American University of Armenia, November 16, 2015
Vahan Chakarian – IT leader in Armenia and the US, presented a lecture about “Entering the business world – Best practices beyond academics”. The lecture was organized by the AUA Startups club, mentored by Hilda Gregorian.
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Dr. Chakarian’s first experience in business was selling fake movie tickets, for which he eventually got caught. He told a little bit about his youth, saying that he was not interested in education that much, until one of his teachers said she saw something special in him.
After graduating, there is no guarantee that students will be able to start successful business, no matter what university they graduated from, or what was their highest GPA. To start a business you should have experiences and other points to take into the consideration.
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Business is not a single field of endeavor. It includes accounting, finance, marketing, production & education, which are all important – they are the base.
- There is a difference between Business Philosophy and Philosophy of business. Business Philosophy puts customers, quality and employees first, and the philosophy of business is more about the type, nature and purpose of the business.
- Not all capital is economic. There also is intellectual capital, human capital, social capital, brand equity. Brands represent your identity and your country. To make a brand, you should stop complaining and focus more on the positive sides.
- There are three ways to grow business
- Increase market share (what customers want)
- Grow with the market (increase of customers/products)
- Expand into new market
- Start up vs Create up. To start something, you should create it first. There are about 2000 start ups in Armenia, but less than 10 of them work.
- What are the most important personal assets for a business?
- Common sense
- Thinking. Education tells you what to think, but you don’t actually think in general. Critical thinking is the self-awareness, self-improvement, and the important aspect of life.
- Vision – chase the vision, not money (the money will end up following you).
- Self-improvement. Not everyone dedicates himself/herself to that process. We have to get out of our comfort zone in order to grow. Some people think of changing the world, but can’t or don’t want to change themselves.
- Listen to what people say and watch what they do. Be patient.
- Observe aggressively. Meet people face to face; it allows you to see their attitude, emotions, etc.
- Imagine the world which you are not the center of. Don’t feel as if everything is happening around you only, it will not help you succeed.
- Make time to make decisions and be patient.
- Read people. Be open-minded pay attention to everything, be sensitive, and then use that information for your own benefit.
- Don’t take notions as an answer. Have your own opinion.
- Make it happen. Some people want it to happen. Some wish it would happen. You should make it happen. The most important thing about starting a business is accomplishing the idea, not having it.
- Understand your idea. If you cannot explain it, you don’t understand it enough.
- Turn crisis into opportunities.
- Nothing has to be perfect. Everyone makes errors. Don’t repeat errors, otherwise they will turn to mistakes.
- Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not, education will not, etc.
- Learn to use the hard-to-say phrases such as “I don’t know”, “I need help”, and “I was wrong”. Don’t act as if you know something when you don’t.
Dr. Chakarian also told the audience about the TSD company and its vision.
“TSD (Technology and Science Dynamics) was first founded in the US, and was one of the best out of five companies. People think it focuses only on producing phones and tablets. However, it focuses on much more than that. We create ideas related to Engineering and Technology, Educational/Environmental programs, etc”.