Doing what you Love?

It’s really heartening to see many batch mates of mine and otherwise as well, young folks plunging themselves into this wonderful and exciting arena of start ups, few forming their own ventures and others becoming a part of the ecosystem, joining the founders in their journey towards solving one or another issue that a modern consumer faces in today’s hectic style of living that all have got so accustomed to, thanks to the materialism which all of us tend to be running after, voluntarily or involuntarily, getting inspired from the rat race.

On one hand where it’s a real pleasure to witness the above, on the other, I cannot help but wonder what makes people to be drawn into this world of startups and entrepreneurship. Is it because of the extreme distress and dissatisfaction that they tend to face in their current jobs? Is it because they perceive a chance to make it big sometime in the near future and thus choose to join the bandwagon? Is it because that’s the in thing to do and coming from a generation that is into everything that’s in, how can one miss upon yet another in-thing? Is it because of the freedom and ability to decide upon one’s schedule? or Is it because of the thought of being able to make a difference?

Whatever it might be, the reality today is, that even students graduating from the likes of IITs and IIMs are either grabbing start up offers or preferably forming their own ventures in collaboration with their colleagues.

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No matter how successful one goes on to become, with success being gauged from the amount of VC capital pouring in, one aspect that is found to be lacking in nearly 99% (might be less ūüėČ ) of startups today is the ability to go from “zero to one“.

Though one gets to see innovations in the manner in which the start up is being run, yet more often than not, either they are carbon copies of the flourishing ones in Europe or America or are the same of the ones operating in the Indian ecosystem, primarily a meta-copy of our much aspired western neighbours.

This makes me wonder even more whether the choices that we are making is influenced for the love of success or for the love of what we actually want to do and might love doing. As is said, “chadte suraj ko sab salaam karte hain“, would just like to add, “kahin suraj itna na chadh jaye ki wo badalon mein aisa kho jaye ki koi use dekh bhi na paye aur fir wo khud se pooche, kaash!

Source for Image: http://smspunch.net/single-article-forum-post-3412.aspx

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TGISUP: Thank God it is a Start-Up!

This one is indeed a futuristic post, indeed one of those which comes out of the blue and is depicting what we might come across in say 5-10 years down the line. 

Just Imagine:

The buzz word in today’s World is start-up. If you happen to be doing a start-up then you are considered to be a cool chap, waiting in line for your turn to become that billion dollar boy/girl. If we were to go by what media has depicted, the day is not so far when a start-up rookie would be valued more than a civil servant or a doctor/engineer in let’s say Bihar or UP and going by the ever so prevalent dowry norms in such states, a start-up boy’s valuation would come no less than Rs. 1.5 crore; enough for the father-in-law to become that angel investor for the couple.

After all, parents want the best for their daughters and the best is a guy who is about to hit the jackpot courtesy him being doing or having joined a start-up and has plethora of ESOPs or a share of equity. Though these pieces of paper might not hold any value at the moment, yet the immense amount of potential that can be seen by the investors and other market players might be enough for the guy to bring about the wonderful valuation when it comes to getting married to a girl, more importantly a stinking rich father-in-law.

I wonder whether parents, instead of encouraging their folks to go for higher education would ask them to drop-out of schools or colleges and ask them to get on to the entrepreneur bandwagon. The demand from parents’ end would still remain the same: precisely to do something which will make them feel proud about their son/daughter.

Probably the norms in the society will be governed by what the entrepreneurs would speak when invited on different platforms, be it a motivational session in any college/school or be it an invitation floated by the administration struggling to find answers to the perennial issues/problems that have become a talking point of every political manifesto.images

On every nook and corner of the lanes and by-lanes of Kolkata, the thing that would be discussed would be “who funded whom” rather than the likes of Rabindranath Tagore and the prevalent communist agenda.¬†The entrepreneur would be the boss and would rule every little aspect of our society.

Whether this would be a reality, probably no; but whether more and more entrepreneurs would hit the road; in all possibilities yes.

It is a fact that money chases money; similar to investors chasing other investors’ investments¬†and so does an entrepreneur who wants to end up doing what is in vogue rather than focusing on that one issue they feel really passionate about to find a solution for.

Yes,¬†loha garam hai!¬†Yes, there is enough money and takers for good ideas! Yes, there is more possibility of getting funded! But trust me, it’s not so easy. What leads to one becoming an overnight billionaire is the hard work and motivation coupled with patience that goes behind giving in your 110% every day for a period of not less than 3-4 years for most entrepreneurs.

For all those who want to end up choosing the path of entrepreneurship, figure out that one particular problem or issue that you would be passionate enough to provide a solution for. And thereafter go for it, without giving it a second thought. The investors and the success will soon follow if not in the first instance then surely in subsequent ones.

Source for Image: http://www.igyaan.in/98125/10-apps-startup-download/

The Influence!

In our lives, we come across various kinds of people who tend to affect us in some way or the other, some in a positive manner and some whom we would rather want to forget about.

Both these tend to change our perceptions, attitudes and persona. Not only people but our experiences with lets say, nature, also tend to change our views and opinions on things. This very morning, I heard a very interesting thing from a lady.

Without getting into the nomenclature and taking the liberty to quote the wonderful lady: ” One feels so tiny and insignificant yet totally humble, vulnerable and surprised about ones presence… I hope you’re getting my point. It’s complex but surprisingly relaxing and exhilarating”.

If you are wondering what this was all about, it was about her experience of having managed to climb to one of the highest peaks in her state and feeling really philosophical about practically everything that she could possibly think of.images

As we went on treading the path of philosophy, it was but a natural thing to mention, “you know we keep finding our happiness through others….its inside us and most of us don’t realize the same….and yes we are indeed very insignificant and inconsequential…..the sooner one understands the happier one gets”.

Coming to the happiness quotient that one tends to create for oneself, the question is, “how many people in this world are really satisfied with what they are doing? If they are not, then how many are really trying to do something about it?”

I believe not many. Might be because they have run out of options or have given in to the fact that things are not going to change. There are very few who try and indeed succeed (though not in the materialistic sense of the word).

However the world don’t consider them successful and try to label them as “losers” or “bhagodas”. Whatever names they tend to be referred to by, trust me, the happiness quotients for such folks is real high.

And take my word for it, these folks have started influencing many a people in this contemporary entrepreneurial world. More and more, if not already treading, are beginning to think about jumping into this arena, where they could meaningfully derive their own happiness.

And the day is not far, when these same folks are going to redefine the concept of happiness and will become the real influence in lives of those who are still struggling to find their feet.

Source for Image: https://metricsman.wordpress.com/2011/12/10/bringing-some-clarity-to-social-media-influence/

Conversions! The Bottom Line

Can you imagine what will be the fate of an e-commerce company, say selling apparel online if there were to be no conversions i.e. if there were to be no sales from the site in spite of people visiting the site?

Well, in all probabilities the business is going to suffer losses and will eventually need to shut down the same, thus bringing a doomsday for the start-up and the investors who had invested their hard-earned money in the company.

The biggest question therefore is how to ensure that the people or in this case the prospective customers who are visiting the site, which we can also term as the traffic on the site, end up subscribing/purchasing a product etc. thereby leading to fulfillment of the aim of the company that was formulated the first time it came into existence.

Some of the things that I am about to mention here has come from various sources from the internet. The thing is that I would like to share with you, in order to ensure that you get the best out of what you are doing.

First thing first, it is extremely important to let your customer have a wonderful time interacting with your site. There should be no bugs on the site, which deter the customers from playing with your site.

Second, many a times what happens is that you tend to give too many details which are unnecessary from the¬†customer’s point of view and you end up annoying the customer more, without letting him know in what way¬†a particular proposition will benefit the customer. Thus, the sales pitch needs to be precise and to the point, at the same time, should be informative to the extent of being able to show the utility of your product or service.conversion

Third, having too many CTA (call to action) on a single page is a nuisance for the customer. Trust me, it’s¬†better to have just one main CTA and the rest should direct everything towards this one CTA.

Fourth, the “thappa” is very important, when it comes to internet. So, if you have say a particular logo (say of¬†visa) on your site, you are considered to be a credible website. Because people believe in the “thappa” effect,¬†therefore you need to get at least 2 to 3 credible thappas on your website in order to develop a sense of trust¬†in the customers for the website.

Fifth, never be satisfied with your conversion rate. There is always a scope of improving it further. keep analyzing and keep testing the same which would result in conversion rate optimization (CRO).

If you can keep these little yet great things in your mind, then I am sure, you are going to love what you are doing, which will get reflected in increased conversions and in turn increased sales and ROI.

Source for Image: http://blog.statcounter.com/2008/07/conversion-update/

The Dreamer!

One thing that the majority used to lack, say a couple of decades, was the ability to venture out and take risks. Not many dreamt about becoming Tatas and Birlas. The one, who did venture out, ended up being the same.

But today, we are seeing more and more people wanting to have their own businesses. They want to take control of their lives. The thought behind wanting to have their own business is to remain independent and work for themselves rather than working for someone else.

Not only is there a scope of earning much more money, but also the indendence and the leverage to work on one’s own terms is beyond any materialistic thing that you might get by working in a big shot company.

It is not only that they think of only themselves. but they also try to create opportunities for those who wouldn’t have the resources or the risk taking ability to venture out into this arena of entrepreneurship.

So, basically, there are two kinds of people. One, who want to take risk and set up their own venture and the one who would want to become a part of the venture and work for the same.

Outsiders, who don’t belong to the former category, think that the people in the former category have got lucky enough to be enjoying the lifestyle that they are. But I must tell you that it is only after hours, months and years of hard work that an entrepreneur is able to achieve what looks to the outsiders like a rosy picture.

And that too, not many in the field are able to achieve the same kind of success as say Flipkart or even Healthkart. Irrespective of the fact, that an entrepreneur emerges out as successful or not, one needs to have immense amount of patience and a motivation to put in hard work day-in-day-out.

Only 1 in around 1000 companies is able to do what it initially had as aim in its mind. Then what about the rest and what about the employees, who had been working in those companies?dreamer

Yes, they end up losing jobs and are in turn made to look for employment opportunities. But one thing that they do gain is the experience and the learning which one can never get while working in a conventional job, because of the nature of being exposed to every aspect of a business.

They say, once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur. If you talk to these entrepreneurs, they will tell you that its like tasting blood for a tiger. Once it does it, it is not able to survive without it.

Talking to entrepreneurs can indeed be a very pleasurable experience. The kind of joy that you can see on their faces is much more than you would see, say even on the face of an IAS officer. They are people who go after their dreams and try to make them come true.

These people have been able to carve out a different world for themselves, which they cherish to the core. They are the master, they are the servants. They say that they are truly living their lives and doing what they want to do.

I, sometimes wonder, if this is not living life on one’s own terms than what is! Hats off to the dreamers!

Sourcr for Image: http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/daydreaming/images/30420185/title/little-dreamer-wallpaper

VC!

There can be various full forms of this two letter word. For some, it might denote Voice Chat; but for those who are really interested in the commercial things of life and are into hard core entrepreneurial start ups, these letters seem more important than any other what so ever.

It can mean the whole World for them. In all senses of the word, it can be really instrumental in those make or break years of an individual. Yes, I am talking about none other than the Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors.

For a start up, it can mean an opportunity to survive and make it to the IPO one day. It can also mean that the initial bearers of the entrepreneurial flag will not let their company starve due to lack of funds, which come in plenty once the VCs and the like agree to fund the idea.

And as you know that every good thing comes in small packages, so it is with these Angels, especially in the Indian context. First of all, there are not many such Angels around. Secondly, the kind of terms and conditions these investors put forward are at times exploitative and put forth in an aggressive manner, not at all in coherence with the liking of the founders and the core members of the company.

Only some among the sixty or so in India qualify to become the real Angels for the start-ups. As a result, the focus shifts to family and friends who end up supplying the kind of funds needed for the same.

One cannot but imagine the kind of stress and pressure one goes through. Only a person having gone through the whole grilling process is able to appreciate the state of mind one tends to be in during this struggle phase.

If you are wondering why I am suddenly talking about start-ups and VCs is because one of my very dear friends is a founder member of one such start-up and I really appreciate the kind of effort entrepreneurs put in with an ambition to make it real big one day.

With immense amount of stress that they end up working in, coupled with the expectations that family members have of them is enough to drive one crazy, especially if one is in in e-Commerce.

You might call it bias, you might call it selfishness, but I sincerely want to be selfish for my friend and want to see him make it big one day. On this note I would like to wish him all the very best for his venture and would like to salute his efforts and positive energy that he never fails to demonstrate whether it be day or night.

Source for Image: http://www.bundlebaazi.com/