The poetic entrepreneur
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Kumar Vishwas, professor-turned-politician and probably India’s most celebrated poet of romance genre is a fantastic performer and motivator with an unending dept of imagination, spell-biding verses, enchanting vocabulary, extreme wittiness and sensible satires. Dropping his engineering course and taking up dying Indian poetry as a career also makes him a risk taking person. He shares how he sees entrepreneurship over Chat on Chaat with Ritu Marya, Editor-in-Chief, Entrepreneur India Media.
Being a poet, what’s your take on Indian entrepreneurship?
I usually say that in India, starting and growing the business to worth Rs 10-12 crore in size is the tough while growing it further to Rs 200 crore is relatively easy. For this, you have to make sure a number of aspects like internally having a great team and externally knowing about people who matter to you.
In growing the business to Rs 10-12-crore mark, an entrepreneur feels so stressed that he eventually ends up finding solace in two kinds of people, first is his master (Guruji) in times of spiritual exhaustion; and second is his mistress in times of physical exhaustion. From here, he stops growing. This is the reason why India produces many great engineers but very few great scientists.
Moreover, we have a nature of begging from others otherwise why would the Prime Minister of our country, which has bright minds and power after China, has to fold his hands and request 28-year-old Mark Zuckerberg to come to India. Why can’t our students at institutes like IIM and other renowned Indian engineering colleges grow like Zuckerberg?
Today, people don’t really connect with poetry. How did you manage to stand out?
We must do things differently and innovatively for making bigger impact on customers. If we won’t do that, somewhere someone else would and we would become his customer. For example, there weren’t many people interested in poetry because most poets were already in their old age and their poetry was quite old fashioned. So I thought of starting poetry and connecting with youth who was otherwise connected with Hollywood. I realized that those artists knew how to connect with audience’s mind and heart in simple lyrics. When I also tried that in my poetry, people started liking me.
Do we really need to copy ideas from other countries?
No, instead we should focus on Indianization of our own things. For example, spa and massage service is quite ancient in Indian culture but foreign countries have branded and portrayed it from an interesting business perspective.
How proactive your government has been in easing out doing businesses in Delhi?
One of the major support that growing entrepreneurs today needs is relief from bureaucratic hassles for which the Delhi Government is already working proactive. This can be seen from the fact as to organize an event in Delhi’s public auditoriums one required 27 permissions from different government departments, which our Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, reduced to 15 and rest to be brought under single window system. Moreover, we are trying governance to be more technology-based for better implementation of rules.
What would you suggest to boost entrepreneurship among young graduates?
I am a man of love and poetry not business. However, I would suggest creating a lending platform or a bank to give funding for students in final semester at India’s top business schools if they want to take franchisee of different brands and can pay back in 15 years.
(This article first appeared in the Indian edition of Entrepreneur magazine December, 2015 Issue).