Friday, September 18, 2015

Dream high; Define your life goals; Let people laugh at them

In order to achieve your dreams, you have to have a dream

And your dream should be wild enough so that people should laugh at it. If people are not laughing at your dreams, you are not dreaming big enough - Grayson Marshall

So dream really wild dreams and work forward. Here are mine. I hope they are laughable at

  • Give job and livelihood to 500 people
  • Give livelihood to 200 people
  • Achieve the above by building up a company with turnover of $500 Million
You can name them as you want like mission of life, life goals etc.

Two years ago ie. in 2013 everyone was laughing at those dreams (in fact roaring), because all three of the above were at zero. In 2015 fewer people are laughing and no one is roaring since I am gratefully making slow and steady progress. May be after couple of years most or all of them will stop laughing at those dreams. By then I will have to define new dreams so that people continue to laugh at them.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Start a Grocery store, think like a supermarket; You'll become one

I have used analogy of a grocery store and a supermarket since it is easy for every one to understand. If you are an entrepreneur who wants to start a grocery store, you would definitely want to become a supermarket one day. But your attitude and each action matters.

So whatever you start, you have to think big. I will explain with examples.

Start a grocery store,think & act like a supermarket; You'll become one

By Grocery store, I visualize a village grocery store having one owner and utmost one or two more assistants who will help customers and also may serve as deliverymen. The owner and the assistant share all duties as per the requirements of the moment.(I repeat ..of the moment). There are no designations and no instructions as to who does what. Everyone does everything.

The owner is the sales man (indoor & outdoor), accountant, cashier, quality controller (!), supplier management officer (!!), customer relationship officer (!), stock management officer (!) , marketing manager and so on. We have seen many grocery stores which work to our satisfaction as a customer. So there is nothing wrong as long as the customer is happy. But it depends on you as the owner what you want to achieve.

Will he able to duplicate the same grocery store multiple times? Will he be able to start a super market and run successfully even if he has all the financial means? The answer to both is NO.

He might be able to open one or two more Grocery stores within reachable distance from one another, but he will never be able to start one in the next village.

Start a supermarket but act like a Grocery store; You'll become a very big grocery store

If you suddenly inherit lot of money, you might be able to start a supermarket directly without having to go through the struggles of a grocery store.

But it is tempting to supervise each and every activity of the supermarket and give directions to each and every individual. Of course since you have enough money, you have appointed experts in each of their fields as your employees. But if you are thinking like a grocery store, you would want to know everything that goes on and want to know each action of every employee.
So slowly each employee gets demoralized. More over each employee, especially key decision makers will be hesitant to take decisions, because that may not be the course of action the owner wants. Very soon you'll become a grocery store of enormous size.

The owner should define guidelines and then should get out of the way of daily micro management

How to think like a supermarket when starting a grocery store?

  • First of all, give a great name to the grocery store similar to that of a supermarket. It will make you keep thinking like a supermarket
  • Of course you should know what is a supermarket and should have a rough idea how it works.
  • You should notice that there are different people for carrying out each functions of the supermarket
  • You should notice that the owner does not involve in day to day activities at all
  • You should notice that in spite of huge number of customers, all the required items are available in all the racks at all times. So some one is managing the stocks efficiently
  • It is worth noticing that there are special promotions and marketing campaigns going on at different times which is by some other experts inside.
Even though you understand all of the above, your first reaction is that they are a big supermarket, but I am a small grocery store.
As you have never worked inside a supermarket you do not know most of these intricacies. You only know that you want to become a supermarket one day. If you have a strong desire, it is simple. Find out someone who has experience inside a supermarket. It can be many people who got individual experience in different fields of a supermarket. To start with you can easily find out one sales man to start with.He knows more than you.
Then start implementing systems slowly in your grocery store also, so that you can easily duplicate and start more and bigger stores, eventually becoming a supermarket.

So whether you start a grocery store or a supermarket, think like a chain of supermarkets.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Realize your individual life and collective life

All of us have two roles in our lives. The first one is our individual life and second one is our collective life.

The individual life is what I am, what I want to be, what my life goals are, what is the purpose of my life, what are the values I stand for etc., irrespective of my circumstances whatsoever, irrespective of the preferences and opinions of our loved ones, and whoever associated with us etc. These are not basically about the tangible things that we would like to possess.

The collective life is all about my circumstances, loved ones, friends, family, pets, my house etc.

It is easy to define these two things clearly once we are able to realize and segregate these two. Especially you will be able  to define your individual life very vividly. You may write down your definition of your individual life, but without paying any attention to your collective life.

eg. When you write down what is the purpose of my life, don't define the answer as giving a good life to my kids. That's vague and it directly combines with your collective life.

Irrespective of where your collective life goes, you should have your individual life always in mind so that you can keep focused on achieving your individual life even when your collective life keeps on changing. Your collective life keeps on changing such as your family preferences, your friends, your location etc.
When you are in confusion and stuck for decisions, you may think about your individual life and then you will be able to take better decisions.

And most importantly in my opinion don't compromise individual life in favour of collective life. Especially because collective life keeps on changing sometimes in your favour and sometimes against.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Are you looking at the Clock frequently? You are probably in a wrong job and career

A job that you do on a daily basis, 5 days a week, week after week should never be a chore. As an employee if you are looking at the clock randomly to close the day, you are in a wrong job and most probably in a wrong career path.
If you are doing the work that you enjoy, you will be worried about lack of time rather than plenty of time.
You shouldn't be just filling the time in your job. People who just want to spend 8 hours per day in an office are just filling the time.They are not valuable for their company and they are not fulfilling their life.
An employee is given a job function and he/she should fill the position and exceed the position which makes him valuable to himself and to the company.
When the subject is concerned regarding an entrepreneur, he follows his passion and he is supposed to indulge in his work and is not generally trying to fill his time. He will be actively indulged in his activities.
An employee who consistently exceed his job profile and he thinks that his company cannot contain him, he becomes an entrepreneur.
So review yourself whether you are trying to fill your time or trying to fill/exceed the position assigned to you.
So Identify your passion and go ahead

Monday, January 27, 2014

My Best 5 Mistakes as an Entrepreneur

I would like to call them my Best 5 mistakes instead of top 5. Even though I am listing out my best 5 mistakes, don't be ever afraid of making mistakes. So all the best for making your best 5 mistakes. Come out with your best 5 mistakes.

However don't expect to learn everything from your own mistakes. One life time may not be enough to learn everything from your own mistakes. So learn from others' mistakes as well. Just from this point of view I am listing out the top 5 mistakes I made. There might be other writers who will point out their top 5 mistakes and readers can learn from them as well. 

I have made hundreds of mistakes in my 5 years of Entrepreneurship and I do not regret any one of them since all of them were great learning experience. There are still people telling me that the biggest mistake I made was starting my own business. You also will face same allegation, but we have to realize that  starting a business is not a mistake at all. But leaving the dream halfway is the biggest mistake which you will regret for ever.

It is worthwhile to mention that it is good to have a mentor for your journey who can guide you properly so that you can master in intelligent mistakes. I am glad I did.

So here are my Best 5 mistakes, not in any particular order since I do not know which one is the best one.

1. Too many partners especially with equal power
I had couple of failed businesses in which we had at times upto 7 partners, all of them with equal decision making power.  I am unable to shortlist criteria for selecting partners, but definitely all the partners should share same vision and should match the wavelength. The partners have to complement each other in their capabilities and knowledge. Integrity and character are more important than education and capabilities. The roles, responsibilities and goals of each partner should be well defined to the minutest terms. 

2. Depend too much on a partner or employee
You may have high expectations on a partner or an employee. However as soon as you start realizing that his performance is poor, you have to seek alternatives. From the beginning you should have goals defined for every partner and employee and if he fails to achieve, don't waste time expecting that he will improve.

3. Be Frugal
Even if you have sufficient capital, be frugal. Allocate and lock funds for future expansions. It will give you good insight for tougher times. Also being frugal will give more creative ideas.

4. Money Management
Since you are the business owner and possibly the authorized signatory, don't expect that you are the best person to manage the money and cash flow. There are people who has education and experience for the same. Even if you are highly qualified in accounting have some one else do that since they'll have a better perspective.

5. Focus, Focus, Focus, Focus.....
Focus for One inch width in one mile depth, not one mile focus in one inch depth. This is extremely important especially in initial stages. Focus on your core values and strength and focus only on those capabilities. You should know where you are going. You should have a clear mental picture of what your company will look like in 2 years,5 years, 10 years. Have a mental picture with as much details as possible.

So go out. Make the best of your mistakes.

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Use technology to your advantage; Work Smart not Hard

Do you know what is SEO, SMM, CPC etc..
I didn't know until recently. But now these are our greatest marketing tools.

Now the world has so much advanced in terms of technology, so don't stick to the conventional methods alone. Especially if you are in the middle age group, chances are high that you might be averse to technology.
Of course we have to work hard to build a business. But more important is to work smart.
For example making a short you tube video on your product will save lot of money and energy. Eg. Before visiting a customer you can send a link of your youtube video related to your product. This way customer can briefly understand whether your product meets his requirements. A visit thereafter will be more fruitful.
You can make a presentation on your company and post on your website. A visitor can understand all about all your products and services from this video.
Animations, Social Media, Listing on free directories etc. all are important. You should be around the web in as many ways as possible.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Selecting Employees; Look mainly at their Attitude, not skills

Getting the right employees is the most important and difficult task for an Entrepreneur. Keeping them with you is the next.
In my opinion, you should give more importance to the attitude of the candidate than the experience and skills of the employee. Looks for some minimum experience and skills. The CV is not much important most of the times since most of the content will be superficial. I look mainly for the age, education level, total years of experience, no. of companies changed in those years, what is his main interest of job function etc.

Once again attitude is most important because you cannot train anyone for attitude. You can train for skills. But if he/she does not have the right attitude, skills will work against the organisation in the course of the time.
By the time you meet him for the first time, he has already formed his attitude through his minimum  25 years of life. You cannot change his attitude unless he realizes his flaws and take constant efforts.
Skills can be taught in couple of weeks to months.

So the next question is how to evaluate attitude. I am also still searching for a complete answer and each new employee is a new experience for me. But basically the candidate has to match your wavelength. This can only be evaluated by spending time with him formally and informally and discussing as many things as possible and evaluate whether he has a wavelength which can match to that one of your closest friends.Can he become your close friend by means of his wavelength?
Also check through his previous colleagues.