About Me

My photo
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, May 09, 2008

Narayana Murthy on Entrepreneurship

I was privileged to attend an interview of Narayana Murthy, the co-founder of Infosys Technologies. The interview session was part of a "Leaders and Learners" session organized by TIE at Welingkar's Institute in Mumbai. Murthy was interviewed by Anuradha Sengupta of CNBC TV18, and a select panel of entrepreneurs. Then the forum was thrown open to questions asked by the audience. Here were some of the key takeaways from this brilliant and humor-filled session:

Q. What does it take to start your own venture?
NM: You need 4 things before you can think of starting your own venture:
1. Idea. The key idea or concept of the service or product you want to sell in the market
2. Market value of the idea. You must have a basic level of confidence in the fact that the market values your product and is willing to pay for it.
3. Team. You must have a team of complementary skillsets - so identify your own strengths, and find people who have different, but complementary strengths.
4. High aspirations. You must be someone who sets his/her sights high, and is willing to work very hard to achieve those aspirations.

Q. What must a startup do for branding?
NM: Do unusual things. Infosys has always attracted the press and positive publicity by doing unusual things, which interest people.

Q. Who were your idols or people you looked up to?
NM: When we started our business, there were already well-established business leaders who had founded and expanded their companies while sticking to sound ethical principles - JRD Tata, even Mr. Birla, TVS, Mr. Kirloskar. Of course, by that time Bill Gates had also become well-known. Intel was one of the foremost examples of success for most security companies to follow.

Q. What is a non-negotiable component when starting your own business?
NM: A sound value system. You have to lead by example, you must walk the talk, eat your own dogfood. Only when will your team trust you implicitly, and only then will they deliver and help achieve the common goals.

Q. What are the characteristics of a successful entrepreneur?

  • Ability to work with other people and work in a team
  • Passion and will to persevere
  • High degree of optimism
  • High aspirations for oneself and for the company
  • Ability to put long-term interest ahead of short-term benefit

Q. How do you judge the value of your idea?
NM: You should be able to express your idea and its value to the market in a simple sentence. Not a compound sentence, nor a complex sentence.

Q. How do you attract and retain talent?
The leadership must articulate a grand vision - an exciting future. This will create a challenging work culture and attract future leaders to the company. The vision must be a story that is compelling, believable, and intrigues and excites the minds of the team members.

Q. What do you think about work-life balance?
I remember K V Kamath's answer to this question: first let's make a life, then think about work-life balance. I don't understand the concept of a work-life balance.

Q. How do you define success, and at what stage did you consider yourself successful, and why?
NM: I have thought a lot on this subject, and my definition of a successful person is one who when he/she walks into a room, people's eyes light up. If he/she brings a smile to people's faces, then irrespective of whether that person is educated, not educated, self-employed, employed, I would still consider that person to be successful. And going by that definition, I am still not sure whether I would consider myself as being successful.

Interestingly, Murthy's favorite books are Richard Feynmann's "Lectures on Physics", and "History of Mathematics" vols 1,2,3.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

How to get started on your own business

Just a quick short post to answer a number of similar sounding emails I get on how to really get started on one's own business. Here's the lowdown on the logical flow of any enterprise from birth to growth.

  • Ideation. The idea is the key. First come up with what you want to sell. Whether it is a product or a service or a combination of both. The main thing is to come up with an idea or a set of ideas.
  • Marketability. The next step is to test the market for the viability of your idea. Before you quit your job or your college or even your current venture to start a business, you must have a reasonable amount of confidence that the idea works. You might even be looking at funding, so before you approach friends/family/VCs you should be convinced yourself that your idea has a market.
  • Team. This is a tough ask. But if it is possible you should put together a team that complements your skills. So for instance if you are technically very good, find out someone who is good at marketing, and if possible, also someone who is good at finances. When I started out, I filled in the technical strength, and my father was around for the financial part. We still remained weak on the marketing front, and it took us quite a few years to fix that.
  • Business plan. The next step is to articulate your idea. To put together a formal business plan which outlines your main idea, lists out potential target markets, the resources required to bring the idea to fruition, the competition you face, a SWOT analysis, projected cash-flow for the next 2-3 years, and most importantly your team profile.
  • Funding. You may or may not need funding. So this stage would be one where you go out and seek the minimum amount of money that you need to start off your business.
  • Registration & Incorporation. There are legal formalities to be completed before you start on your own business. For a sole proprietorship, there is not much to do, but for private limited there is quite a bit of paperwork you will need to get done.
  • Stationery & Website. You will have to get your basic marketing material in place - a website, visiting cards, logo, letterheads, etc.
  • Execution. This is the rest of your life - beat the pavement trying to get clients, call up all your contacts, try to advertise and market your services/products in the best manner possible, land a few deals, execute on them, invoice them, get the money in the bank, go treat yourself to a nice dinner somewhere!