How to filter Entrepreneurs from Wannapreneurs ?

How to filter Entrepreneurs from Wannapreneurs ?

Entrepreneurship

Background

As a service provider for Web and Mobile Solutions, we interact with many wannapreneurs on a daily basis. Initially it was exciting to discover/discuss new ideas but gradually we needed a way to filter the really serious ones. Below is a hack for it:

wannapreneurs vs entrepreneurs

wannapreneurs (wp): I have this great idea and want to start development immediately.

me: Sure, we might be able to help with it. Please explain the idea.

wp: I want to create an X for Y industry. Do you have any experience in it? Can you help ?

me: Yes, we have worked with multiple startups in Y industry and have successfully completed quite a few projects. Our team members have good functional understanding of the industry. This is our understanding ——-

wp: Thanks. This helps a lot. Which technology should we use ?

me: We have implemented our earlier projects using A,B and C technology. However, we also have expertise on D,E and F.  Final decision on the technology will be yours. Before we continue further discussions, we need to formalize your thoughts and have a document ready to understand the scope of work. It will help in proper estimation, planning and goal setting.

wp: Sure, i’ll get cracking on it and provide you the document by tomorrow EOD.

me: Do you require any help from my side ?

wp: Nothing for now. These inputs are sufficient for me to work on the document.

me: Sounds good. Looking forward to your email.

**2 weeks pass by – No revert**

*me thinking* What could I’ve done better to help the wannapreneur further ?

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Conclusion

To gauge the seriousness of wannapreneurs, ask them to do the smallest of the task. If there is no revert – You’ve saved yourself from wasted efforts in fruitless discussions.

If the wannapreneurs return with a great outcome and same vigor – you have interesting potential client and the opportunity to work with genuine Entrepreneur.

Saying Goodbye to 2016 – An Entrepreneur’s take

Culture, Entrepreneurship, Updates

2016 is being widely labelled as the most disappointing year in recent memory (avoiding extreme terms for the sake of professionalism). The reasons fall heavily across the spectrum: From the geopolitical events, to corporate sluggishness, to unfortunate turn of events and the list goes on and on….

But how was the year for a typical Indian Entrepreneur like me ?

Indian Entrepreneur

Overall it was a difficult year to say the least:

  • The global uncertainties ensured that we were on our toes for the major part of the year
  • The wide fluctuations of growth prospects from extremely positive to utterly depressing gave mixed signals to everyone around us
  • The learnings, un-learnings and re-learnings were steep and didn’t provide us a minute of respite from challenging the status-quo

So what is this all about:

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  • We started 2016 on a very positive note backed by a 100% year on year growth for our company. The team was all set and promising new members were joining the team almost every month. We were falling short of operating space (a difficult but good problem to have), so we expanded our office space
  • The biggest coup of the year was the strategic tie-up with a company in Australia. This helped us to have a physical presence in a developed market. We were able to reach more clients and engage on interesting projects
  • This relationship grew stronger over time and we also had an offshore visit from the Australian partner. Many things were brainstormed during this visit and a mid-term roadmap was chalked out. The team was excited by the interaction with an onsite partner and the new perspectives that they received
  • The projects were pouring in and we were experimenting with new technologies. The formula that we had developed for the last 3 years was working well

What could go wrong, you’d say?

As the year progressed on, we faced some headwinds:

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  • Stressed projects: A couple of projects were proving to be troublesome, we focused our energies on them, took some tough decisions and ensured that the clients are happy with our delivery. After numerous long nights and weekends in office, the projects stabilized. These experiences gave us good insights on our strengths and improvement areas, which we gradually worked on
  • Few unexpected exits: We were largely dependent on the hardworking and dedicated team we had meticulously built over the last 3+ years. Some of the senior members were really showing promise of taking additional responsibilities. But at the same time, they too had to progress in their careers and hence it was with heavy heart that we had to say goodbye to Arpita, Ankur, Bhaskar. We parted ways on a positive note and are still very much in touch
  • Global uncertainties: We started facing hurdles in acquiring projects that should have been a cakewalk a year back. This lead to a sluggish period for operations, so we needed to beef up our sales team to overcome the challenges. We hired a dedicated HR and she helped us to streamline our hiring processes
  • Unprofessional prospects: The most disappointing phase was when we offered a senior sales guy a better package than his expectations, agreed to wait for his 2 months notice period – to be told a day before his joining that he has decided to continue in his current company because he got a hike over the package that we had offered. The issue here was not that he rescinded on his promise to join us, but the time and opportunities wasted in this process. This proved to be a real learning for us and we corrected our hiring process to handle such eventualities
  • Unprofessional member: Have tried to explain it here
  • Few tough decisions: “As an Entrepreneur the toughest decisions of your life, will definitely be related to the Human Resources”. Wrong hires, Engagements stretched beyond their life, Missed hires – are the decisions that you’ll always regret and pay a heavy price for

We too had to take such decisions:

  • A few people were asked to pursue their careers elsewhere. We tried our best to take the most humane approach possible. We gave sufficient indications and opportunity to make corrections, when that did not work we gave all the support in terms of documentations, referrals and monetary support to help in the transition. Some took it professionally, some got emotional. We publicly apologize if anyone feels that we made the wrong decision OR if there were lacks from our side to handle the situation. We are sure, in the long term they will realize that the decision was in their own interest and ultimately helped in pursuing their careers in a more suitable company
  • A prolonged Engagement: We were having a difficult problem with 1 particular team member. Extremely talented, technically superior, good communication skills but a complete mismatch for our Culture. We tried to counsel this team member to smoothen the edges and not create disturbances in our environment. We gave him opportunity on the most sought after projects, gave him unlimited access to office resources to enhance his skills, provided enough chances but still the nagging problem of cultural misfit persisted. It was after hectic discussions and debating tough choices that we decided to ask the member to leave

All along the while, Gyrixians were working hard and partying harder. We had numerous events for Self Improvement,  Winning Documentary Contest, Supporting Social Causes, Foundation Day, Awards, Long Trips, Short Trips, Birthdays, Festive celebrations, Games, Masti etc.

With this, we have reached the climax of the year and you are wondering that I’ve not yet touched upon Brexit and Trump, but there is a particular reason to it. No one can predict how these two events will unfold.

  1. Brexit: Might be bad for the world in general but might be a blessing for Indian IT companies, if the Indian government is able to leverage the situation to our advantage.
  2. Trump: What can I say more that’s not said already? With my limited understanding of Economics and International policy, if he implements all the things he says, the world is heading towards bigger trouble in the next 4 years. For Indian IT companies there are mixed signals. He may hinder IT outsourcing and H1-B, at the same time he might be more favorable towards India vis-a-vis its competitors. So no one knows what lies in store for the Indian IT Industry.

So what is our outlook for the year 2017 ?

“Extreme uncertainty in one variable demands relative stability in others”

With the year closing on uncertain terms, it is better to adjust our plans prudently. We are hopeful that 2017 will be more cheerful and will allow us to pursue our goals without many external considerations. We have ambitious goals and new initiatives to unveil. As always, we are confident that our super dynamic team will be able to pull off any challenge we throw at them.

We thank our team, mentors, friends, well wishers, support network and family for helping us achieve our goals this year. Here’s to more Growth and Entrepreneurial dynamism in the coming Year !!!

We wish everyone a Great Year Ahead !

Happy New Year