How do you define success? How do you make a compelling presentation? How do you draft a strategy for your business? What do VCs look for in a business to invest in? What are the Ethics to have in business?
These and many questions were answered at the recently held TiE Nurture Accelerator program which had 63 mentees from four cities this year – 40 from Pune, 7 from Nagpur, 4 from Hubli, and 4 from Surat. The program that began in September 2020, had a boot camp recently. This was a physical meeting that allows mentees to meet mentors, speakers, and network with each other.
Day 1 had several gurus, namely, Devendra Deshmukh (founder e-Zest), Rakesh Doshi (investor and founder Trade Mentor & Techno Hub, Surat) Smita Yedekar (co-founder & CEO 1Mobility – acquired by Qualys Inc.) Vinay Nathan (founder Altizon) and Hemant Jalan (founder Indigo Paints), sharing their experiences and expertise on varied topics relevant to successful entrepreneurship.
Most panelists had an interesting way of looking at success. Devendra felt that his readings on how the Tata group created wealth helped him define success. “I feel that success is about how many lives can we touch with our work. It is about empowering people and our employees and not just about the bottom line.”
Rakesh felt that “passion makes a product, but what makes a business successful? Success is about combining two disciplines to solve a problem like, say, engineering and medical science to develop Robotic surgery.”
Vinay whose company is among the top ten industrial IOT companies globally said, “in the early days simply surviving is a goal.” For Smita “success is a moving target and one should never be happy with what you’ve achieved, but be hungry for more.”
Hemant whose company recently went public and was oversubscribed 117 times, shared an interesting insight. “All our lives we have someone else define success for you. In school, if you are in the top five you are considered a big success. This goes on even in college and at your workplace with you being considered successful if you have achieved your KRAs. But is it? I think everyone, not just entrepreneurs, should take some time out and seriously think this through. How would you define success? If it means having 2 BMWs, a huge bungalow or becoming good at whatever you want to do, then write it down. You do not need to share it with anyone. Lock it away. After five years revisit your definition of success and see what you have achieved. Now think again about what is it you want to achieve. If after 10 years you’ve crossed all the goals you set for yourself or even 80-90% of it, then you should consider yourself successful. If your business has been on track for 10 years then you can safely assume that it will survive the long term.”
Can there be talk about success without discussing failure? Ramesh Mirakhur who moderated this discussion asked everyone what lesson they learnt from their failures. Said Devendra “When our company that was doing phenomenally well lost our top three clients who accounted for 80% of our revenues, I realized the importance of building a strong foundation and a process-driven approach.”
For Rakesh, it was the lost opportunity of the mutual fund business. “Then I realized that the cost of good legal advice is never too high.” Hemant who went bankrupt in ’93 said, “At that time I lost everything, my house, car, we were totally bankrupt. But it made me realize that as an entrepreneur I have to take risks. And before taking any action it’s a good idea to step back and take a look at your decision. What is the worst that could happen if it fails? If it is a decision where you stand to lose everything that you have built then it’s best if you do not take that risk.” Prasad Bhide, founder, Aaji Cares a mentee summed it up “this session gave us very interesting insights into the idea of success.”