Learning the Lesson
We all make mistakes, but it is the wise who learn the lesson they hold. Read about the mistakes these entrepreneurs made and the lessons they learned from them.
Makarand Vaidya, Promoter Director, CoreView Systems
When I started with my earlier company which we sold to Sumasoft, I began by offering generic software services to friends and friends of friends. If anyone of them wanted something specific then we worked to build customized software for them. I thought that was the way to go. But it was a mistake to offer generic services because in the customer’s mind you then became a commodity seller. As a result, your services were not valued as much. I soon realized my mistake and changed the strategy. We bought a company with expertise in ML and started offering a focused service in that field. This helped us reduce our sales effort and our revenues doubled. The lesson? Target a niche market with specialized services for better returns. Don’t be a jack of all (software) trades.
Diptesh Mukherjee, Co-founder, XEN Farms
We are a digital platform aggregator of natural farming that connects farmers to the end customer. However, I can talk about the mistake we made with our last start-up that actually failed. Our aim was to offer robotic painting services which meant that instead of humans you had robots that would paint your house. Our idea was very futuristic and we tried to raise funds even before we had any customers. Result? We failed. Not only to not raise funds but the whole business fell through as my co-founder left and I could not manage alone. The lesson I learned? There are three.
- Start a business only after you have interviewed some 100-200 people to find out if there is a need for your idea.
- Don’t jump ahead of yourself. Start with a low-end product first. Test it and then move ahead.
- With XEN Farms, we have an MRR of Rs. 1.1 lakhs and we won’t get into fundraising till we hit an MRR of Rs. 5.5 lakhs.
Anand Mahajan, Founder, Zerebral IT Solutions
I am a tech person and love building tech tools. Our company builds structured data feeds that are then used by different customers. In the early days, if an idea hit us, we would get excited and start building right away without understanding customer needs. Result? We have about 15 products sitting in our office with no customers taking them. However, we got lucky with one. Which sort of makes up for the loss of time and money spent on creating the others. Now we have a rule. If anyone comes up with an idea for a new product, he has to come up with the entire proposal and get a few customers ready before building the product. Lesson learned? Understand customer needs at the very outset.
Rakshyit Shukla, Co-founder, Wwings Infra Solutions
We are a fintech company that is creating a platform for B2B entrepreneurs who are in the business of insurance, loans and mutual funds. Initially, we thought of getting big companies and financial advisors on board thinking that the business generated would be large. But we soon realized that servicing them was difficult. Also, because they were big, they were not hungry for new business. In contrast to this were the small players who were hungry for more business to grow, which in turn meant more business for us. Also, they weren’t as difficult to service. And since all our eggs are not in one large player’s basket, it will not impact us as much if a small company faces a downturn. Lesson learned? Small companies can be more profitable than large ones.