitors and focusing on the improvement areas of business working are compulsory to operate in VUCA conditions.

So, women entrepreneurs are you VUCA ready?

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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