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Showing posts from March, 2011

"Forget biz plans & the competition"

From the article titled "How Great Entrepreneurs Think" based on a in-depth survey of 45 US-based conducted by Saras Sarasvathy, a professor at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business. The article also contrasts the entrepreneur way of thinking versus the corporate executive way of thinking.

Doing & Course Correcting
Brilliant improvisers, the entrepreneurs don't start out with concrete goals. Instead, they constantly assess how to use their personal strengths and whatever resources they have at hand to develop goals on the fly, while creatively reacting to contingencies....That is not to say entrepreneurs don't have goals, only that those goals are broad and—like luggage—may shift during flight. Rather than meticulously segment customers according to potential return, they itch to get to market as quickly and cheaply as possible, a principle Sarasvathy calls affordable loss. Repeatedly, the entrepreneurs in her study expressed impatience…

"Leveraging Relationships for Hiring and More" - Article by Sanjay Anandaram

This article originally appeared in the Financial Express. Reporoduced with permission from the author.

The young first time CEO looked and sounded pleased. He’d just made an offer to a candidate for his head of Human Resources and the candidate had accepted. After almost a year of searching for the appropriate candidate and after making do with sub-optimal stop gap solutions, it appeared that that search would come to an end. It had happened out of the blue.

The CEO had been contemplating restructuring of his company for a while. This restructuring had been necessitated by the company’s rapid expansion into new geographies, addition of several new lines of business and increased complexity of a rapidly growing business. To help him understand and accomplish this, he wanted to take the advice and guidance of experienced industry professionals. He approached his board of directors and was accordingly introduced to several senior executives. Over the course of the past 18 months, he had …

"Values, Ownership and Management" - Article by Sanjay Anandaram

“Five years before we took in venture capital in our family owned company, we’d decided that ownership and management had to be kept separate. The chairman of the company was the well known retired Chairman of a very well known publicly listed company. We had independent Board members and the CEO, a family member, was evaluated by the Board regularly and his compensation decided by an independent sub-committee of the Board. There were no other family members employed in the company which was run by competent professionals. This ensured that sticky situations involving reporting relationships, performance appraisals and the like were avoided.

Other family members ran their own companies which had to bid for and secure business from this company as any other company would. All things being equal, we gave preference to our family company. But the operative term is “all things being equal”

These were the words of the scion of a well known family owned company in India. But then how many com…

Mushrooming of Mentors

Deepak Srinath of Viedea has an interesting post on the subject:
...the trend that has left me partly amused and partly concerned is the rapidly growing breed of entrepreneurs who are in the “business of mentoring and incubation”. I have interacted with many such “mentors” over the last few months and barring a few exceptions most have left me with the feeling that they do not have adequate experience or skills to mentor a startup. Some of them are barely out of college themselves and many of them claim to be serial entrepreneur s (on closer inspection, it’s more like ‘serial company starters’, none of which have managed to last beyond a year). It’s extremely worrisome that young entrepreneurs with smart ideas could be signing up such mentors, giving them equity and wasting a lot of time in the bargain.

A good mentor is a critical part of an entrepreneur’s journey. A few tips for entrepreneurs from my own experience –

... 2. You may need multiple mentors on your entrepreneurial jour…