Shah Helped Me Keep Fo­cus on Fun­da­men­tals while Re­duc­ing Costs

The Economic Times - - Disruption: Startups & Tech - Manav Garg

More of­ten than not, peo­ple en­joy work­ing with com­pa­nies in good times. How­ever, it is the sup­port one gets dur­ing tough times that mat­ters. Some­time dur­ing 2013-2014, there was a sud­den drop in oil prices. Con­se­quently, some of our key cus­tomers and prospects slashed their IT bud­gets. Kirit Shah’s sup­port was in­stru­men­tal in help­ing us sail through this phase. He helped me keep fo­cus on the fun­da­men­tals while re­duc­ing costs sys­tem­at­i­cally. (Shah’s GP Group is an in­vestor in Eka Soft­ware.) I do be­lieve that the best lessons any en­tre­pre­neur can get about his busi­ness are from his own ex­pe­ri­ences. Hav­ing said that, the best ad­vice I re­ceived from my men­tor was to never shift fo­cus away from the first prin­ci­ples — cus­tomers sat­is­fac­tion, cash­flow man­age­ment, and prof­itabil­ity. That has guided my en­tre­pre­neur­ial jour­ney.

You may have a great prod­uct, the best in the in­dus­try with the most so­phis­ti­cated and lat­est func­tion­al­i­ties and tech­nol­ogy. Ideas do mat­ter. But un­less your prod­uct pro­vides so­lu­tions that specif­i­cally ad­dress your cus­tomer’s prob­lem, it has lit­tle value for them.

I also learned that get­ting funded — be it through a loan, ven­ture cap­i­tal or through an an­gel in­vestor — is where your jour­ney re­ally be­gins. And as you gain mo­men­tum, it is im­por­tant that you stay fru­gal, keep a check on the cash burn, and plan well to al­lo­cate funds through the crit­i­cal stages of your growth. Of­ten, good ideas don’t ma­te­ri­alise into a busi­ness due to un­planned fi­nan­cial sup­port. I would ad­vise young en­trepreneurs to keep their per­sonal ex­pen­di­ture at a min­i­mum. When you have fewer debts to worry about you can fo­cus bet­ter on your own ven­ture.

(As told to Shadma Shaikh)

A VALU­ABLE LES­SON

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