Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Sticking Together...

I am going to call this “sticking together” because that is exactly what it takes! 

An entrepreneur for 5+ years, 4 different businesses, partners came and went, businesses saw it’s hi’s and low’s. Was talking to a friend a couple of weeks before I was told that the partners parted ways, one is suing the other.

How do you stick to your partner? What to expect and more importantly what shouldn’t you expect?

So the thing about partnership in business is, it is just as important as a love affair or marriage. It requires the same amount of integrity, honesty and loyalty or sometimes more as this more a business relationship and there is lesser or no forgiveness sometimes...

There should never be who is bigger kind of thing, you can secretly consider yourself the bigger person but never ever tell anyone, including your partner that you are bigger. Even if it is obvious who the takes the bigger piece of the pie, you don’t necessarily have to say it out.

Your business partner is a freaking human being, they will be flawed and guess what you’re not perfect either, so learn to embrace each other’s flaws than pinpointing them. You can only do this when you partner fails to see their flaw or lives in denial about them, even then exercise absolute caution and do it with respect.

This is a business relationship and involves money, and here you have 2 choices, question everything or question nothing. Whatever you choose, follow it a 100%, don’t question only when you suspect something or trust your partner enough that he/she won’t take your money OR put your partnership above the money. Remember, if you’re an entrepreneur you are already smart so you can make money. You, however, won’t get people back once you lose them, so it’s kind of better to put the money behind. And if you are the partner that is handling the finance, just make sure you are absolutely transparent about the transactions and expect your partner to suspect something and be prepared to handle a situation.

It's important for you to cover each other’s back. It’s extremely critical for you to be on the same page as your partner, not one person should hold the control to break your partnership, not even our spouses. If anyone talks bad about your partner, it's important for you to discourage it and ensure that you clearly tell that person that you don’t appreciate it. And you should never engage in talking bad things about your partner, not even in your dreams.

Park your ego at the door, ego in any relationship fucks you over. Business relationship with your partner is no different, not touching upon this as this is the most basic requirement in a business partnership.

Last but not least, every relationship comes with a certain amount of respect and as long as you withhold your side carefully and responsibly, you’re good!

Good luck and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Tough times don't last but tough people do...

Quite a few friends have always wanted me to write about our entrepreneurial journey. I always kept pushing it because I had no time. I write this now, not because I have the time; I work from 3 PM until 4 AM (I mean, I am physically present in my office for 13 hours every-single-day) So technically, I am busier than I ever was in the last 5 years of being an entrepreneur, 2017 has been a year of continuous learning, changing perspectives, challenging goals, never ending struggle and continuous pushing of limits. And it does make sense to share things when they happen, so don’t forget our struggles and others learn from it.

I feel more like an entrepreneur than I ever felt before. Extremely shrewd and beyond control (in the right way). A couple of my friends always asked me to work with my brain because according to them I worked with my heart, and that according to them was not the right way to work especially as an entrepreneur. And I must admit that this has been one of the most valuable advises someone has given me and I’d be eternally thankful to these people. I don’t take shit too personally anymore and IT WORKS!

I am going to avoid using names for business/personal reasons. But the ones that are closer will identify themselves, and that’s kind of the whole point.

Started 2017 with a #hustleharder hashtag! Fuck!!! What a journey it has been!! I always identified myself as a customer service person, thought I wouldn’t do well in Sales, assumed that I’d fail if I tried.

Kind of lost everything we had at Einfach. YES, EVERYTHING! And it was  Do or Die time for Einfach. And Einfach has been our dream for years and We’ve given up a lot personally and professionally for Einfach that we won’t let it die. EVER! So we had to act and act immediately, we made so many changes in the business with in a  very short time (no, we did not lay off a single team member this time). We set up something new with just one client. ONE CLIENT. (We = Pratap and I)

Traveled to the US during the end of January, stayed there for a month. For some reason, I thought I should try to sell (actually Pratap pushed me, I think), so I picked up the phone and started pitching… Thanks to the gentleman who taught me to sell and made me watch movies like the boiler room. It helped and it helped a lot! I learned not to give up. There is a lot we could learn from Seth Godin. Such Genius!

Initially, I kind of had a tough time, and then I got desperate to generate revenue, so it got easy. Lead generation. Inside Sales. Getting your pitches out. Follow up like 100 times. Thus, I entered the addictive world of selling and it’s been one awesome ride. As of today, we have over 25 clients processing over 2000 transactions per month. This is way more than what we used to do per month in the last 4 years.

So I wondered, what we did differently. The answer was quite Simple. EVERYTHING!!!

Before – We (Pratap and I) had other people run our business with very less or support from our side, and considering we have a phenomenal team. The team took care of everything while we focussed on new stuff and eventually lost sight of our core business.

Now - With the challenges we faced, we actually had someone working against us. So it gave us that urge to succeed or may be it was the just survival instinct.

We got more hands on. Pratap still has an eye on every email that comes into some 7 mailboxes and considering we are processing 1000s of transactions, you can imagine how crazy it could get.  But we had to get our hands dirty, and we did. Thankfully Pratap and I have similar personalities when it comes to work, so there is lesser  (Actually no) conflict.

While we were setting one business vertical, the others fell through the cracks! Head Cook decides to walk out of his job, staff go on leave at one stretch and we are left with the question, are we going to be able to keep our restaurant open? And for some reason, we decided to keep the show going. We came up with a shorter version of the menu, the stuff we know to prepare pretty damn well. And eventually we fixed the staffing issue and we are slowly restoring normalcy.

And our digital marketing business wasn’t doing very well for various reasons and we had to work on a complete reorg of the business, And as I type this blog, we are working on a massive overhaul and a very aggressive plan, practically working on the whole business from scratch. What can be more exciting than going back to the drawing board all way for the 2nd time in a year? But now, we have learned to deal with it and to an extent, we enjoy that stress.

Some great lessons have been learned this year, though.

·      Never lose sight of the things that keep you in business
·      It’s completely Ok to be shrewd in business
·      It is absolutely Ok to fail and start all over again and again and again.
·      Always have a backup plan!
·      Never give up! Giving up is never an option!

If you’re  a wanna be an entrepreneur here are some important tips!

·      If any of you out there wants to become an entrepreneur because you think it is cool, sorry. It is not.
·      You will not work lesser hours, hell no.
·      You can work whenever you want, you can take off whenever you want. By this, I mean; you will work all the time.
·      Be hands-on, while it’s great to delegate, you should have the balls to replace anyone at any given time.
·      As long as you take responsibility for your shit, you will always find a way to make things work
·      Becoming an entrepreneur does NOT give you horns, so don’t be a dick.
·      People are always going to talk behind your back, learn to ignore them.
·      Learn to take feedback with the right spirit, do not give excuses
·      Find new ways to connect with your customers, keep them happy!!
·      Control! Control! Control!

As I wrap up this long story with an almost abrupt end, I hope to write more often, if not for others, just for myself. I enjoy writing and sharing stuff.

If you got till here... thank you for reading my blog, please leave your comments as it means a lot to me that you’ve read and enjoyed it (or slept half way through..)

Truth be told, we feel that our entreprenuerial journey has just began… so fasten your seat belts, let’s all enjoy this ride..

Thursday, June 02, 2016

And.... We took the U-Turn!

Haven’t written in a long time, didn’t find anything motivating enough to write. But finally found something that was blog-worthy. And this is going to be our screenplay; real one, of course.

As we sat in Pratap’s XUV to head to Forum Mall, pick up a pair of footwear for him and then head to a movie. The rain spoiled the little shopping plan, super heavy traffic. We entered the theater, heard some heavy dialogues and I was like WTF am I, only to be told that this was only a trailer of another movie. I Thank God and we quickly sneak out to grab something to eat, come back just in time for the movie.

U-Turn, a Kannada movie. Before I write anything else, I want to Thank Pawan for bringing audiences back to the theater to watch/enjoy a Kannada movie. It was great to see the amount of turn out we saw on a Wednesday evening.

Most film makers blame the audience for their film not doing a good job in the box office, they find excuses saying our people don’t like subjects like these, piracy, our-people-can-only-watch-4 songs-3-fights-hero-intro-song-song-before-climax-type-of-movies, and then they say that Bangalore has more floating population, immigrants don’t want Kannada movies, kind of theories. This guy has proven that these are mere excuses for their incapability to make a film that will bring movie lovers to a theater. It takes a lot to accomplish that and Pawan seems to have mastered that art quite naturally, guessing that is only because he is passionate about Film making (I mean Truly Passionate, not like other film makers that only claim and are in industry for no good rhyme or reason)

U-Turn was a very simple plot, something that we all see or some of them do at some point in time; the director has just made the screenplay to show, what goes around, comes around. Simply put.

It takes a lot of guts to make movies like this, (I haven’t had the opportunity to watch Lucia, yet). Admire the guts and confidence of Pawan in making such a wonderful wonderful script. Making a movie successful without popular actors is a very challenging art.

If such people make more such movies, Kannada film industry will breathe a new lease of life real soon!

Wondering why I haven't written a lot about the movie? Ok.. Here goes, it's an edge of the seat thriller, now go watch it and you'll know.. :-) 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Bring it on 2016!

It’s been 40+ days into the New Year and I almost hadn’t blogged, even though I have a lot to share/update; I hadn’t had the time to blog.

2015 was very good (not great), a very interesting year for the amount of changes we made, changes in strategy, changes in the way certain things were getting done (read as “were not getting done”), made some very risky yet reasonably dynamic changes and the results/reactions of those changes are starting to show up slowly, very exciting stuff to say the least.

Closed a new line of business with a new client, which takes us into a whole different domain and a new stream of revenue. This is exciting because, we will probably be the only small enterprise that will be offering this type of service.

That apart, I’ve been working hush hush on 2 more entrepreneurial ventures, finalized the launch dates for both and these are new domains for us (not really)

This coming weekend will take us towards the 4th year of Einfach Solutions and it’s been such an exciting journey and it can't get better, these 3-5 new projects is going to keep us occupied until the 3rd quarter of 2016, after which we will get into newer stuff. Couple of projects have India scope, so we have kind of Up’d our branding this year. Thanks to Fully Filmy for their contribution to our small branding initiatives.

What I have done in this blog is quite simple, this is just a “tease”. I am sure people are going to speculate/gossip/whatever they do best, but – hey that’s natural right. So I am going to let people do their thing. *Evil Grin*

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 - A truly interesting year!

Yay!! My New Year’s Eve blog!! This “may” be long because I am going to try and cover all of 2015.

So 2015 has been by far the most interesting year for me. It’s been phenomenal and absolutely absolutely interesting.

The year started off with those super creative calendars most of my friends love, and continued pretty low key until March. While work had its ups and downs, none that impacted me a whole lot. Chaos started April onwards, and since I am responsible for fixing problems, I wake up one morning, almost restless. Tell my wife I think I should go to the US, she gives me “the look” and instantly says “then you should”. News passes to Pratap, his response “Oh finally, you realise”. (Note - I never fancied travelling to the US, I still don’t) 

Tickets booked, US task list done, US was great fun and a very successful trip both professionally and personally. Met a lot of friends, travelled a lot, worked my butt off on week days (oh wait, people say I don’t have one.. ok never mind)

Fast forward – July 8th, I am back in Bangalore. Thrilled to be back home. India check list made (I erased that check list on 30th Dec) I came back with a number of projects/tasks. New CRM. More work. Loads of new projects and huge volume of existing business. This is when I feel! “Ah, life’s good”.

Fast forward – September – Shit hits the ceiling, client changes policies, reduces our volume of business drastically. Internal issues. Staff issues. We try to tackle the bigger issues first. Go Head on. Some very threatening issues resolved. The smaller ones ignored (or let’s say “Delegated”)

October – November – Reasonably slow in terms of work. Vacation. Meet Relatives. Meet best friend. Loads of stuff happening in terms of strategy and issues in the background. Certain stuff that threaten our existence. We remain unfazed by any of this, but it does cause a little bit of bitterness. A natural excuse to drink more often *wink*. Started Following this guy Gary Vee on Facebook and YouTube. A new set of learning begins.

December – Floods. First few days of the month, I wake up extremely restless. Because, I am not a person that can sit, watch and just pass comments about things. And that was exactly what I was doing and I hated it. Finally decide to go and help people. Most of them I reached out to helped financially or in kind, travelling to Chennai was never more exciting. Travelled around the city. Very humbling experience helping the ones in need.

This experience kind of teaches me a few very important things. Not going to list that since they are very personal to me. And this followed by meeting some important people. Friends. Dinner. Drinks. More important business decisions.

Like I said, 2015 was one of the most exciting years of my life. Have learnt (or may be not) being genuinely interested in people and helping them has its own disadvantages/pitfalls. But hey, that’s life. It’s not what we want it to be. I will continue to do what I do… I will continue to learn.
2016 looks extremely exciting because of that 2015 taught. Hopeful that, even if it 25% of what we have thought, it’s going to be a truly wonderful year. Plan to travel more. New lines of business. Very excited!

PS – The ones who really know me would find a lot of things missing. That’s because some issues and people have become irrelevant. J

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Get your act together..

So, I updated this very fancy blog of mine saying “look who’s back” and I’ve been trying to come up with something ever since, what to write!? 
Loss of topics, was it? Contrary to that – As the ones that read this will know that I am extremely opinionated, which basically means. I have too many things to write about, really! Now to decipher that is a herculean task in itself!
And to make matters worse, last week was quite eventful (or uneventful... Whatever you want to call it)
So, here I am trying to come up with something random. And in-between I check on work – emails, phone calls, listening to Pitbull amidst all this. Get the picture?!
Having said that, the thing that has been lingering on my mind is “Discipline”, and I used to hate this word back in school (I used to get pulled up for random shit and they called it “Discipline Issues”)
So what about discipline? I ponder, when we grew up with certain things we did as a part of our childhood. And I am not even going to mention any of that.
As grown-ups, we have our job, both at home and at work. Most times, the things that fall into the “discipline” bucket are not often checked for sanity. Someone lays the rules, someone else delegates the “job” to someone else and then it gets done (or so we think). One fine day, things come down crumbling like a pack of cards and that’s when we realize that these are caused not because of someone’s inability to do the job but because of lack of discipline to check if everything was being done the way it should.
And every person, job, business have their discipline which is unique to them and they always need to revisit them to make sure they are in-line to their vision for themselves/their business or their family.
I still remember, In Dell, Addy One of my best friends (then CEC who I hated the most) used to have an email signature, In God, We trust. Rest, we monitor.
Oh well, I write this today because, hey – It’s Monday and I’ve had a pretty crappy day. Because, I was undisciplined. :-)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Guess Who's back...

So, I’ve been contemplating... Contemplating whether or not I should blog. Last I blogged was in 2011 and that too about a movie.

With my social circle being as big as it is, I come across a lot of people that write/blog. While I admire a lot of them for their writing skills and the amount of time and effort that goes into penning (or let’s say typing) their heard out; I also see there are the ones that do such a pathetic job and sometimes I start to think, “What if people think I am one of those, that can NOT write?” And then one part of me asks, “Are you writing for yourself or others?” The answer is the former.

That said, I was wondering what I should write about. And something told me... Let’s first figure what I should NOT write about. First thing, Food *Smiles* If you smiled or said Thank God, I’d give you a high five. I am very passionate about food, and when I do write about it in other forms of media; it’s only to share honest feedback. IF I write about food, like a lot of others and only about food, I would be bored and to me particularly, there is life beyond eating and writing about it (only).
BUT! BUT!! If I want to write about food, I will. You know why, because it is my God damn Blog. *Evil Grin*

So now I reserve the right to share my point of view on anything… ANYTHING.

Been watching a lot of Gary Vee videos. I hadn’t heard about him until recently and when I did a little bit of reading up and watched the videos, I realised how great it is to listen to him speak. He does not come with a script and he is very unorthodox (I took 10 minutes to choose that word) and Uber cool.

I heard him mention about being your own brand and how the social media platform helps you to do it better than ever. And it took 3 week for me to come up with this. I then wondered, why I hadn’t blogged for the last few years and then I realized I was busy with setting up Einfach and a lot of my energy went into conceptualizing the company, the products, the website, the Facebook page and so on… All Bull shit. I was just plain lazy. As uninspiring as it is, we all hit that phase. We just do our own stuff and are not doing something that you enjoy doing. And I went through that too and am not complaining.

Hopefully I’ll blog often... Or maybe not... But I want to…