3 min read.Updated: 01 Sep 2021, 11:20 AM ISTSohini Sen
From Buddhism, to taking more risks and giving up tea, four startup leaders tell us what makes 2019 stand out for them, and how they will take the learning ahead
It’s often said, “Change is the only constant". And going by the experience of startup founders the world over, the one thing they have to be prepared for is change, be it personal or professional. But each change brings with it a different learning. We speak to founders of four startups to find out that one thing they learnt this year and their takeaway from it.
Swati Bhargava, 35 Co-founder, CashKaro.com
I was introduced to Nichiren Buddhism this year. While I have always taken solace in meditation, chanting “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo" and imbibing it has brought about a sense of peace and made a huge impact on the kind of person I am, both in and out of office. Entrepreneurs start businesses based on the conviction of their ideas. They never get leadership training; they learn as they scale up.
This year, I finally moved from being just a boss to a leader. Nichiren Buddhism believes there is a Buddha inside everyone. Recognizing that potential was something I had not focused on before. This year, an employee repeatedly messed up the numbers. Had it happened last year, I would have lost my patience. But this time, I had a discussion with him and explained that it not just looks bad on the company but also on him. This patience is something I credit to my Buddhism practice.
Meena Ganesh, 56, CEO and MD, Portea Medical
This year, we moved our attention to clinically more demanding patients. This meant we needed to get in touch with highly trained emergency care doctors. We knew this could contribute to our revenue and margins. But we needed the technology and capabilities. It was also challenging to convince our first few customers that we had the capabilities to handle complicated cases.
As a startup, it is vital to be aware of what the ecosystem requires, be nimble to what the business needs. We need to always be ready to relook at how we are doing. Ask ourselves the questions: Is this the right method? Are we missing out on a different set of customers?
Ritesh Malik, 30, CEO and founder, Innov8
Innov8 joined hands with Oyo in July this year. Since then it has been a phenomenal professional and personal upskilling journey for me. I’ve learnt things in these few months that people take decades to learn. One such thing that I personally learnt through this partnership is the relentless focus on budgeting, financial prudence and consistent measurement. We have always been an extremely frugal firm, but we somehow lacked in financial processes, budgets and control. I’ve come to realize that a business with proper metrics and processes in place, along with a well-intended diligent team, can deliver great results in a short period of time. Measuring our progress helps us recognize our shortcomings and determine what works and what doesn’t for us in the long run.
Kausshal Dugarr, 36, CEO and founder, Teabox
Tea is my bread and butter, so I guess it is ironic that this year I stopped drinking chai. At first glance, it might just look like something I am doing for my health, but it also has to do with Teabox.
After leaving tea in June-July, the first few weeks were challenging. But it got easier after that. Once the craving for that caffeine kick stops, that is the phase that interests me. You see, it is easy to convert a tea drinker from another brand to ours. But how do I get someone who doesn’t drink tea at all to try it out? What is it that s/he is looking for if they are not even craving the kick? I am trying to understand that by putting myself in their shoes.