Sunday, November 30, 2014


Coming up with a truly great idea is half the battle. The bad news is that the other half of the battle can be a lot of work and isn't always a clear path. Implementing the idea that you get is the next and the most crucial part of your entrepreneurial journey.

Big companies struggle with innovation. They invest a lot of money for getting new ideas and launching new devices. So, why don’t we work on our own ideas rather than giving our precious (think of your idea as the one ring to rule them all) to them by working under them. They do not bother about small start-ups, but begin to notice them, once the start-up becomes big enough to compete.

Always remember – their losses are huge but we, on the other hand, don’t have anything to lose. We can learn from our mistakes, many a time. Taking small risks is an art for an entrepreneur, but taking huge risks may be a suicide.

A new start-up may bring many twists and turns, such as, competition from other companies, running out of money after some time, absence of co-operation from friends, etc. But the thing worth remembering is that,” Rome was not built in a day”. When you are small, you need to be focussed and rely on your instincts. You are supposed to use every penny very carefully. You should have faith in your idea and work hard and harder to make it a success. You should be able to cope up with the problem when the problem presents itself.  An entrepreneur is one who quits a 9 hour job to work 18 hours a day.

The major obstacle that needs to be conquered is to get people to agree on the idea and start working towards it positively. Groups clap themselves on the back for being so creative and then move on. Months later, everyone is surprised that there was no progress on the great ideas that emerged. One reason why it is crucial to work to get agreement on the problem to be solved is that if there is subtle disagreement in the group, it undermines the process of implementing the ideas later.

“Ideas are cheap.” It is only after substantial investment of time, energy and resources, that those ideas create change.
If you do not give up, you are still in the race, because every chance you get is not the last but the second last.

Next time we will look at some of the biggest start up stories…………………

  By Rohit Gupta

Pages from the Indian start-up history ………

Here is a list of some ideas, quite simple but interesting, which comes to the mind of almost every entrepreneur but the difference occurred because they executed it. That’s why now they all are a billionaire company.


Two people, bored of their job, thus decided to start their own company. They were sending emails to each other for the same but were afraid that their respective bosses would track their messages. Their personal accounts were not accessible from the office network. All these frustrations led to the birth of a free mail account that can be accessed over the web with unknown or unidentifiable credentials. This idea had come out of a general problem of the masses.


Redbus is India’s biggest online bus ticket booking company. Initially, Phanindra Sama (co-founder of was working for Texas Instruments, Bangalore.

He wanted to go home in festival but didn’t get the ticket when he was in need. This was because of the lack of information of all the bus operators at a single window. This made him think to set-up an online ticket booking system to cope up with the general problem.


From an investment of just four lakh rupees to India’s biggest e-commerce website. The start-up story goes back to the time when Sachin and Binny Bansal were colleagues at where the idea of an e-commerce website was born. They thought of a platform where people can go through a large collection of various products and choose the right one based on their needs. Initially the idea was to create an online product and price comparison forum, that later was developed into an online retail store. In 2007, was launched which, at that time, catered only to buying books online.
 Today Flipkart has grown into a $100 million-revenue online retail giant in just five years.

                                                                                 By Rohit Gupta

I will be back with some of the biggest international startups………….



This Chinese e-commerce company recently made big news for the biggest IPO in history, raising around 26 billion USD. The creator, Jack Ma, grew up in China around the time it opened itself to tourists, giving him valuable exposure to the world. Which is pretty much all he had. In 1985, a trip to Australia opened his eyes to the possibilities in China. He didn’t go to any exceptional university or company. Finally, in 1995, he was introduced to the internet by a friend. You won’t believe that he knew nothing about computers and had never sent any e-mail. That’s why he likens himself to a blind man riding on the back of a blind tigerFinding no data about China on Yahoo, he decided to register his own website under the name China Pages. The company competed with China Telecom for a while, and then accepted a joint venture offer from them for 185,000 USD – a lot of money to him then. But it involved being stamped on every step of the way. So he resigned and went to Beijing, following an offer to run a government group. In 1999, his dream to start his own company was realized – starting from $60000 and 18 other people – in the form of Alibaba.

It was a tumultuous journey from there, but since its going public, Alibaba seems to be flourishing.


Arduino provides a microcontroller platform and has come out as the basic device for making interactive objects which can perform variety of computing tasks. It is a compact package of the fundamental circuit elements, and so a kind of plug and play device.

Massimo Banzi, the inventor of Arduino, was a teacher at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea , Italy. He wanted his students to prototype the projects they designed, and that meant an introduction to electrical engineering. He sought to provide an inexpensive, efficient and easy way for students and professionals to create devices. This reduced the total expense by a number of times. Once again the idea had come out of the need for it.

Nine years later, Banzi is the CEO of Arduino—now a company as well as a device and a movement.

                                                                                                          By Rohit Gupta

These were just the few of a long list of famous brands that started their journey from nothing better than an idea and extreme desire and dedication towards ruling the whole world with that idea.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Women Entrepreneurs

Women entrepreneurs have become an integral part of today’s corporate world. Today, more women are breaking free from the traditional, gender-specific roles and venturing into the business world. Statistics prove that women have come a long way in the field of entrepreneurship from being a minority in the entrepreneurial ecosystem ten years ago ,they today comprise of 37% of the world’s total entrepreneurs. The recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) found 126 million women starting or running businesses, and 98 million operating established (over three and a half years) businesses. That’s 224 million women impacting the global economy — and this survey counts only 67 of the 188 countries recognized by the World Bank.

The major hurdle in a woman becoming an entrepreneur is her ever-increasing responsibility first as a daughter,then as a wife and finally as a mother. While they also have to monitor the house-hold chores women have now started initiating small business ventures which are based on the skills they have acquired as a house-wife through her life( of home-made food products and other such things).

Just like any other field,women have anchored their position in the previously male dominant field of entrepreneurship.Unlike men,usually the motive for a woman being an entrepreneur is not monetary reward but rather personal satisfaction and community involvement,as women usually don't share the burden for providing the bread for the family.

There are some very dashing live examples of successful female entrepreneurs just proving the point that women are equally(or in some cases even more!) capable than men at managing business empires. Indra Nooyi (CFO, Pepsico), Naina Lal Kidwai (Group General Manager & Country Head – HSBC,India), Kiran Mazumdar Shaw (CMD, Biocon), Chanda Kochar (MD & CEO – ICICI Bank) etc are definitely believed to be in the most successful entrepreneurs in India. Cher Wang (Cofounder HTC), Lisa Stone (Co-Founder and CEO, BlogHer) ,Miranda Bouldin (Logicore) etc are some non-Indian additions to the list.

Problems faced by budding women entrepreneurs:

1.Ideas and lack of information- Well ideas can just flash before anyone literally but it is really very important to refine such an idea in order to transform it into a successful business venture.For well educated women having a healthy technical background,it is not as a herculean a task to land up on a successful entrepreneurship idea as it is for those with little or no prior knowledge of on-goins in the world.For such women the first task is to equip themselves with enough information preparing themselves to sustain the hardships they can face during their brain-storming experience. 
2.Inadequate Financial skills- Though a very small fraction of women have the proper finance related knowledge,it has been observed that managing the household budget moulds a women's financial skills in a very positive way.Women usually face problems regarding the initial investment needed in a business venture but it has often found been found that women have self-financed their business through a planned and well executed domestic micro-finance policy.
3.Management- Very rarely do we find women having practical hands-on experience with management at moderate or large scale projects.On a positive note,the trend is very rapidly changing and now-a-days we can find many women attending B-schools and pursuing courses in management.

A major reason for growth in the number of women entrepreneurs has been the government policy and the incentives provided for the same. Also many large-scale organisations like 'Federation of Indian Women Entrepreneurs' work tirelessly in the same cause.A trend has been observed that suggests that women will play a very vital role in re-moulding the world of entrepreneurs in a completely new dimension,in the times to come.

                                                                                                                                     Gaurav Karmarkar

Thursday, September 18, 2014

E-Commerce:The Indian Market Scenario

In simple terms,e-commerce(electronic-commerce) refers to exchange of goods that takes place online i.e. via the internet. Based on valuation,75% of the e-commerce in India is travel related(airline tickets,railway tickets,hotel bookings etc) while actual online shopping accounts for a mere 12-13%.The present day growth of the Indian e-commerce market is marked at about 30% which is nearly more than thrice that of the average 8-10% growth in the sector in other countries.Yet there is tremendous scope for growth in this sector considering the ever-increasing availability of high-speed internet facilities at reasonable rates.

China’s Alibaba is the world’s largest e-commerce platform. In 2013, its online sales totalled $248 billion, more than eBay and Amazon combined.While Flipkart, the country’s closest parallel to Alibaba, isn’t listed on any exchange, a $1 billion injection of funds in May'14 suggests the company is worth around $5 billion. That would make it India’s most valuable e-commerce firm, worth about 3% of the value of Alibaba.

The cash on delivery(COD) is something very unique to the Indian market or a peculiar characteristic of online purchasing in any developing economy for that matter and accounts for about 80% of the total value of the products purchased online.It enables buyers to pay for the product at the time of its delivery(very suitable indeed to the classic Indian middle-class mentality!);but experts say that this may prove to be a curse for the e-commerce industry in the long run.

E-commerce in India can be broadly classified into 3 sectors as:
Online travel
Online travel has traditionally been the largest e-Commerce sub-sector (by revenue) in India. To improve margins with online retail, online travel players are diversifying their offerings to include hotel reservations, along with the regular ticketing services. They however need to develop skill sets that are different from the ones required in the ticketing segment. Also, they need to manage challenges associated with a diverse supplier base, technological constraints, customer experience, authenticity of information and grievance redressal.
Eg.MakeMyTrip,Redbus etc.

Online retail
This segment has evolved and grown significantly over the past few years. Cash-on-delivery has been one of the key growth drivers and is touted to have accounted for 50% to 80% of online retail sales. Players have adopted new business models including stock-and-sell, consignment and group buying; however, concerns surrounding inventory management, location of warehouses and in-house logistics capabilities are posing teething issues.
Eg.Flipkart,Snapdeal,Amazon etc.

Online classifieds
Classifieds, the earliest entrant in the e-Commerce space in India, is undergoing a shift in operational model from vertical to horizontal offering. Players now OFFER a gamut of services ranging from buying/selling cars to finding domestic help/babysitter.
Eg.BookMyShow etc.

The reasons for India’s weak e-commerce market are well-known. The biggest challenge is the country’s low Internet penetration level. Around 150 million Indians are online, out of a population of 1.2 billion.India’s Internet security is poor, scaring off online customers; the country has only 6% of the number of secure servers that Brazil and South Africa have. Broadband connectivity also continues to lag. Rural Indians, who form a majority of the population, have an Internet penetration rate that’s one-twelfth the level of urban Indians.

Challenges for the e-Commerce sector in India:
1.Absence of e-Commerce laws.
2.Low entry barriers leading to reduced competitive advantages, that is you may not have any restrictions on factors like
minimum inventory, customer satisfaction etc.
3.Rapidly changing business models:Online retailers have to spontaneously adapt to changing demand patterns.
4.Urban phenomenon:Retail goods are easily availabe in cities pertaining to increasing numbers of malls.
5.Customer loyalty:Even simple mistakes can taint the image of the retailers.

A live example of exponential growth in the e-commerce is that in July'14, when Xiaomi launched a smartphone that cost only $250, it sold 40,000 units in 4.2 seconds on Flipkart.Flipkart has apparently registered a growth of about 476% in value of goods sold in the year 2012-13.A year from now, the number of Indians with easy access to e-commerce sites will almost certainly have risen exponentially.

                                                                                                                               By Gaurav Karmarkar

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Entreprenuership: An Overview

The term 'Entrepreneurship rings a bell in most educated minds but most people hardly know enough about the true essence of Entrepreneurship.

What is Entrepreneurship?
'Entrepreneurship is the process of starting a business or other organization.The entrepreneur develops a business model, acquires the human and other required resources, and is fully responsible for its success or failure.In recent years,"entrepreneurship" has been extended from its origins in business to include social and political activity.The entrepreneur is commonly seen as an innovator — a generator of new ideas and business processes.

What is the necessary skill-set required for being a successful entrepreneur?
The basic survival skills include a working knowledge of basic record-keeping; financial management; personnel management; market analysis; break-even analysis; product or service knowledge; tax knowledge; legal structures; and communication skills.Management skill and strong team building abilities are often perceived as essential leadership attributes for successful entrepreneurs.Obviously it also requires the full-fledged dedication and ability to flaunt a cent-percent hardworking capacity at times.Passion is probably the most important component one must have if one aspires to become an entreprenuer.

Where does one start in the process of becoming an entrepreneur?
An idea is the most important necessity for being an entreprenuer. Its like the foundation stone over which the entreprenuer builds the empire of the business model.One thing to remember is that-'Your idea defines you. It defines what problem are you solving and how are you approaching that problem.'An idea maybe a profit earning business-model idea or one that would have a long lasting social impact on parts or the society as a whole.Even if one has a brilliant idea one must ensure to grasp the required technical knowledge,legal information and financial know-how before thinking of converting it into an executable business plan.

How to convert an idea into a business plan?
Any idea requires adequate refining before it can be actually converted into a business model.One can register with an idea to a business plan competition as it is one of the easiest way to acquire the required support,guidance and funding.

What are the common mistakes that first time entrepreneurs make?

1.Not doing market research: Just because you have a great idea doesn't mean you have a business.One must realize what is the current market demand situation and would it be profitable to launch your business in such circumstances(Trust me,you don't wanna experience some bumps at the start itself.)

2.Thinking that business plans are only for the big guys: It's a sad fact that many new business owners don't see this obvious relationship between planning and success.Some feel that a business plan would limit their creativity or spontaneity, or that their business isn't large enough or complex enough to warrant a plan.The process of making a plan organizes your thinking and helps you sort out your priorities.

3.Thinking that success will come quickly or easily: Success takes long hours, strategic planning, and a commitment to the work involved.The importance of patience cannot be stressed more than anything else in a startup. This.This doesn't mean just having patience no matter how hopeless the situation gets but taking decisions wisely considering even the long-term effects.

4.Not bringing a “business person” on board: Some vital things like maintaining relationships with investors,future customers etc must be handled by people who have prior experience in the field.Thus hiring business people though on a consultancy basis is vital for the growth of the start-up.

5.Thinking you can do it all by yourself: Statistics show that startups created by a group of individuals are more likely to be successful than those run by individuals only.Success depends on developing and using a network of colleagues, friends, mentors and professionals that can provide advice, assistance and direction in tough times.

By now,one must have realised that becoming an entreprenuer or even aspiring to become one is not at all a piece of cake;but it is certainly worth the effort so as to enjoy the latter part:success!

                                                                                                                                 Gaurav Karmarkar

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Why go for start-ups NOW?

When you go through the pages related to entrepreneurship, what is the first thing that comes to yourmind? Probably, why to prefer your own start-up over doing a job, how can I be benefitted from it etc. Don’t fret! You will get answers to all your questions in this article. The best thing is that in a start-up, you are your own master.   No boss to worry of and no need to request for anything. The start-up is of you and for you. You can do anything you wish, which will take it to new heights.

The present scenario is best suited for the people thinking of a start-up. In the budget of 2014, the honourable finance minister has brought cheerful news to start-ups by announcing a number of measures and schemes to encourage start-ups. It includes a budget of Rs. 10,000 crore for helping the initiators. A sum of Rs. 100 crore is especially for setting up a start-up village entrepreneurship program for increasing rural youth to take up local entrepreneurship program. This will open up new doors to people in near future who want to do something innovative.  Apart from union budget, many states have their state policies too, which target on giving special benefits to young entrepreneurs.

Many governmental schemes and funding to SMEs (small and medium scale enterprises) also provide the base capital as well as finance for growing the start-up. Some of them are as follows:  

  • Working capital finance (for all segments of service sector) .
  • Corporate term loans(to support capital for setting up new ventures).
  • Deferred payment guarantees (to support purchase of capital equipments).
  •  Project finance.
  •  Structured finance.
  •  Small and medium scale enterprises(SMEs) loan pack.

Wait! Here is the most important thing! You can start-up even with a small amount. As per the statistics of most of the surveys conducted, a lot of people begin with Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 50,000 sometimes even less than that and finally because of the initiative, take their company with turnover far greater than the initial investment Coming to the age group, it is not surprising that most start-ups are being initiated by the people belonging to age group of 20 – 30. Young minds can always come up with new innovative ideas. It is a paradox that one who has lost every hope of getting a job thinks of start-up. There are many instances of people who’ve started off on their own in spite of being offered really well-paying jobs.

Hope this answered all your questions! So, don’t think a lot. Go ahead! Give it a shot and start your own company! You never know, you could be the next Steve Jobs!
                                                                                                                                               Rohit Gupta