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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Questions you need to ask yourself before starting a new business...

"Being an Entrepreneur in India today, is like kid being let loose in a candy store" as a Mentor I know once put it.. As our country is progressing to becoming an economic super power, the number of business opportunities with in our reach is a great deal and everyone wants a piece of it! Weather you are First time Entrepreneur or an Entrepreneur looking to grab a new opportunity, you need to ask yourself the questions below. These questions will act as a "Guide post" while you are executing  your idea...

1) Why is it that you are getting into this line of business?

Is it because you have sensed an opportunity in the market that other people havent noticed yet? or do you think that there is a need in the market that has not been addressed? or is it not being addressed efficiently or effectively, therefore you see an opportunity ?

2) What is the opportunity that you have seen in the Market?

What is the opportunity that you seen in the market which you believe that you can address to the satisfaction of your potential customers?

3) Who has this need?

Who exactly has this need? Who are your potential customers? who are the ppl who are willing to buy your product or service? The demography of the customers? The addressable market for your product or service ?

4) How is this need currently being addressed?

Why do you think that your way of addressing this need is better than how its being addressed currently?
Why is it that you are better?

5) Where are your potential customers? and how do you plan to reach them?

Where are your customers located? in your city/country? This is important to address to understand how expensive it is for you to reach your potiential customers?

6) How BIG is the opportunity ? How attractive is it?

Most of us who are willing to start a business generally are aware of the market size... What i think is more important is to understand the market that you can cater to ... You might be in a business which a 1Billion $ industry, but the reality is that you cannot address the whole market ... Ask yourself what is the addressable market and how attractive it is (in terms or Profitability ) ?

Example: Consider that you want to enter the Tshirt or the trouser market.. Theres absolutely no doubt that the market size very very large, but the profit potential in this market is not very large because the extent of competition of in this market is very very high and hence the profit potential of the business is low . . .

7) How much capital do you need to get this business off the ground?

But what you really need to address is "how much capital to do you need until your business will start generating positive cashflows?"

This will help you determine to where you can go and seek your capital from (Angel investors, VCs or friends and family)..

Its also very important to remember that cash in a business is not the end, but only the means to the end.. Most Entrepreneurs think that cash is every thing, infact cash is only the beginning your hardest problems ...

8) Can you Do IT?

This according to me is the most important question.. Do you as the Entrepreneur / founder have the energy, excitement to do it? more importantly does you team have the same energy, enthusiasm, talent and capability to do it ?

Entrepreneurs must be ready to jump in the deep end of the pool with out knowing how to swim, thats the exciting challenge as an Entrepreneur ...

Pls do feel free to post you comments here or mail me @

Dreaming is Believing

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Transforming Our Mindsets Part 1- The missing link to harnessing hidden potentials

 I am sure that everyone reading this blog has seen at least one match of the football world cup that took place recently in South Africa.

As much as I loved going to a bar, drinking some nice chilled beer and hanging out with my close friends, there was this constant question at the back of my mind-India is the second largest population with 1.2 Billion people and counting, don’t we have 11 players who can work together as a team and qualify to play the world cup??

This is when I realized that it wasn’t about having 11 people, it was about having 11 right mind sets to qualify for the world cup. I am pretty sure that if we continue to function the way we are, we will never win the world cup in my lifetime and I am just 22 years old.

This reminds me of a quote, "If we do what we have always done, we will always get what we have already gotten".

This was the inception of my idea that we need to transform (not change) mindsets to harness hidden potentials.

 I am going to share below what I think is the crucial link to make the transition from being the fastest developing nation to being a developed superpower in the shortest span of time.

I have great respect for the leaders of my country and I completely appreciate the struggle and sacrifices they have made for our country to get to its current state. Its been 63 years since our independence and still, many people struggle for 2 square meals a day, our transportation system is pathetic, there isn’t constant supply of electricity, these being the basic necessities of the 21stcentury.

Most of us have cribbed about the above problems day in and day out and have also conveniently blamed our politicians and the government systems. But think of it, how many of us have actually taken strong action with conviction?? "It’s easier said than done" people say.

However the fact is that most of us operate on the basis of "An Eye for an Eye" and this according to Gandhi makes the whole world blind, which is very true.

So how do we confront this problem and make this transition??

The answer is simple we need to transform our mindsets . . .

Let me explain how we are currently functioning and then how we can transform our mindsets (in Part 2 of this series).. .

As I see my 5-year-old niece (Saakshi) growing up, I also get to see how she learns and reacts to the outside world. Her actions and reactions are very similar to that of her parents thought processes and thought patterns. As she grows up I also see her picking up the traits and attributes similar to that of her first family and friends. This is by no means wrong or hampering her growth.

However the point I am trying to make here is that, even as a little five year old, she is viewing her life through certain filters them being experiences,mind blocks, judgments and everything that we have learnt so far in our life.

These filters will allow her to view and understand life only in that particular dimension or perspective. As she grows up, she will perceive these filters as reality and this will directly impact her decision making process (judging good or bad, right or wrong etc). These filters in my opinion are exactly what makes us human and why we are completely unique from each other.

Let me explain the above with an example:

Take for instance any color, say "Yellow". Show the color to 10 thousand people and ask them to name the color, I am sure all of them from a 5 year old to a 78 year old will tell you its yellow. But according to Physics, if a object appears to be yellow, it means that the object should reflect yellow and absorb the rest of the colors. Hence that object is really not yellow. Agree?

This is what I mean by filters. We are made to believe that "not yellow" is yellow and this becomes our reality.

These filters are the reason why India could not qualify the reason for the world cup. We are just continuing to do the things that we have always done.

So how is this related to Entrepreneurship??

I have been watching Indian soaps, reality shows, and movies on TV with my family for as long as I can remember. The story line of most of the movies I have come across have these common elements:

1) The hero falls in love with the actress and the actress’s family doesn’t approve of him.
2) The hero who will save the girl (actress) from the villains.
3) The police get to the crime scene after the villain is killed.
4) They (Hero and the actress) will live happily ever after.

I am sure all the people who have watched even 1 hindi movie gets what I am saying.

On the other had I can also name at least 10 game shows that have been completely copied (just from my memory) from our American / Western brothers. We even copy the jingles and the color theme of the show!

Examples: Who wants to be a billionaire?, The weakest Link, Big brother, The biggest looser, The moment of truth etc.

Considering this, do you think it is right to make fun of the Chinese (Stereotypical Indian thinks the Chinese just manufacture replicated products and has a very low quality) This is true, but they also manufacture very high
quality of products as well.

So the big question is, are we not creative???

Of course we are, we are just not aware that we are creative.

In the mid 70's and the early 80's when India started opening out to the outside world, we started going place and buying products that weren't available in India then.

The affluent class could afford to import products from western countries, to meet their demands and needs. This eventually came to be known as "imported" products.

The Indian mindset to "Imported Goods" are :
1) Expensive and hence high quality
2) Durable

Ask my grandmother; to this day she would prefer "imported" products to any other (even though you get the same product and same brand here in India and probably its even manufactured here). We have entire Bazaars (markets) even to this day that just import (more like smuggle) products into India like "Burma Bazaar", "National Market" (both in Bangalore)

The reason why I illustrated the above example is that as we grow old and blow more candles off the cake, our ability to accept, adapt and change to new thoughts and ideas drastically reduces.We just cannot afford to have the mindsets of the 70's and 80's and live in the present "modern" day 21st century.

Off late, I have been noticing the number of Mom n Pop stores springing up, this I am Sure is a good sign that our economy is on the rise and the average disposable income is increasing. But we have to look beyond...

Everywhere I see (weather a huge shopping mall or retail chains), I see just normal shops or stores with just normal products nothing new and mind blowing.

I have personally spoken to so many shop owners and asked them why they don't look beyond of their tiny stores tucked away in allies? They say "Ive heard of some one who tried of something new and radical, he failed miserably" So why should I try it?"

Every one wants to play safe, think on the same Lines and create just one or two USP's and start businesses and finally in a couple of years drive a BMW!

"Prevention is better than cure", you know. By the way the Entire Indian medical system is built on that statement, no wonder there are so many diseases that don’t have a cure yet!

This makes me feel like we are "Pickles in a Jam bottle", old, stinky and salty.

What exactly is a "pickle in a jam Bottle"?

An average Indian household, after consuming the Jam from the glass bottle packaging will use the bottle to store pickle. We are extremely bad at waste management and disposing our waste efficiently just like our thoughts, ideas and philosophies.

Now, I want to leave you thinking with this quote:

 "We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them" - Albert Einstein

So I urge you all to think like you have never thought before, Look at things like you have never seen them before.. This is the only way to complete the transition in the shortest time...

So what’s next? How do we dispose off the Jam bottles and harness our hidden potentials??

In the next part of this series, The rule of the three and Magical thinking (removing these filters).

A Big shout out to Miss.Sindhu Nadig for helping me post this blogpost . . .

Friday, July 30, 2010

Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy

- This video is posted with prior permission from Mr.Derek

I would first like to thank Mr.Derek for granting me permission to showcase this video on "Steps, Leaps & Beyond!!".

This is a video that will change your perspective of leadership in under 3 minutes.. This video was twittered and blogged about by Tony RobbinsJason FriedLoic Le MeurBill Gross, and over 1000 other people. This was also presented at the TED Conference .


If you've learned a lot about leadership and making a movement, then let's watch a movement happen, start to finish, in under 3 minutes, and dissect some lessons:

A leader needs the guts to stand alone and look ridiculous. But what he's doing is so simple, it's almost instructional. This is key. You must be easy to follow!

Now comes the first follower with a crucial role: he publicly shows everyone how to follow. Notice the leader embraces him as an equal, so it's not about the leader anymore - it's about them, plural. Notice he's calling to his friends to join in. It takes guts to be a first follower! You stand out and brave ridicule, yourself. Being a first follower is an under-appreciated form of leadership. 
The first follower transforms a lone nut into a leader

If the leader is the flint, the first follower is the spark that makes the fire.
The 2nd follower is a turning point: it's proof the first has done well. Now it's not a lone nut, and it's not two nuts. Three is a crowd and a crowd is news.

A movement must be public. Make sure outsiders see more than just the leader. Everyone needs to see the followers, because new followers emulate followers - not the leader.

Now here come 2 more, then 3 more. Now we've got momentum. This is the tipping point! Now we've got a movement!

As more people jump in, it's no longer risky. If they were on the fence before, there's no reason not to join now. They won't be ridiculed, they won't stand out, and they will be part of the in-crowd, if they hurry. Over the next minute you'll see the rest who prefer to be part of the crowd, because eventually they'd be ridiculed for not joining.

And ladies and gentlemen that is how a movement is made! Let's recap what we learned:
If you are a version of the shirtless dancing guy, all alone, remember the importance of nurturing your first few followers as equals, making everything clearly about the movement, not you.Be public. Be easy to follow!But the biggest lesson here - did you catch it?

Leadership is over-glorified.

Yes it started with the shirtless guy, and he'll get all the credit, but you saw what really happened:

It was the first follower that transformed a lone nut into a leader.

There is no movement without the first follower.
We're told we all need to be leaders, but that would be really ineffective.
The best way to make a movement, if you really care, is to courageously follow and show others how to follow.

When you find a lone nut doing something great, have the guts to be the first person to stand up and join in..


Mr.Derek Sivers is best known as the founder of CD Baby. A professional musician (and circus clown) since 1987, Derek started CD Baby by accident in 1998 when he was selling his own CD on his website, and friends asked if he could sell theirs, too. CD Baby was the largest seller of independent music on the web, with over $100M in sales for over 150,000 musician clients.

After he won the 2003 World Technology Award, Esquire Magazine's annual “Best and Brightest“ cover story said, “Derek Sivers is changing the way music is bought and sold... one of the last music-business folk heroes.”

In 2008, Derek sold CD Baby to focus on his new ventures to benefit musicians, including his new company MuckWork where teams of efficient assistants help musicians do their “uncreative dirty work”. His current projects and writings are all at

Dreaming is Believing

Friday, July 23, 2010

Lessons of Entrpreneurship from Rural India - Part 1

I would like to share with you some experiences and invaluable lessons that I gained from a 2 day camping trip last month that I made with 3 of my close friends.

This trip has taught me a thing or two about "Entrepreneurship" and what this means to rural India and has also been an eye-opener on the true meaning of "Value of Life”.

The drive from the slow, lazy yet bussling city of Bengaluru to Hyrige Halli via Mysore and Hunsur, gave me an opportunity to actually experience the diversity our country has to offer and all within a span of 4 hours.

As we left Mysore and headed towards Hunsur, I immediately began to notice a world of change and difference between a city,a town and a village. The first thing that caught my attention was the fact that people are genuine. They smile, they help and above all they are willing to learn (very unlike the city life). Although we call these places "rural", I believe that people here are more open,willing to share and communicate. They are also flexible to change, adapt,adjust and digest new ideas and concepts.

Now, you must be wondering, Is this related to Entrepreneurship??

The answer is yes, everything above is directly related to Entrepreneurship as you will soon discover whilst I continue to share my experience.

As I settled down at the camp site (by a huge lake in Hyrige halli), I began to notice a couple of farmers working their land with their live stock. I felt a very strong urge to talk to them and understand the beauty of a village life - slow, steady yet content.

I approached 4 farmers sitting by the lake overlooking their cattle in order to strike a conversation. I first introduced myself and slowly made my way into their comfort zone, then, I found out their names, where they lived and the other such banalities.

After spending a considerable amount of time with them, I sat myself down by their side to understand and learn more about them.

The conversation I am about to share is going to change your perspective of the term "Villager" and how much we have underestimated their potential.

My first question was "Have you been to Bengaluru?” what shocked me was that only 1 out of four people have ever traveled to Bengaluru (bengaluru is just 250 km away from their village)

Why?? I asked, they replied saying, "They had no necessity to visit Bengaluru first and secondly it was expensive.

(The person who had visited Bangaluru was working in a local tile factory and could not survive cause of the high cost of living and meager pay)

Considering this group was so bound and confined to their geography, I wanted to know their awareness levels of major brands (mainly everyday utility products and FMCG) in the market that we city dwellers use and most likely taken it for granted aswell.

I asked them to name me some cellphone carriers (service providers) they mentioned Vodafone first, Airtel, Reliance and what shocked me was that BSNL, which has been in the telecom space for so long, has very very little recall value.

When I asked them about BSNL, they said they weren’t happy with the service (apparently BSNL has the best networks in Rural India)

What I’m trying to explain in the above example is this: "People in Rural India are very much aware of the rights a customer has and is ready to pay a price for quality of service" ( mind you, these people have had no formal education).

Then I went on to ask them how much would they spend on Currency (colloquial for amount they would shell out a month for Mobile phone recharge)

They replied saying "a maximum of Rs30 ". My jaw dropped, considering I spend Rs 2500 per month on an average (5 years of their talk time value)

The more I spoke to them, the more they surprised me !!

Then I realized that their connection to the outside world would be through television. So I asked them how much do they pay for cable ( TV transmission through wires ) and what are the channels they watch?

They first said we don’t use cables, we own a "TATA SKY" ( a satellite TV service),they said proudly and also named most of the South Indian soap channels.. This was amazing, the penetration of TATA SKY to such small villages is incredible ( I spotted a small hut area or 10ft X 10Ft which houses a family of four with a TATA SKY dish on it!).

What the above example teaches us that these people are open to modern thoughts approaches and philosophies as well as the fact that they were willing to pay the extra money for a TATA SKY (compared to ordinary cable television) as TATA SKY solved their major pain points of clarity television, on demand movies and recharge from a nearby Kirana shop with out the hassles of paying the cable guy and finally No wires to be drawn from the cable provider!

More intriguing is this the fact that their village doesnt have electricity everyday from 9AM to 5PM due to the load shedding by the government, but they own a TATA SKY !!

Now I begin to wonder why the Govt. should not load shed in the cities as well.Are we any better than them?? No, definitely not.In fact we are the people who take things for granted and they are the more resourceful ones.

This shows that the government is clearly blind to the fact that they are the future of India and they are the more resourceful ones...
Note: The size of the focus group is to small to base any results, never the less, its a learning...

To be continued…

I would love to hear your thoughts on this post,leave your comments below or feel free to contact me

A big shout out to Miss.Sindhu Nadig for helping me post this!

Dreaming is Believing

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Entrepreneurship - A fad?

As much as we talk about Entrepreneurship and SME’s being the future of our country (India), we view it more as a transition tool for us to move from being a developing country to one that is a modernized superpower in all aspects, I’ve started to notice the fad of Entrepreneurship is catching on...
Recently, I had the privilege to meet with one of India's leading Entrepreneur lecturers and discuss the same at great length, the current situation and the way forward. 
With a huge list of accomplishments to her name, she has been an Entrepreneur herself several times over. She has previously worked in MNC’s across all inhabited continents. From the last couple of years she has been teaching Entrepreneurship in top B-schools all around the world. She has also set up Entrepreneurship cells in colleges across India. She  dreams of making every Indian an Entrepreneur... This was quite clearly a amazing  opportunity for me to understand and learn Entrepreneurship for the best in the industry.
One of the first things she mentioned to me about her Entrepreneurship classes was that 
students as per their course are required to make business plans and share their ideas to get critical views and perspectives..
As she splits the class room in groups of four to discuss and share and analyze ideas, none of them interestingly, want to share.  Entrepreneurs do not share their ideas with each other, but are ready to share only in person with her.
Personally, i'd attribute this lack of willingness to share to insecurities that their idea may be stolen, or someone else might better their vision n bear the fruit of it. But the fact of the matter is that Entrepreneurs cannot afford to be in comfort zones and shy away form the reality and themselves.Entrepreneurs by design need to be trailblazers and create a path and leave the trail behind.
Another interesting point she mentioned was in her experience of analyzing business plans (she reviews more than 50 business plans a week) and meeting Entrepreneurs only less than 50% of Entrepreneurs (who contact her for mentoring ) actually submit their business plan and only a very very small percentage of Entrepreneurs actually start work off the drawing board. 
This is why I strongly feel and believe that Entrepreneurship today for most people today is turning out to be a fad to be a part of the “In Crowd”.
She has also added that most of the ideas that she has heard about are mostly just USP’s on already existing concepts and business. We both agreed that agreed that the way forward for Entrepreneurship and brand “India” is not USP’s but thought provoking, game changing revolutionary ideas.
On my part, I would sincerely like to urge to our fellow brothers and citizens to take the first courageous step and the leap of faith to unlock their true potentials and be the cause in bringing new  magical revolutionary ideas.
 Always keep in mind “Aiming Low is a Crime” - Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this post,leave your comments below or feel free to contact me

A big shout out to Miss. Supriya Ghorpade for helping me post this!

Dreaming is Believing