The Story of 7 "S"

Posts tagged ‘Entrepreneur’

Sun is Shining, the Sky is Blue, There is an Opportunity rising for Me and You….

Abhi, While Converting my Diary of 2002 to Digital form, I discovered a short poem I used in that Day’s page. (1st July 2002)

Felt like Sharing as it is a beautiful Morning message!

“Sun is Shining, the Sky is Blue,
There is an Opportunity rising for Me and You,
With every Dawning of the Sun,
New opportunities have just begun,
With every breaking of the morn,
Fresh opportunities are newly born”

Eight Unusual Professions. Take Your Pick or Add Yours :-)

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For a Week, My Bathroom became My Classroom!!

Har Cheez kuch Sikhati hai…… Kabhi Chup rehkar, to Kabhi cheekh cheekh kar hume apni baat samjhati hai!!

(Every Thing around us teaches us something or other… Some times by keeping mum and sometimes by shouting from the roof)

 

And this was experienced by me a few days ago…. When my Geyser TALKED to me…. Yes it did and it didn’t only Talk it gave me a lesson too. 

And then Every Next Day, I could hear voices from all the Accessories/Fittings in my bathroom and I wondered why I didn’t listen to them earlier.

 

But I am Glad that I did now…. And that I am sharing it with every one….

April 17, Friday 
Day 1:: Geyser

 

While I went for a bath….. I heard my Geyser Say…”Gurpreet, It takes me 30 minutes to heat the water in Winters, but in Summers (now)…. I take only 6 minutes to do so. Just goes on to prove that…. Times keep changing…… But if you are consistent with your efforts, the “Target does get met”…… Sometimes Earlier… Sometime Later…..”

Thinking it to be a one off incident, I Moved on, Only to be surprised the next day too.

And now it was the Slippers

 

April 18 Saturday 
Day 2:: Towel 

When I heard my Bath towel talking to me the next morning, I thought … Either I have gone Crazy or everything in my Bathroom has. 
Nevertheless, I was Enjoying…and Learning too, so I listened carefully.

My Towel Said “Gurpreet, You use me rarely. May be for Just for 2 mins a day….. But still I am very very important to you. Just imagine… you have taken a Bath and you are without a Towel??”

And that set my mind thinking….

But the Towel Continued.

“So never Take things For Granted…..However small they are or however less they come in Contact with you….. You would realise its importance only when they are not with you”

April 19 Sunday 
Day 3:: Bathroom Slippers

 

And the trend continues…….. As It was My Slippers Talking to me today. 

 

It said…..”Gurpreet…. Each Person/ Object here in this world has come for a specific Motive. And if you try to change its use….Then it may not perform even 1% of what it is designed for. 

Jaise ki….. I’m a chappal…. I can only be utilized when I’m on your feet Protecting you from dust and Nails on the floor. If I think, That I can become and perform the function of a Glove or Cap which are More delicately handled…. Then I may Loose my character completely.
So….Be Yourself and Excel rather Aping Others and Failing”.

 

April 21 Tuesday
Day 4:: Tap

And then the next day I stepped into my Bathroom, Wondering if the saga continues…. And it did. And today I was surprised by my Tap (Mixer/Faucet).

 

I was Busy adjusting my tap to get the right Mix of Luke warm water for my bath….. But I was failing… The flowing water was either too warm or too cold. And after repeated attempts … I got the right mix in 3 Minutes” 

On this my Mixer Tap tells me “Gurpreet, Sometimes it is stroke of Luck or sometimes…… It is sheer Hardwork…… which gives u the right Mix in Life. 

So, Just “Work Hard” initially and find Best Mix for you and then keep working hard to maintain it… Till your Priorities Change” 

Another Lesson Learnt!!

April 22 Wednesday  
Day 5:: Mirror

Today When I stepped into by bathroom to brush my teeth……. I heard another Voice. 

And today it was my MIRROR.

As I looked into it and saw myself … I could hear my mirror saying…..

“Come on Gurpreet, let’s talk FACE TO FACE” and then continued….

“Each Person has many facets, which is Good…. But Masks over those Facets is not good. 

One can fool everyone in this world… but not yourself. Whenever you see the Mirror, You will only see and hear the truth…. Your Real Self…… 

Remember to “Be Sincere” to yourself, it will show through the Glow on your Face when you see the Mirror Next!!

And remember to “Smile when you see the Mirror….. If you can Smile for Others, You can Smile for yourself too”

And Since then, I can’t Stop Smiling :-) ))))))))))

 

April 23 Thursday 
Day 6:: Soap

Unlike other Mornings when I heard a Loud Confident Voice, Today…. It was a very feeble Voice that called me…..

And when I looked around to see where it came from… I noticed it was from the Soap in my hand!!

It had already been used for 5 days and within next 5 days…. It would be used and finished completely.


In its feeble Whisper/sobbing tone… it said to me
“Gurpreet, in order to use me… People rub me every day against them and in the process each day I loose a part me. I cry at times because I will be finished in a few days. 

However since I don’t have an option, I try to find a false solace that I am being of use to someone. But the truth is…… It’s good to help someone, but not at the cost of hurting yourself

If you don’t set your own priorities, then someone else will set it for you. It will be obviously that suits THEM, not YOU!
So take your own Decisions, Don’t Exhaust yourself for others!

Another Lesson Learnt… Was Desperately Required. 

Thanks Saabun Didi!

 

And since then…. I have not heard any more voice……. coming from the Bathroom.

But in hindsight I realise.. that many a times in Malls, Cinemas and even my Car I heard some sounds,but ignored it.

Seems… Now I need to convince them to speak to me again so that I could Listen,Talk, Learn and pen down “Mall Tales” and “Cinema Tales” too 🙂 

Key Take Aways on Funding from “Google For Entrepreneurs” @ Oberoi, New Delhi

A few days back… I received  a call from “Thot Media Group”…. Probably the agency handling events for various Clients.

And they asked if I would want to be part of an Upcoming Event in Delhi titled “Google for Entrepreneurs?”

I found it interesting… Especially so because Google has been known for some ass kicking Events and their Content, Speakers and Hospitality is always talked about.

And as soon as I registered, being a obedient husband I am, told my Wife Gurleen about it on Phone….. She too said the same and confirmed that she has registered too, a day earlier.

“Women are Smarter” and whoever said this, was a Real Smart Women!!

So… on the appointed hour and time, we did reach the awesome venue and took our seats  Bean Bags…. And the learning flowed.

Ohk let me confess……… I know Google has many products which if we use properly can make our life simpler as an Entrepreneur and I thought that this Event is more so an opportunity to learn more about Google Docs/Google Forms/Google Hangout and other products which we do not know how to utilise in best possible way.

But….. as the event started… I realized that it was more about Finance, Accelerators, VC’s and Nasscom’s Initiative of 10K Start-ups 

And Since me and Gurleen have no Intention to seek funding and frankly at this stage we don’t even deserve to……. We started feeling uneasy on our Square Bright Google Coloured Bean bags and started exchanging notes on the Google Diary…. Something school kids do in School during a boring period and just before recess 🙂

But…. Just then the learning’s started flowing…… and here I try to present a Mash up of all that was Said, Observed &  Analysed.

  • Research about VC/Investor as much as he does about your company
  • Any Funding takes 3-6 months of efforts/ Due Diligence etc. Be Prepared
  • Don’t get so involved in the Funding process that you let your Business suffer due to it.
  • Don’t just accept funding because it is available. Accept it when you need it.
  • By the time you are ready for Series A, you should have atleast 70% of the company ownership.
  • Social Presence is Important. If you calling a VC and he is not taking your call. Then you should have enough Social presence and reputation that other people of trade do put your recommendation. It is usually hard to ignore then.
  • In India….. Seek investments only when you have a running model and proof of traction. Nobody is willing to invest in an IDEA.

  • Don’t compare our Entrepreneurial Eco system with USA. They have been going through this for past 40 years….. We are not even 10 years old.
  • When seeking funding look mainly on what comes along with Namely Mentor/Network/Acceptance in Market/ Affiliation. Some times they prove more valuable than the funds themselves
  • If you want to expand overseas or want Foreign Funding…. Then do keep frequenting abroad. The VC’s want to have a regular touch, feel factor.
  • Investors look for Trends. Say a one time 1 crore revenue may not be as attractive as a growing trend which goes from 2 lacs to 12 lacs in one year. Same for Customer traction
  • Nasscom has taken a Big initiative of helping 10,000 start-ups in next 10 years and has partnered with key players to reach this goal. One of it’s Initiatives is a Co-Working space of 150 seats in major cities called the Start-up Warehouse. Where only Start-ups would be allowed to work from… for Max 1 year and Max 5 employees. The charges would be almost half of what others charge. Less than Rs. 4000 a Seat/Month
  • Accelerators are booming and wooing Entrepreneurs. If an Entrepreneur is looking for an Accelerator then One has to do some good Brain Storming while selecting an Accelerator too.
  • The Investor….  Gives a high priority to a TEAM. Most of the Ideas/Business that start initially does not actually go the same path. As per experience they change the plans….. And make a successful product. Only Because the TEAM is good.
  • A Mentor Helps you, Does not Work for you.
  • Any Money you raise…….. Try to raise it for a Particular Goal or Time…because if that’s not met…… Then the prospective Investors may shy off and even the Existing Investor will start suspecting you.
  • Do not think that if an investor is Invested in you…. He will save you from all the Financial Crunches you may face. Investors are here for business…. And he may be better writing off $50K than giving you more and then writing off $100k a year later.

That’s what I could take away from the Event…. And as usual it’s Different Strokes for Different Folks.

If there’s any thing you do not agree or want to add, then please share I am a learner always and you never know who may silently read your view and gain immensely from it.

Oh yes….. The food was yum and why not…… it was being served at the “Oberoi Hotel”….. A Hotel owned by the BEST HOTEL ENTREPRENEUR India may never  have again. Rai Bahadur Mohan Singh Oberoi, worked as a BELL BOY in Hotel Cecil, Simla and then within 10 years brought the hotel from the owner.


This is True Entrepreneurship and did I forget to mention, there were no VC’s then !!

Tags: 10kAcceleratorsAngelEntrepreneurFundingGoogleGurpreetHotelInvestmentMoney,More…

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It is said that only a Wo…

It is said that only a Women can understand a Women.
Also realised that …. “Only an Entrepreneur can understand an Entrepreneur!!…….. GST

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Jimmy” Kimmel is an American comedian, but what he did is what every Entrepreneur would want to do some day. Just to let the Naysayers know that, we did exactly, what you thought is IMPOSSIBLE!!

Jimmy

If you want to see it happening…..Then watch this 22 second Video 🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1nBRoeo6wA&feature=player_embedded

The Gift of Lessons, My Gifting Company Taught Me.

This is my Real Life Story and I wanted to share with everyone.  I learnt a few Lessons from my experience which I think would be beneficial for fellow Rodinhooders. I am still using those learning’s today and have tried to not repeat those mistakes again

 

It’s been 16 years, When I joined National Institute of Sales (NIS, part of NIIT group). Even before my Senior Secondary Exams were over in 1996, I had applied and started my “Advance Diploma in Sales and Marketing.”

 

While crossing the room of my NIS Centre Head one day, I overheard her talking about the requirement of Some Sling Pens (Pens with a thread around it, to wear it around your neck, specially used by promoters) for an upcoming Event. She was sharing with a faculty her disappointment of not getting a vendor to procure them.

 

By that evening, I talked to some people and got to know a manufacturer and I went there and got some samples.

 

Next day, I presented them to Centre Head and told her that I can fulfill the requirement. Oh my, was she delighted!!! She asked for the price, in which I had already added my margin of 50% and she placed the order for 1000 Pens Immediately.

 

I had some savings and ordered for the pen and immediately and gave them a delivery of 1000 Pens in 5 days and pocketed a cool Rs. 5000. A big Amount back in 1996 and definitely my biggest earning (Not my First, as I had made some money by putting up, Pepsi and Dart Stalls at Diwali Melas earlier)

 

Enthused, I opened a company, Oriental Sales.

 

Lesson — There are people who are out there looking for your Product, and are as desperately looking for a Seller like you, as much as you are looking for a Buyer

 

And after that the orders kept pouring, pouring to an extent that I even sponsored some Gifts for their events.

Word Spread and I got orders from NIIT, Khadi Gram Udhyog Bhawan, A Big Transport Company too.

Then the Diwali Season came, and I thought of selling Wall calendars too.

One fine Morning when I was getting my Rajdoot 350 Bike Serviced, I went inside a Neighboring Apparel shop and told them if they are looking for any diwali gifts, then we can supply them. And they asked for samples.  I went back after a day and got an order for 1000 calendars @ Rs 7. The margin was very low, but being my first big order, I didn’t want to say no as that would have stopped my learning process.

Since, I didn’t have that kind of money; I took a loan from a friend and serviced that order.

Still remember those 3 nights, wherein the entire family would sit in Drawing room, Kept Rolling Calendars, Placed a Rubber band over it and then putting it in a cardboard box.

Lesson: Later I realized that the Calendar order helped me think Big and I got to know the nitty gritty’s of Printing, Designing, Arranging the finances and delivering a Big order

Lesson If your Product is good, Getting Big Names as Clients isn’t tough.

 

In fact, I was even referred to AMITY UNIVERSITY by NIIT, who used to do training for their staff. Those Days Amity University was run from a small campus in South Extension.

I was asked to meet a certain Mr. Chauhan and I reached there at the appointed time. However, he got engaged in some work and could not turn up for the meeting.

And, as I was busy with my Studies and work which was already pouring, I didn’t bother to follow that lead and it ended there. Today Amity University is the Biggest University in India and their order for just one category is bigger than what Big Bazaar makes from 5 Stores.

 

Lesson :Set your Priorities, but do keep visiting them to ensure that they are set rightly. Also, try to catch things young, so that you Grow with them and they with you.

 

While all this was happening, I was also going to my dentist to get a problem Cured. And while discussions, I did mentioned about my part time work. He, being a devoted Disciple of a “Sadhu Maharaj” wanted me to make some Photo Frames with Sadhu jee picture to be distributed. And I said yes, and shared some samples and thinking that the order would be small, added a BIG margin, to cover my transportation and other costs.

Yes, I did receive the order and it was 5 times the size I thought and at the same quoted price.

Delighted I was, and then Orders from him kept pouring…………Key Chains, Pens, School Bags, Pencil Boxes, Travelling bags etc. Believe me; I made enough money from him, than I had made from any big corporation.

Lesson: Baat karne se baat banti hai. Never underestimate any order and a Buyer.

There are opportunities available,which we think never exist.

 

I had a habit to learn everything, but at the end left everything to the experts and just observed. Even If there was something amiss, I would voice my opinion and leave it to the expert for his judgment.

While servicing one order of Clocks, The printing was skewed by the Screen printer and even the Logo colour did not match. Though I was there at a very late hour, while printing was happening, but did not realize the colour Difference as it was Dark. And when I did mention to the screen printer about the skewed printing, he said “Sir, Sab bariya hai, aaap chinta na kare”. And I agreed.

Ultimately, the order was rejected by the company, and I since it was a customized product, it was of ZERO value to me, hence I sold it to them at half the price and suffering a loss.

Lesson: This taught me that one needs to handle Customised orders very delicately and even if you have an expert with you, don’t let your views go down the drain. After all it’s your Money and your reputation at stake.

 

 

After some time, I decided to explore the Pamphlet route. And got 20,000 pamphlets worth Rs 1000/- distributed on a Sunday Morning.

Next Day morning,I received a call from a BengalI Gentleman who ran a Travel Agency and requested us to present him with gift options which could be given to Embassy officials and should have an Indian touch and should be big in size.

For 5 days, I didn’t have a clue of what we could offer and wanted to make it work as this was the only call I received after distributing the pamphlets.

One day I had gone to Panchkuian road to have my Favourite Samosas from Frontier Samosa and while there noticed a Lamp shop and went inside to get one for my side table. Once there, I noticed a big Earthern Ganesha Lamp and it struck my mind. I brought one and showed it to him and he immediately liked the lamp and we struck a deal of 100 such lamps in which I made Rs 20.000

Lesson: Even a small investment of Rs 1000 could get big results.

If you work towards the benefit of the client, your mind starts working as his and you see from his point of view and hence serve better.

Just 1 lucky pamphlet out of the total 20000 worked for me and returned by investment many times.

 

All this while, I was the lone soul who was managing the work, from getting orders, Dealing with Vendors, Designing the Matter, Collecting payments, Delivering the product, Everything!!

Now it was time for me to expand my business.

I always wanted to explore new places, go to places where people like me do not visit, do the things supposed to be contrarian.

Though I was not able to do it as much as I can, but I am really happy that I did visit “Chor Bazaar” regularly. Chor Bazaar literally means the “Market of Thieves”. For the uninformed, Chor Bazar used to be a Sunday Bazaar, wherein people would gather every sunday to sell their wares at the ground behind the Red Fort. The wares were a mix of Second Hand Goods, Goods sold as Junk to Kabari Wala, Some factory rejects and yes, as the name suggest, some goods which have been stolen. The wares ranged from Clothes, Tyres, Electronic Goods, Shoes, Kitchen Ware, Sports Goods, Furniture etc. And in between those stalls were many small make shift eateries too.

Once, when I was there, I got hold of an ITPO Trade Fair Directory for the year 1995, which somebody must have sold to kabari wala. It caught my attention and in a spur of a moment I paid Rs 15 for that 400 page directory and walked away.

After 6 Months, when I was looking to expand my business, I thought of posting letters to my clients and framed one.  Now, the problem was who to send and I realized that I have that directory and dug it out and got labels printed to be pasted on the envelopes. Within a week of that I posted 100 letters and was struck to my home phone (No Mobile or pagers then), anticipating atleast 20 enquiries. NONE CALLED!!

Disappointed I thought of visiting some of them.

One such address was in Karol Bagh. Reaching there, I realized that this was just a city admin office and the boss and his men used to sit in Badli Industrial Area which is 40 kilometers away. I took the boss’s Number and he asked me to visit his office.

Now, Badli was an Industrial town and not very easily approachable then.  I had seen a DTC bus pass my house, with BADLI on it. So the next day, I travel 35 kms to reach Badli and realized that my destination is still 5 kms away. With limited money in my pocket and the fear that I may spend all in hiring a rickshaw, I walked a while, took a Lift and again walked a while and reached that Tyre Tube Factory. On Meeting Mr Jain, who was the right Hand of Boss, he told me that they want to order some stuff and asked me to come again with more Samples.

There I go again to Badli after 2 days with a heavy bag flung on my shoulders. And got an order of Rs 50,000/- along with an advance of Rs 10,000/-. The initial order was Rs 35,000/- but me being from a marketing bent of mind, told them that as “Puncture wala bhaiya” is the main influencer, they should give a free Customised Keychain which would tempt the puncture man to sell their product more, which the liked and hence the additional Rs 15000 order.

Lesson: The best of leads happen from the unlikeliest of places. In this case a Directory from Kabarri bazaar.

Every marketing effort may not yield immediate returns. In this case, nil revert to my 100 letters.

If you are willing to take a step ahead towards your Goal, You goal too Reciprocates double. In this case my visit to Karol Bagh.

As it was a big order, I had to loan some amount from my father with a promise to return it within 2 months. Within a month, the goods were delivered and I waited anxiously for my payments. Been 2 months, I kept calling them repeatedly and they had some silly reason or other. When I insisted, they would call me to Badli and Pay Rs 5000/-. And in this way, I was always tense and just wasted all my energies on recovering the payment, rather than utilizing it on getting new orders.

Finally after 6 months of follow up I got my payments, but with this bitter experience, was not as enthusiastic to pursue further.

Lesson : Always share your Experience/Knowledge with your clients that they can gain. In this case Key Chain offer got me 30% additional order. And from their feedback, they achieved 10% additional sales per month after the Key Chain initiative

Never Bet all your Money on one person.

If you have committed a mistake, then Book the Loss and move on, just trying to make it work will not lead you anywhere.  I very clearly remember a story from Mr Kishore Biyani’s Book.  “It Happened in India”.  Betting big on White Shirts, he ordered 1 Lakh White Shirts to be manufactured. And eventually, when they didn’t sell, He decided to call it a mistake and sell it for less than his cost, rather than holding it an waiting for it to sell in 3 years. Not many Companies did this during those days.

In business Ups and Downs happen, don’t be Super Excited or Super depressed with any development.

Honestly, this instance did hurt me a lot and everyone dissuaded me to end this.

And I did what they told me…………….Oriental Sales died…………….and all my hopes of nurturing it into the Best Corporate Gifting Company died too.

Yes, I did Lose a battle, but the Lessons I learnt helped me Win a War!!

Originally Posted at http://therodinhoods.com/profiles/blogs/the-gift-of-lessons-my-gifting-company-taught-me?xg_source=activity on 16 June 2012 at http://www.theronhoods.com

 

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