Tag Archives: entrepreneur

Glance at the Success Mantras

So, I sat down to writing this article, and drew a blank! What is it that people have never read before and yet will instantly relate to? And, I realize this is exactly the problem, which many budding entrepreneurs face. Many students want to launch their own start-ups, but are clueless about that new, innovative idea which will make their start-up tick. We scratch our heads, and try to take cue from the pre- existing models, but forget (or maybe are too scared!) to think OUT OF THE BOX.

So what are the 5 most important things which successful entrepreneurs have done to ensure that their idea is the BIG earner?

  1. Abstain from cut-copy-paste : Human tendency is such, that we love to follow others blindly. If the work is easily served on a platter, no one wishes to toil hard for it. But nothing works better than originality. That “new” factor is sure to shine! Often this factor is a minor tweak on existing blueprint, but it warrants originality creativity.
  2. Don’t shy away from advice : Your idea may have everything that you want, but before raising the stakes on it, make sure to consult your seniors. Accept the fact that people, who’ve already treaded on the same path before you, will have more experience and can guide you better!
  3. Take risks (gut factor!) : Consulting elders can never be an excuse to stop following your instinct. Remember, listen to everyone, but at the end do what you really want to do! Mark Zuckerberg remains not the most wise, or smart, but the most fearless amongst our generation. His belief, : “If you just work on stuff that you like and you’re passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out.”
  4. Modify and renovate : So, you have that great idea, which you think will bring you the bucks, but it is always necessary to change and reinvent according to the time and place. Obstinacy more often than not proves detrimental to one’s success. There are a lot of bad reasons to start a company. But there’s only one good, legitimate reason, and that is, to change the world.
  5. Fall, but get up! : Making mistakes is not a crime. In fact, it is just a stepping stone for you to learn and try again. So, don’t be disheartened by your failures and make sure that you make them count! After all, a person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. Henry Ford once remarked, “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”

These are just a few bullets for you to ponder; no one’s stopping you to add your own! So follow your heart and take the plunge!

-Ayushi Agarwal

Young & Restless of IIT Delhi

An exchange with Siddharth Jain, the man behind Hoodoo.

Name of Startup – Hoodoo

What is the startup about? What does it deal with?

Hoodoo is a virtual personal chat assistant where any wish of a user can be made true- if it’s legal. Real conversations and friendships are dwindling with people immersed in their phones all the time. Today, there are too many apps and the clutter in this area is making lives very difficult for users.

We wish to we wish to overcome this barrier by bringing all the functionalities of these apps under one roof along with exceptional customer service to produce a magical experience that takes away the shopping hassles and allows one to spend more time on things that do matter more to them.

.• What according to you is the USP of your startup? Why do you think people should avail the services provided by your startup?

We provide end-to-end facility for any service that they wish to avail. This reduces the hassle that the user has to face and will be able to save money, time and energy. At the convenience of a message, we provide the user with the convenience of getting rid of all the worries. From expert advice on shopping matters to finding and delivering hard to procure items that the customers had been looking for, we do it all just for our customers utmost convenience.

• What was the inspiration behind launching this startup?

A few years ago, I had told my dad “Dad I think I want to start a helpline, similar to justdial. But here, rather than only the phone numbers, we should be able to create a more personalized environment. No-one knows everything. But almost everything that is wanted, is available. This supply-demand gap has still not been rightly filled”. My dad blatantly said, “its too complicated. leave it. “ After this summer, I realized more and more, the reason for such a thing’s existence. And now here I am, working on setting up a framework for the same.

What do you want to say to budding entrepreneurs who are still shying away from following this unconventional path?

To all the budding entrepreneurs, I would like to tell that it takes courage to do what you wish to do than do what are told to do. But when you see the impact you are making in people’s lives, you won’t ever leave this path.

Money, I’m not sure if everyone can get (most of you would if you are passionate about your work). But the happiness and excitement will never reduce. The adrenaline rush will be there.

How do you plan to /did you pitch your idea and convince the VCs when you are still attending college?

Seniors are an important part of the network to get in touch with interested investors. We have just begun the process and it is a very extensive process and requires a lot of time. I suggest you work as hard on your idea/product as possible before approaching VCs.

The VCs shouldn’t come into picture unless it becomes absolutely necessary. Money does give you a chance to do a lot more. But it doesn’t do the work. Remember that.

What are the challenges that you’re facing?

Challenges. They are almost the only thing I’m facing. But these challenges when successfully surpassed lead to a lot of delighted customers. Right from apt solutions for customer issues  to thinking about a specific feature in the app to the size of the icon being made, everything is very critical at this juncture. Every small cog in the machine when perfectly oiled leads to a smooth operations and as in charge of overseeing the operations I have the responsibility of creating seamless operations at every stage.

What motivates you to give up the ‘safe’ path of taking up a job and instead start off from scratch?

When I see a Samsung or a Consult job, very few of these let me make a direct impact in the way people live; in the way things work in this world. But when I am working on Hoodoo, I see how I can directly save time for my customers, how I can bring smiles to their faces & this satisfaction is what keeps me going.

Where do you see your venture ten years from now?

10 years down the lane, I see Hoodoo as a household name. A name which anyone can connect to. If you can’t find something, just Hoodoo it. If you don’t have the time to do/get something, just Hoodoo it. Whatever you want, just Hoodoo it.

What role has the college and city played in assisting and providing you an environment for setting up your venture?

IIT Delhi has given me a very conducive environment to develop my own ideas and implement them. It has given me a platform where I learnt about operations more than I had ever learnt before. Staying in Delhi has been very critical for me to understand the audience. Since this is a startup focused more on the urban crowd, this exposure turned out to be very fruitful.

What other activities in college do you think would encourage more people to start with a venture of their own?

I think all activities can excite and encourage more and more students to start their own ventures. If only the students are given a free space to ideate and develop their own creativity rather than follow their senior (in hierarchy or age)

How do you network with other people outside the campus?

This has been difficult for me and I am doing this mainly through mutual friends.

What is that one thing in your idea/venture that you think is different and is going to tick with people?

Our approach to customer service is more like a friend than a usual customer-seller relationship. This friendly environment when combined with expert advice and a knack for getting hard to find items creates an atmosphere so addictive that the customers start looking for challenges for us even if there aren’t any just for the joy of using this service.

Rakesh Jhunjhunwala : India’s own Warren Buffett

By Navneet Saini

“Cigar-puffing, whiskey-loving stock market investor, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, has his own cult following. One fan writes a blog called The Secret Journal of Rakesh Jhunjunwala. Stocks he buys often jump on news of his investment.” -says his Forbes Profile A trader by profession, a Chartered Accountant by qualification and a believer in the funda of “Trend is my best friend” Rakesh Jhunjhunwala is one of the most respected and famous equity investors in India. Jhunjhunwala, who is the chairman of Aptech Ltd and chiefly a partner in Rare Enterprises, an asset management firm, his acute perspective in investment in companies based on its business model, growth potential and the potential for longevity, has earned rightfully the title of the Guru investor of the Indian stock market. For the one who took off at a time when the BSE Sensex was at 150, scaling the heights he is at, today is surely not a meagre matter. He took off with a profit of Rs 0.5 million in 1986 selling 5,000 shares of Tata Tea at a price of Rs 143 which he had purchased for Rs 43 a share just 3 months earlier. This was followed between 1986 and 1989 with earnings around Rs 20-25 lakhs and eventually came his first major successful bet which was an iron mining company Sesa Goa in which he bought 4 lakh shares in forward trading, worth Rs 1 crore later selling about 2-2.5 lakh shares at Rs 60-65 and another 1 lakh at Rs 150-175. The price rose to Rs.2200 during his final sales and riding high on the waves of Madhu Dandavate’s Union budget 1990 came the inflection point for his investing career during which quintupled his net worth.
Progressing with leaps and bounds into the world of investment markets, riding high on the waves of Indian Economic Revolution of 1990s, he has got himself a portfolio tracked religiously by many across the globe. Basically keeping himself focused upon being a long term investor, he still remains an active trader just for the sake of keeping intact his own market habits and practices like he believes that active trading keeps him alert and his initial capital base was the result of active trading only. He no doubt remains the subject of much debate and analysis besides getting fancy terms from magazines like the “pin-up boy of current bull run” and the “Pied Piper of Indian bourses.”
As far as his investment philosophy is concerned he admits to owing a lot of it to the lessons from Mr. George Soro’s trading strategies and Dr. Marc Faber’s analysis of economic history. Lessons to be learnt, you always don’t need to start rich to become richer. Holds true to the maximum in the case of this big guy whom in 2007, Forbes rated as India’s 51st richest person with a net worth of $1.1 billion.

IS COLLEGE A GOOD PLACE TO START, FOR A BUDDING ENTREPRENEUR?

       An issue of discussion on which many a person will be unsure of his opinion, it appears that there are supporting views on both sides of the wall. One may start to be sure of his opinion keeping in view the recent rise of the number of start-ups in colleges across the country, but the real picture is obtained when one actually delves into the inside story, something which we’ve tried to cover in this discussion.

       Entrepreneurship inside the college campus seems to be one of the ‘up’ trends in today’s generation of budding entrepreneurs. This may be due to several advantages enjoyed by the campus-dwellers. The big thing college gives us is the social skills and ability to live on our own. While setting up a new enterprise, one needs to have a large network, so that he can very easily gain access to talent, that he can use in his enterprise, and help, that may help him overcome the inevitable obstacles during the course of expansion of the enterprise. College gives us ‘Social Capital’. It is one of the indispensible instruments without which effective teamwork is not possible.

 

       It helps people come out of their shyness, and reach out to the world, when they need something to be done. There have been many personal experiences shared by many a young entrepreneur to this regard. It gives one access to more and new mentors and role models as well, as there is a good supply of them inside a college campus. If not for college, where the new entrepreneur would initially deal in the environment of people who generally know him, he would not have had the courage to take risks, as is necessary for the success of any enterprise. And eventually, he learns. When he deals among his own, the fear of failure plummets to quite an extent. College not only teaches one to interact, but also to think critically of situations, and come up with out-of-the-box ideas to get over problems.

         I would also agree that people who are self-motivated, proactive, ambitious and entrepreneurial can succeed without having the support of a college.

 

         With all the advantages, college may not have some vital qualities to offer which are required for success of an enterprise in the long run. For example, dealing with failure. Only a person who has seen such uninviting situations in the real world can recover from the shock of a failure, whereas a college student typically gives up. This has been the case with almost 90% of all college start-ups in the recent times, as one may already have witnessed in his/her own college. Also, effective sales strategy can only be implemented if a person has done it before; that is where interaction with the real world, and the unfriendly audience comes in, something lacking in a college. One can make good products, but to present them to the world, to market them, to negotiate with target agencies will remain a huge challenge for a college-goer, but will be much of a piece of cake for one who has already been seasoned with the market trends.

         Thus, to take a final stand is difficult, but one cannot deny: College is critical. It is not only a time to learn, but a time to build new relationships and expand networks. Today, more than ever, it is the strength of one’s network and the ability to manage teams, local and virtual, that will prove the key to entrepreneurial success.

 

SUPRATIM DAS