‘ Entrepreneurship ’ category archive

Words of Wisdom from Successful Entrepreneurs #1

September 27, 10 by Bharani

Entrepreneur Magazine India recently came up with an anniversary edition where successful business people and entrepreneurs shared their stories and words of wisdom to other aspiring entrepreneurs. I am summarizing them for my own reference as well as for other’s benefits

Rana Kapoor, CEO and MD of YES Bank.

  1. Test your idea without giving it away
  2. Create a team that is willing to experiment effectively
  3. Thing Big!

 

Saurabh Srivastava, Founder of Indian Angel Network

  1. There may be many in the sector you want to jump into, so it is very important that you ask yourself why you will succeed.
  2. Do not stop at merely having a great idea that will excite everyone.
  3. Do not fear to try over and over again.

 

Sanjeev Bikchandani, Founder and CEO of InfoEdge India Limited

When I quit my job, I was too used to a salaried check. Within six months of quitting, I realized the perceived risks in entrepreneurship were much higher than the real risks. So I would advice entrepreneurs to get rid of their fears and not overstress themselves.

B.V. Jagadeesh, President and CEO of 3Leaf Systems

  1. To build a great company you need a great product, great team and great markets
  2. Opportunities are massive today as compared to even 10 years ago. This means the entrepreneur needs to be even more laser-sharp to focus on areas that he/she understands well.
  3. The toughest decision an entrepreneur and a startup company have to make is to say “no”. Saying yes is very easy and the more you say yes, the more focus your company loses and resources are spread thin. At the same time, you have to know when and for what you should say no, otherwise you might end up saying no to the wrong thing and lose a huge market opportunity.
  4. You, as an entrepreneur, need to be open and broad-minded and at the same time take tough decisions and stand by them.
  5. You should allow debates within the organization rather than follow a dictatorial approach.

 

Pradeep Kar, Founder, Chairman and Managing Directory, Microland Limited

  1. It’s an entrepreneurs job to raise money, and I would urge all entrepreneurs to give it adequate time and energy to raise capital rather than depending on a finance manager.
  2. Always raise capital more than you need.
  3. Spend a lot of your time and energy hiring people. Atleast 25% of an entrepreneurs time should be spent in finding good talent for the organization. Once you find good talent, ensure you don’t come in their way of growth.
  4. Listen to your own gut feelings.
  5. Don’t be afraid of failure or to take a decision.

 

Shah Rukh Khan, Actor and Entrepreneur

You should also strike while the iron’s hot. Don’t sit on your ideas if you feel it’s the right time to start a business around them.

Raghav Bahl, Founder & Editor of Network 18

Just as Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, an entrepreneur in my humble book is 1% capital and 99% persistence, focus and humility.

Captain Gopinath, Chairman and MD, Deccan 360

  1. Don’t be afraid to think big. When we build, let us think that we build forever.
  2. Don’t ever stop learning. The day you stop, your organization dies.
  3. Energize yourself by drawing energy from people and ideas around you.
  4. Don’t get distracted by naysayers. Have faith in your idea and be determined to make it work.
  5. Being an entrepreneur is like being immortal, because you leave a footprint behind. So go for it.

 

Deep Kalra, Founder & CEO, Makemytrip.com

You regret the things you don’t do in life; not the things you do. So, go build the business you want to.

Phaneesh Murthy, CEO, iGate

  1. Start the venture in your area of expertise.
  2. Don’t be greedy.
  3. The first few deals should be done in a missionary manner.
  4. Invest in talent, intellectual capital and physical infrastructure before chasing the first deal.
  5. Have fun – it’s your company after all.

 

Rajeev Karwal, Founder, Milagrow business and knowledge solutions

  1. Be clear about exactly what you want to do.
  2. While starting up, don’t waste too much time searching for outside funds.
  3. Great teamwork can push you far.
  4. Start the business with the right processes and tools so that the system gets established right from the very beginning of your organization.
  5. Never depend on seasonal customers or clients that take up 60-70% of your work. You will have beginner’s luck which will help; don’t let the reverses pull you down and rise every time you fall.

 

 

 

Life of a Young Entrepreneur

August 31, 10 by Bharani

This article is reproduced from ISB Alumni Affairs News letter and is written by Vivek pahwa. The article lucidly explains the life on an young entrepreneur. I thought this is worth reproducing.

In this article, Pahwa gives a first hand account about being a young entrepreneur. “A combination of passion, risk taking, and a commitment to build something big and different,” he prescribes.

The Purpose, the Pursuit
Being an entrepreneur is a responsibility – a responsibility to produce superior goods and services for people to consume in an efficient manner, and to put capital, intellect and knowledge to productive use. It means giving up personal interests in the interest of building an enduring company. It means to pursue the journey of building value for your employees, shareholders and customers single mindedly. It often consumes your entire ‘brain space’, and therefore becomes the pursuit of life itself for most entrepreneurs.

The most rewarding aspect of being an entrepreneur is creating a product or service which benefits people. Use feedback on how they have benefited from the use of our product, not only makes us happy but also motivates us to create an even more rewarding experience for the users.
On the other hand, there are many days where effort goes into things with seemingly no benefit. The results take a long time to show and this can get quite frustrating. Being an entrepreneur means a lot of effort in the initial days, without much feedback.

Real Life Learning
When I graduated from business school, I thought I had the necessary skills, tools and experiences required to become a successful entrepreneur. However, I have learned a great deal more outside the classroom. Practical skills of identifying, attracting and motivating talent and people in your organisation, working and building performance oriented teams, learning how to deal with failure or disappointments, and the ability to overcome challenges to achieve success – these are some of the “real life” management skills that are essential for success.

I believe that there are a few essential traits to become a successful entrepreneur. First, the determination to succeed is very important. It helps in overcoming all the obstacles and challenges that come in the way. Second, enthusiasm and energy are essential to building a successful business. Finally, having a business sense – some people naturally have a keen sense of profiting by doing business, and these people tend to be street-smart, fast and hard negotiators, and tend to get the best out of their employees. This is a very important differentiator.

Driving Forces
To be a successful entrepreneur, it is important to be committed to it – be prepared to spend the rest of your life in building the business. Do it because you are passionate about the idea and want to create a change in the world. Have an incessant need to create, build value, and grow the business.
It is beneficial for a young entrepreneur to have a mentor. It can cut down the mistakes you make into half. A mentor can help you choose the right track, make the right ‘big’ decisions and support you when you are discouraged, since he/she probably has been through the same path successfully.

Vivek Pahwa, Class of ‘06 was named Asia’s Best Entrepreneur according to a 2008 poll conducted by Business Week. Post ISB, Pahwa started a social networking site in India called DesiMartini.com., which he later sold. Pahwa then founded the company Accentium Web Pvt. Ltd., which created a niche matrimony site, SecondShaadi.com. The site on date records 150,000 registered users. Accentiums second site, Gaadi.com, an auto research site, is already the number one automobile web site in India. Accentium also runs StudyNation, Taaza.com.com and SitaGita.com.

Why are we so critical?

July 08, 09 by Bharani

I have been following the internet space very closely for the past few years and it’s been my observation that people are so critical on the blogosphere about internet start-ups. If anyone else have similar observation, would love to hear your thoughts. If anyone has counter thoughts, even then I would love to hear your opinion 🙂

There are handful of blogs in India which cover the digital space in india, especially internet. The prominent ones I can think of are medianama.com, pluggd.in, watblog.com, alootechie.com, trak.in. All these sites cover product launches, company announcements, new features, corporate activities and internet trends. Amazingly, a very large proportion of posts attracts only critical comments. The product/feature would have been launched after months (in some cases years) of hardwork, pressure and toil. But as soon as an user reads about the product news, his fingers involuntarily types “Whats new?”, “Oh! not again..yet another…”, “No innovation”, “Bad product” and so on! The benefit of doubt is never given to the product/startup! Even if the criticism is constructive, there’s some merit in it….Invariably, most of the comments are thoughtless ramblings…Non-constructive feedback. It’s very rare to see a thoughtful, constructive and open-minded feedback.

Why are we so destructively critical? Running a startup or launching a product is not a joke! You need to have balls to run the show! If we have to nurture the spirit of entrepreneurship and develop an environment for research and innovation, then we have to learn to be constructive in our feedback.

Feedback is essential for evolution and improvement. But if the feedback is just ‘NOISE’, it’s not going to benefit anyone, except may be to the commenter whose ego might get an illusionary boost!

Thoughts?

Studytimes.com – A Comprehensive Education Portal

July 06, 09 by Bharani

Studytimes.com – A Comprehensive Education Portal



Last week, we soft-launched a comprehensive Educational Portal Studytimes.com. Studytimes contains information regarding 25000+ colleges and more than 400,000 courses. We have spent the last 10 months to research, gather and curate this content. To facilitate user to find colleges and courses easily, we have also provided a good search facility where we have classified colleges into various ranks.

We have also incorporated a thorough discussion forum where users can discuss anything about colleges, courses, career options, entrance exams, admission procedures, travel related queries etc.,

There are exclusive sections for Test Prepartion, Educational Events (like admission deadlines, college events, conferences, educational fairs etc.,), Career Counselling where a counseller from studytimes will get in touch with you to solve your queries.

Since “Study Abroad” is a huge section in itself, we have created a sub-site for the Study-abroad section.

To keep up with the openness of the web world, we have all the user-favoured elements like reviews, ratings, suggestions, feedback, forums in place. The whole idea is that the users – predominantly students and parents – should have CONTROL.

There are already few players in online education space like studyplaces.com, shiksha.com, pagalguy.com and various online test preparation sites. But no one is offering a comprehensive solution. Studyplaces is focussed on study abroad, while Shiksha doesn’t have complete coverage of institutes and courses, Pagalguy is focussed too much on MBA crowd!

It’s our humble attempt to provide that ‘missing’ 360 degree, comprehensive, high-quality educational website for Indians. I guess, we Indians deserve that…After all, education has been our strength 🙂

Being an online education portal, there is only so much you can differentiate on the user interface element. We do not want to fiddle around with things that have been well-established and proven. We cant differentiate on every single User Interface elements and classification system, just because we have to be unique. So, we have chosen the Classification systems and User-interface elements that would make the life easier for the users. However, we have focussed our efforts on putting together a high-quality content and making studytimes a user-powered site, which in the long-run would make us unique and useful.

Play around with site, let me know your feedback. We would be glad to take every single feedback, however minor it may be.

PS: Studytimes is still in beta.

P2W2 – Online Marketplace for Services

August 03, 08 by Bharani

P2W2 is an online marketplace for accountants, writers, graphic designers, software vendors, tutors, researchers and other major professional services. P2W2 stands for “People To Work with”!

Who is the target audience?
Small businesses and Individuals can use p2w2 to post project requirements or to bid for the projects.

How it works?
As a services vendor
1. You can create your detailed profile by describing your service offerings, your capabilities, your portfolio, your testimonials etc., Creating a good profile is very important to successfully win the project bids. As a service provider, you need to pay 13 USD or 500 Rupees to create profile.

2. Once you have created a profile, you can search for projects posted on p2w2 and bid for the projects.

3. Once the client is convinced about your profile and your bidding price, client will give a green signal to start the project. P2W2 provides you great tools to manage the project and client communications. Some of the features are sharing files, project tracking and feedback module.

4. Once the project is complete, P2W2 will ensure that the payment is settled between client and the vendor. P2W2 takes a commission of 4.5% of the project value.

As a Buyer of services:
1.You can create your detailed profile by describing your Company information, your capabilities, your portfolio, your testimonials, your credibility etc., There is no cost to create a profile. FREE!

2. You can search for professionals or vendors. Go through detailed profile and initiate contact with shortlisted vendors. P2W2 maintains a track record of vendor performances. Through this history, P2W2 helps buyers to decide on the software vendors.

3. Once the project is started, buyers can track the progress of the project, review the work and assign requirements through P2W2’s tools.

4. Once the project is complete, P2W2 ensures the payment settlement.

Major Features:

* Reputation management:
* Selection Tools:
* Online Project Tracking:
* Payment facility:

Innovations:

* They have launched a voice-enabled service wherein a client can express his requirements through his own voice by audio recording the requirements/feedback. The Vendor then can go through the audio and gather a very good understanding of the client requirements.

P2W2 is founded by ISB alumni. Chaitanya Sagar from Class of 2005 and Amit Mullerpattan from Class of 2006.

Existing Players [Few examples]
elance [www.elance.com]
ebay [www.ebay.com] yes, ebay has a facility to connect buyers and sellers of services.
Guru [www.guru.com]
rentacoder.com [For software services]
and quite a few freelance exchange sites

My Verdict:
The success of an online marketplace is dependant upon the the familiar network-effect. Unless there are more vendors of high quality, there is no real benefit for buyers of services to use this service and vice versa. This whole cycle of building the userbase takes time and good community building strategies. I am not sure about the current status. But cracking this is of utmost importance.

Moreover, weeding through fake profiles, fraudulent buyers and protecting the interests of both parties (buyers and services) is not an easy task. There are lot of security and trust issues to be taken care of.

Services like elance.com is generally considered good for buyers and bad for seller of services. Because sellers compete fiercely on prices and sometimes the prices are close to nothing. This makes it a place to find cheap sellers or service vendors rather than a quality and reliability-based hunting ground. So, P2W2 should focus on quality, reliability, trust and security if they need to create a niche and success. Will have to wait to see how it all pans out…But they have all the right elements in place…Wishing them lot of success

What is your take on P2W2?

DangDang – Amazon of China!

April 10, 08 by Bharani

Dangdang.com is the biggest online retail store in china, popularly called as “Amazon of China”.

Competitors:
Joyo.com (Now, amazon.cn)
bol.com
store.sohu.com (Now, amazon.cn)
cp1897.com

Challenges (initial stages)
1. Low internet penetration (0.14/1000 in 1999)
2. Low bandwidth/transfer rate (33.3 kbps)
3. Avoidance of Credit card for payments.
4. Lack of nation-wide courier services like FedEx.

Promotional Techniques:

1. “Lucky Time Activity” – A randomly chosen lucky hour each day, during which all purchases are made free.
2. “An E-love story” – A colloborating book authoring exercise involving the site users!
3. Membership scheme/Loyalty programs – Reward points/gifts depending on the buying patterns.

Interestingly, Amazon.com has already swallowed 2-3 major online bookstores in china. Amazon did try to swallow Dangdang, but dangdang resisted. Amazon offered $150m USD for 70-80% stake. Dangdang rationalized saying that it was interested in investor and not in a buy-out. Sources say that, Dangdang actually was employing this tactic (Delaying) to up the price offer from Amazon, instead it backfired, as Amazon went on to buy Dangdang’s nearest competitor Joyo.com for a meagre 75 million dollars!

Similar to paypal.com, a popular online payment solution, China has it’s own online payment solution in the form of yeepay.com. Yeepay partnered with various online stores including Dangdang.com. This partnership helped dangdang.com in a significant way to increase the online purchase tendency among the users. It’s worthwhile to note that yeepay has both online and offline payment collection mechanisms! A combination non-existent in india!

I don’t budge just to please somebody else…

March 24, 08 by Bharani

Off late, there is too much emphasis on Execution in corporates, government and social organizations…literally everywhere. Being a man who thrives on execution more than strategizing, I find it very encouraging…:)

Recently I travelled in Delhi Metro and was fascinated by the quality and standards. Even european trains that I have seen fade in comparison with Delhi metro. I was so curious about the way it was executed. E.Sreedharan, the man behind Konkan railway, oversaw the execution of Delhi Metro too. This man simply amazes me! There is so much to learn from him and his works.

2 days back, I came across E.Sreedharan’s interview with Shekar Gupta, NDVT 24×7 walk the talk (way back in 2003) and was spell-bound by his eye for details, straight-forwardness,humility and leadership qualities. Read on…it’s worthwhile

Interview of E.Sreedharan with Shekar Gupta, NDTV 24×7

Theory is vastly different from Practice!

February 15, 08 by Bharani

It’s very easy to read about starting a business from scratch, setting up the operations, organizational structure, Marketing strategies and financial fundas….But when the time comes to implement what one has studied for himself, the world teaches the ground realities..hard facts…and the importance of the practicality in life…

While the progress at Antya has been good so far, the progress isn’t sufficient enough. We are in the phase of executing the crux of the business plan… GENERATING REVENUES. Facing some challenges in that front but overcoming one by one..Talking with various industry experts, investors and validating the ideas and plans is quite insightful…but have to admit that it has been stressful at times too…But hey! what’s the fun if everything goes smooth according to the plan? There should be twists and turns..surprises and failures before one sees the success…Otherwise, it will be very difficult to replicate the success as one wouldn’t have learnt to cope with obstacles and challenges!

OK..It’s been 4 months since I quit my job. What have I learnt?
– I have learnt the art of being very productive whilst working-from-home. Coping with this new lifestyle!
– I have understood the value of money! Seriously, frugality was slowly missing from my life with all the easy money from corporate world!
– I have realized how diluted the quality of workforce has become. Hiring is very difficult! Either people have shallow knowledge or knowledgeable people come with a very expensive price tag. It’s probably easier to hire fresh minds and train them. Can’t afford to spend time and train now…in a fix!
– Getting to know the world of Venture capitalism and angel investors.
– Building decent contacts in the internet industry.
– I have come to realize how many people working in the internet industry are NOT gung-ho about internet. In fact, they are all doubtful about the prospects…All the internet companies have their hopes pinned on the the projected growth except for handful of companies which work on transactions.
– I am learning to think INHERENTLY “How to make money? How to reduce costs? How to execute fast? How to overcome competition? How to take help? How to sustain? How to spot opportunity? How to add value? How to differentiate?”..I mean it.
– I am learning the basic formalities of setting up company, legalities, agreements etc.,
– I have been lucky enough to have very supportive family members. So don’t have the additional burden to cope up with the family pressures.

Antya gets Seed-funding!

December 04, 07 by Bharani

By now, many of you would have noticed about the funding for Antya.com. Just capturing the news bits here…

Pahwa Knowledge Based Services has also seed-funded a search engine called Antya.com, which is a web discovery engine that helps people search for specific websites on a particular topic, says Pahwa. Antya.com will also offer regular search service like Google and will be launched in beta mode in a few weeks

Source Agency Faqs

He’s also funding a soon-to-be-launched India-focused search engine, Antya.com

Source Business Week

Am alive!

November 22, 07 by Bharani

Ever since I left MIH, I have almost gone into hibernation! Working hard to give shape to an idea along with a good pal. Made decent progress! Looking forward for the completion and launch!

If you are eager, take a sneak-peek at this destination…