My advice to students aspiring to be entrepreneurs

During my talks at engineering colleges and business schools I often come across students who are clear that they want to be entrepreneurs, but they cannot do so immediately because they have student loans or other financial commitments to take care of. And that is a perfectly understandable reason for deferring your entrepreneurial ambition.

My advice to such aspiring entrepreneurs is to keep their entrepreneurial ambition as the key focus on their lives. Sure, go ahead and take up a job because you need to. BUT NO MATTER HOW MUCH SALARY YOU GET, KEEP YOUR EXPENSES AND LIFESTYLE WITHIN RS.25000 – RS.30,000 (USD 500). Continue reading “My advice to students aspiring to be entrepreneurs”

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Startup Next, the global and top pre-accelerator program comes to Delhi.

Startup Next, the global and top pre-accelerator program – backed by the likes of Techstars, Google for Entrepreneurs, Global Accelerator Network and Startup Weekend – is coming to New Delhi !

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The Startup Next program is designed for startups who plan to apply to accelerators or are pitching to investors for funding.

Startup Next is an intense mentorship program consisting of weekly sessions (one session in a week lasting three hours) for five weeks. The program has a structured curriculum and in-depth engagement with one-on-one mentoring, designed to help startups build the foundation of scalable ventures.

Continue reading “Startup Next, the global and top pre-accelerator program comes to Delhi.”

The 4 P’s of Entrepreneurship – Patience, Persistence, Perseverance, and Passion

Entrepreneurship teaches you a number of things about life, in general. It is an immensely satisfying journey, even if you do not reach your intended destination. However, the journey is often very challenging and it takes a lot of patience, persistence and perseverance to succeed. And unless you have the passion for what you are doing, finding the other 3 Ps within you becomes challenging.

Patience1I advice aspiring entrepreneurs to not get taken up by stories of instant success. Those are rare. Instead look at the 1000s of others whose ventures did not succeed. Or did not succeed as aspired.

Even those who succeed, often a lot longer than they had planned for, and it is often tougher than they had imagined. What sets the successful apart from the ones that gave up are the 3 Ps that I outlined above.

Continue reading “The 4 P’s of Entrepreneurship – Patience, Persistence, Perseverance, and Passion”

Why Startups should assess opportunities in the renewables energy sector

Apart from the global macro factors and a drive towards renewables, the Indian government is making some solid statements that indicate their thrust and seriousness about the renewable energy space. In fact, the Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal has declared in a statement in The Economic Times India’s intent to be a world leader in this space in 4 years. That’s huge.

Given these statements, it appears that the government will create policies that create a more conducive environment for entrepreneurs to create ventures in this sector.

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While several opportunities exist, one has not seen too many entrepreneurs considering it. Especially at early-stage, there are very few entrepreneurs creating startups addressing this segment. Continue reading “Why Startups should assess opportunities in the renewables energy sector”

The ‘Make in India’ program will create a range of entrepreneurial opportunities

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will kick off the ‘Make in India’ campaign on the 25th of September 2014. About a 1000 global and Indian business leaders are expected to attend the function.

The government is making a huge statement, and leaders of the business world are taking serious note. This is because the government appears to not just declare intent, but give the confidence that it will support the intent with enabling policies and create an environment for a supportive eco-system to evolve.

For an industry or sector to flourish and become sustainable in any geography, an enabling eco-system is necessary. Things cannot work in isolation. In the technology hotbeds like Silicon Valley and Bengaluru, there is an eco-system of technology companies, service providers, successful entrepreneurs, mentors, accelerators & incubators, co-working spaces, legal firms, investors and potential customers.

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Likewise, for India to become a global manufacturing hub, which is the declared intent of the Narendra Modi government, it will need many supporting pieces to come together to create a conducive environment for manufacturers and customers to do business in. Continue reading “The ‘Make in India’ program will create a range of entrepreneurial opportunities”

Learning Time Management is Critical for an Entrepreneur

The founders and teams of any startup are most likely to have more things to do than they can manage in a day. There is always likely to be more activity, primarily because in a startup, things are constantly evolving and changing, than there are people to execute those activities.

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In such a scenario, time management becomes a critical skill that entrepreneurs have to learn and implement in their day-to-day life.

But fret not! All it needs is a little organising and prioritising and some serious time management. I came across this article written by to Alex Cavoulacos, “One founder’s best productivity trick: Save time and do less”.

I agree with Alex’s opinion. She hits the nail on the head when she says that – knowing what not to do, and what to stop doing, can make a huge difference in your happiness and productivity. Here’s what I would like to add… Continue reading “Learning Time Management is Critical for an Entrepreneur”

ESOPs – a powerful tool and valuable currency for startups

Employee Stock Options (ESOPs) is a powerful tool available to startups to attract as well as retain talent. However, often I have seen it being undervalued or under-utilised by startups.

ESOPs are shares that are given to employees so that they can enjoy significant monetary benefits if the startup is successful. Since the monetary value of selling equity of a successful startup can be several times higher than the salary, ESOPs alter the risk-reward equation and makes it attractive for potential employees to consider joining a startups, which otherwise at just salary levels may not be such a lucrative option.

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ESOPs are especially useful when startups or early-growth stage companies have to hire senior talent with experience, and they don’t have monies to pay full market salaries.

In fact, investors too encourage founders to carve out an ESOPs pool – often between 5 – 20% of the equity depending on how well balanced the existing founding team is. If the team has gaps that need to be filled in, it is important to carve out a higher percentage of equity, as that will allow you to hire the right resources to complete the team.

As an entrepreneur, it is important for you to communicate the ‘value’ that your enterprise is likely to create and thus explain to potential employees the potential value of the stock they are getting under the ESOP. If the company is successful, the stock can provide a significant upside to employees.

Not just in hiring, but ESOPs can also be a very useful retention tool. That is because a well-structured ESOPs plan ensures that the equity is vested over a period of time (i.e. it is given to the individual in instalments spread over a period of time), and if the startup is successful, the individual is incentivized to stay on even if there is a matching salary offer from another company.

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