About Me

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Mumbai, India
I run an IT Security consulting firm based out of India. We started off from scratch in 2001 when I was 21, and have offices in Mumbai, Bahrain, and UAE. The idea behind the blog is to share the stories of how we run the business, the deals we make, the deals that break, the heartburn, and the sheer joy.

The Ultimate Startup Guide

The Ultimate Startup Guide is an e-book that provides answers to all your questions related to starting and growing a business in India. Everything you wanted to know about entrepreneurship in India from ideation to registration to marketing to hiring. The book contains a large number of practical examples, anecdotes, interviews, and motivational material to help you get started, and to grow rapidly in a booming Indian economy. If you've got the idea, this book will help you through with the execution and realize your dreams. Here are some of the key questions you will find answered in this book:
  • When starting a business, what are the legal issues involved?
  • What form of incorporation is better suited to which type of business?
  • What tax issues are involved?
  • How do I start a business and what are the pitfalls?
  • How do I market my business in the absence of significant funding?
  • How do I get funded?
  • What are the basic accounting concepts I should be aware of?
  • What is a business plan and how should I build one?
The brief table of contents of the book is as follows:
  1. Getting started
  2. Ideation
  3. Forms of Enterprises
  4. Funding
  5. Basic Accounting and Taxation
  6. Import and Export Licensing
  7. Trademark and Patenting
  8. Rules for NRIs and Foreigners
  9. Building a Business Plan
  10. Marketing on a Shoestring
  11. Website and Branding
  12. Women Entrepreneurs
  13. Templates
To order the Ultimate Startup Guide - email me at kkmookhey@gmail.com.

Details of the book are:
Title: The Ultimate Startup Guide
Author: Kanwal Mookhey
Pages: 150
Additional: Companion CD contains numerous templates for building your business plan, calculating cashflow, preparing profit and loss, and balance sheets, preparing invoices, your resume and profile, marketing material, websites, contracts, and many other useful and motivational material.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Great pieces of advice

When I started the company, I had absolutely no idea on how to provide consulting services, let alone run a business. A lot of people gave us a lot of good advice, and I thought I would list out the more unconventional pieces of advice we received, and immensely benefited from:

  • Never lose goodwill (Dad): My Dad's always been a big proponent of goodwill. I usually am quick off the handle, but he's always stressed the importance of ensuring that any disagreements are handled such that at the end you can always shake hands and walk away without leaving a bad taste. I've tried to adopt this approach with clients, partners and employees, and it's turned out quite well. For instance, on one particular consulting assignment, things unfortunately got very heated up between us and the head of the department we were working with. But later that day, I went around and apologized, and he was more than willing to apologize as well. Today, we have a significant annual consulting contract with the same department.
  • Never let the other guy lose face: This advice has come from quite a few people. During any negotiation or discussion, make sure you don't let the other guy lose face. Even if you win the argument, make sure the other guy doesn't come across looking like a sore loser. No one likes to be pushed against the wall, and in any situation she/he must be allowed to save face.
  • Get a hang of the financial numbers (Dad): Dad's been a financial whiz, and my background has been in technology. But poring over balance sheets, income tax rules, and listening to my accountant discuss depreciation, has forced me to get pretty interested in the financial side of things. Now, I have monthly key parameter reports which give me important numbers such as salaries, fixed expenses, domestic and overseas revenues, cash withdrawn, bank account balances, Internet/mobile/phone/electricity expenses, etc. A general idea of the main rules of taxation and accounting is extremely important when making operational and strategic decisions.
  • Never sell yourself short (Sabeer Bhatia): Yup, that's the dude who sold Hotmail to Microsoft for a neat $400 million. I happened to meet him at one of the rare parties I was at, and went up to him and asked him if he had any advice given I had just started. And that's what he said. Initially, of course, when we didn't have too many options it's difficult to put a very high price on oneself. But we've always avoided going in for low-priced projects, and rejected a couple of pretty-tempting buyout offers along the way as well. In the consulting business, if one does not value one's own time and skills highly, then surely the clients can't be expected to do so.
  • Increase your expenses (Dad): This is the one where I violently disagree with my Dad. His is the pure consumerist approach. Spend now, increase your expenses, increase the pressure to earn more revenues. Mine is the more conservative response: "Dad, I need to see those reserves in my bank, to be able to sleep well at night!". To which, he will usually say, "You should have the confidence in your future earning abilities to not need 6 months' expenses lying idle in your account".
  • Trust your people (Ricardo Semler): The idea that a company can and should be run as a democracy comes from Ricardo Semler's ground-breaking book, "The Maverick". There are no policies, people set their own time to come and go, they are forced to take vacations, the pyramid is a circle, people set their own salaries, and other crazy stuff! As an entrepreneur, the toughest challenge is letting go - letting go of one's own responsibilities and allowing people to flower and learn from their mistakes.
  • Look for people with energy and maturity (Jack Welch): As a consulting company, our valuation comes from the people that work with us. To be able to hire the right talent and attitude among the multitude of applicants, is a skill I am still learning. But Welch, in his book Winning, specifies these two attributes - energy and maturity - as being very important to look out for in potential leaders. Maturity is specially important when the consultant finds himself in a spot of bother on a given project, and needs to handle a delicate situation or reassure a frazzled client.
Feel free to add advice you've received, which has worked for you. There's also a lot of really bad advice we received, and I'll probably post on that as well!

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

'Increase your expenditure and hence your income' - something my mother keeps reiterating as against curbing the former is something that initially threw me off as well, but it definitely works really well in terms of motivation and fuelling innovative ways of doing the same and does away with the inhibiting cut-your-coat-according-to-your-cloth syndrome. Nice post...and could you please revert back to your earlier font? Not sure if its me alone, but this one's a tad difficult to read.

Intrepid said...

@anonymous: I thought my Dad was pretty unique among parents to be pushing their kid to spend more! :) The font screw up was a result of me playing around with the template trying to introduce a second sidebar.

Anonymous said...

The last two points are kinda related,as they deal with the people who help you become successful. You can only trust responsible people so look for people with energy,maturity and a sense of responsibility/ownership towards the company.Good one!

Sony Pony said...

One of the top 5 best pieces of advices I've ever received:

"Don't sweat it, it's not that important"

Kenneth said...

Hi there Intrepid . I am out there searching for the latest information on great home opportunity and found your site. Although this post wasn't exactly what I was looking for, it certainly got my attention and interest. I clearly see why I found your page when I was searching for great home opportunity and I'm glad I stopped by even if it wasn't directly what I had in mind. Keep up your great work.

Anonymous said...

HEY INTREPID
i face the same problem as you have mentioned in that i do not understand financial statements ,balace sheet as i hail froma technical background
can you suggest me some books which can help me or can u put some more light on how did u manage to do the same

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with your Dad's philosophy- Increase Your Expenses to Increase The Pressure to Earn More Revenues.

I have just started my own venture and i am so glad to have come across such useful information for new entrepreneurs like me.

Pranav said...

Hey great package of advice for people like us.
I really feel Sabeer's advice is good to hear but when u start a business, you would love and rather be desperate to do what you get and not stick to your pricings.
Let me know your views on this please.

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