Enterpreneurship Simplified: From IDEA to IPO- Review

Title: Entrepreneurship Simplified: From IDEA to IPO

Authors:  Ashok Soota and S. R. Gopalan

Publisher: Penguin Random House, India.

Number of pages: 233

Price: Rs. 499

We are living in the era of Start-ups. Innovation, venture capital, finance, entrepreneurship, etc. are the buzz words. Book shops, websites, blogs and other social media platforms are flooded with this content. “Entrepreneurship Simplified: From Idea to IPO”, stands apart as unlike the western or more particularly American content, this step- by- step guide addresses the issues and concerns of the aspiring Indian entrepreneurs.

The book is authored by Ashok Soota and S. R. Gopalan. Ashok Soota is the founding chairman of MindTree and Happiest Minds Technologies. Prior to this he led Wipro’s IT business for 15 years. S. R. Gopalan is the founders of Dawn Consulting and Bizworth India, which provide advisory services covering finance, regulation, taxation and strategic aspects of business and the valuation of enterprise and intangibles.

According to Ashok Soota, it was a practical guide and therefore it should help budding entrepreneurs in deciding: what and what not, why and why not, how and how not, when and when not. Moreover, they illustrate each point with their own stories of two successful ventures — MindTree and Happiest Mind. The authors are passionate about grooming the entrepreneurs and dispassionate while writing the book. With the rise of Infosys and Wipro, India witnessed new generation of entrepreneurs. They were not traders, neither had they inherited any conglomerate or big business. They worked hard to create new companies with mission, values and finally new culture. Entrepreneurship is hard but it need not always be so, is the aim of this book.

The book has ten chapters: Idea Generation and Validation, Funding, Winning with VCs, Mission Vision Values and Culture, Organization, Business Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Wealth Creation and Sharing, Initial Public Offering, Failures and Success. At the end of the each chapter, key takeaways are listed. Therefore the book becomes everyday companion for budding entrepreneurs.

Some of the takeaways are as follows:

  • A very small percentage (1-5 per cent) of proposals which reach VCs get funded. You have to do your homework well to ensure that your project is one of those selected for funding.
  • Entrepreneurship is all about value creation through a partnership between the investor and the entrepreneur.
  • Above all else, VCs take a bet on people and it’s the team which counts. VCs also need to have an upfront understanding of how and when they will get their exit.
  • Culture can be your most unique and enduring differentiation which other companies can’t replicate as easily.
  • Mission, vision and values play an important role in defining the type of culture you want to create.
  • High-achievement-oriented leaders see themselves in competition with other such leaders and it is not in their natural wavelength to collaborate. Mechanisms are needed to increase organizational collaboration.
  • Don’t just call your company and team a family without being able to demonstrate this through the way you behave, particularly in difficult times. Lay-offs should definitely be seen as a last resort.
  • Amongst the founders, there must be one who is clearly seen as the ‘boss’ and whose decision is accepted by all after due debate.
  • Apart from the founding team, the other entity which plays a key role in foundation building is the statutory board. They are also the guardians for setting the highest standards of corporate governance.
  • Building a brand begins with the company name, which should be interesting and memorable.
  • The best publicity is free publicity.
  • In a content-driven world, the team must project its capability through articles in reputed journals, blogs, etc.
  • Building trust is important in both B2B and B2C marketing. When things go wrong, handle these exceptions well as they can contribute to building trust.
  • In the start-up stage, the key need is to question and validate all the assumptions you made while starting up.
  • Price is not a strategy; it’s a mug’s game. Market entry at lower prices is only justified if your costs are lower, allowing you to sustain healthy margins.

About this book, Nandan Nilkeni has rightly remarked, “Required reading for any aspiring entrepreneur…,” adding that, “Even after so many years of co-creating and growing Infosys and then doing the Aadhar project, I found many essential lessons in Soota and Gopalan’s book that will help me better as I mentor other companies.”

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