Fund raising tips…


Know Your Business: Have a very realistic understanding of why your business is going to make money..
Prove the Concept: Really show that you have a business before going out to raise money. Prove the concept..
Find a Champion: It’s really important to hook up with somebody who talks the talk. A champion or sponsor can help you, guide you through the next steps..
Take Advice: Be coach-able and in that coach-ability you’ve got to build realism. Be realistic..
Know When to Raise Your Capital: It’s such a full-time position and it requires so much energy and you have to put so many other things on hold while you are fundraising. It’s critical you do it at the right time..
Know your Investor: Don’t go blindly looking for capital and taking the first dollar that seems interesting… Look at what they’ve invested in, in the past, and look at where those companies are today..
Focus on the Investor: Spend as much time discussing why it’s a good investment as you do explaining why it’s a good product..
Find a Lead Investor: Getting that person to stand forward who has some reputation as an investor or domain knowledge in the field is going to be critical..
Valuation: I would say, don’t get too hung up on valuation because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter as much as you think it does..
Raise Enough Money: Raise enough money to get to a funding milestone, whatever that might be for the company. So you have to be careful not to raise too little money and run out of it. Enough money that it can get you to the point in development of the company that another round of capital would be able to be raised to continue scaling the company..
Patience is a Virtue: You are going to have to realize you are going to have to talk to a lot of people. To raise money..

Impact of Crisis in IT Employee’s Family!!


Sekar (Calling his family from Amsterdam): Good Evening Mom and Dad. Where is my wife Sheela?

Dad: Just now I called her. She is on the way to home after taking our grandson Rahul from his school.

Sekar: Let us wait for her few minutes and we will start this discussion.
(By the time Sheela entered in to the house.. Sekar continue the meeting)

I hope you know the Agenda of the meeting which I had mentioned in the meeting request. Even though let me read out the agenda once again
1. Status update/Discussion on Last Week Action Items
2. Family Strategy
2. Rahul’s Education
3. Medical Insurance for Mom and Dad

I hope every one have the printout of last week MOM (Minutes of Meeting).
Dear Mom can you please update the status of tasks which you are taking care of?

Mom: Sekar, I am taking care of kitchen module which involves making products like Sambar, Rasam, Curd Rice, Vegetable Biriyani.I am not comfortable in handling the tools for making Non Vegetarian products. You suggest some training in Hlite. However after making these products, I am giving to your Dad for Acceptance testing. Once he satisfied with the quality of taste, we pass it to Dining Hall. One more thing, I would like to share with you. As you have suggested during my appraisal discussion, now I have stopped crying while watching mega serials in TV

Sekar: Sounds Good.

Sekar: Now coming to Dad. Dad can you please update us?

Dad: Yes. My dear son. I have completed my tasks by paying the current bill and phone bill with in time.

Sekar: That’s good

Dad: But I couldn’t pay the premium amount of 9200.00 of the LIC plan which you had taken for tax reduction purpose.

Sekar: It doesn’t look nice dad. I have sent you the amount already and given clear instructions.
Can you explain to me what went wrong?

Dad: On Tuesday night suddenly one of our team mate (your mom) fell down on the floor when she was running to catch Rahul. Then we took her to hospital and spent that amount for her medical expenses.

Mom: Sekar, I would like to add on what your Dad said, that was true. I got heavy injury in my legs and I was in hospital for two days. So now we don’t have money to pay for the premium.

Sekar: Sheela..! Would you aware of this? As a home lead, I expect you to track these issues and send it to me on daily basis. What are you doing (With stress on ‘doing’) after coming from college?

Sheela: Will do it Sekar. You know that the college, I am working is very far from our home. Every day I come back home at 6 pm and sit with Rahul for assisting him for doing his home work.

Sekar: Ok. Coming to second Agenda point .Due to this financial crisis we need to change the strategy of running our family. I am looking for your cooperation in the following cost cutting activities. I want to see the cost benefit of 40 % in this month budget after implementing this

  • Asking servant maid to leave her job
  • Stop ordering Pizzas for dinner
  • Avoid Tooth paste and use Neem sticks/Banyan Tree Sticks
  • Switch on TV only for watching Sunday Movie and Idea Star singer
  • Wise to listen news from our near by portion when they watch news in TV
  • Every Saturday visit our relative’s homes and spend the whole day including break fast, lunch and Dinner
  • Don’t invite anybody to our home. Sunday our relatives might come to our house. Just lock the door outside and do your work inside silently.
  • Sheela stop going for gym and Yoga class. Use Attural (Made up of Stone for making Dosa /idly dough), Ammikal (Replacement of Mixie) instead of grinder and Mixie. Mom please give KT to Sheela about this.
  • Don’t buy excess of things and store it in Fridge. Use big Mud pots for cool water.
  • Everybody go to bed early around 6:30 pm. Ask Rahul to do his homework when he comes back from school immediately during the hours sunlight is available. If not ask him to read under street light. He will become like Lincoln (Former US President) one day.
  • Use as much of cycle for transportation to near by places(It will help you to reduce fat and Cholesterol content)

I know you are eager to watch latest release ’20-20’. Don’t plan for that. Wail till next year Diwali to watch the same movie in Amritha TV

If you have any clarifications contact Sheela@kitchen

Coming to second Agenda point. Sheela, can you please update me about Rahul’s Education. In which standard he is studying? Whether he got any double promotion? He was writing annual exam for third standard when I was leaving for Amsterdam.

Sheela: Sekar, I am bit worrying about his education. I have tracked his efforts, schedule in our OHM+ tool. I found 20 % in Effort variance and 35 % in schedule deviation. His learning curve goes down in the control chart which you can see in the report, I have sent you yesterday.

Sekar: Thanks for your measurements. I will review the report and we will discuss it on next week’s call. I have a client meeting now. So we will discuss the third agenda item next week. Mom and Dad.. can you please drop out from the call. I wanted to talk to Sheela about few personal things and Dad, don’t forget to circulate the MOM (Minutes of Meeting) to every one.

Sheela: Hello Sekar..

Sheela: Hello…Hello…

Sheela: Hello…

<Tring…Tring…..Tring…Line Got Disconnected>

Courtesy: Vimala…

Customer Segmentation


Big vulnerability for startups is choosing customers… Normally startups don’t know the concept of “Customer Segmentation”… A customer makes vital role in making or breaking of a company… It is true that Customers are king of the ring but still one must know how to manage them…

If we thing we are not exposed to Customer Segmentation we are wrong, we come across the concept of segmentation in our day to day life… As a startup your first learning of segmentation starts with banks… Banks puts startups at the bottom most level in servicing… Banks segment is based on the basis account balance and possibilities of selling other banks products… Like wise in flights business class gets special treatment than economy class… Segmenting customers is mostly ignored and this is one big thing which can change the fate of a startup company… I’ve seen many startups which didn’t segment their customers and ended up being exploited by them and forced to close down…

It is a known fact that most of the “Hard Customers” help in getting more business and learning, but we must know the point where we must take control…

I’m listing a simple matrix which I use for my business and ask my people to use it for segmenting our customers… For startups the matrix of segmenting customers is simple…

Task

Customer Attitude

Recommendation

Easy Task

Hard Customer

Serve customer, be cautious of exploitation, take contol over the project.

Hard Task

Easy Customer

Serve customer, never try to lose customer

Hard Task

Hard Customer

It is recommended to loose these customers
as the cost of servicing them is more than the
business they give…

Money Making tips with Blogs!!!


Reviewed some money making tips from my blog and ended up with some of the sites with which we can make money… I’m still reviewing these sites and I’ve not made any penny from these sites other than Google ad sense… If any of you have already tried any of these sites do post your feedback as comments…

  • Google AdSense is the most known way to make money online, and probably the easiest. But not always the most profitable.
    Visit Google AdSense

  • Chitika Works best for blogs that cover products that people might search for. If someone lands on one of your pages coming from Google, for example, chitika will display ads that match what the person searched for, and therefore, are expected to be more relavent.
    Visit Chitika

  • Kontera doesn’t display ads like most other ad networks. Instead, after you install their code, they search your blog post and convert certain words into links, and when a user hovers over that link, an ad pops up.
    Visit Kontera

  • Performancing Ads is probably the biggest marketplace for 125×125 ad units, which have gained huge popularity in recent years.
    Visit Performancing Ads

  • ReviewMe Although there is a lot of controversy about this service, some bloggers report using it to a great success. ReviewMe allows you to get paid to write reviews about products and services, and the price is set depending on your blog’s ranking, traffic, and RSS subscribers.
    Visit ReviewMe

  • FeedBurner helps in injecting ads in RSS feeds and to make some penny with it.
    Visit FeedBurner

Challenges in Tier II cities


For any pros there must be cons too. Immediately after posting my previous blog, I started getting queries from readers regarding the disadvantage. Actually I wanted to write this blog in the week end. But thought it would be a nice continuation for my previous blog.  

Slow Infrastructure growth: As compared to Tier I cities, infrastructure growth in tier II cities has been slow or no movement at all…

Late arrival of facilities: Be it offers from banks or from telecom providers it takes time to reach Tier II cities. Most companies try to experiment new packages in Tier I cities only then they bring it to Tier II cities… Also they don’t offer some packages in Tier II cities owing to lack of volume in business…

High material cost: Be it computers or raw material for interiors they are expensive when compared with Tier I cities. Vendors say they themselves procure from wholesalers in Tier I city.

Poor communication skills: Communication skills of people are poor when compared with there Tier I counterparts. I’m concentrating a lot on improving the communication skills of my employees and want then to take challenged, take accountability and be great leaders…

Desire to migrate to Tier I cities: Most of the youth in Tier II cities wants to relocate to Tier I cities to improve their career development opportunities…

Provided all small companies understand the advantages in tier II cities and setup their shop, all the challenges can be easily solved…

Advantages of Tier II cities


I just attended Chennai Open Coffee Club this Sunday. When I shared my business card with other folks!! Which had my Madurai office address. People immediately asked me if I hail from Madurai. When I said I’m not they were all puzzled. They were curious to know why I choose Madurai; I’ve to explain them the advantages. Thrn they realised the advantages of a Tier II city. So, I thought I can write a blog on advantages in a Tier II city.

Low manpower cost: As compared to Tier I cities, costs in Tier II cities are low for several reasons

  • Cities are small and travelling cost is low…
  • Hangouts are not expensive…
  • These cities are still conservative and there is no big partying culture…
  • No big designer/fashion brands…
  • Rentals are low…
  • Very less entertainment options…

Because of all those people’s spending options are very less which in turn keeps the manpower cost low…

High work productivity: People have no distractions as they have no choice on entertainment options are concerned…

  • Very less multiplexes and cine halls…
  • No of malls is also less…
  • No PUB culture, so there is not much Monday morning hangover…
  • No Friday evening fever… Since they have no options people don’t get distracted by weekend planning…
  • Once again travelling time is very less… So, they can make it to office without tension…

Because of all those things people have no other distractions in work and they give 100% in their work…

More educated youth population: Most of the Tier II cities have many colleges that cater to students of those villages in and around the city… Most Tier II city produces 2 – 3 lakh pass outs every year which is a huge chunk of talent which can be groomed…

Ethical values are high: Most people in Tier II cities value ethics a lot and in turn they expect it too… So, mostly they get attached to the company if they are respected and treated well… Attrition levels in Tier II cities are too low compared to Tier I cities…

Other than all those advantages we must carry some amount of social responsibility in developing these cities and people… Also when Tier I cities alone development there will be population explosion and we will loose balance… We must grow organically, so if we have the possibility to open an office in Tier II cities we are being a good citizen without taking extra efforts…

Every advantage comes with certain amount of disadvantages. My next blog is on challenges that can be faced in Tier II cities… Also I’d recommend all the readers to read the book “Fortune in the bottom of the Pyramid” by C.K.Prahalad…

Tips for Software Services Startups


Today one of the easiest businesses that had created many entrepreneurs in India is Software Services. Starting from Infosys to My own Cogzidel had a modest start. All we have to invest is knowledge & time that is it. If you have good technical expertise and you can manage the things listed below you can start your entrepreneurial journey. Points listed below are my USP which I gained in these 8 years. This means I’m sharing my hard earned USP :)…

At least one founder must be a techie: Remember in early days you don’t have the fancy of hiring experienced developers. So you must be a good Techie or you must partner with a good techie. Early days of business is purely based on creating credibility & identity for your entity. And this can be accomplished by successfully executing projects…

Use power of Reverse Auction Systems: Don’t waste time in making cold calls and sending spam emails. Use sites like Scriptlance.com, Elance.com, Getafreelancer.com, Rentacoder.com and Guru.com. All those sites have good amount of webmasters who post their requirement. Just bid and win projects from there.

Though projects are of small size and low in revenue, concentrate in volumes… This will give you two advantages

1. Help you to work with more clients. Which effectively spreading your brand to many clients
2. You will get different types of projects which will help you to get different ideas and business avenues of making money…

This blog post ”How to be successful a programmer in Scriptlance.com” will help you understand ways to be successful in Scriptlance.com…

Hire fresher’s or students: Always hire fresher’s and train them or if possible try to hire students who have to do an academic project for 6 months so that you need not pay any salary for what they are learning.

Communicate with clients regularly: When you start getting clients from Reverse Auction Sites. Start collecting their contact details like email id’s, telephone no. & IM’s. Constantly communicate with them by sending new list of project executed, wish them for events like Christmas, diwali etc by this way your customers will always remember you and will keep giving you projects when they have a requirement.

Work on shared office: Look for companies which have more seats than their requirement and share their office space by paying a meager rent. This will help you in investing upfront in infrastructure. A nice ambience will help you to hunt talent & even if some client visits you will get a good image. So, it is your talent to source a better office. You can use services of companies like Cogzidel to hunt for shared offices

Outsource Non Core Functions: Outsource non core functions like HR, Accounts and Admin to some consultancy firm where in you can simply concentrate on your core operations.

Cross Sell: If you finish a project successfully with a client. Immediately pinch for next project or cross sell other services or do both…

Promote your corporate site & Blog: Keep promoting your corporate site and blog in as many ways as possible. Sooner you get listed in search engine more chances of getting enquires thru your site. Some methods by which you can promote your site & blog,

1. Register with as many Social Networking sites as possible & grow your network. Add your company url in your profile page. More your contacts more publicity you and back links you will get for your site.
2. Add social bookmarking to your blogs and pages with services content in your site…
3. Have an email in your company name. Eg yourname@yourcompanyname.com
4. Always have your company email as your signature in both personal & official mail id’s
5. Have t-shirts with your company url
6. Have your company url stickers and paste it in your vehicle and your friends vehicle…
7. Attend lots of meetings like Barcamps, Unconference meetings etc and pass your business cards to other participants…
8. Approach famous bloggers and ask them to write a blog about your company…
9. Do Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing & Social Media Marketing(which is point no.1)

Update your blog regularly: Update your blog regularly, atleast there must be 2 updates every week. Also your post must me informative and targeted to your end user. Eg: Mr.Bala Murugan of Cogzidel Consultancy Services Pvt. Ltd wrote this blog Provident Fund – Procedures, Problems and Solutions which got him 22 enquiries till now and still getting more and also most of his blogs will be related to his business…

Likewise understand your customer, employees, markets needs and write a blogs related to it. This will help you in viral marketing.

Tie-ups: Have lots of business tie-ups. For example 6 years back when I was small! I tied up with a famous script selling site and became their Official installer, that helped me to leverage the client base of that site and also partnering with a branded site will add up to my credibility and improved my brand…

Also you can make tie-ups to cross sell. If you are a programming company tie-up with SEO & Web design companies and cross sell your services & vice versa.

Partnering: Like tie-ups you can also partner with bigger companies like Microsoft, mysql etc and become their ISV (Independent Software Vendor). By this way you will getting business reference & publicity…

Participate in forums: Every technology/product has lots of famous forums. Actively participate in those forums and help trouble shoot issues. Also don’t forget to add your company url in the signature. More active you are more your brand spreads and more possibilities you can get enquires.

Start Developing Products: If you start doing the list of things mentioned above for a period of time. Your expertise on technology, knowledge on market needs and understanding of customers will improve. With all those knowledge you must concentrate on developing products which will help you to come out of Rat race and will give you a competitive advantage.

If you think you can add up to these points, please post them as comments…

How to be successful a programmer in Scriptlance.com


I’ve been using scriptlance since itz inception and I’ve evolved as scriptlance evolved. I’ve known Rene of scriptlance & I’ve good association with him. I was his official installer for his site Smarterscripts.com which was selling Perl/CGI scripts. Coming back to topic I’ll be sharing some of my experience which made me a success in scriptlance… Here are some tips…

Under Bid during early days: If you are new to scriptlance underbid and try to win more project until you reach some 100 reviews. Reaching 100 reviews effectively means you have 50-60 unique clients & also credibility to win bigger projects. Remember clients who offer bigger projects expect credibility for which you need more review… Also you need someone to create a relationship. If you have 50 clients you effectively have 50 new relationships to develop. This will help you in cross selling & pitching more projects from these clients…

Bid mostly on small projects: During early days bid on small projects because you can show volumes and get more clients sooner. So, under bid on small projects and overbid on bigger project so that you can stay active…

Stay Active: Be active even after winning sufficient projects. Just try to overbid during these times. It would be a bonus when you get over paid for a project. Always webmasters will be happy to choose programmers who are active. This would be helpful when you come back to take projects seriously.

Constantly follow-up: Never wait after placing the bid. Use Personal Message Board and follow up with the client regularly. This will creates an image that you are committed with your work.

Don’t Cross sell: Never cross sell all your service in one shot. This will confuse the customer & you might loose because of this. Cross selling should be done only after successfully completing a project. So when you post message be specific to the project.

Update Scriptlance Profile: Regularly update your scriptlance profile and portfolio. Some customers will be checking our progress regularly & when they have similar requirement similar to what we did, they automatically invite you.

Work with Webmasters with high review: Try to win projects of webmasters who have more reviews. They have proved their credentials by working with more programmers and will be trust worthy to work. Also they are capable of giving more projects. So, you can make compromise to win the trust of these webmasters.

Break high value projects: Remember you also need high value projects in your reviews. But this article is for starters in scriptlance. So, if you are lucky winning a project worth $1200, convince the client to break the project into 6-7 and post it for you. This will help to get more reviews… Don’t do this with new clients. Try this with clients with whom you have previously worked.

Get Exclusive Projects: Convince clients with whom you have already worked to post project “For Your-Scriptlance-Username”. This impress other webmasters…

Insist only Escow payments: During days never insist for direct payments or upfront advance. Till you gain some credibility be contented with Escow.

Accept only Positive reviews: Scriptlance has come with a new feature where you get reviews only when you give back review. If you are not clear if a customer is happy with your work, never accept the review. Don’t worry about loosing the project or money. Because credibility will only help you in long term…

Never miss reviews: Many webmaster’s forget to post reviews. Constantly follow-up with customers to get those reviews.

Read project descriptions fully: Many webmasters are smart. In order to check the commitment of the programmer they would have place a line which says “Pls post the word “READ” in your bid/PMB in order to know you have read fully”. So never bid by reading first two lines for projects which has big description. Also personally it is not safe for you to place bids on projects which you have not read fully…

Google Friend Connect


Google Friend Connect

Just signed up for Google Friend Connect and added itz member gadget in my site… GFC helps non social media sites to become social media enabled. It has a simple signup process and step by step instruction which can be easily followed…

I’d like to add more friend connects… Here is by Member Gadget & join as my friend…

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Is democracy good for India?


India claims to be the biggest democracy in the world which is divided by caste, religion, language etc etc. we are proud of this. Democracy says “By the People for the People” but in reality there is no respite for people of this land. Infact I sometimes feel we could have been better under a monarchy than under these shameless politicians. They have shattered this nation for greed.

This entire Mumbai crisis has given lots of lessons, answers, questions, puzzles et more. Let us take one by one. Let us go out of way and talk about our so called Raj Thackeray chief of MNS, who brought unnecessary issues to divide people of our country. Where were you when this entire crisis happened? Hiding under your bed?? You B@$%@$d imagine no. of people who sacrificed their life to save Mumbai on the day of crisis, they were north Indian, south Indians who fought like Indians & didn’t differentiate. They didn’t hide like you like a coward. You have lost face in this entire episode, if you had at least walked out on the roads of taj/trident on the time of crisis I’d have saluted you and would have fought with your for your so called marata pride. Understand on thin be it marata or malayali we are Indians, if you don’t understand this now you are not fit to be a human being…

Then coming back what are the politicians doing? What was the intelligence doing? Home minister Shivraj Patil still do you want to be greedy for power?? The entire way our ruling or opposition politicians handled terror is intolerable. You go on a Z class security and we the people have to wait on hot sun & rain for you to travel. In last six months alone there were bombings in almost every major city in India you have never come open on any of it.

Politicians get paid by our tax money; get all perks from our tax money. Why can’t you cut your pay, perks etc and spend more on security & infrastructure??

What worries more is politicians are not committed & not taking responsibility too. Already mudslinging started to grab the opportunity. In the end it is people who are the ultimate sufferers.

Finally coming back to people we call it Spirit of Mumbai, people get back to normal etc. but it is this attitude that keeps politicians running. Our memories are short.

Look at the condition of all the fighters who fought for the nation, I saw the bus they travelled to reach the spot. It is no way comparable to the luxury busses used by cricketers. What shame cricketers are paid for winning as well as loosing matches. Shouldn’t we feel ashamed of ourselves? Enough is enough we have to think and must act responsible and high time we take some steps.

Now this leads to lots of questions which we expect from politicians,

Why we there were you unable to stop terrorism?
What commitment you will take from now on?
What is it you are going to do to people who have lost their life?
Will we get transparency in investigation?
Will there be transparency in handling terrorism?

I’ve many more questions but I know even the questions I listed will go unanswered. But let me open the Pandora box, when every I read this post I keep remaining that I must do something to all this and when politicians come to campaign might be I can shoot all these questions to them…

I take this opportunity to salute all the martyrs who have laid down their life to save lots of life and made the nation proud. Also to people who fell prey to this cowardly act of terrorism. May their soul rest in peace…