Sunday, February 17, 2013

3 Essentials to a Startup's Success

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The successful multiple entrepreneurs I have met from India who made a success of their ventures in Silicon Valley and moved elsewhere or returned to India to set up another successful start up, I believe that the factors that has led to their success are three. The entrerpreneurs trying to recreate this magic in different parts of the world, would have to do a little hard work to look at these three factors, change the mindset from secrecy to openness, and build further upon it to encourage new enterprises. 

a. Belief in themselves. They are passionate and even at a young age have the capacity to thing differently. People who have moved from India, from an environment, where questioning a system-largely- is not encouraged, suddenly find themselves into an environment, where to move up the ladder, you need to think differently, and have a firm belief in your idea, and in yourself. 

b. Trust.  The entrepreneurs who have shared their learning and experiences have found another most significant enabling factor in US is Trust.  People trust each other. Even if it is a kid who tells his parents that he is going to go independent and create something of his/her own, he is encouraged.  The freedom to carve your own niche, to build your own road, to make your own destiny, firmly motivates the people to go ahead and succeed. 

c. The Network: As Robert very rightly said, you have successful entrepreneurs, the investors and funding agencies, and professionals from entire support system that enable you to remain motivated and follow your goal.  There is a positive ecosystem that encourages you to network and benefit from the experiences of others. 

The successful entrepreneurs who have returned from US and setup their own enterprise in India, are endeavouring through organisations like TiE to build a system of mentorship for the budding youngsters who are full of ideas and looking for the right break.


Saturday, February 2, 2013

How to Raise Money for Your Cause

Fund raising for a social cause is one of the biggest challenge for any non-profit. And this is an essential component to make a success of any social enterprise.  For any non-government organisation, the major revenue stream is donation from its members or the community to sustain itself.

Many NGOs go in for regular fund-raising endeavours to remain operational while any major project requires massive financial support which calls for innovation.

One can list out numerous fund-raising ideas as growing number of NGOs try every possible way to raise funds, but largely, the NGOs continue to struggle for continuous stream of financial support.  Usual refrain that one gets to hear from them is that "there are not enough people who donate", or "no one gives", "people are callous", "the rich are least bothered", etc. etc.  However, if one goes by the performance of some of the successful NGOs like Rotary, HelpAge, Oxfam, CRY, etc, they continue to fund their major service projects with success.

To make a successful fund-raising effort it is essential that one realises that an NGO or not-for-profit is just like any other enterprise and requires professional management to manage its resources and projects.  All it requires is following the time-tested management principles and fund-raising strategies to make the not-for-profit succeed in making positive changes in the society.

Here are Five Principles of making a success of fund-raising efforts.

1. Design a communication campaign: It is essential to have a comprehensive communication plan to make your organisation or your project known to the world, especially to those segments of society who matter and can provide financial support.  Write down the project, the beneficiaries, the project cost, and how it is going to make an impact.  Once the project is ready, create informative brochure, flyer, website, content for social media like facebook, twitter, youtube, etc.

2. Create Your Story: The human interest is the one that moves the people.  The story of any one or two individuals who would get the benefit from the project would make a lot of sense in making the donors understand the enormity of the project, and how their participation would help these people in need. Make it gripping and real which becomes possible once you connect with the beneficiaries and check out their lives for the challenges they are facing.

2. Share it with larger audience: Once the project is ready announce it to the world through a media  briefing, sending out news releases to various channels, giving details of the project, and how it is going to make a difference in the society. The philanthropic organisations or individuals who step in should be a part of the media briefings with appropriate acknowledgement of their participation.

3. Reach Out to Philanthropists:  Everyone is a philanthropist but one can decide whether you need smaller contribution from large number of givers or large contribution from a small number of donors. For a larger project, one need to list out all those High Networth Individuals in the community, corporations and reach out to them with appropriate presentation containing project details, photographs/video presentations, in a complete docket with options and opportunities for giving.  Also list out how the donor would get the recognition for joining in the cause.

4. Your Members as Ambassadors:  The members of the not-for-profit have to be informed and prepared to be the brand ambassadors for the cause that the organisation intends to promote.  Each one can identify the potential donors and pitch them with the ideas, and opportunities to associate themselves with the cause. An internal newsletter and other means of communication need to be deployed for a regular update on the progress of the project.

5. Share the Stories of Success:  As the project proceeds or concludes, every beneficiary who gets touched through these efforts, has a story to tell.  Follow it up closely the case of each and every individual.  Find out how the project has transformed their lives.  Share these stories with the media, with members, the donors, and the community at large, and you can see how the people respond and support.

The key to the success of the fund-raising however remains is meticulous planning, identifying your prospects, reaching out to them with appropriate communication, and telling your story effectively.

Indian wireline broadband pricing likely to fall by 50%; segment to generate Rs 80,000 crore over 5 years

Indian wireline broadband pricing likely to fall by 50%; segment to generate Rs 80,000 crore over 5 years