5 Things Entrepreneurs can learn from Vaithees‘s talk at Startup Saturday Goa
Not often you get to interact with industry leaders at an event in Goa, especially when Goa is yet to unhook itself from the brand of “Just Tourism”. Of Course, that does not take away the fact that Goa is considered one of the best destinations for events and does host many premier events. No doubt the Goan young IT industry is trying to produce a huge synergy to unsettle the myth of “Goa mein IT company nahi hein” and build a sustainable industry.
Startup Saturday — one of the flagship events from Headstart that i started in 2012 in Goa under the guidance and support of GCCI. The event was a great success especially when the first meetup itself pulled more than 50 people across from the state of Goa. No doubt, the numbers started dropping after a few runs (Something that we believed could happen because the concept was too new back then but never lost hope), but the quality of the attendees never dropped. With an average number of ~10/15 headcounts, there were several great engagements with speakers and the audience. Post 6 months run, this concept was then headed to CIBA to drive the show as they were an incubation center and would make a better sense to involve startup guys within and around the locations. The HeadStart responsibility was taken taken by Raghuvir Mahale from CIBA and did a great work. Special mention to D.S Prashant who did amazing work too.
Thanks to my dear friend/mentor Asha Chaudhry for introducing me to the team of Headstarters who were willing to resume the Headstart Startup Saturday in Goa after almost 18 months gap.
The agenda read a few sessions where i was one of the panelist as well. The other speakers were fellow entrepreneurs and been knowing each other for many years. But one name that was a sweet surprise was “Vaitheeswaran K”.
Most of you might be already knowing about him, but if you don’t, let me just put his one-liner introduction: “father of e-commerce in India.” He is a serial retail entrepreneur and a well respected industry veteran who pioneered the ecommerce industry in India, when he co-founded India’s first online retail company — Fabmart.com which was then rebranded as IndiaPlaza.com in 1999.
Meeting this “Down to earn personality”
Simply awesome. Asha Chaudhry and me have this crazy habit of taking pictures and now i have been a fan of this “habitual” selfies (Or the customary selfie as asha calls it 🙂 ) . Particularly, this one will always be cherished as one of the best one because it captures a personality who not only has “Done that, been there” as far as Online Industry is concerned, but one could feel the vibe of he being one of the most down to earth and humble personalities i have met.
After a bit of chat with him, i realized that, we were upto something “unreal” today. Of Course, his was a keynote, so we had a full packed house. Not all knew him already, but then when he was introduced, Boy! you could see the entire uplift in the energy to listen to him. It goes down as one of the best 45 mins of my life, not because i learnt but i unlearned myself from Vaitheek sir. Take a look at some of the best lines of this talks which titled “Things to think while starting up”.
1. Forget the idea, Focus on the Problem
Are you solving a problem for a large number of pain customers? — As this to yourself. If not, you are doing something that you need to retrospect about. A lot of entrepreneurs think about “How big the idea is?” rather than what problems this idea could solve.
That’s the catch. Think how big is the problem and what is the scale of the same. This might give you right idea on how your idea can solve “A” problem. Your ideas can be seductive, but focus on the problem. You might have a lot of ideas, but it’s important to extract the solution component to a problem from your idea.
If you are not Building “Better, Faster and Cheaper”, you are doing something wrong.
Think about building Better, Faster and Cheaper solution. Do not invest a lot of time in reaching out to the market, but make sure you have a solution that is build with quality, with minimal price and can be taken faster to the market for hearing from the audience.
2. Build ‘business plan’ not ‘Investor’ plan
A lot of entrepreneurs build Business Plans for Investors and Not for Business. Vaitheek sir clearly made a quote “Making Money V/s Raising Money”.
Spend time, heart and soul on building business plan for growth than building it for Investor thinking of raising money.
3. Spend on “Customers” not other glitters
What is more important for a startup is how you preserve your customers and think of growing your customer base. But it is important to know that your profits should come from company’s profits. No doubt your website should look great, but don’t spend on other glitters like Warehouse or office. Spend on what customer see or experience. That’s where the game lies.
4. Fail Fast is bullshit
Many people talk about failing fast. Vaitheek sir cleared this myth. Failure is part of the system, but failing fast is like a death. Build to preserve than fail. Invest your mind, body and heart and leave sweat and blood behind when you leave the office. Anything less is a betrayal to your startup. Do not think of starting up thinking “failure” in mind. You’ll end up with the same.
5. Entrepreneurs Never Fail, Businesses Do
Yes, we all fail. Every day. But its how we rise and stand to win. This slide explained the crux of the topic. One might fail in a business, but can never fail as an entrepreneurs. Starting up, itself is a point that proves you are an entrepreneur.
It was one of the great sessions i have attended. It was a complete pleasure to listen to Vaitheek sir. The last session of the day was a panel discussion on startup culture in Goa. It was a great feeling to be part of this panel.
Overall experience of the Startup Saturday was just amazing. Kudos to Gautham and team for this fabulous event.
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