Socialwoot Ask: How the Career Journey Started? Or Who Inspired You to Start Business / Entrepreneurship?
My journey as an entrepreneur started after I met almost a 1000 entrepreneurs. I was in Onida and handling the investment portfolio of my Chairman, Gulu Mirchandani. As a part of that responsibility, I was making decisions whether to invest in early stage startups or not. I was also handling Mumbai Angels (group of angel investors) operations, and it gave me the experience and urge to become an entrepreneur. What I realized that there are lots of people who want to start, but lack the right training on aspects like business plan, finance, marketing, term sheets, legal etc. and I wanted to make a difference to their abilities.
Share Some Info About Your Products and Services Here….
We conduct short duration, practical and hands-on workshops on subjects like business plan, finance, marketing etc. We do this online as well as offline, and also sell DVDs on these subjects for audiences including startups, professionals and students. Since January, 2010, we have conducted 84 workshops across 25 cities, attended by 1485 participants.
What Was the Vision Mission of the Company? What exactly you Want To Do When You Started Your Business?
The objective of Nurture Talent Academy is to enable 1000 ventures to start, and generate 20000 jobs in next 3-5 years. This is exactly what we have aimed for from the beginning and tried to deliver through our various workshop formats.
What Kind of Difficulties You Had Faced While Starting / Doing Business?
There were lots of difficulties, including lack of awareness about entrepreneurship, marketing to aspiring entrepreneurs, society mindset against doing business, competition from low quality free programs and lack of experts in the area of entrepreneurship. We have been able to overcome some of these and trying to work on the others.
Share With Our Readers About Discovery Period When You Were Facing Difficulties in Your Business?
The discovery period started even before starting our venture. I spend almost 100 days trying to refine my ideas, talked to competitors, tried to partner with few, developed relationships, made business plans and shared issues with mentors. Through the support of well-wishers and friends, we could keep our initial costs low – for example, we did our first few workshops in a friends’ office with no AC but with awesome content and experiencing sharing by serial entrepreneurs. So customers got the value, and after that it spread through word of mouth.
Share With Our Readers About Your Experiment Period After Discovery Period?
As we went through the iterations, we did a lot of changes to exactly match customer expectations. Our first program of 1-month was charged at 25000 Rs, and we got exactly 1 customer – I was very disappointed. Then the next workshop I did a 2 hour session, and priced it at Rs 350 (with snacks and tea!) and we had 15 people attend it. Then we changed the topic and priced it at 400 – and 25 people came. In the next workshop, we increased the duration to 3 hours, and made the price Rs 450, and 22 people attended. After that we moved to another city, and made the duration to 4 hours and started giving our content for free to all attendees and this time priced it at 750 – another 20 people turned up! Now we do a 1-day program for Rs 2500, so it has been quite a few experiments along the way.
What are Your Future Plans? Or now what is Your Vision for Next Five Years?
Our future plans are to take the program to colleges all across the country. We have already identified and appointed 200 campus ambassadors who we will train for starting their ventures, and they in turn will spread the word about entrepreneurship in their colleges. We have also signed MoUs with IIT Bombay and BITS Pilani entrepreneurship cells for training and mentoring their students for business plan competitions. Our next five year objective is the same as we started with – to enable the start of 1000 ventures.
What Will be your Advice/Suggestion for New Entrepreneurs For Starting New Business?
My advice to new entrepreneurs is to move quickly, and act fast – time is of essence. They should not spend too much money but do small experiments and reach out to customers as early as possible.
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