Strategy for Startups – An Upcoming and Insightful Mentoring Session

Is your product compelling enough to solve a real problem ?
Do you have enough users who care about what you have to offer ?
What problem are you solving for today’s users of your product
What in your product is truly differentiated in the market to solve this problem. Does it solve deep issues for your potential customers ?

– How is it different from what is already existing in the market ?

If one or more of these are part of what you are asking yourself OR you are looking for clarity, then join us
March 18th to triggert thought and have an insightful interactive discussion with one of our mentors Rakesh Mishra, Co- Founder and Director of Excubator

Rakesh MIshra.jpg

Rakesh Mishra, Co-FOunder, Excubator

 

 

Rakesh Mishra is Co-Founder & Director at Excubator.org, an organisation that assists entrepreneurs and enterprises to multiply their business value and build world-class businesses. His area of specialisation are incubating advance technology based businesses, innovation portfolio management, technology research and delivery scale-up. Rakesh is also the co-founder of the PAN IIT nation building program ‘IIT Mentors’. He has been engaging with various IIT institutions and IIT alumni community as part of this program to develop the mentoring hubs across the country.

Rakesh brings 20+ years of industry experience that cuts across wide spectrum of industry verticals, technology platforms and geographies.
Rakesh is heading the HackSpace (AI-ML-IoT incubator) program at Excubator. He works very closely with Technology focused MNCs to help them evaluate and engage with innovative startups. Rakesh is advisor to SIDBI for their startup ecosystem development program and also leads SIDBIStartupMitra.in platform initiative to collaborate with various central and state government bodies and industry bodies.

As a professional coach, Rakesh has touched lives many senior executives for assisting them with their personal development, job satisfaction challenges and corporate-to-startup transition readiness. Rakesh is recognized as one of the top Gamification experts in India. Rakesh is a graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.

We are very happy to have Rakesh lead this discussion on March 18th, and open it up to you all to engage.

See you

To know more about what we do check us out on facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/vibhawomen/

#iamvibha #vibhawomen #startegyforstartups

 

 

 

 

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Coaching is Much Deeper Than You Think!

Coaching is focused on enabling you to get a grip on your self, gain more and more clarity about what you want ( career goals) and then..the most valuable part of the master plan
Actioning everything you outline in your framework!
download (1)
 
Do not assume that a coach is some random image consultant who helps you with your hair and make-up and gets you all ‘poised’ for success
😦 Such a disappointing reputation some folks have built around this heavily responsible role.
Events are doled out by the dozen, but carry nothing fleshy in it. facades are great to show, but they will eventually crash if substance is missing.
 
Your name and reputation will carry you only that much farther, until people begin to see through the cracks and holes!!
 
And yes.
A coach can listen to your troubles ( personal woes and downfalls) -but only for the first leg of the process. No wallowing, it’s just not done!
Your coach has a responsibility to ensure you KEEP GOING!
 
That you are on track, no matter what!
 
And that you will carefully, patiently stay the course everyday!
download
 
Take sports and coaching and you will associate a person who is there to get your prepped, help you stay focused and make sure your thoughts and actions are goal- oriented!
 
Don’t you think your careers and business ventures need that ?
 
Don’t you think you as an entrepreneur need that too?
 
There is nothing frivolous about the role a coach plays in your life and for your career- growth !
 
Take yourself seriously – things will materialize ! 🙂
The author is a Coach and Educationist
twitter: CarolineVibha
Caroline Fernandes
 

“Women need to be bold enough to handle difficult situations” says Shatomita Sudippto Ghosh who got out of her comfort zone and started Sponsor Source and MarkXchange

Shatomita Sudippto Ghosh is the founder of Sponsor Source, which helps event enthusiasts to market and get sponsorship for events and MarkeXchange, an education and collaboration platform for marketers.

Vibha is excited to feature Shatomita’s entrepreneurial journey in our #ShareYourStory series!

Enter Shatomita

Shatomita

I was born and brought up in Calcutta. I completed my graduation and management studies from University of Calcutta and landed in Bangalore to join a newspaper publication. For the next ten years, I worked in media and advertising industries for various leading brands and agencies such as Bates, GroupM, Business Standard, Nortel Avaya, Economic Times, Dell etc. Before starting Sponsor Source in 2014 and MarkeXchange in early 2015, I was the Group Manager at one of the leading advertising agencies.

My parents had always taught me to think and dream on my own. My father was a journalist and my mother was in the central government. My upbringing was very liberal. It was at that young age when my parents had injected in me the dream of thinking big. They had taught me how to think, but never what to think. They have always allowed me to take my own decisions in life. I’ve faced many challenges and setbacks in life so far. The strong support from my family and my internal force has helped me get up and move further.

I’m a mother of a six year old boy. I love music and am a trained vocalist. I love to perform only in a close gathering of my friends. While singing gives me an inner peace, playing adventure sports give me energy. I volunteer at Headstart Foundation and am also a member at eMERG.

The path to entrepreneurship

I’m a first generation entrepreneur. I always had a dream to start my own venture. I had the idea of SponsorSource and thought that it made a good business sense. So I started. Leaving the job was an overnight decision. My husband was not in favor of my sudden decision. He asked me to take some time, but I thought if I could not leave then, I could not ever come out of the comfort of earning a good salary! I did not think. I quit in November 2013. The company name was decided in December and the first website of Sponsor Source was launched on February 2014. Since then, its been a roller coaster ride. Gradually, I have been able to gain support and acceptance from them. Now, we are at the transition phase and continuously trying to improve ourselves.The Markexchange idea came in as I progressed.

About Sponsor Source

sponsorsourceI started Sponsor Source with the idea of bridging the gap between the event organizers and the enterprises who are willing to sponsor events. Sponsor Source is on a mission to make the unorganized domain of event sponsorship, a transparent and data driven one by creating a platform. This tool is for the marketers of large enterprises and SMBs to help and quicken their decision regarding their event participation. This is at an early stage, however the company has been generating revenues. Sponsor Source has handled CeBIT India which is a global brand in technology events and successfully connected them with enterprises and also generated revenues for the event organizer.

SS Stall

Sponsor Source stall at CeBIT India

MarkeXchange is for marketers

markexchange

MarkeXchange is an educational platform, a platform for marketers, a social initiative where the marketers can exchange views and experiences on marketing trends and realities, learn from each other and become better informed in the process. This is where the real issues faced by the marketers come to the fore. Well known marketing strategists, senior professionals and thought leaders from India and abroad, are the speakers in the Markexchange Forum, sharing their knowledge and insights on marketing.

meetup

Markexchange Meetup

Challenges

I am facing similar challenges that every entrepreneur faces after starting up. There are endless challenges in building a company.

Initially, I had frictions within the family. Few told me that I was crazy and others said, it was just my hobby, so I should come out of it soon and asked me to be back to the corporate job.

As its a bootstrapped venture, finance is a major issue. Those months are tough when revenues are low. Right now I cannot invest in good resource and hence depending on freshers & interns and they are highly volatile.

Customer acquisition is another challenge. We are literally operating with zero marketing budgets. Presently, this is a service where there’s cent percent human engagement and intervention is involved. Hence, through our personalized services, we also help event organizers to connect with the interested enterprises who are willing to sponsor the event. As its a completely new idea of raising sponsorship funds online for events, the event organizers often mistake SponsorSource as a sponsorship agency which is into the business of manually generating sponsorship funds for the events. This can only be overcome by building an automated application and we have started working on it.

Its difficult to get the people who believe in my idea, my dream and make their own. Building up the core trustworthy team is a challenge. In one year, the people I trusted to be in the core team, did not sustain for long. Their interest level dropped and they could not perform as they were looking for immediate returns which is not possible in a start up. The situation of a start up is totally different than a traditional business.I am building up my team again and looking for these soul mates.

As a founder of a startup I’ve learnt to do many new things which I never did before, like designing the mailers, implementing other online marketing tactics etc.

Adverse situations aside, I should also mention situations where people have helped me unconditionally and I have received their valuable feedback.

Getting the word out

I used networking predominantly. Before I launched, I started talking about my venture to the people where I went and the events I attended.

The cheapest marketing for any startup is distributing the founder’s business card and I was effectively doing the follow ups afterwards.

The circle had increased gradually. Participating in an events like CeBIT Bangalore ITe.Biz and few more has given us good visibility. I’ve also used social media to spread the word.

Inspiration

Fortunately, I have come across people (men and women) who are the achievers and rock stars after years of struggles. They keep inspiring me. However, I respect Ms. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and have had my dose of motivation from favourite books like Choose Yourself, Built to Sell, Lady you are not a man, The Secret and Mastery among others

On women in entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is gender neutral. Women should earn their place by respect and by their capabilities. Women need to be bold enough to handle difficult situations. They should not let people to take advantages of them just because women are more emotional and sensitive. Rather they should convert these qualities as their strengths. Women should stop doing negative self-talk.

These days where there’s plenty of options available and getting confused is easy. Hence focus is important and they should also find a good mentor. I can tell you few things what personally I believe.I do not believe in shortcuts or in overnight successes.


Vibha thanks Shatomita for sharing her story with us and wishes her all the best with her businesses!

Please use the following links to learn about MarkeXchange and Sponsor Source!

MarkeXchange

www.markexchange.in

https://www.facebook.com/markexchange

https://twitter.com/markxchange

https://www.linkedin.com/company/markexchange

Sponsor Source

www.sponsorsource.in

https://www.facebook.com/SponsorSource

https://twitter.com/SponsorSource

https://www.linkedin.com/company/sponsor-source

https://plus.google.com/b/100881096157659372960/100881096157659372960

Contact for business enquiries

shatomita@sponsorsource.in

080 32328393 / +91 8971669615

A business must either solve a problem or satisfy a need. Pustaka does both!

A great business idea is nothing but finding a solution to a problem that you as an individual face and know that there is a market for this solution. Your idea gets validated when others facing the same problem are excited about your solution and are willing to pay for it. 

In our Share Your Story series that aims to showcase women entrepreneurs, we are excited to share the story of Pustaka!

Nivetha Padmanaban is founder of Pustaka, a one-stop ebook shop focused on vernacular Indian languages.

Thanks to Nivetha for volunteering to share the story.

nivetha

My native is Madurai, Tamil Nadu. I graduated MCA from Madurai Kamaraj University in 1998. I worked at various IT companies for 15 years and worked for 9 years with ThoughtWorks, Bangalore. My stay with ThoughtWorks gave me good exposure in all verticals and few of my ex-TWer friends quit and started their own startup. That is how I got to know about startup world and the challenges in that world. The challenges involved in making the startup always attracted me. Being a TWer means it involves lots of travel and I saw this problem of non-availability of regional language books for Indians living in other countries. We are solving so many complex problems for the client and I thought why not solve our problem using same skills and technology. So I decided to start this venture to experience the startup world and provide a technology solution for book lovers.

The gap

I love to read books in my native language (Tamil) more than any other language. Since the age of 10, as soon as I pick up a book, I forget the world around me. I terribly missed them whenever I travel to other countries. Friends living in other countries also shared the same pain. That’s how I decided to start my own venture on ebooks focused on Indian languages.

After the first article about us, I received many mails from different countries appreciating the effort and idea. I always knew there is a gap, but I realized the need is much more than I thought.

About Pustaka

pustaka logo for web

Pustaka aims to be a one-stop shop for readers of any language of India. We hope to digitize some of the rare literary works so that these priceless collections can be preserved for the future generations. But underlying all these ambitions is our burning desire to enable readers to have ready access to books that they want to read no matter where they are.  An E-book shop for vernacular Indian languages. These e-books are available for purchase as well as lending.

Pustaka boasts of books in Tamil, Kannada,Telugu and Malayalam languages by well known authors such as Subha, Pattukottai Prabhakar, Kalki, Vimala Ramani, Yandamoori Veerendranath, E Santhosh Kumar, Sivasankari, Kommuri Venugopal Rao, Shyamala Madhav and many more!

Overcoming Challenges

My business involves lots of manual typing work, where one has to manually type the complete printed book into Word to create the ebook. I am dealing with 4 different languages and thousands of books. I tried so many options including outsourcing, part-time employees, full-time employees etc. Finally, I addressed this by delegating to college girls from poor family backgrounds. This income helps their family and fund their studies and they are very committed. I am happy that this small income helps them to continue their studies.

Traction

Pustaka is still new and I am trying various marketing strategies to reach book readers. To be honest, I still have not found the strategy which works for me. But, I understand this is something which I have to keep trying till I find something that works for me.

My Role Model

My friend Savita Rao who is no more. I learned how to be self-confident, the importance of self-respect, to make bold decisions, to sometimes ignore people and move-on, the importance of keeping your dreams alive and many many more aspects of life.

Dear Women Entrepreneurs

Women form half of the population, which means that much potential is untapped.

According to me, women are natural leaders, they have great focus, very passionate at what they do and good at handling multiple tasks at the same time. Women can achieve much much more if they understand their potential.

My only advice is, there is no good or bad time to start your own. Start NOW, then you will find ways to solve the problems as and when it comes. In this internet era, mompreneurs has various opportunities which provides the flexibility they want.

“Fail Fast” is the mantra which I follow all the time.

 


Spread the word about the story by liking/commenting/sharing!

We encourage our readers to check out Pustaka’s website and social profiles for more details!

Website: http://www.pustaka.co.in/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PustakaDigitalMedia

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pustakabook

Hasovan is a “laughing” matter!!!

Hosamane J Savitha is an Instrumentation Engineer by qualification and a Laughter Engineer by choice, pursuing her passion of dressing up people with their SMILES to share health and longevity.  Savitha is the Founder & Director of Hasovan, which is an emotional wellness company.

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Savitha has always wanted to be her own boss. Hence she started a graphic design and publishing unit after her engineering and pursued it for 10 yrs. She later ventured into the corporate sector for 5 years across semi-conductor and mobile app development with exposure to both hardware and software platforms.

We thank Savitha for sharing her story of how Hasovan came about.

The AHA moment

When I was running my graphic design venture i realized I was giving shape and form to someone else’s dream.

I reached a point where I just wanted to follow my heart and give shape to my dream and nothing else mattered.

I remember the day I was madly searching for a job in the middle of the night and my friend who came online pushed the notion of starting my own venture. I was not ready at that moment as I felt I had no idea and no money to start off on my own. The next morning when I held the dream paper that I had written 6 months ago, I knew what I was looking at. That was the AHA moment!

I decided to walk the road less traveled to harness the inner healing through laughter, meditative concepts and therapies and finally started my dream venture – HasovanIt is my creative expression combined with my strength of laughter that brought out the “out of the box” concept. The idea and the craving to implement the concept has been done with passion, devotion, commitment and dedication. 

Looking back, I realize that laughter has always been my strength. Whenever I was in a challenging situation, I have always laughed it off.

I remember, once at school I was caught laughing in the class and my teacher asked me to go and sit in a park and laugh to my heart’s content. In college, when i was caught laughing, the teacher asked the whole class, “what do you call people who laugh for no reason”? and the whole class screamed “Mad!!!”. It happened at work too! I was caught sleeping once and when my manager asked me, I laughed at it. My manager said “it is no laughing matter”.

Laughing during stressful situations led my sub-conscious mind to pave the mantra of “Laugh at challenges of Life”.

This same mantra is what has been advocated in Hasovan too.

About Hasovan

logo1Hasovan Pvt. Ltd is an emotional wellness company where laughter and humor are the tools used to boost happiness, productivity and creativity to attain work-life balance.

Hasovan provides solutions to enhance wellness through laughter. An innovative company, first in the entire world dedicated to harnessing the power of laughter.

Hasovan focuses on 5W s and 1H of laughter

• Why you must laugh?
• What happens when you laugh?
• Where should you laugh?
• Which are the ways to laugh?
• Whom should you laugh at?
• How to harness the power of your laughter?

Laughter has tremendous benefits physically, mentally, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. These benefits of laughter can be explored and experienced by a person through our products and services, which in our terminology we call it as Mantras (concepts), Yantras (devices) and Tantras (techniques).

Hasovan is into Product Development and Emotional Wellness Program verticals.

Hasovan Products

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The Laughing chair is an intelligent seating arrangement for relieving stress. This invention relates to a tickle and relaxation inducing chair arrangement. It is designed to improve health and well being of a person through laughter. The prototype is currently patent pending (Indian Patent Application No.: 1350/CHE/2012 dated April 03, 2012)

Laughter Quotient Android App (soon to be released in Google Play) helps in determining the laughter quotient of a person. The laughter quotient is affected by many factors and a check for every 2-3 months once is advised so as to mark the improvement and move towards inner happiness. This application can be used on mobiles, tablets and desktop computers.

Hasovan intends to come out with various other innovative bio-medical products to trigger and induce laughter.

Hasovan Services

Wellness Programs: Unique Wellness programs range from 2 hours to 2 days and cater to educational institutions, corporate, hospitals and old age homes.

session

Wellness Laughter sessions are the obvious choice for anyone to improve emotional well-being and enhance their work productivity and explore their creativity. The tips and techniques shared can be used anywhere, anytime to attain body-mind balance. Focus will be towards transforming negative energy and emotions to creative energy through self-awareness. The sessions also address areas such as

  • Emotional health (Emotional Intelligence)
  • Stress Busting
  • Connecting & Communicating with self and others
  • Team Bonding to strengthen relationships

The Challenges

As the emphasis was towards products and research, building an innovative bio-medical product (laughing chair) involved lot of background work and inputs from both doctors and engineers. The product development started and had its own limitations in terms of robotics and achieving certain features like noise reduction and camera resolution for both video and audio capturing. As the entire project was being self-funded, the financial strain for sustenance was also an added constraint. The functional prototype was finally ready with scope for improvement in further versions. The product collaboration with other research/educational institutes is now being explored.

Innovative research products could not fetch instant revenue. Hence we decided to venture into services sector in addition to product development.

Services in the form of wellness programs for mental well being is being received extremely well. Lots of promotional programs for varying age groups were conducted to understand the need. We noticed that there is a huge requirement for a service such as ours!

Startups cannot afford people with high salaries and growth becomes slow. Collaborative ventures are the way to overcome the challenges

Marketing Strategies

References, Word of mouth, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Free Ads etc were used to get the word out.

Role Models

My maternal grandfather who was the first generation entrepreneur is my role model. He passed away many years ago, however his “never say die attitude” in challenging situations is always something I draw inspiration from.

Many have played a role in the shaping of Hasovan in the form of advisors, mentors and have an inspiration to me throughout. The list would be endless. I’ve found Steve Jobs, Walt Disney and Edison to be very inspiring. The journey so far has been a huge learning experience.

Advice to Women Entrepreneurs

Discover your passion! What is it that your heart longs for? When you know the answer “Go for it” for there will be no looking back from that moment on wards. Nothing and nobody can stop you! 🙂


Please check out the links below or contact Savitha for more details about Hasovan’s products and services!

www.hasovan.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hasovan

https://twitter.com/HasovanPvt

https://in.linkedin.com/pub/hosamane-savitha/12/70a/bb

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3ycT0D_DVo

For Business inquiries

Email: savitha@hasovan.com , savitha777@gmail.com

Phone: +919844419084