Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 7: It was 5.30 in the evening. With a cool breeze wafting across the Arabian Sea that served as the background, established and budding entrepreneurs assembled on the beachside of Kovalam for an interactive session where business mantras, queries and views flowed seamlessly regarding startup ventures, the relevance of social media for accelerating fledgling enterprises and the need of mentorships.
The intent of the beachside huddle, a pioneering feature of the Huddle Kerala, a two-day conclave for startups, innovators, investors and technology majors that began on Friday, was to offer a platform where they could discuss measures to translate potential ideas into possible outcomes.
Veteran entrepreneurs Punit Modhgil, Co –founder, Octane; Ms Sowmya Iyer, Founder & CEO, DVIO; Vibhore Sharma, Group CTO, Info Edge India Ltd; and Jikku Jose, Co-Founder, Qucentis, were among those who spoke at length on the key things that were prerequisites for starting a venture.
The ‘Beachside Huddle’ was conducted by Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), which is organizing the event, one of Asia’s largest startup congregations, in association with Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IAMAI Startup Foundation.
The beachside huddle saw some animated discussions. “Whenever you think of starting a company, it should primarily be one’s own idea. Don’t do it just because somebody else has done it. Do it because it is your own factor,” Mr Modhgil said.
“Once you start off, connecting and engaging with the community who support what you stand for is a potent factor that would enable you to take the next leap,” he expounded. “Apart from being able to connect with the right people, it is also very important that you be articulate about your cause.”
He also suggested many key tips for the entrepreneurs that could take them one step ahead in their enterprise, and it included leveraging social media platforms. “LinkedIn is the best marketing tool if you want to conceptualize your idea into a project or a company. Spending a few hours in LinkedIn, a couple of hours every week can bring about a tremendous favourable change in your business,” he noted.
At the same time, Mr. Modhgil underlined that having “a few followers who support and interact with you is always good rather than having a large number of followers who hardly respond. It is OK if you have only 50 followers in your twitter account. But those 50 followers should be passionate about what you stand for.”
Dwelling upon the benefits of ‘Video Marketing’, he said it is of immense help to take the message instantly. “Selfie videos also make a huge difference. Having said that, you have to be extremely careful that you make relevant videos that can engage your targeted community,” he cautioned.
While stressing that spending money in marketing assets is a prerequisite for an entrepreneur, he said, “Your presence in social media is great but you should have a responsive website with content updated on it. Above all, the best source of business is the word of mouth. Hence, churn out ideas that can capture it and be played back online.”
Ms Iyer, who began her journey in the digital marketing at the age of 16, did not have any entrepreneurial background. But that did not prevent her from pursuing her passion to come up with something creative in the entrepreneurial platform.
“I had my share of mistakes when I started off, the first one being not putting the agreement on papers. This can surely be avoided,” she pointed out. According to her, coaching and mentorship are very pivotal. “As there’s nobody to report to, entrepreneurs can lax along the way. Hence, it’s good to have coaches who can be your alter egos and ask you the most difficult questions,” she said.
Building authentic and unique content is yet another way towards progress, she added.
Vibhore Sharma hardly had any technical education. But that did not deter him from achieving the heights. Currently working as the Chief Technical Officer for Naukri.com and Jeevan Sathi, he said, “Not having technical knowledge should not prevent anybody from starting his/her own venture. How you channelize your talent is the predominant factor,” he asserted.
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