5 great Indian entrepreneurs to be inspired from!

Success stories of great entrepreneurs are truly inspiring, aren’t they? Even better when they are India, because it infuses a spark and a ray of hope within us, that entrepreneurial success is definitely possible in the land of Babus.

Vijay Mallya

 

Liquor Baron (Chairman, United Breweries Group which by the way is the 2nd largest drinks conglomerate in the world), Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament, Owner of a Formula One team (Force India), an Indian Premier League Team (Royal Challengers), Football Clubs East Bengal FC and Mohun Bagan FC, Owner of one of the fastest growing Commercial Airlines in India (Kingfisher Airlines), Owner of a Newspaper in California, and worth $1.4 billion according to Forbes.com. If you can think of a better entrepreneur, let us know!

We are in awe of the diverse businesses that Mallya has invested and founded. We highly recommend that you check out his collection here.

Narayana Murthy

 

Here’s a fact that may surprise you – Narayana Murthy co-founded Infosys in 1981, with a start-up capital of $250! And what’s even more amusing is that he did not have the money. Narayana Murthy borrowed the money from Sudha Murthy, his wife. Talk about humble beginnings!

Narayana Murthy has also been awarded the Padma Vibhushan (2008) and Padma Shri (2000) awards. And if that was not enough, he has also been recognised on the international scale by being listed under ‘Global Tech Influentials’ by TIME magazine. We think this sort of inspiration is sure to give goose bumps to any budding entrepreneur.

Sunil Mittal

 

A true first generation entrepreneur, Sunil Mittal has been awarded the Padma Bhushan and has a net worth in excess of $8 billion. He is the founder and chairman of the Bharti Group which owns businesses ranging from telecom (Airtel) to insurance (Bharti AXA General Insurance) to Fresh Foods (FieldFresh Foods Pvt Ltd).

Sunil Mittal borrowed money from his father in 1976 when he was 18, and started manufacturing crankshafts from motorcycles. He has never looked back since then, dwelling into manufacturing or trading of bicycle parts, portable generators, push button phones, fax machines, telecom services, retailing and much more. We call this an epic journey, from which we can all take inspiration from.

Sabeer Bhatia

 

We call Sabeer Bhatia an inspirational entrepreneur because he has risen from scratch and used his education to become one of the most successful Indian entrepreneurs. After finishing schooling, Bhatia studied at Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) after which he moved to California to study at the California Institute of Technology.

Continuing on his quest for higher education, Bhatia went on to study at Stanford University. It is after this long journey that Bhatia worked with Jack Smith and co-founded Hotmail.com, later sold to Microsoft for $700 million!

G.R. Gopinath

 

We love taking inspiration from entrepreneurs who are pioneers, don’t we? Well Captain G.R. Gopinath is just that. He pioneered the low-cost air travel industry in India when he founded Air Deccan in 2003. It later merged with Kingfisher Airlines.

His goal was to make air travel a mode of travel for the common man in India. And we think he has surely paved the way for that to happen. Did you know that Captain G.R. Gopinath is a graduate of the prestigious National Defence Academy? This entrepreneur has also served the Indian Army! He has also published his own book, titled, Simply Fly: A Deccan Odyssey.

Are you charged up already to plan your next big entrepreneurial venture? Well we won’t blame you because after reading about these great Indian entrepreneurs, we feel inspired too!

By: Kaushambi

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An entrepreneur’s guide to success

What it takes to succeed as a businessman in a country where doing business, especially for small enterprises, is a challenging task.

I have always maintained that entrepreneurship is a state of mind. It’s a state in which you have to be flexible, alert, aggressive, inspiring and positive and use every low as a learning opportunity to bounce back. My journey to build HCL has been a roller coaster ride – with highs and lows; with its adrenaline rushes; with its setbacks and learning, and finally, with a lot of fun. I am keeping this anecdotal to help whoever reads this connect with real-life situations – something that I believe many young entrepreneurs or aspiring ones may find useful.

DISTRIBUTE WORK, BE FLEXIBLE

Most entrepreneurs make the mistake of inadequate bandwidth creation and utilization. From the very beginning, we ensured that we had people amongst whom we could divide work. So, an organisational structure was put in place even before we had office space. Our bandwidth came from the partners or executives we had hired.

Once, we tried to apply for a loan at Syndicate Bank. So, I took the first meeting with the bank because I was the Managing Director even if the company was too small at that time. After the meeting, my fellow director stayed back to complete the documentation and get the loan.

There is one bank where I used to go every day and check what all has been debited and what all is credited. I used to do that to see the daily cash balance. It was just that we were running with very tight cash balances.

If you are just an entrepreneur, you have to do all sorts of things and you have to ignore everything else. The simple point that I am trying to make is that first, you need to take up any work irrespective of who you are in the hierarchy. Second, there is only so much that you can do as an individual. So you need to distribute work among your team members.

CREATE A RICH WORK ENVIRONMENT

One day, my wife dragged me to watch a film with her. There is a movie theatre called Paras in Nehru Place in Delhi, which is where our first registered office was. So we went for a 10 p.m. show and after the movie, I saw that the lights on the eighth floor (HCL office) were still on. I saw all those lights and wondered: it’s a very wasteful habit to leave the office lights on. When I shared this with my wife, she said: “I think everybody else is working except you, who has taken his young wife out for a film.” The elevator had stopped working late in the night, so we decided to walk up. When we reached, we saw everyone was there. Everyone just loved the company and did not want to go home.

Even during the start-up years, we never made any compromise on the quality of hires. We have always gone to the IITs and IIMs from our early days. The reason we could attract some of the best minds was because of the richness of work at HCL. Many IIT students who left India for the US to study further or to do a job, never got down to actually doing design work. At HCL, they got an opportunity to lay hands on a microprocessor and do real design work.

IDENTIFY OPPORTUNITIES, REINVENT YOURSELF CONSTANTLY

The US economy went into a recession in early 2001. The stock market crash prolonged into 2002 when Nasdaq touched a low of 1,100 (one-fifth of its peak). Dow Jones touched a low at 7,200 levels, losing $5 trillion from the January 2001 levels. Nearly 76 per cent of our revenues at that time came from the US. We were pushed to the corner and had no choice but to look for new opportunities and create our Next Big Practice.

HCL, at that time, had some anchor customers in health care and aerospace. Our ability to leverage our core skills in hardware, software and networking opened up two whole new markets and revenue streams for us. We consciously invested in building new competencies, tools and processes. The ERS (Engineering and R&D Services) practice in HCL is one of our key growth pillars and contributed 17.1 per cent to our revenues in the first quarter of 2014/15.

ONLY THE PARANOID SURVIVE

I am fearful, but I do not act on fear. Andrew Grove’s book Only The Paranoid Survive is very close to my heart. I have always believed that the paranoid strive for the best, but are always prepared for the worst. One needs to identify and exploit every crisis point that challenges the business.

In the 1970s when we started, HCL had five products. The minicomputer was our big bet. It failed miserably and we stopped production. The 8-bit processor system was a big success and lasted 12 years. The KTMF (Key to Mini Floppy) ran for 15 years but our cash register bombed. However, the programme calculator kept the fireplace going.

The NIIT story is another fitting example. In those times, we needed to invest in training but could not afford to actually put our profits back into training. While the industry badly needed trained manpower and we were struggling to find the resources, no one had the financial muscle to invest in training. I went to Singapore and visited Edutronics, a training company, and saw the first opportunity. NIIT was born in 1981. In 1997, NIIT crossed $1 billion, the biggest success story in technology training in India.

THE BOARD MATTERS

As the organisations grow, the role of your board becomes increasingly important and critical to your success. The questions to ask are:

>>  How do you look at board formations?

>>  How do you take a risk decision in the board?

>>  How often does a father and a son disagree in the board and if there is a disagreement, whose decision carries through?

>>  How many family members are there on the board?

>>  How important is professionalization of a board?

How closely do nominations and remuneration committees evaluate the CEO’s and the CFO’s performance? How long does it take to decide on a salary?

The example of an effective board in the current times is that of Microsoft. The company has been led by two iconic men in technology – Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. Microsoft’s market capitalization in the second week of November was $410 billion. What was it on the day Ballmer said he was stepping down? About $290 billion. And what was the cash balance on both days? $90 billion. So the enterprise worth shot up exponentially on the leadership transition. This happened because the board acted in the best interest of the organisation and shareholders.

Finally, let me leave you with these tenets of success:

>>  Focus on the weak signals and make the most of the environment.

>>  Ensure that your aspirations exceed your resources.

>>  Connect the dots.

>>  Create nimble organisations.

>  Stay paranoid, stay successful.

By:

Shiv Nadar, HCL founder and chairman

ABOUT: Shiv Nadar is among India’s most successful first-generation entrepreneurs who took a bet on high-tech when it was a tiny business. What makes his company HCL’s journey different from that of its peers is its strong engineering roots. The HCL group, with revenues of some $7 billion, is focusing on education and health care as the next two businesses it wants to make a big impact in.

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Scope And Challenges of E-Marketing in India

Before development of e marketing, the term digital marketing was used in 1990s. The fast growth of digital media found new trends and opportunities in marketing and advertising fields. Digital marketing is also called the online marketing, internet marketing and web marketing.

Digital marketing has been popular in all over the world. The term online marketing is still popular in US. It is popular as ‘web- marketing’ in Italy. In UK and other countries, it is used as ‘digital marketing’.

The process of taking place of products and services by the computer networks on internet, is called Electronic commerce( E-commerce or e-Commerce).

The electronic commerce includes various technologies such as mobile commerce, electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, Internet marketing, online-transaction, inventory-management-systems processing, electronic data interchange (EDI), and automated data collection systems.

Modern electronic commerce typically uses the World Wide Web although it may also use other technologies such as e-mail.E-marketing includes email, websites and micro sites, search engine advertising, search engine optimization, co-registration, mobile marketing, and other technology-driven tools.

E-commerce covers the various aspects as Enabled by website, create virtual shops, Create customer data bank, Provide for business-to-business exchange of data, Contact customers by e-mail or fax, Use business-to-business buying and selling, Defies all barriers of time and space.

Scope of E-Marketing-E-marketing has global applicability. It covers almost all types of business namely, agricultural, industrial, medical tourism, governance, Education and so on.

There are some common applications of e-marketing as Document automation, payment systems, content management, group buying,Online banking, shopping and order tracking, Teleconferencing, Electronic tickets which have become common with large and small businesses alike. The history of e marketing can be traced back to :

“Skill Development : The Key to Economic Richness”

1. 1971 or 1972: The ARPANET is used to arrange a sale between students at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the earliest example of e commerce.

2.1979: Michael Aldrich Showed the first online shopping system.

3. 1981: Thomson Holidays UK is first business-to-business online shopping system to be installed.

4. 1996: India MART B2B marketplace established in India.

5. 2007: Flipkart was established in India. The e-commerce market of India is one of the fastest growing market in the world. It is due to the rapid growth of internet users in the country. Internet users in India were estimated to be 300 million in 2014.India has an internet user base of about 250.2 million as of June 20144.The admission of eCommerce is low compared to markets like the United States and the United Kingdom. India’s e-commerce market was worth about $3.8 billion in 2009, it went up to $12.6 billion in 2013. In 2013, the e-retail market was worth US$ 2.3 billion. About 70% of India’s e-commerce market is travel related. There are about 10 million online shoppers in India and is growing at an estimated 30% CAGR vis-à-vis a global growth rate of 8–10%5.

Growth factors : Individual or business involved in e-commerce whether buyers or sellers rely on Internet-based technology in order to accomplish their transactions. E-commerce is recognized for its ability to allow business to communicate and to form transaction anytime and anyplace. Whether an individual is in India or overseas, business can be conducted through the internet. The power of e-commerce allows geophysical barriers to disappear, making all consumers and businesses on earth potential customers and suppliers Several factors have contributed to the growth of e marketing in India. There is sea change in the life style of the burgeoning middle class. Internet and 3G penetration revolutionized the marketing scenario for both consumers and the marketers. Rising standard of living has not only increased the level of consumption but also the pattern and quality of consumption. Busy urban lifestyles, lack of time for shopping, desire for variety and convenience and comfortable disposable income has changed the way Indian consumers prefer to shop today. Some other factors helping the online retail industry seeing good growth include smartphones offering accessibility to online shopping, aspirations of tier II & III cities, women becoming more tech savvy, evolving perception around branded products, impulsive buying and logistical convenience.

Legal issues : Legal issues of e-commerce in India are generally ignored by e-commerce websites. Foreign companies and e-commerce portals would be required to register in India and comply with Indian laws, as India is gearing up to regulate online business. Efforts are being made to regulate marketing websites dealing with various products online and violating laws of India . Enforcement directorate (ED) of India has already initiated legal actions against companies dealing with Bitcoins in India. Tax liability of foreign companies like Google, Face book, etc. is also under consideration in India. Myntra, Flipkart and many more e-commerce websites are under regulatory scanner of ED of India for violating Indian laws. The case of US-based transport application provider UberInc is the latest example that can be cited. Similarly, illegal online sales of prescribed drugs by illegal online pharmacies of India are also under scrutiny of regulatory authorities of India In India, the Information Technology Act 2000 governs the basic applicability of e-commerce. Further, e-commerce laws and regulations in India are also supplemented by different laws of India as applicable to the field of e-commerce. For instance, e-commerce relating to pharmaceuticals, healthcare, traveling, etc. are governed by different laws though the information technology act, 2000 prescribes some common requirements for all these fields. The competition commission of India (CCI) regulates anti competition and anti trade practices in e-commerce fields in India.

Challenges in the context of skills : The world is used to conducting business and commerce on signed paper documents. Electronic documents and messages, without familiar signatures and marks have changed the scene of trade. consumers want to be assured that the electronic world is safe. Therefore there is a genuine expectation that e-commerce system offers some level of reliability.

CONCLUSION : This paper discussed the growth and the challenges in the ever expanding area of e marketing. This field needs constant learning. One cannot overlook the fact that it is a technology driven approach.There is a dire need to keep abreast of the latest in the field of computer science and information technology. Poorly created and executed programs create mistrust between clients and marketers. Spam, identity theft, intrusive advertising, technical snags, not keeping terms with contract / agreements, gap between ordered products and actual deliveries have created deep mistrust in e marketing. Hence the growth of e marketing depends also on the growth of business ethics on the one hand and consumer protection laws on the other. In other words, the relevance of ‘credibility’ in business in general and e marketing in particular is mammoth which can be addressed with skill development in the field of information technologies.While one has to adopt caution, e marketing offers a world of opportunities.

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The Greatest Wealth Creator in India

Dhiru Bhai Ambani was the founder of Reliance, the largest company of the private sector. This is the only Indian company included in the Forbes 500 list. His success story is an historic from land to sky. He changed the business priniple and found a new principle of hard working.

Dhirubhai Ambani was born on December 28, 1932 in Gujarat. His father was a school teacher. He began his earning by selling ‘bhajias’ to pilgrims to Mount Girnar over the weekends.

After passing the 10th exams, he moved to Aden, Yemen. He joined an oil tech company and worked there as a clerk.

He returned from Yemen to India and started “Majin” in partnership with his cousin Champaklal Damani who was with him in Turkey. He started his business to import polyester yarn and export spices to Yemen. The business partnership of Champaklal Damani and Dhirubhai Ambani was ended in 1965. It is said that both had different views and perceptions on how to conduct the work.

After ended the partnership, Dhirubhai Ambani started his own independent business.

He found Reliance Industries in 1966, as of 2012, the company has over 85,000 employees and provides almost 5% of the Central Government’s total tax revenue.

Reliance was the first Indian company in 1992 to raise the money in global market.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) named Dhirubhai Ambani, the Indian businessman of 20th century.

The times of India conducted a poll in 2000 and voted him as “a greatest creator of wealth in the century”.

He was honored  with the Padma Vibhushan in 2016, India’s second highest civilian award for his work towards the field of Trade and Industry.

He died on 6 July 2002 at Mumbai after he suffered a major stroke.

“The country has lost iconic proof of what an ordinary Indian fired by the spirit of enterprise and driven by determination can achieve in his own lifetime”.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, , Contemporary Prime Minister of India

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Some Successful Indian College Failure Entrepreneurs

  1. Varun Shoor- A self-taught programmer at 13 and web designer, he took a natural interest in the development of web applications. Seeing a clear market gap for an easy to use, user centric approach to web-based ticketed support and visitor engagement, Varun established Kayako in 2001. He serves as Chief Executive Officer of Kayako Infotech Ltd. and oversees the overall direction as the leading product architect, takes an active role in the design and development of the product line. He started the company in 2001 when he was just 17 with its first office in Jalandhar after dropping out of college.
  2. Kailash Katkar- Born in a small village at Rahimatpur in Maharashtra, Kailash Katkar worked his way to the top to be chairman and CEO of INR 200 Cr business. He is the man behind Quickheal technologies Pvt Ltd. He started with a job at local radio and calculator repair shop and later went ahead in 1990 to start his own calculator repair business. In 1993 he started a new venture, CAT computer services where around that time his younger brother Sanjay developed a basic model of antivirus software which helped in solving the biggest problem of computer maintenance at that time. Later in 2007 it was renamed as Quick Heal Technologies. He achieved all this without any formal education.
  3. Deepak Ravindran- A computer science dropout from LBS College Of Engineering in his 5th semester in 2007 end, Deepak never let his ideas caged by book and syllabi, he broke all the bounds imposed by the education system and followed his passion for computers which made him follow the entrepreneurial way. He founded Quest technologies which let people answer someone else’s question which has been asked by a text message. His primary company was Innoz Technologies which was behind ‘SmsGyan’ handing internet’s knowledge to people via texts. His latest venture is Lookup, which is a local commerce messaging app which lets users chat with local businesses and shops.
  4.  Ritesh Agarwal- Ritesh Agarwal is the man behind the ‘Ola’ for rooms, OYO Rooms. The startup is a network of technology – enabled budget hotels. This Gurgaon-based company, was founded by him in 2012. It is backed by Lightspeed Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Green Oaks Capital and has more than 700 hotels under its brand. A college dropout who founded Oravel when he was 18 received its share of fundings and accolades and later he rebranded it to OYO Rooms. He completed his higher schooling at St. Johns Senior Secondary School.
  5. Kunal Shah- Freecharge, the famous platform which revolutionized the online recharge system with three step recharges along with providing offers of same value was the brainchild of Kunal Shah and Sandeep Tandon. The company was founded in 2010 and was recently acquired by Snapdeal. He did Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Wilson College and later went to Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies from which he dropped out later.

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Jayanti Gupta shares her ecommerce success story!

Jayanti Gupta completed her PhD in Statistics before delving into the world of ecommerce. Having worked in the pharmaceutical industry in the United States of America, she found her heart in entrepreneurship in 2012. She decided to showcase the beauty of artisanal sarees from Bengal to the world, resulting in the birth of Parinita, an online venture that offers handpicked  Bengali sarees that represent impeccable design, authenticity and excellent quality.

As part of our WomEntrepreneur Series, we present an enlightening interview with the very dynamic Jayanti Gupta.

How did you build your brand when you started off in this segment?

A: Initially, it was about gaining the trust of the customer, as we were the first online store dealing exclusively in handloom sarees from Bengal. Then it was about understanding what our customers wanted – as there are variations in taste across regions, age-groups, social background as well as seasonal trends. Two years into the venture has given us a good footing in this space now. Today, the challenges are about maintaining the reputation of our brand and ensuring customer satisfaction in a sea of mass-made and often dubious stuff flooding the online apparel market.

 Which is better, selling traditionally in a physical store or online retail?

A: The product that we sell (saree) is one in which touch and feel are very important to the customer when she makes her choice. I know I will never be able to replicate the pleasure that this traditional method of shopping gives her through an online medium. Yet, the fact that I can now give her access to a large variety of niche handloom sarees at her fingertips, that were previously very difficult for her to get her hands on, gives me immense satisfaction.

How do you innovate to improve sales and the overall business strategy?

A: Adopting new technologies to improve customer experience on the website and using more innovative digital marketing techniques are what we do on a continuous basis. We use existing data to predict customer preferences in order to be able to serve them better.  Market intelligence helps us recognize new trends and drive the business accordingly.

Which are the new categories that excite you now?

A: My focus continues to be handloom sarees from Bengal. Within this segment, we now strive to get deeper and unearth more exotic patterns, unique fabrics, rare-to-be-seen designs, uncommon shades, and make all of this available to the discerning customer at very affordable prices. Our diversity stems from the variety that we provide, and I think we have only touched the tip of the iceberg yet.

 Is there opportunity for more women in this segment? Do you see potential for more women to participate in selling online apparel?

A: Most certainly. Any woman with an offline business, who wishes to grow her customer base geographically, who deals with seasonal clothing, has niche garments for special occasions, has expertise in regional specialties, or apparel designers with limited marketing muscle should try out the online medium. There is very little upfront investment required to set up an online store, so is especially suited for first-time entrepreneurs. There is a lot of space for new players here, and one can grow as gradually or aggressively as one desires.

 What is one tech gadget you can’t be without?

A: All I need is a reliable smartphone with a long-lasting battery life!

 Your business mantra to success?

A: Be honest to yourself and to your customers – business, growth and success will all follow you.

14 Steps For Online Marketing

Some online marketing techniques like blogging, email, and social networking may not involve a lot of direct costs. However, you will want to dedicate your time or your employees’ time to those that are used most often by your audience and that will bring you the most sales leads or foot traffic.

1. Search engine optimization

If you have an online presence, make sure people can find you. Learn how to use the right keywords, in the right places on your website, so that interested consumers can find you on search engines. Use incoming links (get other websites to link to yours) in order to rank higher. To get higher rankings, especially for local businesses, ensure your name, address, and phone number is displayed prominently on your website and that it matches what is in other online directories and listings.

2. Blogging

Create a corporate blog (an online journal) and share it with the world. Through your own blog, you can reach your clients to inform them about changes in products or services, get their feedback, and get ideas for better ways of doing business. Again, your clients should be your main focus; tell them how they are getting value for their money, but also provide something useful like your expert advice. Provide a service through your blog that naturally gets shared and attracts traffic. The keywords you use in your blog can also help you get a higher ranking for those words in search engines. This can lead people who don’t yet know your business by name to your website.

3. Microblogging

Midway between the size of a text message and a blog is the microblog. Microblogging is an increasingly popular communication and promotion channel. You can send frequent, short messages (usually fewer than 140 characters) on a variety of topics. You can post messages about daily sales, promotions, and useful tips. You can also post a link or an opinion about your industry or conduct live chats during which you answer client questions. On most microblogs, you can also search for keywords related to your product or service; there may be questions you can respond to in order to give your name and your expertise more visibility. The key is to remember that it is not about you. As with all forms of marketing, it is about your followers, your clients, and the value provided to them.

4. Commenting

You can post your messages on other blogs and forums that focus on specific topics. If you sell organic produce, use the Internet to find consumers who are interested in organic produce. You can answer people’s questions, while allowing them to contact you or your business for more information. Keep in mind that some of these blogs or forums may be moderated, so ensure your comments add value to the discussion in order to avoid your message being treated as spam. This content can often be found by potential customers for a long time after the publication date. This may bring more longevity to your messages than posts on social network streams (which are generally short-lived).

5. Email marketing

Sending emails to clients and others who agree to receive information from you is a useful way to keep them informed of new developments in your business, while reminding them of your existence. They may appreciate emails if you include interesting offers, discounts, or helpful tips. Remember, people are busy, and many of your messages may not get opened. You can track what kinds of email get read by using email marketing software. Don’t forget to check your inbox regularly; most clients expect some form of response within 24 hours. Also, be sure to give your clients an option to unsubscribe from your emails if they no longer want to receive them.

6. Mobile marketing

People have different expectations while on the go; they want quick access to specific information. They may be focused on several tasks at once and most will be using smaller screens. When thinking of mobile marketing, you may want to keep this in mind. Mobile marketing starts with a mobile-friendly website. Letter-size, display, and graphics are some of the elements you’ll need to consider. A great thing about mobile devices is that they allow users to share their location and to define their searches geographically. In turn, your business can engineer promotional efforts within a very defined area such as a mall, an arena, or a park. Coupon offerings, directory listings, and ads on review channels can be important considerations when marketing go mobile users.

7. Social networking

General topic platforms can help you build a network of contacts and engage with your existing clients. Other websites focus on specific topics or segments while others focus on professional networking and recruitment for businesses. On most networks, you can run searches for keywords related to your product or service to find questions to which you can respond. This will give your name and your expertise more exposure. It’s also important to remember that social networking statistics, such as the number of friends, followers or fans you have, have an increasing impact on search engine rankings as well.

8. Webinars

Webinars are live online presentations that your clients can log into using webinar software. This type of software allows your computer screen to be shared with your audience, in addition to audio and, in some cases, video streaming of your presentation. Webinars can be used to launch new products, run live product demonstrations, and get feedback from clients. They can also be recorded and shared on your website for your customers to refer to.

9. Viral marketing

This is an online form of word-of-mouth advertising. If your message is interesting enough, it will be transmitted from one person to another, or shared through email, social networks, blogs, and so forth. Your message can be in the form of a video, an advertisement, a website, an image or information. Think of how humorous videos get shared online. Although viral marketing is often difficult to replicate, the analytics tools within most social networks can tell you which types of content you share are more likely to go viral, or have more “virality”.

10. Social bookmarking

Social bookmarking enables you to store, search and manage websites and pages that you visit frequently. However, unlike traditional desktop bookmarking, social bookmarking allows you to access your bookmarks from any computer, tag them, view them by popularity and share them with others.

Social bookmarking can also be used as a free marketing tool. You can submit your business website link to social bookmarking sites, where it can potentially be seen by thousands of visitors.

11. Online advertising

With online advertising, you can purchase space for your promotional messaging or banner ads. Examples of places where your ad can appear include search engine results pages, online classifieds, social networking websites and advertising networks.

Online advertising offers the advantage of speed: you can quickly publish a promotional message and receive instant feedback on the number of times your ad has been viewed and clicked, depending on the purchase model you’ve agreed to. Common cost models for this type of advertising are Cost Per Mille (also called Cost Per Thousand), Cost Per Visitor, Cost Per View and Cost Per Click. Access to this kind of data gives you the ability to alter your strategy, if need be, in order to effectively drive traffic in your direction. If you set up tracking mechanisms within the code of your website, you can also track which advertising platforms convert the most visitors into sales or desired actions.

12. Photo and video sharing

Photo and video sharing websites can allow you to spread content about your brand online at no cost. You can take advantage of these types of media-sharing sites to directly advertise your business or to drive traffic to your website. By posting a video about your services, you can potentially generate new customers as you engage with existing ones.

13. Podcasting

This involves sharing audio and video files online or through a mobile application. Unlike webcasts, which are streamed and require Internet access, podcasts can be downloaded and stored on a computer, portable media player or smartphone. Users can subscribe to podcasts, and new episodes can be automatically downloaded to their devices as they are released. You can use podcasts to promote new products, provide tutorials, share interviews, and more.

14. Wikis

Wikis allow you to collaborate with others online to create and edit content using free or paid software. Wikis can be very useful in business by allowing you to develop team-based content and to maintain documents with multiple authors. Common uses of wikis include community websites, corporate intranets and knowledge management systems.

 

Essential Android Apps for Business – all FREE!

I have been an android user ever since the first day the first Motorola Droidwas available for Verizon back in 2009.  Over the years, I’ve accumulated some experience using Android on phones and tablets, and certain apps have made this experience better for me at work.  Here’s my list of essential Android apps for business – and all of these apps are FREE.  Let me know in the comments below if you have any other suggestions.

This list reflects the way I work, and your style of working may require different apps.  I have a lot of meetings (including conference calls and WebEx sessions), travel a lot (locally, domestically, and internationally), and need to view and edit a lot of documents.  I spend a lot of time with customers, have a quota, and need access to the corporate intranet.  I write a lot of Microsoft Office documents, and read and write hundreds of e-mails per day.

Google built-in apps

Let’s start with the standard Google apps, most or all of which come pre-installed on most devices.  Not all Google apps are equally useful for business, but these are all quite helpful.

Calendar Widget: My most useful business app.  This widget comes built in with your Android device.  My home page on my phone is pretty much a nearly fully-screen calendar, plus Google Voice search, a folder for mail apps, a folder for navigation destinations I use a lot (like home and work), a folder for phone numbers I use a lot, and a link to a flashlight app.  By the way, you can also edit which apps show up at the bottom of each Android screen – I like phone, Chrome, Settings, and the Camera, since I use those frequently.  I hardly ever use any other page on my phone.

Chrome: Many older Android devices come with a browser that predated Chrome.  Chrome is now the default browser on Android devices.  It is stable, fast, and has some nice features (see Chrome to Phone).

Chrome to Phone: Chrome to Phone allows you to send web pages from Chrome on your PC or Mac to your phone.  Let’s say you’re looking at a hotel web site on your laptop and want to send it to your phone to have the address (for giving directions in the cab) or the phone (for checking to confirm your reservation) – Chrome to Phone to the rescue.  Since I often use just my phone in meetings, I often use Chrome to Phone to send reference web pages to my phone in advance.

Drive: Drive replaced Google Docs.  You can use Google Drive to edit word processing documents and spreadsheets, as well as to view and share presentation documents and files across devices or with other people.  As long as you have a network connection, Google Drive is a useful tool.

Gmail: Sometimes you need to send yourself information – or deal with personal business while in a meeting.  Manage your Gmail accounts with this app.

Goggles: Google’s goggles may be the Google app that has the most unrealized potential of any Google app.  Goggles works well for QR and bar code scans, searching for information on a company by photographing its logo, and a few other applications.  Where it falls down, however, is in its most potentially useful area for business – business card scanning.  I’ve never successfully scanned a business card with Google Goggles.  Worst of all, it doesn’t even work with Google business cards.

Mail: Android devices come with a second e-mail app that connects with Exchange servers to send and receive corporate e-mail, set and receive calendar appointments and meetings, and access the corporate directory.  If your company, like most, uses Exchange Server for mail and calendar, this app is indispensable.

Maps (and Navigation): When heading to a meeting, this app is a great way to get directions, check traffic, and save places (“star” them) for future reference.  If I’m going to some exotic foreign location, I often scope out sights and places to see, save them as favorites, and then use Google Maps to walk from one to another.  You can get driving, walking, and public transportation directions with the navigation mode, which does turn-by-turn directions.

MyTracks: MyTracks is an app that tracks your travels on GPS.  You can use MyTracks to trace the route you walked from a parking space to a meeting, so you can find your way back later.  You can save any pathway with MyTracks, really useful for retracing your steps particularly when in a strange city.

Other useful Android apps:

Adobe Reader: Open and read PDF files with the authentic app from Adobe.

AK Notepad: Simple way to take notes during meetings.

Alarm Clock Plus: In my opinion, the best alarm clock to use, particularly when traveling.  Very flexible way to set multiple alarms, including in advance.

Amazon Kindle: Another good way to read PDF files.  Also useful for reading other kinds of documentssent wirelessly to your Android device.  Or reading a book (business or otherwise) while above 10,000 feet (listen to your flight attendants!).

AnyConnect: Cisco VPN access to corporate intranet from the road.

ASTRO File Manager: Astro is like Windows Explorer for your Android device.  You can see, open, and manage all your files.  Especially useful for finding that attachment you just downloaded.

Concur: If your company, like mine, uses Concur for expense reporting, this mobile app allows you to take note of any expense while traveling by taking a photo of the receipt and uploading the image.  Very helpful for getting those expense reports in in a timely manner.

Dictionary: Sometimes you run into a word you don’t really know – this is a handy app for looking up the definition of a word.

DroidRecord: There are lots of times when you need to record a meeting – in compliance with all laws and ethics.  DroidRecord is the app to record these meetings for future reference.

Evernote: Some meetings require more sophisticated notetaking, including words, drawings, and photos (screen shots of PowerPoints is a lot more efficient than trying to type it all in or take notes on a presentation you won’t get until later).  Evernote is a cross-platform app that works on many devices (not just Android devices), and allows you to sync notes across them for future reference.

By

 

MarketApp, a business app- MarketApp is a business app that provides a leading online platform and a new customer network for your business. All services in a single app.

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GROWTH AND CHALLENGES IN E MARKETING IN INDIA

INTRODUCTION-  Before the term e marketing evolved, the term ‘digital marketing’ was used in the 1990s. The rapid evolution of digital media created new opportunities and avenues for advertising and marketing. Digital marketing is often referred to as ‘online marketing’, ‘internet marketing’ or ‘web marketing’. The term ‘digital marketing’ became popular over time, particularly in certain countries. In the USA ‘online marketing’ is still prevalent, in Italy it is referred to as ‘web marketing’ but in the UK and worldwide, ‘digital marketing’ is the common usage. When trading in products or services takes place by using computer networks, such as the Internet, it is known as Electronic commerce( E-commerce or e-Commerce). Electronic commerce draws on technologies such as mobile commerce, electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, Internet marketing, online-transaction, inventory-management-systems processing, electronic data interchange (EDI), and automated data collection systems. Modern electronic commerce typically uses the World Wide Web although it may also use other technologies such as e-mail.E-marketing includes email, websites and micro sites, search engine advertising, search engine optimization, co-registration, mobile marketing, and other technology-driven tools.

E-commerce involves the following aspects2 :

1. Enabled by website, create virtual shops. 2. Create customer data bank. 3. Provide for business-to-business exchange of data. 4. Contact customers by e-mail or fax 5. Use business-to-business buying and selling. 6. Defies all barriers of time and space.

Development and scope of e-marketing : E marketing has universal applicability. It permeates all kinds of business namely, agricultural, industrial, medical tourism, governance, Education and so on. Some of the common applications of e marketing are:Document automation, payment systems, content management, group buying,Online banking, shopping and order tracking, Teleconferencing, Electronic tickets which have become common with large and small businesses alike. The history of e marketing can be traced back to :

“Skill Development : The Key to Economic Prosperity”

1. 1971 or 1972: The ARPANET is used to arrange a sale between students at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the earliest example of e commerce. 2.1979: Michael Aldrich demonstrates the first online shopping system. 3. 1981: Thomson Holidays UK is first business-to-business online shopping system to be installed. 4. 1996: India MART B2B marketplace established in India. 5. 2007: Flipkart was established in India. India is one of the world’s fastest growing e-commerce market. This growth story is the result of increase in the number of internet users. Internet users in India were estimated to be 300 million in 2014.India has an internet user base of about 250.2 million as of June 20144.The penetration of eCommerce is low compared to markets like the United States and the United Kingdom. India’s e-commerce market was worth about $3.8 billion in 2009, it went up to $12.6 billion in 2013. In 2013, the e-retail market was worth US$ 2.3 billion. About 70% of India’s e-commerce market is travel related. India has close to 10 million online shoppers and is growing at an estimated 30% CAGR vis-à-vis a global growth rate of 8–10%5.

Growth factors : Individual or business involved in e-commerce whether buyers or sellers rely on Internet-based technology in order to accomplish their transactions. E-commerce is recognized for its ability to allow business to communicate and to form transaction anytime and anyplace. Whether an individual is in India or overseas, business can be conducted through the internet. The power of e-commerce allows geophysical barriers to disappear, making all consumers and businesses on earth potential customers and suppliers Several factors have contributed to the growth of e marketing in India. There is sea change in the life style of the burgeoning middle class. Internet and 3G penetration revolutionized the marketing scenario for both consumers and the marketers. Rising standard of living has not only increased the level of consumption but also the pattern and quality of consumption. Busy urban lifestyles, lack of time for shopping, desire for variety and convenience and comfortable disposable income has changed the way Indian consumers prefer to shop today. Some other factors helping the online retail industry seeing good growth include smartphones offering accessibility to online shopping, aspirations of tier II & III cities, women becoming more tech savvy, evolving perception around branded products, impulsive buying and logistical convenience.

Legal issues : Legal issues of e-commerce in India are generally ignored by e-commerce websites. Foreign companies and e-commerce portals would be required to register in India and comply with Indian laws, as India is gearing up to regulate online business. Efforts are being made to regulate marketing websites dealing with various products online and violating laws of India . Enforcement directorate (ED) of India has already initiated legal actions against companies dealing with Bitcoins in India. Tax liability of foreign companies like Google, Face book, etc. is also under consideration in India. Myntra, Flipkart and many more e-commerce websites are under regulatory scanner of ED of India for violating Indian laws. The case of US-based transport application provider UberInc is the latest example that can be cited. Similarly, illegal online sales of prescribed drugs by illegal online pharmacies of India are also under scrutiny of regulatory authorities of India In India, the Information Technology Act 2000 governs the basic applicability of e-commerce. Further, e-commerce laws and regulations in India are also supplemented by different laws of India as applicable to the field of e-commerce. For instance, e-commerce relating to pharmaceuticals, healthcare, traveling, etc. are governed by different laws though the information technology act, 2000 prescribes some common requirements for all these fields. The competition commission of India (CCI) regulates anti competition and anti trade practices in e-commerce fields in India.

Challenges in the context of skills : The world is used to conducting business and commerce on signed paper documents. Electronic documents and messages, without familiar signatures and marks have changed the scene of trade. consumers want to be assured that the electronic world is safe. Therefore there is a genuine expectation that e-commerce system offers some level of reliability. This includes integrity, confidentiality and non-

“Skill Development : The Key to Economic Prosperity”

repudiation of origin and receipt of electronic document in case of dispute. In e-commerce, there is a concern that in the absence of proper controls, it is relatively easy to change the electronic record. The common problems are legal problems in trademarks and domain names. Another issue is copyrights. Copyright was developed in the printed world.However, the copyright law protects only the expression of an idea and not the idea itself. Internet communications know no geographical boundaries which is a major issue, whereas traditionally consumers are conditioned to territoriality. Different laws are applicable under different jurisdictions. A number of questions which are vital to the legality of commerce in cyberspace continue to exist. Some of the typical skill challenges in the Indian context are : 1. High illiteracy in India is a barrier to growth of e marketing. Access to computers and computer education is a major challenge. 2. Lack of vocational education and training limits ‘ICT Literacy’. Knowledge of web designing and techniques of product display and promotion is essential. 3.Training in English and other foreign languages to marketonline in global markets is must. 4.Training salesmen in communication skills and art of pursuation should be a continuous program because e-commerce doesn’t allow the user ‘to touch’ the merchandise before purchasing it. 4. There is dire need for laws and special jurisdictions to address high levels of fraud in product quality, sale and actual delivery, and use of credit cards. 5.Many users still don’t trust the electronic methods of paying.Software programmes need to be developed which prevent hacking, phishing and misuse of credit card details. 6. Unauthentic sites are a major risk. Software providing security systems to prevent hacking of websites and stealing valuable data from systems is the need of the hour.

CONCLUSION : This paper discussed the growth and the challenges in the ever expanding area of e marketing. This field needs constant learning. One cannot overlook the fact that it is a technology driven approach.There is a dire need to keep abreast of the latest in the field of computer science and information technology. Poorly created and executed programs create mistrust between clients and marketers. Spam, identity theft, intrusive advertising, technical snags, not keeping terms with contract / agreements, gap between ordered products and actual deliveries have created deep mistrust in e marketing. Hence the growth of e marketing depends also on the growth of business ethics on the one hand and consumer protection laws on the other. In other words, the relevance of ‘credibility’ in business in general and e marketing in particular is mammoth which can be addressed with skill development in the field of information technologies.While one has to adopt caution, e marketing offers a world of opportunities.

BY:  Ravi . R.Kosgi

Asst. Professor, Dept. of BMS, S.K. Somaiya College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Mumbai.

MarketApp- MarketApp is a business app that gives an online platform and a new customer network for your business. A live chat facility is also available between an entrepreneur and a customer to develop a reliable relation between them.

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10 things I learnt about selling online in India that made me a marketplace millionaire in 2 months

If you’re reading this, chances are that you are contemplating starting your own online business. Marketplaces like Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal are giving tremendous opportunities to young students, housewives as well as small shop owners to scale their businesses and earn good money. However, there are various factors that one needs to look at before starting up an online business. Without these in mind, one could dig deep into losses.
My only motive in writing this article is to promote the spirit of entrepreneurship and share my experiences on what I did that made me succeed in my online business. What worked for me may not work for you, but I can assure you that if you follow the 10 principles listed below, chances are, you will not lose any money.

1. Try and sell something unique.
When I searched for umbrellas online, all I could see were boring black and floral umbrellas. I wanted to change it. I wanted to see cool doodles on the umbrella that could make one feel connected to the rains. No one in India had done this before. But the idea connected to the audience.

Think of a commonplace product – could be anything around you and then work on how you could make it different so that it is more valuable than other sellers reselling it. Invest in good design as it has the power to turn something that was once just practical and impersonal into something meaningful and captivating.

2. Use search keywords to your advantage
No one knows you exist online. Customers buy from a ‘Flipkart’ or an ‘Amazon.’ They search for the product they want and are given a bouquet of options, based on various factors and codes, search keywords being an important one. Getting into the mind of the customer by figuring out what you would search forif you wanted to buy something is a good way to go about it. Based on that, list as many search keywords as you can, including typos.Use everything related to your product.

For our product, we used 100s of keywords. Some of them include: umbrella, umbrella, umbrellas,designer umbrella, designer umbrellas, unique umbrella, monsoon umbrella, strong umbrella, designed umbrella, long umbrella, short umbrella, light umbrella, big umbrella, unique designed umbrella, uniquely designed umbrellas, and so on.
Don’t underestimate the power of search keywords.

3. Marketing on Marketplaces

Majority of startups that set up shop online expect the listing process would be immediately followed by hundreds of orders. But, there is no magic to make that happen. You have to make it happen. You have to stand apart and be discovered in a heavily crowded virtual mall. It’s very difficult to market your product on marketplaces as you actually don’t interact with your customer. You have to think smart and focus on making your products visible. Do this by taking utmost care and listing every minute detail about the product while filling excel sheets at the time of listing. Go through seller help guides on each marketplace. Make a detailed plan. Invest in an ace photographer, as photography is all you have to lure your customers in. Make photography your differentiator. Ninety per cent of your marketing will be done when you’re at the stage of listing the product.

4. Think a step ahead of your competition
Investing in the right resources is crucial in beating your competition. Think about what your competitors think. Go a step ahead and beat them at it.You have to compete with existing sellers. You know what it is being online. Majority of the sellers on marketplaces are shopkeepers who have a set pattern and employees. These are the ones who may not invest in design and photography as they do it as a business on the side and follow a more traditional approach. You shouldn’t: use innovative ideas and disrupt the traditional sellers. Use social media to your advantage. Make use of the digital knowledge you have, that your competition doesn’t.
5. Contact employees of marketplaces and stay in touch with them

Use all social media platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to get in touch with them.You should call the product managers/category managers and show them you’re enthusiastic about your product. Appreciate them for doing their job well and make them believe in your product as they will be crucial in getting it promoted. A lot of marketplaces help creative entrepreneurs increase their sales by promoting their products. Make them believe in your potential and convince them you mean business. Politeness and humility go a long way, as well!

6. Persevere. Keep the ‘Aaj Pooja, kal koi Dooja’ attitude with your failures
Be realistic. Not every girl you meet will like you. Likewise, not every business meeting will be a successful one. As you may move on from one failed love interest, do the same while dealing with business as well, by focusing on the next sale instead of mourning the failed previous one.

7. Play around with the media. Be persistent. Sell them stories.
Don’t pay extravagant sums of money to bloggers, in the hopes that they will sell it to the audience. Instead, aim at them making recommendations. Make people who are influential speak about your product. Gift them what you make. Make them like and believe in your idea.

For my product, I got free press and got featured in leading dailies such as DNA, Mid-Day, HT Café, Free Press Journal etc. I didn’t sell them my product. I sold them my story. The press always looks for good stories. Package your story with a bit of masala and hand it over to them. Be persistent, but not clingy. Find journalists online and mail them your storyand pictures of your products. Do follow-ups, especially at lunchtime, which is when you are most likely to get a response. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get any. Focus on making a better story if rejected. If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.

8. Keep “Paai-Paai ka hisaab”. Do your math. Don’t underestimate cost of returns.
Business is accounts. Keep accounts for everything, right from the little things like the tape used to package the product, to the train ticket you bought to make a cold call in person. Recovering your costs is of primary importance. Don’t sell too low with the hope of getting more orders. Getting 20 orders where you earn Rs200 per order is better than getting 50 orders where you earn Rs100 per order. Don’t underestimate the cost of returns. Add 10 per cent of your selling price to your cost price as cost of returns while calculating the total cost of your product. Be frugal. It is very important and difficult to keep track of payments. Even if your sales are good, if you don’t keep track of payments, you’ll lose money. We have worked hard to create a system in our accounts that tracks the payment of each and every order. Don’t be lazy in doing the same. You should know where your money comes from.

9. Differentiation from the market comes from getting hit. The more setbacks you face, the lesser your competition.

When you set out to do something unique, you’ll find roadblocks in each and every step. Get hit. Face the problems instead of giving up. We live in a lazy world. We live in a world where everyone wants instantaneous success, name, fame and money. Don’t be that person. I cherish each difficulty. The more difficulties I face in conquering it translates to the lesser the competition from those who thought about the same idea as me but didn’t execute it. If it was easy, everyone would do it. Competition is killed by sweating yourself on the field, working hard and staying strong where others would have given up. It is really, really difficult to make umbrellas like how I do. Entrepreneurship makes you tired. But there’s a lot of good waiting on the other side. Get yourself tired. That’s where you’ll meet yourself.

10. “Fortune is like a flirt – she will run away from you when you want her badly, but if you are not interested in her, she will come chasing you.” – Swami Vivekananda
Majority of people selling on marketplaces get paranoid if they don’t get good sales within a month and think that it is just a waste of time. They do not get sales because they are too bothered about the outcome and do not spend sufficient time on the process. I have always believed that if you let something be, it will come to you slowly. Treat money as a by product. While it is important to see that you’re not losing any, it’s more important to create a value proposition when you start. Don’t get obsessed with money. Don’t worry thinking about why you haven’t got x number of orders in a particular day. Invest the same time in marketing and in differentiating your product. Make the best quality, best designed product available. You don’t have any control over the outcome but you do have control over your actions. Do your actions, let the outcome take care of itself. Don’t chase fortune. Let fortune chase you.

And…
People who judge you do not pay your bills. So shrug them off
Don’t get affected by people who judge you. Do what you believe in and brush away all the negativity. When I wasn’t successful, some people used to laugh behind my back, think I’m crazy and humiliate me. Now the same people call me and ask for tips on how to make it big online.

Pray and do good karma
You never know who your next client is. You haven’t seen, shaken hands, negotiated or interacted with him/her. When a notification suddenly pops up on your phone,informing you that someone has placed an order, it’s one of the best feelings ever. You must wait for it. You have no control over it. Meanwhile, do some good karma. I had a faith-strengthening experience in the first half of June. The sales wasn’t picking up. The roads were flooded due to heavy rains due to which I couldn’t make it to the office. I was very stressed out and hadn’t slept well for days. I just got out of my house, without an umbrella, like a seven year old, wanting to dance in the rain. I looked above, thanked the heavens for the wonderful rains and for giving me the opportunity to live my dreams.
When I had got out of the house, at 2 pm, I had 20 unfulfilled orders. When I came back at 4 pm, I had 245 unfulfilled orders. This is the magic of e-commerce.

By: Pratik Doshi

MarketApp- MarketApp is a new but leading business app for all types of businesses. It provides a strong online platform.

It mainly focus on creating a new reliable customer network for a business. A live chat facility is also provided to establish a strong relationship between an entrepreneur and a customer.

Click here to download MarketApp