What I learnt from my mentors

Over the years, I have had the good fortune to have a number of wise and well-meaning folks who supported me and guided me. Here’s a summary of what I learnt from their wisdom and tremendous perspective.

  1. My dad: Failing to plan is planning to fail. He used to tell me “If you have 10 hours to cut a tree, spend 6 hours sharpening the axe”
  2. Pravin Gandhi: Its very difficult to do even one thing well. Don’t attempt to do to many things. Focus on one thing and do it well.
  3. Raj Desai: Do not try to stir an ocean. Find an oasis and build a good eco-system around it.
  4. Saurabh Srivastava: Assuming that you could do it better than others because you are smarter than them is a weak and dangerous assumption to base your business on.
  5. Sridar Iyengar: When I had once asked him how is it possible to create differentiation in a crowded space, Sridar pointed to a ceremonial lamp with 8 – 10 wicks burning.. and said “One of these wicks will last longer than others. And it will be because something was different about it. Perhaps it was wound tighter, perhaps it was dipped in the oil differently, perhaps it was a little longer than others, perhaps it was placed differently, or perhaps it was placed shielded from the wind. In your business to, find out what that differentiation will need to be to burn the brightest and longest.”

Author: Prajakt Raut

Prajakt Raut is the founder of Applyifi.com, and author of the book for startups - ‘Starting Up & Fund Raising’ Prajakt personal goal in life is to encourage and assist a 100,000 people to become entrepreneurs. _____________ Prajakt is the founder of Applyifi - an online platform that provides startups a 36-point scorecard and assessment report on the venture's investment readiness [www.applyifi.com], and helps them improve their odds of getting funded. Prajakt is also the founding partner of The Growth Labs, a platform where growth-stage companies get sharp, incisive advice from senior professionals and experienced entrepreneurs. [www.thegrowthlabs.in] Before starting Applyifi, Prajakt was the head of operations at IAN, founding member of a leading incubator, and the Asia-Director for TiE (2004 - 2007). Previously Prajakt had co-founded Orange Cross, a healthcare services company, and was part of the founding team member of Idealake Technologies. While in college Prajakt had founded a printing business and has spent over 10 years working in leading advertising agencies. Prajakt’s book, ‘Starting Up & Fund Raising’, helps startups understand an investor’s perspective, and helps them improve their odds of getting funded. The book also helps entrepreneurs understand the building blocks of a business.

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