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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.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Married to your idea?

I just had an epiphany of sorts a few days back.

I was attending a TIE forum meeting, when Manak Singh, the convener of the forum and I began exchanging notes on business in general. And he told me that at an earlier TIE conference, they had invited Vivek Paul of Wipro. One of the key things Paul said was that the problem with a lot of Indian entrepreneurs is that they often get married to the idea with which they start their business.

They first decide that they are going to sell a particular service or product, and then go out to look for a market for that service or product. The way it should ideally work is an outside-in approach, where you first see what the market really demands and then try and deliver that, instead of an inside out approach.

The entire discussion started when Manak Singh asked me about scalability, and I said pure security consulting services does not seem to have the ability to scale - the market demand does not enable the kind of growth that I would ideally like.

I then took this discussion to our annual bootcamp, where once a year we all meet and present on various topics, and throw ideas around. When I presented the vision for the next 3 years, the teams started to question our ability to achieve the numbers based on pure consulting services, and then the suggestions started to pour in. We need to go beyond just pure advisory services, get into implementation, product reseller-ship, and maybe even into network and system integration.

I'll keep posting on how the expansion plans work out, but I got a good feel about this. Although, we might have been earlier leaving money on the table by not aggressively pursuing other projects, it won't be the case any longer!

So maybe a key question that an entrepreneur needs to ask is whether they are the only buyers of their idea. And maybe even more importantly this is a question that entrepreneurs need to keep asking throughout the lifetime of their companies. I could quote a couple of very interesting examples here: Nokia started off as a wood-pulp unit, then was bought over by a rubber manufacturing company, and then merged with a company manufacturing telephone cables. This fusion company was manufacturing paper products, bicycle and car tires, footwear (including Wellington boots), personal computers, communications cables, televisions, electricity generation machinery, capacitors, aluminium, etc.

Another intriguing example is 3M, their most popular product being the Post-It notes. Very few people would know that the name 3M stands for Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, which went through a financial crunch, got out of the mining business, and became what it is today because the people running the company did not feel that they had to remain "loyal" to the original idea! Read about its fascinating history here.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting read.

1. Just curious - Don't you think there's a conflict of interest in pure advisory services and product reseller-ship?

If you look at any value map in consulting, you have strategy -> implementation -> ongoing support. If you're a Consulting firm in the niche area of Security Consulting, then if I were you, I'd target the strategy market. Agreed, you will have competition from the Big 4s, but you also have the ability to scale up or down for the mid-sized market.

Its how you differentiate yourself and package your service offering.

2. You seem like a one-man show - clients always want to see a core-team. Something to think about as you scale up.

Good luck!

Kanwal K Mookhey said...

Hmm..interesting. I'd say we'll go in for strategy, plus security/network implementation. The Big 4 have already diversified into strategy consulting, so even they see issues in scalability with just infosec advisory services.

As to the conflict of interest, I think its how you present it to a client. I used to think that might be a showstopper, but it really doesn't appear to be so.