We visited Ek Soch – the first Development Dialog held in Varanasi. Centred on entrepreneurship which is the theme of each of the Sandboxes set up by the Deshpande Foundation, we found the panel on Next Gen Social Entrepreneurs really interesting. The young panellists spoke about challenges in starting an organisation and building a workable model. Here are a few excerpts:
Define your value proposition – identify or know what it is that makes a difference to the customer. The day I know what my customer wants, I am no longer a start-up. I understand the customer’s need and convert it to my profit and that’s when I transform from a start up to a scalable business.
Another panellist spoke about the importance of measuring outcome achieved versus expenditure incurred. This exercise requires planned structuring as all benefits cannot be easily quantified. Are the benefits greater than what I am spending?
The founder of a venture which is still at incorporation stage encouraged the process of taking a leap of faith. Yes once you are bitten by an idea you must jump in – no need to wait for approvals and so on. However, do plan your finances better – it can take longer than you estimate – you must budget for contingencies
One of the panellists who mentioned the importance of having a mentor when one is in start-up mode, had an interesting take on the role of the mentor: It’s important to have a mentor when you start – the mentor’s role is to advise WHERE you need to be NOT HOW to get there. If you are advised on the how, and the direction does not follow as per plan, you may find that you give up.