Non-negotiables while running a business

Non-negotiables while running a business

Masai recently hosted Techtonic Shift - An event where we invited legendary Indian entrepreneurs to share their experiences, and learnings of having built billion-dollar businesses.

We were honoured with the presence of -

  • Vineeta Singh, CEO of SUGAR,
  • Amrish Rau, CEO of Pine Labs,
  • Abhishek Goyal, CEO of Tracxn,
  • Anirban Majumdar, COO of Urban Piper  

In this article, we share the cumulative learnings about “building businesses” from our day-long event.

  1. A clear understanding of the Problem statement - A problem statement defines a set of challenges faced by consumers and helps the entrepreneur define possible solutions. Ex - Amazon in its early days identified that “buying books” was a big challenge, and its first product enabled people to order books hassle-free.

    The clarity in understanding, and defining a clear problem statement is one of the fundamentals of a good business.
  2. WHY? - ​​Your why serves as a compass; it gives you reason and purpose. Entrepreneurship is a tough journey, and there will be many tough days when you don’t want to go to work, but your “WHY” will keep you going no matter how hard it gets, says Vineeta, CEO of SUGAR.
  3. Tech First company - No matter who you are - A writer, or a strategist - You need to understand tech, and stay close to it. This doesn’t mean that you should be able to code, but if your company doesn’t leverage tech, then the business may not be as strong fundamentally, and scaling it can become a real challenge.
  4. Employee First - Amrish often tells the people that join him to give him 4 years of their careers, and promises them space, and most importantly the freedom to express themselves. He has always been a big advocate of employee wellness over profits.

    Vineeta further adds that a company will not always have good days, and if you have taken good care of your employees, then they will stick around.
  5. No debate about the Market demand - Amrish believes in solving for today where consumers are demanding solutions to be delivered today. He may not be able to pioneer a Tesla or a SpaceX, but he strongly believes that there are 1000s of problems to be solved in the present.

    Companies like Swiggy and Zomato enjoy a large TAM - Targe Addressable Market, making it a very lucrative, and investable business.
  6. Timing - Investors want to know why today, and not 5 years later, or 5 years earlier? Food delivery as a concept wouldn’t have been possible a decade ago when access to smartphones and a good internet connection was limited. It is possible today because of the infrastructure that supports it.
  7. Execution - A big fat idea means nothing if it is not backed by execution. What if Jobs envisioned the iPhone, but never got to make it a reality? In a startup, you need to constantly be experimenting and executing.
  8. Do you have a winning team - Flipkart could have been run by anyone, but it was the team of Sachin and Binny Bansal that made Flipkart what it is today. A winning team in Netflix will be one where the team has a good understanding of technology and content.