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, 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 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

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Chase excellence, and customers will chase you.


One of the biggest lessons I learnt early on in my career is that it is vital to be excellent in whatever you do.

This applies equally to any sphere of activity, anything that you do. I have observed (in my own life and in that of others) that it is important to first identify what you are good at, what you have a flair for and then simply keep getting better and better at it. This means that rather than take up many different things and try to do them all (and hope that you’d succeed in them and make money), it is better to sharpen your focus on the one or two things you can do well. The key word here is ‘focus’.

We live in times of overload. There is information overload, choice overload, competition overload, confusion overload, distraction overload, everything overload. And as God is my witness, there is mediocrity overload.

In this context, it is very easy to get railroaded by things that won’t really get you anywhere in life. It is also very easy to get lost in the sea of humanity.

Which is why it is important for us to beat this ‘overload’ tendency by focusing. By saying a loud ‘NO’ to anything that doesn’t make sense to us.

In these times of overload, the only way to stand out is to specialize in something, become the expert in something. This is all the more relevant for an entrepreneur. All entrepreneurs have to hustle, irrespective of what they offer – hustling is a reality for us. But, it is important to hustle on the bedrock of domain expertise. You may be offering financial consulting, software products, landscaping, catering, fashion accessories, sports equipment, whatever.

The point is, are you a specialist, an expert in your field?

If your answer to this question is ‘yes’, you have a great chance of differentiating yourself from the crowd.

You can command a price premium from your customers with great confidence; your customers are more likely to keep coming back to you and to refer you to people they know. All this will positively impact your venture.

But, if your answer to the question is ‘no’, you have some more ground work to do. You have to learn some more, speak to experts in the field, take more customer feedback about your offering – in a nutshell, you have to upgrade yourself and your offering.

To summarise: ‘Pursue excellence in your field. And customers will automatically start pursuing you.’


Ganesh Vancheeswaran is co-founder of Vibha Women. He is also an author, branding specialist, freespirit, mountain man and occasional nitwit.

Ganesh 2 (1)




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Owning It – It really is More Than a Title

Should leaders ( everyone is a leader in their own right. Anything we are responsible for, turns out, it becomes ours to own, ours to deliver and ours to also learn from ) be OK NOT KNOWING ?

I mean, we are living in a day and age where fundamentals in business and / or even in a corporate setting can make our lives easier if we equipped ourselves with ‘knowing the HOW TO…’

Whenever I hear folks say – I don’t know and walk away, to me that tells me
– This thing you’re doing? It just isn’t THAT important to you
– You wanna pass the buck on
– You think you’re ABOVE it ( Heaven knows how – pun intended )

And then we whine, complain and shout from the rooftops about how ‘ Noone’s helping me’.

Are you serious???

If this ‘thing’ really really matters enough
– You WILL make it happen
– You will learn
– You will not be ashamed to say , ‘ I DON’T KNOW’
– You will push yourself out there to get the job done

Some of you reading this might think this sounds pretty dictatorial. It’s cool. i’ve really been labelled worse…

But, palming off a job, procrastination and just plain ol’ shoddy work is just unimpressive.

I think as entrepreneurs, we are responsible 24/7.

Because its ours.
Because we wanted it bad enough to get it off the ground.
And because we owe it to ourselves to finish what we started.



The author, Caroline Fernandes, is an Educationist and Social Entrepreneur

twitter: Carolinevibha

Caroline Fernandes

Seriously, Intelligence is Over-Rated.

I used to wonder where the point of getting good to great would happen.

I mean, how do you know when you’re getting really really good at what you’re doing?

Simple. You’ll find people, a steadily growing number of them actually, will want to meet you. Not because you’re known or something, and yeah, that happens to happen anyway, but because what you do is getting the results people want.


So, we are seeing a lot of tense hesitation with women when they transition between where they are, to where they need to be. The Real versus the Ideal states.

We find that all this is to a very large extent, a state of mind.

Through our interviews, discussions, coaching and events, more and more we are realizing women do not take the step into the unknown, simply because it’s the unknown.

Sure, you’re probably thinking how is this different from the way men think, correct?

Correct. To look at it from the surface it is human nature to resist change and resist it we will. Excuses, delays, avoidance and denial flood our minds and stop us dead in our tracks, sometimes self-indulgence in opting to be mentally paralyzed too.

But, studies have shown that when it comes t0 us women, these challenges tend to take on a slightly if not grossly skewed shape. We have a gender based lens that enables us to perceive events that lead us to go into self- deprecation. We bring ourselves down, and filter situations from this world view.

In due course this takes us into a loop which stops us from progressing to getting to that ‘ really really good space’ aka, becoming experts at what we do.

Some of of the basics that can incrementally lead to disengaging this thought process are:

  1. Developing a clear Leadership Vision
  2. Self- Confidence Building
  3. Understanding what Success Means to us
  4. Networking
  5. Influencing and negotiating
  6. Others

We invite yoou to take notice of the fact that core skills around what you do have consciously not been mentioned here, as we consider that a given for success.

Over the course of the next few weeks, we at #VibhaWomen plan on addressing these facets via our workshops that will work in tandem with more sharing of thoughts and experiences that you can read here as well.


Join us either at our workshops or read more about this here shortly.

We also invite you to share your own thoughts around this.

More to follow, see ya soon.


The author is an Educationist, Social Entrepreneur and Coach

Twitter: #CarolineVibha

#iamvibha #vibhawomen #carolinecaresfernandes

Caroline Cares Fernandes

Building Momentum is not the end, but a stepping stone for you to move on.

A startup has this really high-performance, small but packed with punch, think-while-you-run sort of feel to it.

The energy and dynamism that comes with the turf can be a exhilarating and palpable.

Look back on any business you know of, regardless of the size of the organization, and you will find that the greatest learning and innovation occurs during the ‘ramp-up mode’ stage of operations, not the plateau.

While the idea we have as entrepreneurs slowly comes to life, you will feel a tug of temptation towards slowing down to celebrate your accomplishment. It’s at this point, you do something that’s the exact opposite. You don’t. You don’t stop. But you do stay grounded. Because when you begin to look real hard you start to realize how those tiny triggers of growth are just what you need to propel you forward.

Which means, you stop to take stock of what’s happening, to ask those vital questions of –

Am I on track?

Am I doing what is necessary to make a positive difference?

Do I have the right attitude towards myself and others?

How are my influencing skills? Am I prepared to speak to known and  unknown people in a manner that is compelling, concise and engaging?

If you are able to answer some of these questions, that’s when you will realize that building momentum and bridging gaps are an on-going process. You will flow with it. You will make changes. You will recap. You will churn.

And to stay relevant is everything for your customer and to you.


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The author is a Social Entrepreneur & learner.

twitter: CarolineVibha


Synchronicity at Work

I have a penchant for motivational gurus. I think they have an invisible link to spirituality or the metaphysical in some way. Although in today’s day and age we would prefer to look at things from a more mainstream perspective this may be frowned upon, the patterns are surprisingly overwhelming.

On reading Marshall Goldsmith’s – ‘Triggers’, I really took to the topic on Over-planning and Under-doing which further brought me to the realization that as entrepreneurs we often do just that.

It’s OK if we want to remain as is. But with a world that’s always moving, a dynamic status quo will be more integral for the smart and strategic planner.

Know the Core

I think a good point to begin with is yourself- as an entrepreneur, more than any other way of earning – this stands the test of time,time and again. And this is only because with time, everything changes so knowing what is your constant and what drives you, allows you the time and space, at the right points to direct your thoughts, efforts and impact towards where your philosophies and values lie, deep at the very core.

Over- planning and Under-doing

Although a lot has been talked about at length, about planning, I think planning after a point is over-rated. It’s good to have a map and a vision of your enterprise, your goals and keep touching base to ensure you are on track, you will realize that the proof is in the pudding. Execution will always get you there faster and is tangible when it comes to how much impact you are creating for yourself, your team and your customer.

If we set out having too many expectations, this brings with it frustration, anxiety and much more angst. The key is small steps, one day at a time. And to take stock regularly.


Which brings us to the most important part of how things get done. The sequence of events and how they unfold. Ever been in a situation where you wanted to do something and it sort of falls in your lap? You were thinking of calling a customer or supplier whom you’ve been out of touch with, and strangely they call you up first? Coincidence? Maybe. Accident? No chance.

mage from Zur Psychologie und Pathologie sogenannter occulter Phänomene: eine psychiatrische Studie by Carl Jung (1902)

Image from Zur Psychologie und Pathologie sogenannter occulter Phänomene: eine psychiatrische Studie by Carl Jung (1902)

Carl Jung spoke at length about this concept and how things manage to unfold when you want something or think about something. It’s important to understand this as is – a concept and unless you have experienced ( or keep experiencing this) you may opt to label it as nonsense. But many many people go through this, many times over. Process mapping is built on it. it’s not as complex a phenomenon , but writing does have a powerful effect on the fact that – ‘if you write it down, it gets done’

So, these steps I spoke of? Knowing yourself, envisioning and letting things unfold are inter-connected and will continue to intensify. No matter at what stage of life you are at.

So, start-up wise, keep going, your discoveries about what you can do will reveal themselves the more you put yourself out there.

Caroline Cares Fernandes

The writer is a social entrepreneur and a curious learner

You can reach her via:

Fb: Caroline cares Fernandes

twitter: @carolinevibha