Why an entrepreneur is not a businessman
There’s a difference between being a businessman and an entrepreneur – one is driven by money, the other by a vision, according to one of Perth’s best-known business leaders Perdaman chairman Vikas Rambal.
He once said: “if you want to be an entrepreneur, the money should follow you”.
And follow Rambal it has – he’s established a diverse portfolio of international businesses over more than 25 years.
Qualified as a chemical engineer, his portfolio includes pharmaceuticals, chemicals and fertilisers, energy, finance, funds management and property with offices in Australia, China, India, Philippines, Singapore and the UK.
His view is formed by the belief that you must have some capital for yourself but when you have a dream you should “follow that, don’t change your story and people will fund you”.
“All businesses, they are funded by the banks. And if you ask them why they fund me, it’s because I treat them like partners, so when you are an entrepreneur you need to understand that. If you are driven by money, then you are a businessman.
“There is a huge line of difference between a businessman and an entrepreneur. When you are an entrepreneur you are driven by the growth, you are driven by the vision and the money will follow you.”
Rambal says there is nothing right or wrong with either, they are just different.
“Businessman is purely business, he looks at his balance sheet in the morning and says you know what, I have enough, I want to put this into philanthropy, this into that car I want to buy and I am going away on a boat.
“I don’t think an entrepreneur retires. If you see Bill Gates or you see richest man on earth they don’t retire. They may take a backseat and grow the business, but they never retire. A businessman retires. There is a huge difference.”
Rambal has an ambitious plan to build WA’s first urea plant on the Burrup Peninsular, valued at $4.5 billion. It’s more than a business decision, it’s about leaving a state-of-the-art chemical plant and creating an industry for the next generation.
It’s an area he knows well after being a founding partner of the Burrup Fertiliser (now Yara Pilbara Fertilisers) liquid ammonia plant which began operations in 2006 before the infamous fallout with partner Pankaj Oswal.
“I don’t want to die as a person who became complacent with life. I want to create something and keep creating for the people of the future, creating a better tomorrow for our next generation, I want to create legacy” he says.
“I am not a businessman from any stretch. If I was a businessman, I would have taken the money from Burrup Fertiliser and be living in Monaco by now.”
Rambal’s five tips on how to make the money follow you:
- Have a clear vision: Be absolutely clear like the water. It’s what I am teaching my sons. It’s what I teach all the young boys and girls or anybody. For example, if you want to build a coffee shop have your clear view of how you want to do it.
- Establish the story: Once you have a vision, you must have a story behind it and that must be based entirely on fact. You can’t change that base.
- Build up your team: Take the time and make the effort to get your team right.
- Establish a good relationship with your banks: Despite what you read in the news banks make enterprise. They fund you 40/60 or 50/50.
- Dedication: Be honest with that funding and put you hand on your chest and say, “I will do my best to repay that funding and grow the company”.