by Aji Issac (https://in.linkedin.com/in/ajinimc)
After a long time, I have attended some session in Kolkata and my first visit to NASSCOM Startup warehouse. Great work by NASSCOM Team (Ravi, Nirupam, Subhojit and all), keep up the great work for ecosystem. Also after the session, met Vikram Kumar Founder at MNetra (https://mnetra.com/, great product) after really long time, “the best way to mature in life is to listen to great experiences, and every time I talk to Vikram, it is experience ecstasy, great one hour spent with Vikram, will share the learning sometime soon.
Let me be quick and to the point, here are the lessons from yesterday’s session with Vikas Malpani, Co-founder, Commonfloor
- Entrepreneurs succeed because they want to succeed, thats the only reason, they ignore everything else and keep moving until they are successful. (Commonfloor had their shares of business revamping and failures to share)
- If your Why is strong enough, you will succeed anyway (For people if want to learn about the why part, please see Simon’s Ted video https://www.youtube.com/embed/sioZd3AxmnE
- Have fun in life, and for entrepreneurs work is fun, so keep working and have fun, I work 6 to 7 days a week, even today says Vikas
- You may succeed, you may make few millions, may be you might go down but there is no copyright on fun, everyone can have fun, enjoy the journey
- One Big lesson when it comes to failure: Plans are dispensable, planning is not, even when your plans are not working but you have learned the hard way of planning, you have mastered the art of planning, that is a real success for Entrepreneurs. Even in your next venture, you will be capable of planning, so plans are dispensable, planning is not.
- Hire for attitude, train for skills – Spot on when it comes to hiring for stratups , if you missed the last month’s eco times, adding it here for your reference https://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2015-03-15/news/60137567_1_talent-management-management-lessons-paytm
- These days everyone comes with wings and jet wings, without any grounded base, so hire carefully, some people are there to come, see and fly again, they are often not able to add much value.
- Funding lesson: Let’s not glamorize the funding, its often like selling your kidney to survive or excel in some other way, what is important is, how are we using the fund, are we able to excel better, how much you raised is not the key to success. We partnered with Google as a pure strategic/knowledge purpose. Funding is needed to speed up the process, what you could achieve organically in X years, can you use the funds to achieve in X/Y time. it is good to have a plan for why you need the funds and how will use it.
- “We will get back to you” often means we are not interested #VCLanguage, don’t go after funds, make it ready for funds and then many people will come to you, else it is not easy to get funds.
- How to choose a cofounder or how to make someone work with you etc are very personal, your way will be very different from others, so have a compelling reason for others to work for you, rest is your personal style.
- Entrepreneurship is one of the ultimate game, thus you will see most of the founders were good in games or something similar during their school/college times.
- About competitors: Every month 2 more :), everyone wants to be in properties, even a Dhobi wants to sell properties, sometimes competition is good, they bring in more users to the market and then its value addition that gets them.
- Frugal, Frugal, Frugal – When we started off, a print was 5 Rs, so we will print 1 copy, Photocopy (sorry Xerox) and will keep the society code blank, we will write it with pencil and later, we will go back, take it, reuse it with new code. Save everywhere. For a client meeting, we used to order one coffee (I assume it is for the client, though noone asked Vikas about that 🙂 ), if we went out with someone, we will make sure that other person also bears some part of the cost, we still go for below Rs 100 thalis to celebrate. Be frugal, even after getting funds.
- To conclude, Entrepreneurship word may look French to many, in Hindi it is still Dhandha (or business), generate money, do focus on making money, no one invests just like that, everyone invests to see if they can get more out of it, lets not get it wrong.
There were many more lessons learned, will request others to share their piece of learning from Vikas.
Also we had an opportunity to experience Commonfloor retina based on https://www.oculus.com/rift/, (Oculus is acquired by FB now, Techshu attended websummit in Ireland, it was great hearing the vision and possibility of VR and AR).
(Thats me, experiencing VR, highly recommended to buy https://www.commonfloor.com/retina)
Thanks Vikas for taking time and sharing your experience with all. We wish you super success!.