Tag Archives: entrepreneurship

Love what Stray Factory is doing in Chennai

19 May

I just submitted couple of my blog entries at “The Great Indian Blog-ologues” conducted by Stray Factor in collaboration with Indie Bloggers.

Never heard of Stray Factory until  today. Actually, there was an article in The Hindu: Group comes up with innovative exercise in collaborative entertainment which I dint take seriously enough. So, I was definitely in for a surprise when I checked out their site.  I was like , “Hey, these guys are doing something interesting and cool !” .

They are into collaborative entertainment (whatever that means but sounds juicy enough to me). But I guess they are more interested in Theatre than other forms of entertainment at this point.Chennai has a vibrant theater culture anyway.  l would really these guys to succeed in whatever plans they have in the future.

Dint like their website though!  Doesnt have enough info or links are not really working. But hey, These guys have started something new and it will take some time to get things moving .

Great stuff, Stray Factory… Keep going!

check out the competition here : http://www.indiblogger.in/blogologues/

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Review : cottonworld Print Ad, Website and Social Media

22 Apr

Love the new Cottonworld ad which features Ashish Hemrajani, the guy who runs Bookmyshow.com

Why I like th ad?

  • No celebrity.  Real success story. I never really like or believe celebrities are good for brand building unless it for a cause.
  • Check the ad. Look at the tag “comfort zone”. Check out the cop – “Comfort is about being yourself…” The tag line, the copy is in complete sync with a simple ad about the guy wearing a very stylish and yet simple dress.
  • Then you have couple of lines on his success story. You immediately associate the brand with being casual, entrepreneurship, and success and yet are simple and down to earth.
Big Iea : You can be simple and look great and be successful at that .

Simple ad. Great execution.

Big Thought : Makes me want to buy cottonworld dress

My next stop: www.cottonworld.net

Love the website. It is clean white, has great content and again syncs completely with the brand core message (or the latest campaign theme): Casual, celebrating entrepreneurship and success and yet simple and down to earth.

The website features some great success stories of people who follow their heart in did what they wanted to do.

Great ad shots as well!

Kick Ass thought: Someday I would love to be featured in their website

My criticism:

The “club cottonworld” page has very little info on what it is all about. 5% off on any purchase? Conditions apply (as always ) ? Dint really get the idea of it. I wish the website had more info on the loyalty program.

I then moved on to their Facebook fanpage.

As far as I can see, they have a good fanpage running. You have customer testimonials and some good interactivity. But I thought , more can be done to increase the interaction between the brand and the customers.  Maybe they just started the fanpage.

The twitter page is nothing much to write home about.  I see 5 tweets  as I type this post.

Conclusion:

  • Great Print Ad
  • Clean website but wish it had more info on the kind of clother available, price range etc .. ( suggest dell website which has a similar theme on entrepreneurs )
  • Nice fb fanpage
  • But I felt that there is no clear Social Media Strategy in place. It is good to have a fanpage but bad to have it just for the sake of having one without a clear strategy. In the long run things will get blurred. So , they need to have a vision for social media .

If you like the post or the brand, may I request the reader to share it with others? You can share it it twitter , facebook or delicious

How the Rs 10 soup selling gal gets its right and Satyam doesn’t on customer service

19 Dec

The race to MBA degree is mind boggling. In India especially, it is craze sometimes rivaled only to cricket. You can see it for yourself the hordes of mba wanna- be’s and the media coverage peak during the Nov-Jan season every year. What a spectacle to watch . Almost every magazine worth its salt come out with b-school suvery giving a list a top 50 colleges “you should study at ” . Some even bring out a separate book to cash in on the boom. And, hey .. don’t count me out.. I am in the race too .

A degree in MBA teaches you to understand cash flow statements, how to come up with great marketing ideas and all that jazz. But I wonder how did Shankari ,a 1 st year B.com student from a low rung women college get great ideas on marketing and customer service.

Let me give you the story first .

I love soup and for having that one or two cups of it  I go all the way to Ananna Nagar park where this guy sells really mouth watering , pipping hot soup ( completely natural ) at Rs 6 per cup. He has good stuff. You have to give him that credit !

These days( 3 months approx) ,  I drink soup from one of the Fresh retail outlets i visit. The soup is sold in small kiosks at Rs 10 per cup. You would have seen similar kiosks selling sweet corns and popcorn’s at a retail store near to your house. Small enterprising men/women take franchise contracts from the company which sells these products , then pay rent to the retail store and put up a kiosk outside and sell it. Great business idea . Has the ideal ingredient of entrepreneurship, job and wealth creation and good products to customers at affordable rates.

Now, getting back to the story . Shankari is a 1st year student studying for B.com at W omen’s College. She sits at the kiosk every evening with a book in hand selling Rs. 1o per cup soups. I have options to chose as well – Tomato, Plantain, Mushroom, Vegetable. For reasons unknown to myself I always buy Plantain or Mushroom. I knew what I was  buying but never gave it much thought to it. I just go up ask  , say , Monday it is plantain soup , Tuesday it is Mushroom. It is cyclic.Till the day – about  3 weeks back – shankari popped the question at me , ” Sir, why do you always buy Mushroom and Plantain soup, why don’t you ever try Tomato and Vegetable?” …

I dint know what to tell her. I muttered and gave some lame answer about my preference for mushroom and not liking tomato taste and stuff.. the next question caught me by surprise.

“Sir , other than mushroom and plantain, what other variety you like ?” ..

I gave her my options. And then asked what is she gonna do about it . She said , ” I will ask my brother to check if the company can give us the soup of your choice” ..

That bowled me out completely . Why did she bother to find out what my taste are ? why didn’t she just sell the soup at Rs 10 and continue to sit and study with that book in her hand ? why ? why ?

Normally, unless you pack it to your house, one drinks the soup standing there right next to Kiosk. There are 2 advantages to it – One , the soup remains hot and two you get extra corn as second helpings. I love the corn which comes with the soup , so I stand there and finish the soup then drop it in the dustbin and go back home.

That day,  while I was standing there drinking the soup ( I was drinking vegetable soup with lots of pepper. I had cold and shankari said drinking that soup with lots of pepper helps) she was asking the same question to lts of other customers of hers. Not every one. But a lot of them . Similar questions . In her own ingenious way she was conducting a survey. Maybe she realized what she was doing . Maybe she dint. That is not the point. She was proactive. She tried to understand her customer.

Later when i asked why she only asked the questions to a select few customers , she replies , ” They are my regular customers” ..

I felt privileged that day to  be a customer of hers.

Her brother has taken the franchise contract from the parent company. While she sits at the fresh outlet , her bro is doing the same thing some other part of the city.

I wonder if  she had read any of those management books? did  she read “The New Age of Innovation: Driving C0-Created Value through Global Networks” by C.K Prahalad on how to serve customized products to a customer in a collaborative environment with the N=1 , R= G rule ? How did she get this idea what a Univerity of Michigan Author did after much research ?

By the way, The New Age of Innovation has made it to the top 12 books on innovation given out by Business Week.

Read it here :  Best Innovation & Design Books 2008

But how come Stayam Computers dint get it right ?

The big fiasco of merger/buying Mayatas infra and properties which caused ripple of appalling magnitude among the investors across the table is there for everyone to see.

I read somewhere that the ISB’s dean was also part of the board which took the decision to buy out the two companies ( run by Ramalinga raju son’s). I am no authority to question the merit of the proposed buyout. Nor am I an investor. As a rule i don’t directly invest in Sensex. No speculative, sentiment prone gambling for me..No Sir.

But what I would like to know is how come such highly educated ,the creme-la-de creme managers and CEO and CFO of the company dint have the inclination to ask its investors and clients their opinion before taking such a decision? How come the MBA’s of IIM and MDI and blah blah dint know the tenets of customer service when such a proposal was mooted in the first place?

But man, what a PR and Corp Comm nightmare they should be having right now ? I cant but feel sorry for the guy who is handling the company’s PR account. He must be literally running pillar to post to get things “done” . The green horns must be having a great time in learning the art of crisis management. what better case study can they get .. ?

By the way , I loved the new Idea Cellular ad . About asking the people first before taking a political decision. The creative guy and the copywriter deserve full marks for the new ad . The previous ads were highly creative but not practical . The new one is very creative, very practical and got the execution right . kool Ad huh ?

IBM has a great caption going for its print ads – “STOP selling what you have and Start selling what they want”. Now, they get it .. Bingo ..

You get the drift ?


What consitutes a good business plan ?

14 Dec

For a long time now I have  been asking/searching around for samples of a good marketing/business plan. I just wanted to know what are the elements/formats involved in writing a sound and viable plan. Never got around finding it till today.

You see, I am very much passionate about starting my own company. One day I would like to become a job and wealth creator. But to start any business you need a good business plan. If you want to be an entrepreneur , then you better be armed with a damn good business plan when you go asking for VC money.

Businessweek magazine’s online version has a very good example of how a business plan should look like . I recommend all you guys to read Businessweek regularly and  as often as possible to update your knowledge on various aspects of business and not just business news.

Seahorse Power company started by Jim Poss won the best business plan award at Babson’s MBA program.

Here the article :

How to Write a Winning Business Plan

Check out the business plan here :

Seahorse Power business plan