Saturday, November 20, 2010

Interview With Sima Thakkar, GoodIndianGirl.com

Featuring Woman Entrepreneur

Sima Thakkar, GoodIndianGirl.com
www.goodindiangirl.com

[Category: Home-Sprung Business Models
Connect Gen-Y With Culture]


GoodIndianGirl.com is an engaging how-to website that educates second generation audiences on age-old cultural traditions and nuances in a fresh fashion. This ingenious idea was conceptualized by Sima Thakkar, who experimented with her first entrepreneurial stint when she was in colege. Read more about this interesting business concept, in my interview with Sima.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cloud Computing – The Next Norm in IT

Understanding An Entrepreneurial Opportunity

Cloud Computing Services are geared to be the next wave in the IT Industry and are all set to be the norm of the day, in about 10-15 years. It will redefine the role of IT in most of the SMEs and also in the corporate bigwigs. Almost every analyst/CIO has been found to be accommodating towards this nascent concept of IT service possibility. Though it will be premature to say how exactly the services will rule the roost, Cloud Computing is certainly taking shape in form of verticals like IaaS, Paas, and SaaS to name some. It has gone beyond the awareness stages for some of the IT behemoths and innovation envoys like IBM and Google. But for most of us it has not gone beyond the awareness stage.

Cloud Computing is definitely here to stay. Gartner in its report identifies Cloud Computing as Top 10 strategic technologies for 2011. What is Cloud Computing? In simple language, to quote from Wikipedia, ‘Cloud computing is Web-based processing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices (such as smartphones) on demand over the Internet’. It is same as using any other utility services [like electricity, water or the television cable services].

Interview With Unnati Narang, Serene Woods

Featuring Woman Entrepreneur

Unnati Narang, CoFounder Serene Woods

[Category: Emerging Market Segments & Trends
Web 2.0 and Online Collaboration in Vertical - Publishing & Photography]

SereneWoods was formed to provide a platform for the emerging authors and photographers. Unnati has very neatly picked-up two gaps - in publishing and in photography - both of which needed faster delivery of their respective products to their customers. She has provided a platform for many wannabe authors [who would otherwise find it very difficult to publish their piece of writing] and for many photography enthusiasts who can do much more with their hobby. Read more in my interview with Unnati Narang, to understand what SereneWoods is all about.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Interview With Deepa Bhat, Founder MyBeehive.in

Featuring Woman Entrepreneur

Deepa Bhat,
Founder Mybeehive.in
www.mybeehive.in



[Category: Mompreneur
E-learning for K-12]

I have mentioned in my article earlier that the education market for the K-12 segment has tremendous potential. The penetration of the Internet and the multimedia, has made this potential lucrative for e-learning also in the K-12 segment. Coupled with these factors, Deepa Bhat used the Mompreneurship radar to detect the opportunity. She has just launched Mybeehive.in, which caters to the fun-filled way of reinforcing educational concepts to young children -- LKG - Grade 3, or kids in the age group of 4 years to 9 years. Deepa's kids have been the source for the motivation of her entrepreneurship. Read more to understand more about her interesting venture.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Interview With Cause Haun, SeeKaiRun

Featuring Woman Entrepreneur

Cause Haun
Founder, SeeKaiRun

[Category: Mompreneurship
Kids Footwear]

It is marvelous to see how a mother's instinct can drive new creations. A mother's choosy attitude towards providing the best for her child can actually turn a woman into an entrepreneur - a Mompreneur. I had the privilige to have email interview with Cause Haun, Founder of SeeKaiRun, who formed a new line of shoes when she could not find the right pair of booties for her first child. See Kai Run® is a family-owned and operated business located outside of Seattle, Washington. The idea was born when founder Cause Haun was on a quest for the perfect first pair of shoes for her son, Kai. Unable to find shoes in fun, cutting edge styles that still promoted the healthy development of growing feet, she created her own line of shoes that satisfied all of these needs. Read more about her story.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Interview With Anjana Vivek, Founder VentureBean Consulting

Featuring Woman Entrepreneur

Anjana Vivek
Founder VentureBean Consulting
www.venturebean.com

[Category: Strike The Niche Segment
Outsourced CFO Model]

VentureBean Consulting partners with businesses, providing inputs in the area of strategy and finance, to help create sustainable value in a rapidly changing business environment. VentureBean works with companies to refine/build business plans and business models and provides inputs in deal related matters, for investment and M&A transactions in a variety of funding aspects from financial forecasts to valuation to due diligence and negotiations. VentureBean’s advisory services range from review and stock take of a business … to working on an action plan to meet immediate needs, to setting long term goals.

Read my interview with Anjana Vivek, to understand how outsourced CFO models are emerging.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

An Entrepreneur’s Delight

Outsourced CFO Models – A growing niche with brilliant prospects*

The recession that followed the financial meltdown has been a wake up call in the whole world. Where as many have argued that offshore-outsourcing will be adversely hit, the trend has not indicated any signs of adverse impact. On the contrary, now when the dust is settling, the offshoring outsourcing models for many business processes and functions seem to be standing tall. The offshore-outsourcing model has withstood the tornado. It has re-emphasized the need to be lean in structure.

One of the business processes and functions which is gaining momentum is Outsourced CFO models. The most commonly outsourced finance operation is transaction processing. The savings in this area can be potentially significant. But CFOs are now willing to move from outsourcing transaction-processing activities in finance to outsourcing business decision-support activities such as planning, control, and management reporting.

It is now the ‘Lean Is In’ mental setup among the corporates, which will further drive the prospects for outsourcing market for many other business processes and functions. Companies are reshuffling and juggling their business strategies in order to tone down the corporate structures. Naturally, this gives rise to higher potential for the outsourcing models. The potential is growing even from India’s standpoint too. In this article I am going to highlight the burgeoning entrepreneurial prospects for outsourcing CFO business models. Earlier [refer to my article: Importance Of Identifying A Niche Segment For An Entrepreneur], I had written about one more outsourced business function as the entrepreneurial opportunity – Marketing Consulting as outsourced business function.

Captive Offshore Centers are not a new concept at all especially with many MNC banks, who have set up their captive offshore center in countries like India, China, Philippines, Brazil and Indonesia. But this model is getting greater acceptance with other organizations that see advantage in setting up their own captive centers for financial processes. According to a report by Deloitte, tax planning and compliance is emerging as an important opportunity for offshoring.

Primarily the captive option for offshore outsourcing offers following advantages. The advantages are listed based on weightage they provide on the overall scale of advantages: Process efficiency, Process Quality and Cost Reduction. Since the finance operations are very information sensitive, it makes a good option for companies to set up their own captive centers. This gives the companies a better hold on the process control.

The second type of option for offshoring/outsourcing finance operations is outsourcing it to a vendor. This type of option gives organizations to scale up to the offshoring arrangement rather quickly. The advantages of this type of option, based on the weightage on the scale of overall advantages, are: Cost Reduction and Leveraging Technology Expertise. These two advantages make significant impact on the bottomline of an organization. This option will work for a company whose primary focus is cost reduction.

A third option for offshoring/outsourcing finance operations is that in which both vendors and the company have stakes in a pre-agreed proportion. The most popular form of arrangement in this model is Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) and Joint Ventures (JVs). As the name suggests, in BOT, the vendors establish the set-up, manage the operations for few year [or any time frame agreed upon] and then transfer back the entire operations setup back to the company so that it becomes a captive center for the company.

Till now the general perception of outsourcing has been where a company in the West offshores the outsourced function to India. But corporate India today is facing few challenges like rising cost of retaining employees and increasing rentals and price of the real estate. It makes a lot of sense for India Inc. to outsource their business processes and functions, and focus on the core competencies. It pays to adopt change early.

Whichever outsourcing model a company chooses, you as an entrepreneur will have an edge over others, only if you carefully consider your human capital around some important variables like subject knowledge and understanding of tax and company laws of various locations across the globe. If you want to venture into this niche as a service provider, then you must deem knowledgeable human capital as the winning strategy for your business.

Anjana Vivek is one of the entrepreneurs to have ventured into Financial Consulting as outsourced business function. Tune in after a few days to read her interview to understand better the prospects of the Outsourced CFO model.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Interview With Aparna Bhatnagar, GreenAndGood Store

Featuring Woman Entrepreneur

Aparna Bhatnagar
Founder GreenAndGood Store
http://www.greenandgoodstore.com/

[Category: Embracing Environment Level Challenges
Responsible Consumerism]

Green and Good Store was formed with a belief in the idea of ‘Sustainable Development'. A development, that ensures a pattern of resource use such that our needs are met in the immediate and indefinite future, while preserving the environment, the society and our traditional heritage.

The Green and Good Store is trying to facilitate inclusive and sustainable growth for all by developing a market for “socially and environmentally responsible goods and services”. Read the interview with Aparna Bhatnagar to understand more about her entrepreneurial venture.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Interview With Manjiri Gokhale Joshi, Founder Maya CARE

Featuring Woman Entrepreneur

Manjiri Gokhale Joshi
Founder/CEO Maya CARE Services
www.mayacare.com

[Category: Home Sprung Business Models
Capture The Household Services Pie]

Maya CARE was conceived as a small dream - to provide services to senior citizens and a source of livelihood to women. The dream is now a movement propelled by growing a network of volunteers, men and women, across seven Indian cities. Maya CARE's Founder CEO, Manjiri Joshi, had nurtured this concept for quite a few years before actually implementing it. I had an opportunity to understand more about her entrepreneurial stint in an interview with her. Read on to understand her entrepreneurial genius, which has brought out a wonderful business concept, providing immense confidence to Indian socio-cultural set-up.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Responsible Consumerism - A Promising Concept For Entrepreneurs

A Concept Which Is Taking The Shape Of An Industry

What is Responsible consumerism or Ethical consumerism? It is the intentional purchase of such products which jave been produced with mimimum harm to or exploitation of humans, animals and environment. In the UK, the Co-operative Bank has produced an Ethical Consumerism Report (formerly the Ethical Purchasing Index) since 2001. The report measures the market size and growth of a basket of 'ethical' products and services, and valued UK ethical consumerism at GBP 36.0 billion (USD 54.4 billion) in 2008. This is about just one market in the global village.

Growing awareness among the consumers about the wrong-ways of bringing products into the market, has led to the world-wide acceptance of the concept of 'responsible consumerism'. It's like a 'movement'. In order to protect the environment and bring a fair play for the human capital involved and sensitivity to the animals, consumers are even ready to pay little bit higher price for the ethically produced goods.

Sensing the growing culture of ethical consumerism and the ‘Go Green’ drive in India, The Body Shop has recently taken some strategic measures to ride on this industry’s growth trajectory. The Body Shop has been since known for adopting responsible consumerism and its business ethos.


In a recent interview to ET, Jonathan Price, managing director, Asia Pacific, The Body Shop, said that The Body Shop, the iconic British skincare brand , has slashed the prices of about 800 products by up to 35% in India to speed up its growth in one of its fastest growing markets. The pricing markdown only for India was part of an ambitious plan to expand its reach to more people and smaller cities in quick time, says Jonathan Price. According to him, India is the pillar of future growth for The Body Shop.

If there is any credence to the strategic thinking of the product makers around the world, then it would be appropriate to consider it lucrative enough to launch more entrepreneurial ventures. It is a 'movement' which is evolving as a growth industry. Let us analyse a few factors here:
 
The scalabilty Potential:
  • Segments: Many [Cosmetics, household cleaning products, apparels, spices and other food ingredients]
  • Product Line : Vast
  • Product Range : Deep
  • Potential customers: Urban population
About 32% of population in India resides in urban cities currently. This will increase to about 35.2% of the Indian population residing in urban cities by 2019 - an increase of about 100 million. Out of this, it is important to highlight that much of the increase in urban population will comprise of migrants also. The migrating population will bring in their share of demand and to the total existing and growing demand for practising ethical consumerism.
Other factors to be considered while judging the potential of this industry:

1. Growth in Urban Population of India: estimated at about 41% of the total population by 2030. According to 2001 census about 64% of the urban population were living in homes which were in 'good condition', and hence can be assumed to be above poverty line. They will form the part of the urban population with some percentage of disposable income. Out of this share if you take around 20% [on the pessimistic side], as the prospects who would qualify as people with enough disposable income, you still have a huge market to tap.
2. Household Consumption: estimated to grow at about 8% per annum, which means by 2019-20, per capita income of households will double. This directly implies an increase in household expenditure budget in the coming decade.

Responsible Consumerism or Ethical Consumerism will force innovative ways to make products in the future. There will be growth for other related segments enabled by the growth of the core product industry based on responsible consumerism. For example the packaging industry, also will witness growth due to growth in other segments like those of apparels, food and beverages etc.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Home Sprung Business Model: Part III

Capture The Household Services Pie

Till about recently, the household sector has been a much-ignored sector in terms of providing services to specific needs. Needless to say that the scalability of any service ventured into this segment will be vast, and revenue potential -- very lucrative.

Sean Blagsvedt, founder of babajobs.com, has addressed one of the needs in informal employment segment [hiring a driver, a babysitter, a cook, a plumber etc.], which targets the educated double-income working class.

This market has been in clutter and chaos, where the employers would go about looking for a domestic help [usually a driver, a cook or a babysitter] by asking their neighbors or friends for references. Similarly the service providers, [like drivers or cooks] would go around spreading a word that they need work; getting references and employment through informal word-of-mouth method. Sean streamlined the market and brought together the two parties on an online platform. At babajobs.com, you can become a member by paying a nominal fee, and hire any domestic help with just a click of a button. The credentials of the prospective employees are available as scanned images, along with the complete profile of the prospective employees.


There are many such opportunities that revolve around the needs of the upper-middle class household sector in India. Take weddings for example. Wedding is a big social event for a couple who is getting married, and for their respective families, relatives and friends. While everyone wants to enjoy the revered occasion, it makes a lot of sense to ‘outsource’ the complete organizing activities to trusted ‘someone’. Thus, springs a ‘need’ [entrepreneurial opportunity] for a trusted wedding planner/organizer.


Another service need which has surfaced primarily in the metros of India, is the need for an extended arm for the senior citizens [and for those nuclear families where both the spouses are working] for day-to-day activities, which they find a little difficult to do because of either infrastructure problems or just the mental non-readiness to the fact that they have to be living independently during their sunset years due to the increasing mobility that is demanded of the younger employable population, in the wake of globalization. With the age-old tradition of joint-families in India and close-knit family culture, it is difficult for the current retiring generation to accept their nuclear family status even after retirement.


So why not pitch-in and provide a services which revolve around these senior citizens, which will reduce the nostalgia and keep up their active lives, leaving them feeling happy and secured? With her entrepreneurial genius, Manjiri Joshi Gokhale conceptualized this venture and formed Maya CARE Services to extend help to the senior citizens and anybody who might need it due to lack of time in their daily schedules.

Stay tuned to read interview with Manjiri Joshi Gokhale, founder Maya CARE Services.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Emerging Market Segments & Trends: Part III

Online Vertical Collaboration
Present The Alternative

After the boom in organic food and beverages market, the next segment which is on the growth curve is the segment for organic cosmetics and health products. In fact, with awareness spreading accross the countries and in most of the cross section of economies worldwide, there is a soar in demand for organic and all natural non-food products also.

The market per se for organic and all natural cosmetics and health products is not new in India. [Refer to my article published in August 2010 - Early Riders: Part I, Master The Knowledge & Unravel The Dogma].  Shehnaz Husein has been the pioneer in presenting the alternative solution to cosmetics and healthcare products via Ayurveda. It is the rate of growth shown by this segment that opens up entrepreneurial opportunities which can be pursued.

As a fundamental of the market economy, niches are created in the market for organic and all natural non-food products. Few niches which i can think of within the segment of organic and all natural cosmetics, helthcare products and other non-food products are:

1. Household cleaning products
2. Cosmetics for men
3. Cosmetics for women
4. Cosmetics for babies and children below 12 years
5. Healthcare and therapeutic products for common ailments like cold & cough, joint pains, muscle strains, acne, mild respiratory allergies, stress & tension etc.

    Fig: Niche Market Segments

    The list above is not exhaustive and if proper categorization is done, then there could be many more fields that can be added. Each of these fields could well start as a niche entrepreneurial opportunity, with the scalability to engulf other fields as well. There can be an increase vertically and horizontally for the products that can be offered.

    The niche for herbal or organic cosmetics is already flooded with brands like Biotique, Shehnaz Husain herbals, Dabur, VLCC to name a few. This segment alone stood at an estimated $2.5 billion in 2008 and is expected to grow at seven per cent, according to an analysis of the sector. Add to the demand and willingness to go for organic cosmetics, the concept of 'total well being', you get to an opportunity to introduce the services for total well being solutions - right from facial, manicure to offering packages which include diet control, destressing activities, such as yoga, spas and jaccuzzi.

    Reflect further and add growing acceptance of online retail concept in India. You shall see a business model evolve, which is a function of all such variables. So we have:

    OrganicAndAllNaturalNonFoodProducts.com = f {Web 2.0/Web 3.0; demand for organic and all natural cosmetics, health care products, other non-food products; demographics; growing importance for fashion & grooming}. You could also include increase in disposable income, as one more variable.

    The above factors can multiply and make this market a potential full of niches to be addressed. I had a chance to get interview of Maura Chari who has nurtured one such business model, and the name of her venture is Wellnessocean.com. Return back in a few days to read her entrepreneurial story.


    Monday, September 27, 2010

    Interview With Poonam Bir Kasturi, DailyDump

    Featuring Women Entrepreneur

    Poonam Bir Kasturi
    Founder, DailyDump

    [Category: Embracing Environment Level Challenges
    Waste Management: When Waste Is Not A Waste]

    Daily Dump was formed to promote household waste management through composting. The most remarkable aspect of Poonam's waste management process is the carefully designed terracotta products, which keep the hygiene in and keep the smell and maggots away! Moreover, Daily Dump is happy to share its know-how. All information, including how to start home composting or a similar business venture is freely available, for free, under a creative common licence.

    Daily Dump has 15 “clones” [as Poonam calls it] around India and abroad — autonomous businesses that are following and sharing the Daily Dump model for waste management. In the four years since Daily Dump started, it now has around 4,500 customers; and over 3,500 kg of organic waste has been composted. But this has not come without the sweat and tears. Unwillingness towards waste management and apathy towards waste seggregation [even with educated class] are just the two out of many other hurdles, which Poonam has thwarted successfully. Read to understand more about her entrepreneurial venture.

    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    Embracing Environment Level Challenges

    Waste Management: When Waste Is Not A Waste

    Today every responsible citizen in any country empathises with the waste that is getting wasted and the harmful effect that it has on our environment and health, when left unattended. Every conscious soul today is aware of the un-managed waste that is heaped away in many landfills. But most often people do not how to manage the waste. Even the educated class finds it difficult to contemplate and reflect on how the waste that they generate can be curbed and what to do with that which is generated - how to avoid landfills? Needless to say the waste lying around is unhygeinic and therefore, a plausible cause for epidemic diseases.

    There are many kinds of waste classified based on their characteristics. For example we have e-waste coming out of increased usage of digitalised gadgets in our urban lifestyles; medical waste coming from hospitals and clinics; plastics coming out of increased consumption of cold beverages, bottled-water and packed food/groceries and wet organic waste coming from household and restraunts, hotels and small eateries. Each of these type of waste need specific attention for managing them.

    If you talk about just the household waste, studies indicate that, in India, on an average, each person in urban areas produces half a kilogram of garbage each day. Ten percent of Indians live in urban areas. This calculates to more than 20 million tonnes of garbage each year in cities alone! A very natural way of avoiding landfills with our household waste [which is usually biodegradable], is the natural method of composting, vermi-composting and anaerobic digestion. Composting is easy and an environmental friendly solution for the wet, organic, biodegradable household waste. It is economically viable too.

    The Green Revolution left over 11.6 million hectares of low-productivity, nutrient-depleted soils ruined by unbalanced and excessive use of synthetic fertilisers and lack of organic manure or micronutrients. City compost can fill this need and solve both the problems of barren land and organic nutrient shortages estimated at six million tons a year. India’s 35 largest cities alone can provide 5.7 million tonnes a year of organic manure if their biodegradable waste is composted and returned to the soil. Integrated plant nutrient management, using city compost along with synthetic fertilisers, can generate enormous national savings as well as cleaning urban India. There is scarcely any other national programme which can bring such huge benefits to both urban and rural sectors.

    Quite a few entrepreneurs have already started embracing this environmental challenge and have started organizations working towards managing different types of wastes. One such entrepreneur is Poonam Bir Kasturi, founder of DailyDump, who is spreading the awareness of managing your household waste by composting. DailyDump [www.dailydump.org] educates about composting and sells products which are useful for composting in houses and apartments. Poonam has very delligently designed her composting products by integrating factors like convenience, environment friendliness, no electrical or battery operated add-ons and a blend with the Indian ethnicity and culture.

    For developing countries, recycling of waste is the most economically viable option available both in terms of employment generation for the urban poor with no skills and investment. Recycling is really helpful for managing the increasing plastic waste in our cities. Plastic waste is very environment un-friendly and is hazardous for our flora and fauna also. So is the case with e-waste. It is necessary to dispose off the electronic waste properly and scientifically as some of these wastes [like used batteries], have high lead content, which can easily get mixed in soil and water.

    If you mull over the above situation, you shall see that waste management may prove to be a lucrative and viable entrepreneurial opportunity area. Next week, I am going to publish my interview with Poonam Bir Kasturi - a woman of strong character and depth, who is determined to make a mark! Stay tuned.

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    Interview With Sudha Kumar, Prayag Consulting

    Featuring Women Entrepreneur
    Sudha Kumar
    Founder, Prayag Consulting


    [Category: The Early Riders
    Strike The Niche Segment]

    Sudha Kumar, has to her credit, building-up of the brand none other than Infosys! With a four year stint at A F Ferguson and the calibre endorsed with management degree from IIM Bangalore, Sudha joined Infosys when it had merely about 400 employees. At Infosys, she was actively involved in conceptualizing, planning and implementing a global marketing programme with particular emphasis on building the Infosys brand.

    After eight years of working with Infosys, the entrepreneurial bug bit her and she decided to start her own strategic marketing consulting venture, Prayag Consulting,  specifically targeted at the IT and high-tech industry. Kumar saw a huge opportunity in offering marketing services for high tech companies.

    Set up in 2001, Prayag provides comprehensive marketing solutions for companies in the high technology industry. In addition to IT Services and IT Products, BPO and Engineering services domains, they also focus on Telecom, Online and Green Technology verticals. Recently, Prayag has also diversified into newer segments and verticals like Not for Profit Organizations (NPOs) and Educational Institutions.

    Here is what Sudha has to say:

    Monday, September 20, 2010

    Importance Of Identifying A Niche Segment For An Entrepreneur

    Strike The Niche Segments

    As an industry grows, it parallelly develops niche pockets which need speific services. It just takes a keen entrepreneurial outlook to identify such niches at an early stage. These niche areas could be lucrative opportunities if identified at the tipping point. A niche market grows into a full-fledged industry, which in turn, generates more pockets or niche segments within itself.

    Niche areas are developed as a result of technological evolution or a change in our socio-economic set-ups. A niche market is a focused, targetable portion of a market. By definition, then, a business that focuses on a niche market is addressing a need for a product or service that is not being addressed by mainstream providers. You can think of a niche market as a narrowly defined group of potential customers. The birth of the IT outsourcing-offshore industry in India, back in late 1980s, is actually an example of a burgeoning niche market.

    When the pressure to improve the bottom line gradually surmounted with the corporate world in the West, the IT outsourcing-offshore industry witnessed the cusp of growth. It promised colossal profits and churned out many highly profitable ventures in the industry. Pressure to improve the bottomline was just one aspect. There were other drivers like upgrading of technology, digitalizing various departments of an organization etc. The niche need was not only restricted to the corporates of the western world, but it was very much imminent from India's perspective also.  As the Indian  IT offshoring industry plateaued on the growth curve, it further paved way for more niches within itself.

    To identify niche markets you should break down the demography of your target customers into as many sub-categories as possible. You should study the pros and cons of serving each of these sub-categories with your product/service, and then arrive at your target niche audience. Validate your product/service offering with this identified niche group. In fact, when starting your own venture, it is very important to know your target audience and focus on selling to the rightly identified niche group.

    Once you have the right niche identified, the probability of the success rate for your marketing and selling efforts, zooms up. Don't get overwhelmed by the idea of selling to a large audience. You shall appreciate this more if you keep in mind the practical hiccups that a start-up has --- lots of stuff to do with very limited resources! So start off by identifying your own niche, and then expand to larger market, introducing more products and/or services. Some of the opportunities [targeted usually at the small to mid-sized companies], which are looking lucrative now,  are presented below.

    After the financial meltdown in the United States of America, the World and India too, has felt the need to go for lean organizations. This has opened up the prospects for the outsourced-CXO business models, giving more entrepreneurial options for outsourcing services in the niche areas.

    It also makes a lot of sense for the corporates to see the advantages of lean corporate structure and concentrate on their core competencies. Hence, outsourcing other business processes and the frill-functions [which are equally important for company's growth], such as Marketing to the vendors specializing in such niche services, makes it a smart business strategy. Marketing Consulting [which includes sub-functions like market research, branding and Internet marketing], is an Industry by itself.  This niche industry has generated further pockets which need entrepreneurial attention, as they are still untapped opportunities. For example, providing marketing consulting to the hi-tech and IT outsourcing-offshore Industry in India. For all the boom that IT/ITES companies have witnessed, they have never quite leveraged the marketing strategies in its true sense. But with the slowdown, a lot of such IT/ITES businesses will need strategies to re-position themselves. Similarly, the hi-technology companies can leverage their market positions better with focussed and specialized marketing startegies.

    On this backdrop, i got the privilege to interview Sudha Kumar, founder of Prayag Consulting (http://www.prayagconsulting.com/). Sudha Kumar has shared her wisdom with me for my reader community. So, keep tuned to read interview with Sudha Kumar, founder Prayag Consulting, soon!

    Sunday, September 19, 2010

    Mompreneurship - New Dimension To The Ideology of Entrepreneurship [Part II]

    Are All Women Entrepreneurs Mompreneurs Also?

    The answer is an emphatic "No". Mompreneurship is a subset of Women Entrepreneurship [or Womenpreneurship].

    Mompreneurs are the Women Entrepreneurs [or womenpreneurs] whose motivation and idea conceptualization have cropped up from motherhood. Mompreneurs are not born out of the need to do something on their own; not by any perceived opportunity sighted as a result of their work experience or as a lacuna in an industry. Mompreneurs are born out of the devine gift of motherhood.

    Mompreneurs are those women who may not have otherwise decided to be an entrepreneur, but have come across the frustration of not finding a product or a service that is just right for her baby/kid or that can attend to any specific need of mother-child set-up. The focus here is on the source of motivation - motherhood plays an important part in identifying an opportunity while traversing through the stages of motherhood itself. The motivation does not stem out like the way it does in case of the typical women entrepreneurship.

    Though most of the women entrepreneurs would, at some point in time, go through motherhood, but their entrepreneurial drive would have origin in the regular format of entrepreneurial outlook. Put in simple terms, all Mompreneurs are Womenpreneurs, but all Womenpreneurs are not Mompreneurs. When a mom is developing innovative products and unique solutions to common household issues, a mompreneur is born. Motherhood is a great motivator in this case.


    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    Interview With Anju Maudgal Kadam, Unitus India

    Featuring Women Entrepreneur
    Anju Maudgal Kadam
    Founder: Unitus India

    [Category: Early Riders
    Deploy Your Skill-set In A New Avatar]

    Unitus began as a software services company in 2001, and soon, with client referrals, they established themselves as a preferred company to work with for US clients wanting to set up offshore development centres (ODCs) in Bangalore. Unitus has consistently built enduring partnerships and customer relationships. They have worked with customers across diverse industries. Strong domain expertise, extensive technology skills, process focus, speed and innovation has enabled Unitus to provide value-added, high quality IT solutions to their customers.

    Their range of service expertise has two more domains: Media Streaming and Video Production. They now make audio visuals and stream live events on the net. Unitus delivers sharp and comprehensive IT & Media services, complementing their technology skills and focus on business solutions.
    Their ability to successfully manage and deliver complex, enterprise-wide services and solutions over the past nine years has enabled them to gain and retain diverse global customers like Authoria, Wipro, BullRun Financial, Apostek and Microsoft.

    In an interview with me, Anju Maudgal Kadam, co-founder/director of Unitus India, has shared her experiences as an entrepreneur. Read on to know more. 

    Saturday, September 11, 2010

    Mompreneurship - A New Dimension To The Ideology Of Entrepreneurship [Part I]

    Why Do We Need The Term 'Mompreneurship'

    [Category: Mompreneurship]

    What is Mompreneurship? Mompreneurship is a very up-coming classification in the ideology of Entrepreneurship. This nascent concept classification has received attention in the entrepreneur world of the West, but is almost a not-talked-about term in Indian entrepreneurial set-up.

    Clearly Mompreneurship is derived from Mompreneur. In simple terms Mompreneurs = Moms + Entrepreneurs. In most of the cases, a mompreneur is born out of frustration - frustration of not finding a product that is 'perfect' or 'just the right thing' for her baby; frustration of not being able to spend the time with the kids at early age. Mompreneurship usually derives it's motivation from the needs of kids and family; from the priority of maintaining a balance between work and home; from the fact that you can be your own boss; and from the freedom of maintaining flexi work schedules.

    So, mompreneurship is different from the conventional definition of entrepreneurship. The conventional ideology of entrepreneurship has a perception which compels you to get an image of a 'company' model with elaborate business plans and growth strategies, generating many jobs and a model which promises a double-digit growth rate.

    Does this mean that, as entrepreneurship is growing as an industry, the conventional ideology needs evoloution too? Does it create a scope to classify entrepreneurship based on the functions that it depicts? For example, classification such as Social Entrepreneurship and Political Entrepreneurship. The answer is, "Yes, it does."

    Entrepreneurship means to take up a perceived opportunity and turn it into a business generating profit, growth and economic value to the society. Entrepreneurship directly implies growth and contribution towards the GDP of an economy. This gives a clear arguement for mompreneurship to be considered worthy of separate field in the broad gamut of Entrpreneurship. Mompreneurship generates profits, large value to the society and the economy, though more often on a smaller scale. Some make it big too.

    For example, Julie Aigner-Clark, founder of Baby Einstein started from the basement of her house and exited successfully after being bought by the Disney. Mindee and Julie formed Boogie Wipes in 2007 and today they sell across 30,000 retail stores across the United States of America. Another example is that of See Kai Run line of shoes for toddlers and kids, which started in 2008 and now sells to retailers all around the USA.

    These are just a very few examples of those who have made it big, but there are many such mompreneurs who fall in the small and medium sized business category also. They all generate profit, wealth and value for themselves, contribute towards the GDP of the economy and generate jobs. The difference lies in the rate of growth. These models usually have slower rate of growth which in turn may get decided because of the family parameters, like the age of the children.

    With the number of cases of mompreneurship growing, it calls for a better scientific analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of this branch of entrepreneurship. In fact it overlays opportunities to provide a better ecosystem for the Mompreneurship.


    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    Interview With Nandini Hirianniah, The Morpheus

    Featuring Women Entrepreneur
    Nandini Hirianniah
    Founder-Partner, The Morpheus
    [Category: Emerging Markets & Trends
    Exploring New Definitions]

    Today India is on an enviable growth trajectory - a truth well discussed across the globe. Entrepreneurship culture is taking on a big way to be one of the contributors to our economic growth. In the next five years the entrepreneurial drive, that India is witnessing now, will make a significant difference in our economy. But the truth is that the Entrepreneurial Revolution happening in India, has little organized support structure.

    This is where The Morpheus has stepped in, providing a 'Mentor Only' formula to the early stage start-ups which need support the most. The Morpheus was formed with the aim of working with early-stage start-ups as a limited co-founder who is experienced and well connected, and also as a mentor with hands on participation across different functions like product design, technology, operations, marketing, sales, fund raising, team building, finance etc. With their passion, love and commitment to early stage startups, The Morpheus engages with such startups in the most crucial phase of their existence, the first 12-18 months. Though The Morpheus started as a "Mentor Only" model. but they fund 5 lakhs INR to each company they work with now.

    Read on my interview with Nandini to understand more about their formula. 

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    Interview With Pallavi Singh Keshri, Eyaas.com

    Featuring Women Entrepreneur
    Pallavi Singh Keshri
    Founder, Eyaas.com
    [Category: Emerging Markets & Trends In India
    Tweak The Supply-Side In Your Business Model]

    Pallavi formed Eyaas.com with the aim of providing all things that are hand-made and ‘green’. There are two main areas of focus: 1) Crafts and hand-made goods which are endangered or lost. 2) Provide a platform or channel of consumer access for all those individuals and groups for whom handwork is a form of livelihood.


    Eyaas.com is not only providing the commerce part for the hand-made products, but they are also endeavoring to provide information about how the product was made and who made that particular product.
    Here is what Pallavi has to say about Eyaas.com.

    Monday, September 6, 2010

    Emerging Market Segments and Trends: Part II

    Tweak The Supply-side in Your Business Model

    Online retail business model is not a new concept. But if you are introducing it in the new market segment with a bit of tweaking with one of the levers, it could be an opportunity worth experimenting!

    Friday, September 3, 2010

    Interview With Chandini Harlalka, Artflute.com

    Featuring Women Entrepreneur
    Chandini Harlalka
    Founder: Artflute.com
    [Category: Emerging Market Segments & Trends
    Online Collaboration in Verticals]

    Artflute.com was formed with the fundamental of providing an online platform for the artists and the art enthusiasts. Its philosophy is to build an online community in Contemporary Art. Its endeavor is to allow the budding artists an easy access at the same time allow art collectors to buy at early artists’ prices.

    Artflute is not just about buying and selling artwork, it is about sharing ideas through the blog; its about getting inspired by works from other artists and art schools; it’s about watching videos and owing your own little gallery.
    Here is what Chandini had to say about her entrepreneurial venture in an interview with me.

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010

    Emerging Market Segments and Trends: Part I

    Online Collaboration In Verticals


    The Web 2.0 is a passing concept now in the West, paving way to Web 3.0 already. Though the concept of Web 2.0 [practically 2004 onwards], has picked up in India, surprisingly e-commerce which is a phenomenonon of Web 1.0, has not picked up drastically. Online collaboration is yet to penetrate in some segments.

    The concept of portals [horizontal and vertical] is long-standing now. Though horizontal portals in India have splurged into almost every segment, vortals [or vertical portals] are yet to

    Saturday, August 28, 2010

    Interview With Dakshayini Kanna, TREAMIS World School, Bangalore

    Featuring Women Entrepreneur
    Dakshayini Kanna
    Founder/Director TREAMIS World School, Bangalore

    [Category: The Recession Proof Corner - Education Industry: Part I
    Integrate 'The Change']



    Treamis World School was formed with the mission to provide an integrated learning environment that develops independent thinking and promotes self-discipline. Based on their philosophy, Treamis has developed a practical approach that prepares children to face real life issues and succeed in their future endeavors. It creates an ideal environment through which students become competitive and are educated for knowledge creation, lifelong learning and leadership. Treamis prepares them to take on leading roles in their future working environments: directing change, solving problems and developing new knowledge.

    Dakshayini is a rare phenomenon in the primary education industry. She can be called a serial entrepreneur, whose experience has not been limited to classroom teaching, but she has been involved in setting up quite a few educational institutes from scratch. Born to parents who were into teaching profession, Dakshayini developed interest in teaching early. A gold medallist from Bangalore University, Dakshayini is currently a consultant at Heritage Academy, Bangalore, Deeksha High, Bangalore, Comorin International, Kanya Kumari and Little Elly, Bangalore, apart from being the Founder Director at Treamis World School, Bangalore.
    Here is what Dakshayini has to say about her entrepreneurial journey:

    Thursday, August 26, 2010

    The Recession Proof Corner - Education Industry: Part I

    Integrate 'The Change' Into the Traditional Format *

    India’s $20 billion (Rs 93,401 crore) kindergarten-to-12 (K-12) education sector is anticipated to grow almost twice as fast as the economy itself. Coupled with this, globalization has influenced Education Industry in India creating a demand for schools with new formats.

    Whereas on one side our education system is one of the best in the world, it still has lacunae, which need to be bridged. Dakshayini Kanna can relate to these gaps with her 25 years of experience in education industry in India. Dakshayini is a rare phenomenon in the primary education industry. She can be called a serial entrepreneur, whose experience has not been limited to classroom teaching, but she has been involved in setting up quite a few educational institutes from scratch. I had the opportunity to get inputs from Dakshayini Kanna about the opportunity which has spearheaded

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    Opportunities in Education Sector in India: Part I

    Industry: Education
    Segment: K-12

    The K-12 segment of education industry in India has a few un-met and un-tapped opportunities. The most ignored members of this segment are the teachers.

    Though on one side there is increase in use of multimedia for improving the teaching aids for the students, but there is not much attention paid towards empowering the teachers to make their contributions more effective.

    Anyone who has been in teaching profession in the K-12 segment, will know

    Monday, August 16, 2010

    Interview With Anu Lall, Snartak Solutions

    Featuring Woman Entrepreneur
    Anu Lall
    Founder: Snartak Solutions
    http:// www.snartak.com


    Snartak Solutions works in the niche of ERP – Human Resources and Payroll, providing a wide range of services. They understand the distinct requirements of this function, and deliver effective solutions based on experience, process knowledge and best practices that help your organisation choose a solution from a variety of alternatives.

    Here is what Anu Lall, founder of Snartak Solutions, has to say about her venture.

    Monday, August 9, 2010

    The Building Blocks of A Start-Up

    Important Drivers and Levers


    Idea Conception
    This is the key to starting any business. The first challenge is to come up with an idea (if you haven’t spotted one already). If you think carefully, actually you may come up with an idea reasonably quickly! Refer to my articles earlier [Home Grown Business: Part I; Mompreneurship Part I; The Early Riders]. They are a guidance as to how you can spot an opportunity and turn it into a business idea.

    Finding the Right Business Partner

    Wednesday, August 4, 2010

    Early Riders: Part I

    Master The Knowledge & Unravel The Dogma

    Shahnaz Husain
    Founder: Shanaz Husain Herbals

    Shahnaz Husain is probably the first successful woman entrepreneur in India.  She popularized herbal treatments for beauty and health problems. Her company, Shahnaz Husain Herbals, was the largest of its kind in the world and had a strong presence in over 100 countries, from the US to Asia. By 2002, the Shahnaz Husain Group had over 650 salons around the world, employing about 4200 people. The net worth of the Group was $100 million.

    Monday, August 2, 2010

    Mompreneurship: Part I

    Opportunity In Disguise


    Julie Aigner-Clark
    Founder: Baby Einstein

    Julie Aigner-Clark, the founder of Baby Einstein, is an exemplar of the ‘Mompreneurship’ ! She made a paradigm shift just by looking at a problem as an opportunity.



    When Julie Aigner-Clark had her first daughter, she became fascinated by the research/studies on the capacity of newborns to learn. She wanted to buy something for her baby that was both educational, appropriate for her baby’s development and at the same time fun for both of them. She couldn’t find anything in the market.

    Aigner thought that if she couldn’t find what she was looking for, maybe other mothers were in the same situation. This gave birth to the idea

    Thursday, July 29, 2010

    Home-Sprung Business Models: Part I

    Preen The Passion

    Debbie Fields Rose
    Founder: Mrs. Fields Cookies


    Passion is one thing, which enthuses an entrepreneur. Unless you are passionate about the business you do, it is unlikely that you will be successful.

    Let us put it the other way. If you have a passion, can it be turned into business? Can it be integrated with innovation and launched in the market as a full-fledged business?