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Showing posts from December, 2009

"To Indipreneurship" - Article by Sanjay Anandaram

1991 was when India achieved its second independence – that of economic liberalization. But, in retrospect, one has to say that it has been far more than just economic liberalization. It also liberated the mind of the baggage of self-doubt, low confidence and ignorance. It has therefore been my belief that those born around or after 1991 would be the change agents of India. Entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking would be the vehicles of change.

In the first column of Indipreneur published August 25th, 2006, I wrote: “For the first time, an entire generation of young people cutting across class lines is acutely aware of the opportunity ahead of them. They also recognize the inscription on the other side of the coin: RISK. And it’s not a four letter word anymore. While earlier generations were defensive and inward looking, this generation is aggressive, outward looking and not given to the self-doubts of the past. This is the “why not?” generation. This generation has the potenti…

"Self Awareness" - Article by Sanjay Anandaram

A CEO’s job, like any leader’s, is a lonely one. The CEO of a startup is especially lonely. He’s expected to manage finances and investors, the board, motivate employees while dealing with recalcitrant ones, engage with, influence and grow relationships with key customers, partners, suppliers and industry players. The CEO needs to be emotionally strong to deal with all the pulls and pushes. And has to always present a sunny disposition even when times are difficult.

It is a job that requires enormous confidence and humility. Confidence to keep executing towards the goals of the company and humility to keep learning and unlearning. Not surprisingly, these are uncommon traits that only the more successful CEOs have. Rarer too is the desire to know one’s weaknesses and the willingness to work on improving oneself.

I was therefore delighted when I recently received an email from a CEO saying he wanted an honest appraisal from me of his leadership. He had commissioned a 360degree appraisa…

The Entrepreneur who brought McDonalds to India

Forbes India has an interesting profile of Vikram Bakshi, the JV partner of McDonald’s in India.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the Private Equity and Venture Capital ecosystem in India. Click here to learn about Venture Intelligence's products and services for entrepreneurs.

Sources of Govt Funding

DARE magazine has an article on the various government-related agencies that provide funding for technology start-ups.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the Private Equity and Venture Capital ecosystem in India. Click here to learn about Venture Intelligence's products and services for entrepreneurs.

"Is "Business Ethics" Old Fashioned?" - By Sanjay Anandaram

The TV channel had headlined the story “Education or Business?” The story was about how students had been taken for a ride by the administrators of a couple of educational institutes that had taken large sums of money as fees and then not provided admission to the students. The police, the students’ families and even the local MLA were all interviewed. The administrators of the institute were not available for comment. The headline “Education or Business?” was troubling. Was it implying that education and business were mutually exclusive? Or, was it, even more so, implying that cheating students with false promises was unacceptable behaviour in education but, and here’s the rub, understandable and even acceptable if it were yet another business?

Is business assumed to be corrupt and unethical? And therefore is it perfectly legitimate to indulge in practices that might not be considered ethical as long as it benefits the company? What then does it mean for entrepreneurs starting out to…

"Look Outwards" - By Sanjay Anandaram

It was the first presentation the CEO was making to the recently constituted board of directors on the company’s performance till date and the business outlook for the next 12 months. It was well laid out with a series of numbers detailing revenues, margins, headcount, growth rates and so on. The CEO was well acquainted with the numbers and was aware of the operational details. But there was one troubling issue.

There was no data on customers, competition and market dynamics. None of the analysis focused on the revenues, margins and opportunities in different market segments or with different customers. Information was lacking on how the headcount of the company was distributed across customers and geographies. Were customers satisfied or not? Which customers were showing the most promise from a growth standpoint, which ones were giving the company higher margins and which ones were a drag on the company? How many new customers were being added every month and how many customers were…