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.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

How I got my bank to straighten up

The story starts in 2004 when I took a 5 year loan against commercial property from KM Bank at 11.25% Rate of Interest (ROI). A year later when I topped up this loan, the first loan had risen to an ROI of 11.75% and the additional amount was given at 12%. I didn't understand how the same bank could give two loans to the same person against the same collateral at 2 different rates of interest?

The rate steadily kept on increasing, till it got to an usurious 15.25% a couple of months ago! When I got the letter from my customer-unfriendly bank, I naturally went into a bit of a depression. Imagine my anger, when a customer service representative called me to ask if I would like to top up the loan again, since the outstanding principal had reduced to a 3rd of the original amount and the property value had gone up!? I shot her an angry email response telling her to basically get lost! Then later, a senior rep came to me and told me to write to UK (the CMD of the Bank for chrisssakes!) and ask for the ROI to be re-negotiated if I agreed to top-up the loan.

None of this obviously worked, until I hired a loan agent to talk to other banks. Within 10 days I got 3 offers, the lowest of which was 11.0% from Barclays! When I informed KM Bank about this, I got an SOS call back from them with a confirmed offer letter reducing my ROI from 15.25% to 11.25% with immediate effect! Since the pre-payment penalty was another 2%, I told the other bank that I would stick with KM. They then re-negotiated down to 10%! I immediately triggered the request for balance transfer from KM to the Barclays and happily paid the 2% pre-payment penalty.

End result: ROI reduced from 15.25% down to 10% in 2 weeks of effort.

Moral of the story: if your bank is sucking your hard-earned money, show them it is a competitive market and you can go to the bank down the street and get a much better deal!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Cauldron of Time

Yesterday, during a random dinner table conversation, the question that was put to me was what do you think your purpose in life is? Ah, the fundamental question we all grapple and often ignore. Without getting too meta-physical about it, I think there is a very simple practical answer to the question. And it is simply – doing what one does to the best of one’s abilities.

I see so many people go through the best years of their lives simply watching the clock. They go to office in the morning, put in the requisite 8 hours and come back in the evening. Same routine repeats day in and day out. But what each one of us needs to realize is that we’ve only got a limited amount of time. When you’re 25, you think the entire world is ahead of you and life is limitless. But as Yudhishthira says in the Mahabharata, “the cauldron of time cooks everyone”.  And that is a universal truth.

So given that you’ve got only a limited amount of time, let’s take that argument further. Let’s say you’ve only got a year to go, before your time is up. Would you now bring the same attitude to work and life that you have right now? Or would you change it drastically? If the answer is that you would change it drastically, then my friend the answer to life’s fundamental question is right in front of your eyes and you’re choosing to ignore it.

When we work for organizations who we think pay us less, or a boss who doesn’t understand us, or an environment which is suffocating, we all have a few choices. And the choice is to simply leave that situation and choose another one. Or to try and change the situation. But, there is a third choice: while we’re in that specific situation, life demands from us that we give it our very best. And that is what life is really all about. If you don’t like your job, change it – but while you’re working, give it everything you’ve got. Or else you’re shortchanging the most important person in the world - you!

If you think your company is short-changing you – think again. Or rather trust greater thinkers to guide you. As Krishna says to Arjuna in the Gita – do your duty because that is what you’ve come on Earth for. Do not think of the fruits of your actions. To give it a more practical twist – I say, do not work simply for the fruits of your labor. Do it for your love of the work itself – do it because it is your bounden duty to do so.

Or else, you’re actually waking up every day and cheating yourself. Every hour and every minute of work that you’re whiling away your time, taking long breaks, chatting, social networking, or not giving your profession your best effort and dedicated focus is a minute that is completely lost, and the biggest loser in this case is you – not your organization, not your team – but you! Because the company will keep going on or shut down – but the best years of your life won’t come back ever.

So go change your job if you’re not happy. But stop cribbing and complaining and cheating yourself out of the only life you’ll ever have.