So far in this series of A to Z of Entrepreneurship, I have completed 5 posts and this is the last post on this topic. In previous 5 posts, I have explained below alphabets :
A- Attitude B- Business Plan C- Capital required D- Discipline E- Energy F- Failure- A Stepping Stone G- Goals H- HonestyI – Idea to Execution J- Judicious Decisions K- KnowledgeL- Leadership M- Mentors N- NetworkingO- Out of the Box Thinking P- Profits Q- Quality Matters R- Return on Investment S- Self Development T- Technology UpgradeU- Upgrade your Skills
In this final post I will be covering remaining 5 alphabets i.e. V, W, X , Y and Z
V- VUCA World
Welcome to the VUCA world. VUCA stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. As far as business environment is concerned, there is less stability, reduced certainty, simplicity and clarity. For an entrepreneur, the journey is like an expedition. In a world of turbulence, ordinary mortals see Chaos, while entrepreneurs see unlimited opportunities. In a VUCA world, success follows to those who are nimble, adaptive, proactive and agile.
Volatility : Business landscape is completely unpredictable and unclear. The way consumer and customer preferences are changing, product life cycle is getting shortened. Business leaders and entrepreneurs cannot take their leadership positions for granted. Nokia was having 60% market share in Indian Market in 2005 in India but by year 2013 its market share plummeted to approx. 4% and Samsung became the market leader and by 2020 Chinese maker Xiaomi is market leader.
Uncertainty : Uncertainty involves the unknown or facing a situation that is unpredictable. A business may not be able to predict or forecast what’s caused the change and may be unsure how to proceed as a result. Uncertainty can also pop up in the form of business or market surprises, and may be a result of circumstances a business cannot control.
Complexity : Complexity refers to the number of factors that we need to take into account, their variety and the relationships between them. The more factors, the greater their variety and the more they are interconnected, the more complex an environment is. Under high complexity, it is impossible to fully analyse the environment and come to rational conclusions. The more complex the world is, the harder it is to analyse.
It is the fourth component of VUCA. It refers to the lack of clarity about how to interpret something. The more ambiguous the world is, the harder it is to comprehend.
In practice, all these terms are interlinked to each other. So, if there is volatility in the market, then uncertainty will certainly be there. In a similar vein, uncertainty will eventually lead to ambiguity and complexity in the business environment. Consequently, the business world has moved into the VUCA world.
A successful entrepreneur can create multiple winning entities. An entrepreneur not only creates wealth for himself but also contributes towards growth of the nation. A successful entrepreneur is the one who:
-Contributes to GDP of the nation
– Generates employment
– Creates an eco-system which eradicates poverty in the society
-Contributes to the exchequer so that government can initiate projects related to development.
-Provides products and services which are beneficial for the man kind.
– Helps other industries in the economy as in entire supply chain multiple people will be benefited ( Suppliers, Vendors, Service providers etc.)
-Introduces new technologies
X- X Factor
There’s a mysterious “X factor” shared by entrepreneurs around the world. Struggling entrepreneurs reach for it, while the successful seem to wear it effortlessly. But what is this elusive entrepreneurial element? Is it a learned skill, or is it genetic? Can entrepreneurship be taught, or is it something that’s just in your blood? Many skills possessed by great entrepreneurs can be learned but two elements which make them different. First being creativity, which is the ability to discover and develop viable new business ideas. The second is intuition, or the gift of knowing who will benefit from a new idea and how to sell them the idea.
You are accountable for the success and failure of your enterprise. It is your responsibility to convert your business plan into reality. Entrepreneurship is a difficult task and most of the entrepreneurs fail because of lack of commitment and focus. As a founder you need to have zest and passion. Your job is to inspire, lead, and motivate a team, getting a whole army of people to believe in your idea as much as you do. This sense of belief is paramount. Believe in what you do and create direction with vision that will lead to creation of successful venture.
There is no such thing as reaching the peak or zenith of achievement for the successful entrepreneur. Once one hill is scaled, a bigger one becomes the next target ! Challenges are always there !! Enjoy the entrepreneurial journey, learn new lessons, brace the failures and come out as winner, whole world is looking for new business role models !!
This was the final blog in the series of A to Z of entrepreneurship. Please share the link in your network.
In this series of A to Z of Entrepreneurship, I have been sharing thoughts and inputs for wannabe entrepreneurs. So far I have shared 4 blogs on this topic and this is the fifth one. So far I have covered below alphabets in this series.
A- Attitude B- Business Plan C- Capital D- Discipline
E- Enthusiasm F- Failure G- Goals H- Honesty
I- Idea to Execution J- Judicious Decisions K- Knowledge
L- Leadership M – Mentors N- Networking Works
O- Out of the Box P- Profits Q- Quality
In this blog, I will be covering the next 4 alphabets i.e. R, S, T, and U.
R- Return on Investment
Return on investment, or ROI, represents the financial benefit received from a particular business investment. In other words, it measures what you get back compared to what you put in. Return on Investment (ROI) is a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. In simple words, we can say that ROI is the profit per year divided by the initial investment.
Let us consider below scenario to explain ROI:
Scenario – 1
Suppose you want to make an investment of Rs.100 Lacs to start a gym and you are expecting a profit of Rs.15 Lacs after all the expenses. In this case, ROI would be 15%.
Scenario – 2
In this case, suppose you want to start a coaching institute with the investment of Rs.100 lacs and you are expecting a profit of 10 lacs after all the expenses. In this case, ROI would be 10%
So comparing ROI in the above scenario, investing in the gym will be an attractive proposition. However, how things can be changed in case the capital is borrowed.
We consider the example of gym again but this time capital is borrowed at 18% annual interest rate. Initial capital is 100 lacs and the expected profit is 18 lacs. In this case, Return of Investment will be negative 3% (18 Lacs Interest minus 15 Lacs profit )
Scenario – 4
In the case of a coaching institute, you are getting loan at a subsidized rate of 6%. Initial Investment Rs. 100 Lacs and the expected profit is Rs.10 Lacs. In this case, ROI would be 4% ( 10 Lacs profit- 6 lacs interest )
S- Self Development
Stress has become an inseparable part of our everyday lives. For an entrepreneur, stress and pressure are part of the life and he has to keep is mind focussed and calm under all the circumstances.
Successful entrepreneurs achieve hero status in our culture. We idolize the Mark Zuckerbergs and the Elon Musks. And we celebrate the blazingly fast growth of Oyo or Flipkart or Zomato. But many entrepreneurs before they made it big, they spent sleepless nights in anxiety and despair. It is of utmost importance for entrepreneurs to strike the right balance in work and life. He needs to spend quality time on himself. An entrepreneur may engage in the below activities to relieve stress and anxiety :
Yoga and Meditation :
Without the proper state of mind, it is near impossible to be a captivating leader. Entrepreneurship is all about leading an idea or plan in a projected thought and practice into the real world to create a service and work towards success. But in the same phase, the busy life of being an entrepreneur leaves an individual away from mandatory activities like exercising and health care of self. This is why Yoga and meditation are the best activity one can engage on a regular basis, which not only focuses on good health or healthy body functioning but also leads to inner peace and happiness where this energy helps to optimistic decisions and determination.
Walk and Excercise :
Being an entrepreneur isn’t a cakewalk. Between running a business, juggling personal life, and dealing with unforeseen obstacles that come your way, many entrepreneurs, unfortunately, end up sacrificing their health for business goals and profits. An entrepreneur must understand that exercising, walking, sleeping, and eating healthy is important. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is beneficial for the mental, physical, and emotional health of an entrepreneur.
As an entrepreneur, it’s not uncommon to devote every hour of your life to building your business. The idea of taking up activities ‘for fun’ sounds like a waste of time or a luxury that most entrepreneurs cannot afford. However, no downtime can end up draining you both physically and mentally, which can severely impact your productivity and creativity. That’s why you need to pursue a hobby that challenges you, fuels creativity, enriches your life and in turn, helps you become a better entrepreneur. Hobbies improve vital skills such as memory, creative thinking, problem-solving, and productivity. As hobbies are something we enjoy, they are quite rewarding and help us recharge. The new perspectives and experiences that you gain from a hobby enrich your life and help you be a better entrepreneur and a leader.
Remember the “Kodak moment”?
The ability to capture memories into a picture using a personal device was what Kodak gifted to the world. Unfortunately, Kodak decided to cling on to analog cameras far too long, and eventually lost the game.
Nokia too has a similar story.
In 1979, Nokia created the first cellular network in the world. By the 1990s, Nokia was the leader in the realm of mobile phones. When its competitors started focusing on data and the internet, Nokia didn’t care. The company instead continued to focus on its hardware. Nokia did have great hardware. But the smartphones took over the market with better software features.
Generic brand Xerox too failed
Another one of those big business examples of failure is Xerox. Xerox was actually the first to invent the PC and their product was way ahead of its time. Unfortunately, the management thought going digital would be too expensive and they never bothered to exploit the opportunities they had. Xerox failed to understand that you can’t keep perpetually making money on the same technology. Sometimes technology fails too.
As companies turn successful, one or more of the following things can happen 1. The urgency of innovation and Technology up-gradation die. 2. Leadership and the management team go into their comfort zones. 3. Within the company, minds with new ideas are silenced 4. Company starts to view innovation as a threat to the existing system
In this cutting-edge era, an entrepreneur needs to embrace technology very fast and innovate at a rapid speed. If you look at the organizations that truly stand out from the pack today as clear leaders within their industries, it would be clear that all have one common factor: They all are driven by innovation and Technology. Companies like Uber and Amazon disrupted the status quo by changing processes at the core of their industries. Microsoft and Apple, big global brands have been around for decades but owe their continued success to constant reinvention and innovation. An organization cannot expect to maintain a competitive edge if innovation is not part of the overall business strategy.
Robotics, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things ( IoT ), 3D-Printing, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence, etc. will prove to be the game-changer in the future and entrepreneurs will need to keep themselves abreast with changing Technology and Innovation.
Upgrade your Skills
If you are considering becoming an entrepreneur, there can be several essential skill sets that you should develop to increase your entrepreneurial success. Hard skills like technical and financial skills can be extremely important in managing a business. Additionally, soft skills like communication, presentation, and critical thinking skills can also ensure, you develop as an entrepreneur.
The ability to present and persuade is crucial for entrepreneurs to sustain success within their businesses. However, with each presentation, there is a lot at stake. During the startup phase, being capable of attracting potential investors and team members may be crucial, during the growth phase, attracting customers, business partners, vendors may be of prime importance. Having great presentation skills will definitely give an edge to the entrepreneur to send the right message to the target audience.
For successful entrepreneurs, being able to communicate their ideas and messages in an effective and desirable fashion is key to spreading their knowledge. Communication also helps them develop fruitful relationships with their co-workers, employees, and collaborators. Good communication skills have to be spread across multiple media channels. People who can understand what you try to communicate are more likely to catch your ideas; to be receptive to those. Ensure that you develop sturdy abilities in the following spheres.
· Written Communication
· Spoken Communication
Critical Thinking Skills
Critical thinking skills, like analytical skills, can be necessary for developing your overall entrepreneurial skills. Being able to look at problems, situations, projects, and operations from different perspectives can help in decision-making and solving problems. Critical thinking skills can also be necessary for strategic planning and evaluating the approaches you are using so you can make changes or improve your business strategies as needed.
This is the last but one blog of my A to Z series on entrepreneurship. If you find it useful please share the link in your network.
” A to Z Of Entrepreneurship” is the series of blogs in which I have been explaining various aspects of Entrepreneurship, Opportunities and Challenges of Entrepreneurs, Characteristics of an entrepreneurs, Future of entrepreneurship etc. I have already shared 3 blogs of this series and this is the fourth one. In my previous blogs I have covered below alphabets :
A- Attitude B- Business Plan C- Capital D- Discipline
E- Energy / Enthusiasm F- Failures G- Goals H- Honesty
I – Idea to Execution J- Judicious Decisions K- Knowledge
L- Leadership Matters
In this blog I will be covering alphabets M, N, O , P and Q.
As an entrepreneur, you can get steady flow of information and industry updates from your friends, acquaintances, online platforms , business publications and other media. Despite of this the bigger question is , Why an entrepreneur needs a business mentor ? A business mentor is someone with more entrepreneurial business experience than you and who serves as a trusted confidante over an extended period of time usually free of charge. He is the person who can guide you, support you , motivate you, coach you and can also give direction to your business with his expertise and experience. The most obvious benefit of finding a business mentor is that you can learn from their previous mistakes and successes. Your mentor doesn’t need to have experience in your particular industry. Your mentor’s role is to share with you lessons from their experience in the hopes that you can learn them quickly and easily. The rewards of having a business mentor can be great and the risk is non-existent. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by finding a good mentor. Every entrepreneur should look for a great mentor.
“A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.” Bob Proctor
N – Networking Works
As an entrepreneur you need to development great relationship with future customers, potential investors, mentors, Industry experts, business leaders and prominent personalities of society. Without help and support of these people, your business may not thrive. Networking is something every entrepreneur should practise on daily basis. Although many people associate networking with asking for favors, successful net workers know that networking is not all about them. Networking in business is about creating trusting relationships and friendships with other business people and professionals . A key part of effective networking is helping other business people with their needs. That’s why you’ll find that the best net workers are often connectors who help others by referring customers, providing testimonials, or helping to promote events and other businesses in some way.
Some of the networking techniques which you can use to expand your connections :
Take every opportunity to meet new people
“The most important lesson in networking is to take every opportunity possible to meet new people.” Don’t dismiss a single soul—you never know who you’re talking to, who they might know, or how they might be able to contribute. As the saying goes ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.’
Don’t expect immediate gratification
Don’t get discouraged if you don’t meet people who can immediately help you. Many of the most valuable network leads will come from people who remember you and will introduce you to people they know who would be beneficial for your business.
Effective use of Social Media
Social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter have become powerful tools for networking. You can connect with right people of your industry or profession on these platforms and explore the possibility of having meaningful discussions for mutual benefits. The reach and power of these media is simply outstanding and one effective use can pay you rich dividends.
Focus on building long term relationships
Networking should not be a one side affair, one has to focus on building long term relationships and adding value to those relationships. Whether you’re just meeting someone or following up with an existing contact, ask yourself the magic question: ‘How can I help you?’ By making it about them and not you, you’re more likely to build the trust needed to sustain a working relationship and add value to those relationships. Ultimately, you’ll get as much as you give.
O- Out of the box thinking
In above picture, you can see unique and deprecatory name of this sweet shop ” Thaggu ke Ladoo “. The word, ‘Thaggu’ in Hindi comes from the word ‘Thug’ which means to cheat or a person who cheats you. Now, one wouldn’t dare to promote their venture claiming that their intention is to cheat their customers but surprisingly, the gimmick seemed to have worked for Thaggu Ke Ladoo! Over the years, their business has flourished and crossed turnover of Rs. 4 Crore , despite the strange name and their tag line which says – ‘Aisa Koi Saga Nahi, Jisko Hamne Thaga Nahi‘ that literally translates to “There is No Relative or Person Who We Have Not Cheated!” Interestingly ,this shop was also featured in super hit Hindi movie “Bunty and Bubbly “
As an entrepreneur, you need to look for different, unique ,out of the box and quirky ideas to promote your products and business.
Here is a very interesting story of Narsiram, a cobbler based in Jind district of Haryana. Anand Mahindra , Chairman of M&M saw this interesting banner ” Zakhmi Juto ka Hastapal ” (Hospital for torn shoes ) on this cobbler’s shop and twitted ” This person should be teaching Marketing at Indian Institute of Management “. In another twit, he wrote “Got it on whatsapp. No clue who or where he is or how old this pic is. If anyone can find him and he’s still doing this work I’d like to make a small investment in his ‘startup’.”Anand Mahindra kept his promise and got a new designed kiosk for Narsiram .
An entrepreneur without a profitable business will have a hard time creating jobs, being a great role model for others, or doing any of the things that successful owners of money-making enterprises can afford to do. In the current era, when economy is in doldrums, customers are not spending much, competition is too fierce, and making profit for any enterprise is herculean task. So called Indian unicorns ( Start-ups having valuations more than $ 1 Billion ) like Flipkart, Oyo Hotels, Paytm, Ola, Grofers etc. have been struggling in making profits. Since these companies have got better funding from VC’s , they are able to run the show. In last decade or show many promising startups and ventures had to wind up their businesses as they could not generate required profits. To achieve sustained entrepreneurial success, profitability should be prime objective for any entrepreneur and it cannot be compromised under any circumstances.
Profit is not something to add on at the end it is something to plan for in the beginning- Megan Auman
With so many options available to customers, you may be wondering whether or not quality still matters. The answer is a resounding “yes,” and quality isn’t just about offering a product or service that exceeds the standard, but it’s also about the reputation you gain for consistently delivering a customer experience that is “above and beyond.” Managing quality is crucial for all the businesses.
If you fail to meet customers’ expectation, they will quickly look for alternatives. Quality is critical for satisfying your customers and retaining their loyalty so they continue to buy from you in the future. Quality products or services make an important contribution to long-term revenue and profitability. They also enable you to charge and maintain premium prices.
Quality is a key differentiator in a crowded market. It’s the reason that Apple can price its iPhone higher than any other mobile phone in the industry – because the company has established a long history of delivering superior products.
Customer’s expectations have increased in recent years, they would like to delightful experience of any product or service.Customer delight is defined as going above or beyond meeting customer expectations and providing a positive experience with your brand, products, or services. Delighting your customers is all about establishing an emotional bond between brand and buyer.
This was the forth blog in the “A to Z Entrepreneurship” Series. Hope you might have found it useful and relevant. Please share the link of this blog in your network.
About Author :Nitesh Kataria is Pune based Marketing professional, having 23 years of experience in Sales & Marketing, New business development, Digital Marketing, Advertising and branding. He can be reached at 9822918211or at firstname.lastname@example.org
In this series of “A to Z of Entrepreneurship” I have been covering various aspects regarding entrepreneurship, qualities and traits of an entrepreneur, Challenges for an entrepreneurs and opportunities available for them in business world. In my previous blogs, I covered below alphabets :
A: Attitude B: Business Plan C- CapitalD- Discipline
E- Enthusiasm F- Failure- A Stepping StoneG- Goals
In this blog, I will be covering next 5 alphabets H, I, J, K, and L.
H- Honesty is Still the best policy
”Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” – Thomas Jefferson
Rajat Gupta an alumnus of IIT, Delhi and Harward Business School, achieved stellar heights in corporate world in India and America but reduced to a convict in one of the biggest insider trading cases in USA. Chanda Kochar Cost Accountant ( ICWA) and Gold Medallist in MBA from prestigious Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management, Mumbai, Padam Vibhushan awardee, became MD and CEO of ICICI Bank, the largest Private Sector Bank of India, had to step down abruptly from ICICI Bank amid charges of corruption and cheating. High profile CEO of Yes Bank, Rana Kapoor got arrested for alleged fraud and embezzlement of funds.
Above examples are learning lessons for young entrepreneurs as why Honesty, ethics, trustworthiness, moral values and Integrity are of paramount important in business and professional life.
Most entrepreneurs face ethical and moral dilemmas on daily basis. It is easy to succumb to the temptations of finding a short cut to reap gains for success in business. While giving in to illegal, unethical and immoral practices could lead to short term gains, it is harmful for the growth and reputation of the company in the long run, As someone rightly said ” Success without integrity is failure”
A successful business is not just about impressive top line, bottom line, product range or technology edge : Success also has a lot to do with an ethics based in Management philosophy, organisation culture and business practices. So entrepreneurs need to understand that there can be no compromise when it comes to honesty and ethics and there are no easy short cuts to success.
Companies like Tata, Mahindra,Wipro, Infosys , HDFC etc. have a strong ethical culture and this is the main reason for longevity and survival of these businesses.
I- Idea to Execution
Every startup begins with an idea, but from that point forward, it’s all about execution. What truly differentiates, successful businesses from unsuccessful ones is the way in which the idea behind the business has been executed. Converting an idea into a reality (regardless of the required investment of time, money and resources) is never an easy task. In fact, it is extremely difficult. Whether you are an entrepreneur or corporate executive, “giving ideas life” is much like giving birth to a child. The ability to execute an idea at the right time, leveraging the right resources and turning odds in your favour is what truly differentiates an entrepreneur. Success does not necessarily come from a breakthrough idea but from impeccable execution. A great idea alone won’t help win a battle; It is important to also know the difference in creating a strategy and implementing it in a cut-throat business environment.
J- Judicious Decisions
As an entrepreneur, you have to take number of decisions on a daily basis. These decisions can make or break the future of your business. There is no full proof mechanism to have 100% right decisions but certainly by having scientific approach we can take decisions which are based on gathering right information and assessing alternative resolutions.
Here is the 7 steps process of effective decision making :
Step- 1 Identify the Decision
You realise that you need to make a decision. Try to clearly define the nature of the decision you must make. this first step is very important.
Step- 2 Gather relevant information
Collect some pertinent information before you make decision, what information is needed , the best source of information, how to get this information. Some of the information are available internally and for some information you may have to depend on external sources.
Step- 3 Identify the alternatives
As you collect information , you will probably identify several possible paths of action or alternatives. In this step, you will list all possible and desirable alternatives.
Step-4 Weigh the evidence
Evaluate whether need identified in step 1 would be met or resolved through the use of each alternatives. Place the various alternative decisions in priority order based on your gut feeling and experience.
Step -5 Choose among alternatives
Once you have weighed all the evidence, you are ready to select the alternatives that seems to be the best one for you.
Step- 6 Take Action
Now you are ready to take some positive action by beginning to implement the alternative you chose in step 5.
Step -7 Review your decision
In this final step , consider the results of your decision and evaluate whether or not it has resolved the need you identified in step 1.
Story of Yahoo: How wrong and delayed decisions can change the future of business :
• In 1998, Yahoo had the chance to buy Google for $1-2 Million in its initial stage since incorporation. They said Google’s Page Rank is not worth to buy.
• In 2002, Yahoo had a chance to buy Google for $5 Billion. Yahoo backed out by stating that Google is overvalued.
• In 2008, Microsoft proposed to acquire Yahoo for $45 Billion. Yahoo rejected the offer by stating that they are undervalued by Microsoft.
• Finally Yahoo got sold to Verizon for a mere $4.8 Billion while Google is being valued at over $1000 Billion today . It’s a fraction not only price offered to Yahoo by Verizon, but also of what Yahoo was worth throughout much of its public life.
Getting your technical and Management knowledge from Engineering colleges or Business Schools are important. As an entrepreneur , you must acquire and enhance your knowledge base. You can have few role models in business world to whom you look for motivation when it comes to making big in Industry. Learning from those who have achieved their own success is an excellent way to enhance your knowledge of business. Below are the some of the biographies and books, you can read to learn the intricacies and challenges of business world.
Dhirubhai Ambani -Against All Odds: This book takes a thorough look into the life of one of India’s biggest business tycoons, Dhirubhai Ambani. The founder of Reliance Industries has seen phenomenal success in his lifetime, and this rise has prevented many people from looking beyond the wealth. This book is about the man that Ambani was, and the struggles that he went through in order to attain such heights.
Business Maharajas: In this book author Gita Piramal, chronicled the story of business tycoons like Rahul Bajaj, Aditya Birla, R.P.Goenka, B.M.Khiatan,Bharat Shah and Ratan Tata. Most of them have faced up and downs which are part and parcel of the business world. By any yardstick, the achievements of these men would rank among the great business stories of our time. How did these men build their enormous empires? What are their management secrets? How did they thrive and prosper even as others failed? What is their vision for the future? This book gives answer to all these questions.
The Magic of Thinking Big : In this book, Dr.David Schwartz elaborates on the ageless principle of ‘you become what you think’. What is so refreshing about this book is the very practical approach to the problems and the offering of subtle solutions. This book does not ask you to write some self-assuring line for 100 times daily. This book does not ask you to stare at yourself in a mirror – except on one rare occasion – and repeat some ‘magical phrase’ so many times to encourage yourself. All this book asks you is to “think and to think BIG.“
The Tata Group: From Torchbearers to Trailblazers: The Tatas are known for salt, software, cars, communications, housing, hospitality, steel and gold. But how did they come so far? How did they groom leadership, delight customers, drive business excellence and acquire global corporations? How did they maintain a brand and corporate values that are considered the gold standard? This definitive book tells riveting tales and provides insider accounts of the adventure and achievement, conflict and compassion, dilemmas and decisions of dozens of Tata companies.
Believe to Succeed like Azim Premji:We must remain ‘trustees’ of our wealth for society, not its owners. — Azim Premji To decode success, one must borrow a leaf from an accomplished life. In this book, author Rajiv Agarwal, shows the strategies used by the czar of the Indian IT industry, Azim Premji, to chart his route for success.He shares an insight into the vision and principles of a man who started his entrepreneurial journey with a small vegetable oil company at the young age of 21 and went on to build Wipro, one of India’s leading IT organizations.
N.R. Narayana Murthy : A Biography : This book takes you through the fascinating journey of a seventeen year old who had to sacrifice his entry into the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology because his father did not have money to pay his fees, and who ultimately came up in life to head a global Information Technology company. NRN Murthy had no money, no family backing, but just a quiet gritty determination, and faith in what he believed was the future of business. The one constant factor throughout his life journey has been the adherence to the values he imbibed from his family, which he has personally and professionally lived by – hard work, fairness, decency, honesty, transparency,striving for excellence and belief in meritocracy.
Apart from these books you should also keep yourself updated by reading Financial newspapers like Economic Times and business magazines. You should also use professional networking site like Linkedin to connect with right people. You should also watch my YouTube Video on Marwari business Mantra to get insights about their business acumen, frugal working practices, networking skills and financial planning.
An entrepreneur needs to lead a team to get success in business world. However many entrepreneurs and business owners focus their attention on everything except how they are leading the teams. An entrepreneur, has to see a big picture, he has to pick right person for the right job, he has to take tough business decisions, he has to motivate people, he has to steer his business in right direction, and he has to set objectives and goals of the organization.
Former president of India , missile man Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam in his biographical book explained important 6 traits a leader must have. First, the leader must have vision. Second, the leader must be able to travel into an unexplored path. Third, the leader must know how to manage success, and even more importantly, failure, the fourth trait is that the leader should have the courage to make decisions. Fifth, the leader should have nobility in management. Every action of the leader should be transparent. And finally, the leader should work with integrity and succeed with integrity. Below anecdote of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam is one of the best example how a leader behaves in managing success and failures.
Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam was the Project Director of SLV mission and Prof. Satish Dhawan was the Chairman of ISRO at that time. That was the first time India was building its own rocket launch vehicle in Sri Harikota,India. After ten years of hard struggle, they were ready to launch their first experimental rocket Rohini on August 10,1979
The Countdown started and Dr.Kalam along with six other experts monitoring the launch anxiously. When it was four minutes before the satellite launch, the computer began to go through the checklist of items that needed to be checked. One minute later, the computer program put the launch on hold; the display showed that some control components were not in order. Everyone was stunned not knowing whether to proceed or not. The whole country was waiting for the good news.
The experts advised Dr. Kalam to go ahead with the launch and they were confident about their calculations. The decision was Dr.Kalam’s to take and he decided to bypass the computer, switched to manual mode, and launched the rocket. In the first stage, everything worked fine. In the second stage, a problem developed. Instead of the satellite going into orbit, the whole rocket system plunged into the Bay of Bengal. It was a big failure.
The whole world media was waiting for the press meet curious to know what had happened. Dr.Kalam was very frightened to face the media and answer their criticism of wasting millions of people’s money. Prof.Satish Dhawan, the chairman of ISRO took Dr.Kalam to the press meet and made him sit aside and he took the blame for the team’s failure and said “We failed! But I have a very good trust in my team that next time we will be succeeding for sure” and made everyone to believe in the team.
Next year, 18 July 1980, the same team led by Dr.Kalam successfully launched Rohini RS-1 into the orbit! The whole country was proud and cheering for the success of the launch. Prof. Satish Dhawan congratulated Dr.Kalam and the team and asked Dr.Kalam to conduct the press conference that day!
Well, this sums up what Leadership is all about! Leadership is not just about ‘leading’ someone to achieve a task but is about ’empowering’ someone to achieve greater deeds.
This is the 3rd blog in the series of “A to Z Of Entrepreneurship” (Series of 6 blogs). Hope you might have found it useful in your entrepreneurship journey.
About Author:Nitesh Kataria is Pune based Marketing Professional having 23 years of Experience in Sales & Marketing, Business development, Digital Marketing, Advertising, Branding and Distribution network Management. He can be reached at 9822918211
In my previous blog, I covered various aspects pertaining to Entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is the process of setting the business or businesses by taking the financial risks in the hope of making profit. I have covered 3 letters of alphabets i.e. A, B and C:
A- Attitude: Attitude is a very important mindset that all entrepreneurs must-have. Apart from managerial & technical skills, if they do not have a positive attitude, they will not be able to achieve the goals that they want to achieve.
B- Business Plan : A business plan is the most important document for any entrepreneurs. A business plan can be defined as “a written document describing the nature of the business, the sales & Marketing strategy and the financial background containing projected profit and loss statement.
C- Capital /Fund raising : Innovative products and business models are the foundations of a promising startup or an enterprise.However to turn an idea into reality an entrepreneur requires a steady flow of funds.
In this blog, I am going to discuss on next four alphabets i.e. D, E, F and G
A to Z of Entrepreneurship ( Part-2 ) YouTube Video
D- Discipline/Focus :
If you are an entrepreneur or want to become one, self-discipline is one of the most important skills you need to develop to achieve success. As an entrepreneur, you need to be disciplined and focused on your priorities and important tasks. Sometimes despite of having enormous talent and skill sets, entrepreneurs lose the focus and deviate from their primary purpose of nurturing and growing business. Here I would like to give example of Cricket Vinod Kambli and Sachin Tendulkar. Both these child prodigy were equally talented and gifted. Some of the milestones of Vinod Kambli are worth pondering over :
-Kambli shared an unbroken partnership of 664 runs in a school match against St. Xavier’s School, Fort, with Sachin Tendulkar. Kambli contributed 349 runs before their coach Acharekar forced the pair to declare.
-Kambli made two double-centuries and two centuries in seven tests.
-Kambli also holds the record of “quickest 1000 test runs” by an Indian. He took just 14 test innings to reach this feat.
-Vinod Kambli scored 224 against England at Wankhede Stadium in 1993 as his maiden test century in his third test. In the next test against Zimbabwe, he scored 227. In his next test series, he scored 125 and 120 against Sri Lanka.
-Kambli is also the only cricketer to hit three consecutive test centuries in three innings, all centuries against different countries.
Despite of having glorious records in the initial years, Kambli could not achieve the success and recognition, what Sachin achieved in his career spanning over 24 years. Only things which differentiates both these players are discipline and focus. Work ethics and professionalism of Sachin are world class. He always gave priority to his game over other things. while Kambli got distracted and was more famous for his antics and actions off the field rather than on the field and gradually his career took downward direction.
For young and potential entrepreneurs, discipline and focus will be required not only at the onset of their business career, but through out the journey.
E- Energy / Enthusiasm
True entrepreneur should be enthusiastic enough to give the right way to his dreams and convert them into realities. Like intelligence and positive attitude, enthusiasm equally plays a vital role in every successful path. A work done without enthusiasm is like a vehicle without fuel.
A work done with enthusiasm gives a way to the desired results. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. Entrepreneurs should be enthusiastic and future-oriented. They should be risk-taker of their own enterprise in pursuit of profit. They should have high energy levels to achieve their goals. They should be enthusiastic enough to pass their enthusiasm to their team in the way that everyone should be dozed by their enthusiasm. An enthusiastic person never fears to face any ups and downs and take any loss. He always comes up with the best possible solution.
Failure – A Stepping Stone for success
Most entrepreneurs fear failure, but failure does not prevent success. Actually, failure can lead to success as long as, we learn from it. Failure is one of the keys to success because it teaches us more. Thomas Edison, maybe the greatest inventor of the modern era, said the following while on his journey to create the long-lasting electric light bulb, “I’ve not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
There is no failure, no disappointment, no mistake in our past that can stop us from taking a positive step forward right now. No matter how many times we may have fallen short of the mark before, success is closer than ever. All our past failures were actually laying the foundation for our future successes.
Whether it has seemed to work or not, every step you’ve taken up to now has brought you closer to success. Failures are but stepping stones on the road to success. You understand that your desire for success has to be greater than your fear of disappointment and failure. Take the steps that will take you were you need to be. Here I would like to share you motivating stories of two successful entrepreneurs of this era:
Story – 1
At age 5 his Father died. At age 16 he quit school.
At age 17 he had already lost four jobs. At age 18 he got married.
At the age of 19 he became Father. At the age of 20 his wife left him and took their baby daughter.
Between ages 18 and 22 he was a railroad Conductor.
He joined the army and washed out there.
He applied for law school and was rejected.
He became an Insurance Sales man and failed again.
At the age of 25 ,He became a cook and dishwasher in a small café and retired at the age of 65.
At the time of retirement he had $105 with him and he thought of committing suicide. However he suddenly realised that there was one thing which he could do better than anyone else and that is cooking.Bought and fried come chicken using his own recipe. His recipe was rejected 1009 times before anyone accepted it.
Afterwords he got the success and became world second biggest food chain KFC ( Kentucky Fried Chicken ) and KFC is having more than 22000 franchise in 150 countries.
Name of this inspirational entrepreneur is Colonel Hartland Sanders.
Story – 2
He failed in primary school test 2 times, middle school test 2 times and College entrance exam 2 times.
He Scored only 1 mark out of 120 in college entrance exam in maths subject.
He was rejected by Harvard University 10 times .
He applied for 30 job’s after college and was rejected by all of them.
He was the only person rejected by KFC out of 24 persons applied for a job. After starting his company in 1999, revenue of first 3 years was zero.
At present he is 23 rd richest person in the world .Third richest person in Asia and Second richest person in China. He is Jack Ma , Founder of Alibaba.com
Setting goals – and meeting them – is an important way for business owners to grow their business. There’s a tried and true method for setting effective goals, and it’s SMART. That stands for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-driven. Here’s what that means.
S- Specific: Your business goal should address the ‘What,’ ‘When,’ ‘Where,’ ‘Why,’ and ‘How’ of what you want to get done. Your goals should be SPECIFIC, Includes dates, resources, and money you will be required to accomplish them.
M- Measurable: You won’t know when you’ve reached your goal if you can’t measure what you’re trying to accomplish, so measurement is an important part of goal-setting. If you want to add a certain number of new customers in a year, break it down into the number you need to sign per quarter or per month in order to reach your goal. That way, you can adjust your strategy if you find you’re not on track to get to your goal.
A- Attainable: Entrepreneurs are optimistic by nature. But your goals need to be attainable if you hope to achieve them. The key to creating an attainable goal is to strike a balance between challenging and impossible. If your goal is too easy or too difficult, it’s not motivating. Increasing sales by 10% at a business that’s just introduced a hot new product is not challenging. But doubling sales of a mature product is not attainable.
R- Realistic: Setting a realistic goal is a lot like setting an attainable goal, but it’s not exactly the same. Goals should be realistic and relevant.
T- Time-bound: Setting timelines is intended to ensure you stay on track with your goals and prevent them from being overtaken by the day to day tasks of running your business. Deadlines create urgency and make you accountable. Without deadlines, you will get it done ‘someday’. We all know how that goes.
Hope you must have found this blog useful in your entrepreneurial journey. Please share the link in your network.
About Author: Pune based Nitesh Kataria is a Marketing professional having 23 years of experience in Sales & Marketing, Business Development, Distribution Network Management, Digital Marketing, Advertising, and Branding. He can be reached at 9822918211.
In this series of 6 Blogs on “A To Z Of Entrepreneurship” , With the help of alphabets from A to Z, I would be covering various aspects pertaining to Entrepreneurship like Characteristics of an Entrepreneur, How to get success in Entrepreneurship journey ?, What are the traits of a successful entrepreneur? What are the pitfalls of an entrepreneur? etc. This series of blogs may be useful for – Future Entrepreneurs, Existing Entrepreneurs, and Young Students.
The word “entrepreneur” originates from a thirteenth-century French verb, entreprendre, meaning “to do something” or “to undertake.” By the sixteenth century, the noun form, Entrepreneur, was being used to refer to someone who undertakes a business venture.So Entrepreneur means a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.Entrepreneurship is the process of setting the business or businesses and Enterprise is outcome of the Entrepreneurship.
Over a period of time, many influential business leaders and entrepreneurs have defined “Entrepreneurship” in different ways.
Ideas, Innovation, Risk-takingability, and Path breaking approach are few of the terms associated with Entrepreneurs. In the last decade or so India has seen the emergence of some of the finest start-ups and e-commerce ventures which are making like of customers easier and comfortable. While Flipkart has changed the landscape of online retailing, whereas Paytm has given a digital option of making payments. Redbus has transformed the intercity bus industry in India and is working towards doing this in International markets and in other segments. Oyo Hotels & Homes is one of the largest and fastest-growing hospitality chains of leased and franchised hotels, homes and living spaces in India and in 10 years Zomato has grown from a home project to one of the largest food aggregators in the world and Ola is India’s largest mobility platform and one of the world’s largest ride-hailing companies, serving 250+ cities across India, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK.
There are many factors that affect the success and failure of an enterprise and one has to plan his or her entrepreneurial journey with utmost caution and vigil.
Being an Entrepreneur is about more than just starting a business or two, it is about having an attitude and the drive to succeed in business. All successful Entrepreneurs have a specific way of thinking and possess certain key personal qualities that make them so successful in business. This series of 6 blogs list all the qualities and insights that Entrepreneurs need to have to establish, succeed, and grow their business in A to Z sequence for ease of use.
Attitude is a very important mindset that all entrepreneurs must-have. Besides having managerial or technical skills, if they do not have a positive attitude, they will not be able to achieve the goals that they want to achieve. Entrepreneurs are full of drive and enthusiasm, at the time when they start their journey, but the real challenges come when they face difficulties or obstacles. Some will eventually lose their drive and enthusiasm as they feel that they have a mistake and they will not be able to recover from it again. This is the moment when having a positive attitude is so important. For people who have a positive attitude, they will know that making mistakes is part and parcel of being an entrepreneur. They will always learn from their mistake and carry on with their life. They will focus a lot of their time on how to find a solution to any obstacles that they face. They will be able to look at things from another point of view and they will be able to find the strength that is within themselves to spur them on. A great entrepreneur is the one who converts obstacles into an opportunity.
One of the most famous motivational stories on the entrepreneurial circuit is that of the two salesmen from competing companies who are sent to a foreign country to assess the market for shoes.
Salesman One scouts around for a few days and then heads for the telegraph office to contact company headquarters. He writes: “Research complete. Unmitigated disaster. Nobodyhere wears shoes.”
Likewise, Salesman Two does his research and heads for the same telegraph office. Once there, he composes the following: “Research complete. Glorious opportunity! Nobody here wears shoes!”
The point, of course, is that Salesman Two is the real entrepreneur, the person who sees opportunity where others do not. This story is designed to motivate all the wannabe entrepreneurs to find their hidden potential, take risks, and turn obstacles into opportunities.
B- Business Plan
A Business plan is the most important document for any entrepreneurs. A Business plan can be defined as “a written document describing the nature of the business, the sales and marketing strategy, and the financial background, and containing a projected profit and loss statement.”
Why you need a business plan ?
– To see if an entrepreneur has a viable business idea.
-To identify the strengths and weaknesses of an entrepreneur and his organization.
-To assess the market potential of the product and services an entrepreneur venturing into.
-To measure the competitor’s activities.
-To determine financial needs.
-To attract Investors.
-To set up milestones and monitor the business.
What is to be included in business plan ?
An entrepreneur needs to include below components in his business plan:
Table of Contents: Table containing all the components
Executive Summary: An executive summary is a brief introduction and summary of you and your business plan. It should describe your business, the problems, that it solves, the USP of business, etc.
Mission and Vision: Here you define the purpose of your business (Mission) and a statement about your perception of the company’s growth and potential (Vision). Include specific goals and objectives of the business.
Business Description: Here you describe Industry, your business, product or services, the present outlook of the industry, future possibilities, etc.
Define your market: Here you describe the industry within which your business will operate, identify your target market, provide a general profile of your targeted clients, and describe what share of the market your currently have and/or anticipate.
Industry Analysis: How is the industry structured, trends and statistics, key players, segmentation, sales and distribution channels, etc.
Products & Services: Describe all your products and services, explain how your products and services are competitive including unique features, benefits of the product or service, niche served, stage of product/service development, production, future growth.
Pricing: Pricing strategy, policies, price list, break-even analysis, etc.
Competitive Analysis: Major competitors, strengths, and weaknesses, how would you position yourself against the competition, market niche, product/service comparison.
Customers: Who are the potential customers (demographic data), what do they want, customer buying habits, market share/market size, consumer preferences, etc.
Advertising and Promotion: How will you reach out to potential customers? Where do they currently shop for products/services? Where will you advertise and how will you measure the effectiveness of your advertising and promotion efforts?
Location: Where is your business located? (home-based, retail shop, commercial space etc….), is the location of your business important? Any special zoning, land, or building improvements needed to accommodate your operation? If location is important, what are the features of your location?
Organization & Management: Describe how your company is organized including legal structure (sole proprietorship, partnership, LLP, Limited, etc), identify any special licenses and/or permits your business operates with, provide a brief description of key managers within the company, also include an organization chart if available.
Marketing & Sales Strategy: Identify and describe your market — who are your customers and what’s the demand for your products and services; channels of distribution you will use; your sales strategy specific to pricing, promotion, products, and place, process, people and physical evidence. ( Please watch my below videos for better insights )
Financial Factors: Here you have to provide details about project cost, Working capital requirement, projected sales, Return on investment, etc.
Appendices: This section may include company brochures, resumes of key employees, a list of business equipment, copies of media articles and advertisements (if available), pictures of your business location and products, any other relevant information about your industry and /or products.
C- CAPITAL /FUND RAISING
Innovative products and business models are the foundations of a promising startup or an enterprise. However, to turn an idea into reality an entrepreneur requires a steady flow of funds. For most of the entrepreneurs getting access to funds is a challenging and onerous task. However, in the last couple of years, we have seen a positive eco-system, where good and scalable ideas are getting funded from different channels from banks to angel investors. Here I have listed down different ways of raising funds for an enterprise.
The government of India has started many schemes for funding of start-ups and businesses. Below are two important schemes wherein an entrepreneur can apply for business loans:
Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme: Under this scheme, loans can be availed for manufacturing as well as for the trading and service Industry. The maximum loan that can be availed in the case of manufacturing is Rs. 25 Lacs and in the case of the Service/Trading Industry, it is Rs. 10 Lacs. This scheme is applicable for the new projects. Anyone who is above 18 years of age can avail the loan in this scheme. Availing the loan above 10 lacs ( Manufacturing ) and above 5 lacs ( Trading/Service Industry ), the applicant should be at least 8 th standard pass. Subsidy ranging from 15% to 35% is available under this scheme.
Prime Minister’s Mudra Yojna: Under the aegis of Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY), MUDRA has created products/ schemes. The interventions have been named ‘Shishu’, ‘Kishore’ and ‘Tarun’ to signify the stage of growth/development and funding needs of the beneficiary micro unit/entrepreneur and also provide a reference point for the next phase of graduation/growth to look forward to :
Shishu : covering loans upto 50,000/-
Kishor : covering loans above 50,000/- and up to 5 lakh
With an objective to promote entrepreneurship among the new generation aspiring youth, it is ensured that more focus is given to Shishu Category Units and then Kishore and Tarun categories.
Seed Investment / Incubators :
The term seed capital refers to the type of funding used in the formation of an enterprise or a start-up. Funding is provided by private investors—usually in exchange for an equity stake in the company or for a share in the profits of a product. A large number of seed investors are available in India who take 5% to 10% of your equity for the 5 lacs to 40 lacs of funding. A good investor, handholds the entrepreneur at the initial stage.
Angel Investment / Accelerator / Pre- Series A :
Angel investment is a form of equity financing where the investor supplies funding in exchange for taking an equity position ( 10% – 25%) in the company. At this stage, your business starts getting traction and reasonably good sales numbers are achieved. There are so many High Net worth Individuals, Business leaders, and MD/CEO of the companies who are investing money as Angel Investors. Ratan Tata, Amitabh Bacchan, Azeem Premji, Kunal Bahal, Sachin Bansal, Kris Gopalkrishnan, Rajan Anandan, Mohandas Pai, Ganesh Krishnan, etc. are the leading Angel Investors in India.
Below are the leading groups which invest in businesses and startups.
Series A/B/C/D So on ( Venture Capital):
If your growth starts happening naturally you have good things to talk about your company and you would soon realize that you need more capital to take this to the next level. This is where you start reaching out to Series A funding also referred to as institutional funding or Venture Capital. Series A funding can be anywhere for 20%-40% of your company. In a similar way Series B,C, or D funding is done. Please find below a list of few renowned venture capitalists, who are investing a considerable amount of money in businesses in various domains.
What investors look for in the business??
Genuine beliefs and commitments of the founders: Vision and commitment of the founders are the most important factors, on which an investor decides to invest in a start-up or business project.
Traction and Scalability of the project: Business traction is nothing but having the momentum or signs of growing business such as having a measurable customer base, growth in sales, etc. So, the higher the traction, the more investors are attracted to the organization. Scalable business means when a business has the potential to multiply revenue with a minimal incremental cost.
Good Management Team: Efficiency and knowledge of the Management team are important factors for investors.
Size of Target Market: Revenue generation purely depends upon the target market. If your product or service is appealing to a large population, investors would be interested in investing in your idea.
Reasonableness in evaluating your business plan: Be genuine while evaluating your enterprise valuations. It should not be overestimated or underestimated. Proper homework is required to ascertain the fair value of the company.
Viable Exit Options: Investors are patient and willing to invest in the long-term. Though profit is not their main motive, they expect some sort of return on their investment. Therefore it is obvious for them to look for an exit strategy to reap their benefits.
This is the first blog of the “A To Z Entrepreneurship” series. You might have found it useful and Knowledgeable. Please share the link with future entrepreneurs, Existing entrepreneurs, and the young students.
About Author: Author Nitesh Kataria is Pune based, Marketing professional having 23 years of experience in Sales & Marketing, Business Development, Distribution Network Management, Digital Marketing, Advertising, and Branding. He can be reached at 9822918211.