June 25, 2012

The Woman Behind the Security Service

The Hindu has a profile of the woman entrepreneur, G. Sree Vidhya, behind Ravindra Services Pvt. Ltd, the company which operates Dgroup Security Force and facilities management firm Dialtone Hotline Services.
Dgroup Security Force was founded by her mentor, friend and business associate Ravindra Padmanabhan in 1992 and she had a hand in the decision. Until then, the duo was running facility management services under the name Dialtone Hotline Services, which continued to exist alongside the new business. Dr. Padmanabhan passed away in 2001 in a road accident and Sree Vidhya bought out the company in 2003 and named it Ravindra Services Pvt. Ltd (RSPL), after the founder. Dgroup Security Force and Dialtone Hotline Services function as the brands of the RSPL Group. The group also provides temporary staffing services. RSPL Group has over 3,000 workers on its rolls and boasts many corporate clients.

...“Avoid false promises” is another must in her book. When Dgroup Security Force was in its early years, a big offer came its way. L&T wanted the group to provide 90 guards. “We said providing 90 guards was beyond us. We were allowed to provide services to the organisation in a phased manner.”

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of data and analysis on private equity, venture capital and M&A deals in India. Click Here to learn about Venture Intelligence products that help entrepreneurs reach out effectively to the investing community.

June 19, 2012

Harsh Mariwala launches entrepreneur mentoring foundation Ascent

To start with Mumbai- & Pune-based entrepreneurs

An entrepreneur’s journey is always an exciting one. But it can often be along a testing and lonely path. Harsh Mariwala has steered Marico to grow in sales from Rs. 40 lac in 1971 to Rs. 4,000 crore today. He understands the challenges one faces while growing an enterprise. And that is why he has launched a new idea- ASCENT- Accelerating the SCaling up of ENTerprises. Ascent seeks to identify entrepreneurs with potential and enable them in their growth journey.

Ascent is a non-profit entity expression of Harsh Mariwala's personal social responsibility towards entrepreneurs. Harsh Mariwala bears all expenses for ASCENT personally.

ASCENT offers a unique and powerful ‘self-help” platform through the formation of TRUST GROUPS of 10 Entrepreneurs each. Each Trust Group will comprise non-competitive, diverse groups of entrepreneurs. We aim to start with 10 TRUST groups in Mumbai and Pune, and over the next few years scale up ASCENT to a much larger size pan-India.

The interaction in the Trust Groups has been designed to provide value to entrepreneurs, using the power of learning in a Group, specifically through the following:

· Facilitation – ASCENT will provide experts who will play a value adding role as Initiators and Trainers for the Group in its first few months and set it up for success.

· Group Moderation - ASCENT will select Moderators from within the group and train them in facilitation, so that the Group can run successfully on its own.

· Insights - ASCENT Knowledge Partners - inspiring role Models and domain experts - will add specific insights and value to each group through their sessions.

· Eco-system - ASCENT will provide access to growth enablers - Consultants, Investors, VCs, banks, Mentors, Coaches-in collaboration with various Service Providers.

Ascent is currently in the process of selecting entrepreneurs for Ascent Trust Groups. The eligibility criteria are as under.

· Minimum Annual turnover - Rs. 2.50 cr (and above) for a Products/Manufacturing business, & Rs. 50 lacs (and above) for a Services business

· Growth Potential - Business must have demonstrated high potential for growth

· Ambition- the Entrepreneur must be ambitious and innovative.

· Belief in the power of learning and Sharing - The Entrepreneur must be eager to learn, share, collaborate and innovate along with fellow- ASCENT members

Application forms are available online on www.ascentfoundation.in.

You can join us and support this growth movement through the following:

· Spot entrepreneurs and recommend Ascent to them. If you have access to an existing network of entrepreneurs, connect them to ASCENT.

· Spread the word around about Ascent. Help us increase the outreach so that we can help more and more entrepreneurs grow.

· Suggest Knowledge Partners and Service Provides for Ascent. Share any thoughts / ideas that can contribute to Ascent.

Interested Entrepreneurs, can APPLY online on


For any clarifications, please contact:

Viral Savla

Manager, Ascent

+91 98215 70230


June 16, 2012

Worm's-Eye View or Bird's-Eye View? Management by "Zooming"

From a HBR article on the need for managers to be able to both Zoom-in (be Detail Oriented) and also Zoom-out (be Big Picture guys).

Close-in managers look for immediate benefits and make ad hoc decisions. They often favor one-on-one conversations over group meetings. They want to address details by doing whatever occurs to them. Faced with a problem, they look for quick fixes rather than stand back to seek underlying causes, alternatives, or long-term solutions. They prefer to contact someone they know rather than search more widely for expertise. These tendencies are exacerbated in organizations that restrict information flow, reward quick hits, and confine people to their roles.

...The former CEO of Garanti Bank, Akin Ongor, led it from a middle-of-the-road bank in Turkey to global prominence by setting up processes that replaced poor performers and upgraded talent. When his announcement of layoffs provoked union protests and even death threats, Ongor refused to take the attacks personally or get drawn into ad hominem battles. Instead, he went to the media and elevated the discussion to the principles behind the bank’s actions. By zooming out, he helped his employees, the public, and government officials see the layoffs in the context of a transition in the economy and as a move that would save an important institution so that it could create more jobs in the future. The protests ended, and Ongor continued to lead successful change at the bank. Zooming out helps people see the map and stay focused on larger principles.

...The best leaders work the zoom button in both directions. Faced with a crisis, they can address the immediate situation while seeking structural solutions. They can zoom in to see problems while zooming out to look for similar situations, root causes, and principles or policies that will help prevent the crisis from recurring.

...Zooming can help leaders respond to events before they become crises. It can help them embrace new opportunities while continuing to operate with principles that build sustainable institutions for the long run. Leaders should make room to zoom.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of data and analysis on private equity, venture capital and M&A deals in India. Click Here to learn about Venture Intelligence products that help entrepreneurs reach out effectively to the investing community.

June 06, 2012

Managing like a Duck and other Startup CEO Traits

From a guest post on OnStartups by Paul DeJoe, founder at Ecquire.

...You start to respect the Duck. Paddle like hell under the water and be smooth and calm on top where everyone can see you. You learn the hard way that if you lose your cool you lose.

...You begin to see how valuable creativity is and that you must think differently not only to win, but to see the biggest opportunities. You recognize you get your best ideas when you're not staring at a screen. You see immediate returns on healthy distractions.

...Your job is to create a vision, a culture, to get the right people on the bus and to inspire. When you look around at a team that believes in the vision as much as you do and trusts you will do the right thing all the time, it's a feeling that can't be explained. The exponential productivity from great people will always amaze you. It's why finding the right team is the most difficult thing you will do but the most important. This learning will affect your life significantly. You will not settle for things anymore because you will see what is possible when you hold out for the best and push to find people that are the best. You don't have a problem anymore being honest with people about not cutting it.

...You learn the most about yourself more than any other vocation as an entrepreneur. You learn what you do when you get punched in the face many many times. You learn what you do when no one is looking and when no one would find out. You learn that you are bad at many things, lucky if you're good at a handful of things and the only thing you can ever be great at is being yourself which is why you can never compromise it. You learn how power and recognition can be addicting and see how it could corrupt so many.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of data and analysis on private equity, venture capital and M&A deals in India. Click Here to learn about Venture Intelligence products that help entrepreneurs reach out effectively to the investing community.