Working hard for Alternate Income


I was 24 when I read this book Rich Dad Poor Dad and it’s been 13 years!!! 

Before getting into the subject, let me give a brief about me!!!

I’m an entrepreneur managing 3 entities which are into Technology Services, Management Consulting and Coffee Business. 

Also I’m fairly doing good with my business!!!

But now where I keep failing for last 13 years is my efforts on creating residual income, which keeps coming even if I don’t work.

In these 13 years I’ve;

  • Purchased Properties
  • Invested in MF’s & Stocks
  • Did Angel Funding & Seed Funding 

After doing all these I found India to be over priced on Properties, MF’s & Stocks. Income from these investments are far less than what is showcased on the book. 

All I can make is the profits that comes from exits and not from Rent or Dividends!!

Also I’ve burned my fingers on Angel & Seed Funding because I made these investments even before the Startup boom and almost all the entities I invested are dead!!! 

But I always enjoyed the experience of being associated with a startup and diverse subject knowledge I gained!!!

With all these failed attempts I’ve come to the conclusion that India is not the right place for creating residual income.

Just looking for anyone who has followed Rich Dad Poor Dad recommendation and made it big in India or is India a wrong place for Rober Kiyosaki’s concepts??

Am expecting response from readers!!

Help select a Logo for Startup Coffee Lounge


Startup Coffee Lounge Logo
Startup Coffee Lounge Logo Contest

Dear Friends,

Opened a contest to design Logo for my Coffee Shop… Created poll to get choose from the 8 logos from 120+ entries… Pls VOTE and help me choose the best one…

Thank You,

Regards,
Anand Nataraj

The teen aged Entrepreneurs from Madurai


Last week got a call from my sales folks that a 13 year old CEO from Madurai wanted to meet me… Get impressed by this kids approach and immediately gave them an appointment the next day…

Since his father was busy that day, he was not in a position to make it to office… I didn’t want to disappoint the kid and went to a nice-cream shop near to his house…

He came along with his 15 year old co-founder and they gave a brief intro about them and their ataWAB.COM venture… Frankly got startled to see the way they projected, the vision and clarity they have…

I asked them to come with the expectations on me, swami & cogzidel… The next day kids came with their 14 year old co-founder and the list…

The list goes like this;

– Hosting Support
– Gadgets to review
– Infrastructure
– Mentoring

Without a moment to think we agreed to help these kids and be a part of their success…

Would be glad if you can go thru ataWAB.com and pass your feedback…

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Last to First: S.Anand Nataraj, Syed, Abshiek & Swami…

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Roshan & Anand

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This is how we brainstormed at IBACO…

My Business Ventures and Failed Venture Lessons


I started as a freelance at the age if 18 and evolved as an entrepreneur from the age of 20… In last 13 years I’ve had my hand on couple of ventures…

FreeLancer: Between 1998 – 2000 I’ve been a freelance and I’ve been into web design and manpower consultancy…

Agriya: This was my first entrepreneurship venture… Agriya was a Web Services company… I learned the nuances of entrepreneurship… I’ve been a part of this company for 8 years and it was a #success…

Distributor Of a Pharma Product: Invested in this venture to help my friend and I had no earlier experience on the domain… This venture was a #failure…

People Justice: Invested and Operated a fortnightly Tamil Magazine which is into investigative journalism… Learned the nuances of the business where I came to know the types of printing, selecting paper, networking with journalist, editorial, layout design, proof reading and distribution…This venture can also be considered #failure… But still we occasionally keep releasing the issue…

Real Estate Venture: Tried my hands on Real Estate which has created a lot of millions in India… Unfortunately this venture is also a #failure…

Cogzidel Technologies: Cogzidel is a Web, Mobile & Social Media services company… I’m a part of this company for last four and half years…

Cogzidel Consultancy Services: CCS is an accounting and business services company… I’m a part of this company for last four and half years…

In all my #failed ventures I was an investor and I invested to help a friend of mine to settle down… Though I learned from those ventures my main take away is;

– Don’t invest if there is no investment from other partner…
– Don’t invest until the person requesting investment does a business plan and show you some commitment…
– Make tough things in written (agreement) and especially make exit difficult for the person…
– Never invest to help someone… If they give-up you loose your money and the purpose of gesture gets defeated…

Planning to set a Stationary Shop


For sometime I’m looking at options and opportunities in setting up some shop either directly or a franchisee… Looking at options where investment is less and less risk… This is more to engage my dad post retirement…

Also I’m fond of entrepreneurship, trying and learning new things.

Yesterday my friend was telling me about setting up a Stationary Shop ti engage his dad or dad-in-law… He chose a Stationary Shop because he has his cousin who is already into the business for some time and knows the nuances of the trade. His cousin has also volunteered in helping in shop choice, setting the shop, introducing to dealers & vendors, guiding in customer spotting and creation…

Mostly by this week we might start with Business Plan and understand the risks and opportunities… As we did an oral planning it was low investment and low return business… But I’m thrilled as I’m entering into trade and retail…

Am very eager to prepare the business plan… Also friends if you have any subject experience or any ideas or thought please share it….

10 Things To Consider Before Becoming Self-Employed


Found this article from elance.com a reverse auction website. Though this article is well written and highly recommended I personally disagree with some points like preparing business cases, family support etc. Though I agree we must plan things in my personal experience I found 9 out 10 things goes wrong. Also this article is missing on essential things a person to have as a startup more than enthusiasm like Guts, Perseverance & Persistence. Anyways this article will be useful for people who want to be on own and for sure it has many good take away. 

  1. Chest-Bursting Enthusiasm

    In order to birth your business idea, you are going to have to have a tremendous amount of energy and stamina. When you are totally enthusiastic about an idea, you don’t have to worry about “staying motivated” or “dealing with procrastination,” concerns voiced by many prospective entrepreneurs. Here are your enthusiasm checkpoints:

    When you think about the work you do on a freelance basis, do you get a big smile on your face?
    If you had your daily expenses taken care of, would you work on this business anyway because it is so exciting to you?
    Do you see how this business fits into your overall life plan?
    Would being successful in this business give you the kind of life you want? Would you be happy while doing it, not just once you were making money?

    2. A Solid Business Case

    Passion without a business model or viable market is a sure road to perdition. Business case checkpoints:

    Have you prototyped and tested your idea with real people in your target market?
    Do you have a viable business model? Could it survive if the market shifted?
    Can you describe what makes you different, more effective or more appealing than your competitors?

    3. An Eager Market That Has The Means To Buy What You Are Selling

    You know that your business cannot serve everyone in the world. Who, exactly, do you want to serve? Do they have deep, important problems that your product or service will address? Market checkpoints:

    Can you define your target market in clear and specific terms?
    Do you know where they congregate in person, online, in associations or in the media?
    Do they have access to cold, hard cash to pay your for your services?

    4. A Money Plan

    If you don’t manage the money side of your business, you are destined for misery. Financial checkpoints:

    Are your personal finances organized and tracked in a systematic way?
    Do you have 6-12 months of living expenses saved?
    Do you have a solid plans B, C and D that you can activate if things don’t work out as planned? (Remember, they never do)

    5. A Marketing Plan

    You may know exactly who you want to work with, but if you can’t actually talk to them, how can you expect to make any sales? It may take a good, long while for you to build a relationship with mutual knowledge, respect and trust, so you must get started right away. Marketing checkpoints:

    Have you chosen a marketing model and are you implementing it step by step? (Duct Tape Marketing, Action Plan Marketing and Michael Port are all great models)
    Do you have a functional website that clearly nudges people to do what you want them to do? (sign up for your list, download your product, join your community)
    Are you doing a handful of marketing activities consistently each month like writing articles, blogging, speaking, participating in online forums or inviting interesting people to lunch?

    6. A Healthy Approach To Sales

    I worked with salespeople for years and am convinced they are born with special (some say mutated) genes. Excellent, ethical salespeople are totally excited by the sales process. Most first-time entrepreneurs, on the other hand, feel like throwing up at the thought of asking prospects for money. Selling checkpoints:

    Do you know what problem your product or service solves?
    Do you know what your sales process is?
    Do you lead your prospects through it or wait for them to take the lead?
    Do you know how to ask for a sale?

    7. Time To Create The Business

    It takes time to get your business up and running. If you have to continue working as an employee while you develop your business, create a project plan and carve out time in your schedule to make steady progress. You may need to forgo activities that make you happy such as evening television, golfing weekends or excessive volunteering. Time checkpoints:

    Do you have efficient processes in place for managing your email, tracking projects and accomplishing tasks?
    Have you wiggled out of any non-essential obligations?
    Do you know the major milestones you have to accomplish to get your business off the ground?

    8. Support From Your Family

    Starting a business is a very emotional experience, and you will need all the support you can muster from those closest to you. Family checkpoints:

    Have you listened at length and without judgment to the concerns voiced by your spouse?
    Do you have mutually-agreed upon metrics like amount of money in bank account, length of time to get business off the ground, amount of hair you are willing to lose before pulling the plug?
    Have you clearly discussed the risks he or she will assume if you are married? (credit rating, co-signing for equipment or contracts, etc)

    9. Support From Your Tribe

    If you have grown up inside corporate environments, many of your friends may not be experts in entrepreneurship. You don’t need to know everything about your new business, but you should know people who do. Support checkpoints:

    Do you have active networks on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter?
    Do you have at least one mentor, mastermind buddy, staunch advocate, technical expert and friend at your fingertips?
    Do you regularly and willingly help others, share information and provide resources without being asked and without expectation for reciprocation?

    10. A Mixture Of Faith And Mistrust In The External Market And A Backup Plan

    I have now lived through two significant upheavals in the financial markets as a business owner: Silicon Valley in 2000 and Phoenix, Arizona in 2008. What I learned by living through the busts is that nothing last forever (both the good and the bad). If your business success depends on the economy staying the same for the next 5 years, you are doomed to intense moments of panic and possible financial ruin. Market checkpoints:

    Have you learned as much as you can about the market you are operating in?
    Do you have a positive mindset and constructive thoughts about your new venture?
    Are you willing and able to look on the bright side of the most stormy market condition, even if it means radically adjusting your plans?

Courtesy : Pamela Slim, author of Escape from Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur, is a former corporate manager turned entrepreneur focused on helping frustrated employees break out and start their own business. For more information, visit her blog at www.escapefromcubicalnation.com.

Entrepreneurship!! Whose piece of cake?


I’ve seen many highly energized people who approach me with their business ideas asking to review their idea or for investment… Most of these people who approached me said they were meeting more people with their ideas for more than six months… When I asked the reason for their wait;

 

  • Some said they had family commitments to fulfill and hence they can’t quit their job.
  • Some said they work to gain experience which would be helpful when they start a business.
  • Some said they are waiting for proper timing (Some said market is at itz high and waiting for correction & some said it is recession).
  • Some say they don’t have enough capital to start a company.

 

There were many more reasons which sound crazy… Though I respect their reason be it genuine or not. I can’t buy their reason for delaying their entrepreneurial ambitions because;

 

  • Mr.Narayanamurthy founder of Infosys had a family (Wife & 2 children) when he started Infosys. Commitments are man made and we have control over our commitments and we have to plan and control our commitments to bring out other desire.
  • Job experience and business experience are different ball game and when one starts a business at any point of time (with or without experience) they have to come across challenges.
  • Timings can’t be timed because when market is on a high note there will be business but costs are high and when there is a recession costs are low but business will be poor. Always there is no right time to start a business or to put it optimistically every time is right time to start a business.
  • Always one need not have capital to start a company. There are many ways to bootstrap and one must read success stories how they bootstrapped in they their early days.

 

I personally didn’t have much job experience when I took up entrepreneurship but today I gained much knowledge and experience which is required by an entrepreneur. But my friends who started business with 8 years of job experience are overcoming the same challenges which I came across.

 

One more thing which I want to tell every striving or wanna be entrepreneurs is “Start something immediately” only then you will create a focus and can find your path. Until then it will be a chicken and egg story…

 

Let me end this blog with this note;

 

  • Ship is always safe in the shores but it is not built for that.
  • Start small Think big Work on quick iterations.