4 Things Sharks Vineeta and Amit Would Tell Every Budding Entrepreneur Aspiring entrepreneurs and people in the business often look to established and successful entrepreneurs for guidance. Here are four tips from the Sharks Vineeta Singh, CEO of Sugar Cosmetics and Amit Jain, CEO and Co-Founder of CarDekho.
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The premier of Shark Tank India in 2021 was nothing short of an empowerment tool for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. The show's concept is similar to the West where contestants pitch their idea to an esteemed panel of investors or shall we say "Sharks" of the industry to secure investments in their business.
This is not as simple as it seems. The panel of Sharks after each pitch grill the contestants\entrepreneurs on their business model, revenue, and scalability and then proceed to negotiate equity exchange for their cash offers. The best episodes are those where more than one shark is interested and they bicker amongst each other for their offers. While this really makes for good TV, the impact of the show is undeniable. Vineeta Singh the CEO of Sugar Cosmetics and a leading Shark at the show spoke about how entrepreneurs when she first started her career were not respected. They were not taken seriously and everyone was afraid to get into the entrepreneurship space.
Since the popularity garnered by the show the confidence of viewers of all ages in entrepreneurship has increased and entrepreneurship has the most positive reaction now more than ever before. That being said, entrepreneurship is no joke. There are several learnings in the journey and the obstacles are never-ending. In such situations, aspiring entrepreneurs and people in the business often look to established and successful entrepreneurs for guidance. Here are four tips from the Sharks Vineeta Singh, CEO of Sugar Cosmetics and Amit Jain, CEO and Co-Founder of CarDekho from their chat at Entrepreneur India's Tech & Innovation Summit 2023 in Bangalore.
1. Entrepreneurship Is Great But Not Easy
Singh shared how at the age of 23 she first took on Entrepreneurship and looking back she was very "naive" and "overestimated how simple entrepreneurship is." The 23-year-old Vineeta initially had the plan to have a publicly listed company that is incredibly successful by the age of 30 without knowing what was in store for her. "The first few years were very hard. We (Vineeta and her co-founder) were trying to use tech in background verification and it was a B2B company and it didn't go. I think the max revenue we got to was about 3 crores and we never raised any funds cause again we overestimated how easy it was to extract money from corporate clients and we always thought that the best kind of funding is when the customer funds you. So we bootstrapped that company for about 5 years and then it didn't scale and I had exited that," she said. She further explained how she had to move on from this and focus on another plan to succeed.
2. The Playbook
Amit Jain enlightened the audience with his playbook plan that he has used in his businesses and encourages entrepreneurs to do especially when it comes to scaling a business. He shared that the best way to establish any business is to have a playbook. "The playbook was first made in my hometown where I started selling used cars and understanding the market and systems and then I gave this playbook to other places as well," he said. He further explained that many unicorns fall faster than they rise. The main reason is that the focus and priority are unstable. Companies should have a good foundation and then build on it to scale and grow sustainably. He also shared that he has seen so many companies rise to the top and then look at creating a work culture, he strongly urges entrepreneurs to not compromise on building a strong foundation.
3. Play By The Rules Of The Game
Several entrepreneurs are extremely focused on raising funding and prioritize funding the most. Vineeta said, "If that is your game plan then you need to follow the rules of the game which is, the way to a VC's heart is through TAM (Total Available Market)." In this game plan, entrepreneurs need to be sure about the total market demand for their product or service. She added, "The market, which is how large the market you are playing is, is really the most important factor when it comes to raising funding. You want to do something innovative but the VC will only want to invest in large markets, not innovation."
4. Raise What You Need
Amit Jain is extremely headstrong about spending in areas that the companies need to and not just spending money without considering alternative ways. He shared, "Our 95 per cent marketing is organic. So we don't need to raise money for customer acquisition." He added, "So not having money helped us be innovative. We were not spending any money. I later started a price comparison site where others could make a loss and I could make money on the traffic I bring to the site. I had revenue from that site which also helped." This Shark also invests often when he sees entrepreneurs be innovative with their expenses and are wise about what to spend on. He believes there is no point in just raising money to store it in a bank. More importantly, you need to be accountable to your investors as you have to follow the plan you pitched them for their investment. Taking funding early on does not help you make a plan that is executable always.