“Plans are dispensable, planning is not”…you nod in acceptance! “If you are an entrepreneur, your wife calls and you suddenly do not recognize her but when a client calls midnight you know his entire history”… you straightway start relating yourself with such situation. Laced with right dose of practical jokes, such engrossing has been the Ignite Talk session with Vikas Malpani of Commonfloor (@vikasmalpani) fame that everyone who has attended the show must have gone back with a big packet of start-up knowledge. The team Seven Boats has for the first time attended a NASSCOM 10000 Start-ups seminar and it has been a great learning experience. Seven Boats, being another start-up company has sailed through several rough weathers to see twinkles of success. But we still have miles to go. Having our own start-up philosophy in place and working tirelessly towards our goal, we have instantly connected with Vikas when he says, “You may be successful or you may not, but when you start as an entrepreneur your ‘WHY’ should be very strong. There is no other reason that you are here for.” It’s so nice to meet someone who has lived our aspirations and it’s such inspiring that we have instantly thought of sharing the knowledge we have gathered for helping the ecosystem grow. Here we have the lessons –
“Identify the common people’s pain and plan to solve the pain”
Lesson: It’s the basic principle that every entrepreneur should keep in mind. Identify the demand (Pain/Need) and fulfill the demand with Supply (Product/Service/Solution). Prepare a feasible business plan to address the issue and monetize.
(Pic 1: Mr. Vikas Malpani is receiving a memento from Mr. Abhishek Rungta)
“But when we thought of Commonfloor, that was an unique concept. How could you prepare a business plan for something which didn’t exist?” He introspectively gives answer to this, “You can succeed only when you want to succeed, enjoy your work and keep moving…”
Lesson: Plan or no plan, you can succeed only when you are strongly grounded and keep moving tirelessly towards your goal until you are successful. Ignore everything else and keep moving. Do not get moved by your success and keep yourself well grounded.
“There are several routes you can take to reach your goal, but what is important is the right attitude and your unfailing determination to reach the goal”
Lesson: Work hard and take work as fun. You may fail (and a good percentage do!), still rise up and keep moving. If you strongly embrace your “WHY”, you will surely succeed. Enjoy work as it comes. It’s a journey made together with right team.
One gentleman stands up and asks to know about the mantra of team building.
“It’s good to have the right set of people who are in-sync with your vision. When it comes for choosing people it’s totally up on your personal choice and style” says Vikas.
Lesson: There is no formula for team building. If you find the person who can sync well with your vision and is equally passionate and determined to see the goal, he’s undoubtedly the right choice.
“Being an entrepreneur, you should not increase the size of your team and try to do as much work as possible individually.”
Lesson: Keep your payouts within a limit and be frugal (even if you become successful!). Do not spend on something that’s not going to add to your start-up’s value, be it on an extra coffee for yourself in client meeting or a weekend team lunch. Try to share the expense reasonably. Hire a professional for his attitude and develop his skill in multitasking. We completely agree with Vikas here as we too believe in having a small sized team, yet delivering quality work. (Check social samosa feature about our piece of story here: http://www.socialsamosa.com/2014/12/social-media-agency-feature-seven-boats/)
“These days candidates, pass outs from IITs & IIMs, come with wings. They have big dreams and jet wings. They can hardly identify with your vision and add no value at the end.”
Lesson: Acquire resource who has the ability and looks determined to sail with you on a long voyage. Train and retain him. Otherwise it’s good to go with a small team. One rotten egg can spoil the entire basket.
(Pic 2: Team Seven Boats. Seen here are Mr. Debajyoti Banerjee (in green shirt) & Mr. Vijay Mishra on his left)
“Taking VC funding is like selling your kidney. When you take funding, for a start-up it’s synonymous with selling organs. You sell all organs and suddenly you are on ventilation. One day the plug is pulled out and you are gone!”
Lesson: Funding is important but more importantly you should focus on building your business in such a way that investors have enough reasons to fund you. Remember, investors will only fund you when they see a profitable financial proposition going with your business. You should not allow yourself to be dictated by terms even if there is a beeline of prospective venture capitalists and funding houses wanting your million dollar attention. You should carefully verify their motive and take the funding from those with whom your vision is aligned. Funding is necessary at certain stage to move your plans faster but before that you should work enough hard to make your brand a strong funding proposition. If you work ethically in the right direction and if you have the right team, you will organically traverse from point A to point B in certain period of time..for sure. Money can only make the travel shorter.
“And at every stage you will have plans. But plans are dispensable, planning is not!” … you straightway know what he is talking about!
Lesson: For a start-up the initial 5 years are very crucial. If you can shoulder the burdens and sustain this initial phase, you are almost ready to take yourself to the next level. Not every plan in this journey gets realized, but you essentially get to learn how to do planning. Planning is to reach your goal and plans are the steps you take towards that goal.
We completely agree with this philosophy when he says “There are two types of currency in business, one is time and the other is money. When you do not have much money invest more time in your business because when you have the money you will have less time to invest. You should balance it well.”
Lesson: Time is money. Invest it well when you are in lean phase and building your business.
When he suddenly says “Entrepreneurship is a French word to your years, but at the end of the day it still is ‘Dhandaa’ in Hindi…” This is an absolute cracker!
Lesson: Whatever you do, at the end of the day you stake interest in your cash register. Has it swelled up or not! This is just the basic reason all entrepreneurs work for. You should always keep your motivation level up.
“Competition is good as it attracts more customers and brings in more business in your industry”
Lesson: Do whatever to stay in competition as it helps in maintaining the balance in ecosystem. Utilize all marketing tools and make yourself counted among the tops. The business will roll in naturally. (You can check how we can help grow your business with our cutting edge digital marketing services: https://www.7boats.com/services/)
“When you explain your business to someone, he will treat you as a salesman. You explain him ‘elephant’ and he will understand that as ‘dog’. It’s a difficult task particularly when they bombard you with questions like..is it free? why is it free…so on and so forth. You say yes and start explaining but surprisingly he will doubt about the financial sustainability of your business.”
Humorously he says, “You do not pay Google or Facebook for using their services, then why do you doubt about my service?”
(Image Courtesy: Commonfloor.com)
Commonfloor is a common platform for various communities where members can come in to help each other on various issues surrounding their homes, mainly on real estate, property buying and selling. Their path breaking innovation in virtual reality Commonfloor Retina offers real 3D walkthrough of properties to seekers allowing them to view and choose properties from any location at any point of time. It’s just a wow of a technology that can be read from the smiling faces of those who have taken a first hand demo in the seminar. Now there’s no prize for guessing how this technology is going to save time and money to see the model apartment! (You can find more information about Commonfloor Retina here: http://www.commonfloor.com/retina)
(Pic 3: One of the attendees is taking a live demo of Commonfloor Retina)
Thank you NASSCOM for taking this initiative to bring young entrepreneurial minds to share their success stories. We dedicate this first write up of “Seven Boats Start-up Ecosphere” to Vikas Malpani and wish Commonfloor.com all the success.