Success - do we not celebrate it enough?

Mr. Srikrishna, Executive Director of National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN), addresses the students of Mount Carmel College and speaks about Eco-Social Sensitivity, Entrepreneurship in Home Science and Design Studies. Here's a summary of his speech:

There are mainly two things with regard to entrepreneurship:

K Srikrishna, Executive Director, NENSUCCESS - Celebrate It

Entrepreneurship is hard - hard enough by itself without everyone around us telling us we are crazy to do it. However, the world likes nothing better than success and that's true for entrepreneurship as well. Nothing succeeds as well as success. So first, we need to learn to celebrate sucess, however small or big - if we lead by celebrating success, the world will follow.

Luckily, there are enough successes in our own domains - how many of you have heard of Etsy? Think of it as eBay for arts & crafts - 800,000 sellers, 12 million buyers. Four people got together and decided that they'd do it. They didn't think eBay exists, Ali Baba exists or find another excuse to not start. They got started and the rest is history. And they celebrate the successes their individual stores and owners have each day.

I'd like to share the story of Paaduka - a startup by two young college women in Chennai - they didn't find the shoes they liked - at least not ready - these were art students. So they bought the plain store ones and made them fancy by painting and decorating them. They wore them to college and everyone wanted to know where they got it - of course the founders were too happy to take orders and build them the custom shoes. Today they are running a business, where they get orders only through Facebook or when they (or other customers of theirs) walk around town - so no customer acquisition costs and each pair they sell (against order only) - they make profit without any inventory costs. It's a darn good business and a success that we all need to celebrate. Remember, Richard Branson got started selling a school newsletter! We've gotta start somewhere.

INNOVATION

Success comes easiest when we innovate. Innovate - there is another English word that is much misunderstood. We all seem to believe that unless we find the cure for cancer, its not innovation. However, when Readers Digest first came to India so many decades ago, they discovered COD - cash on delivery - we'll bring it to your house (or the postman will) and pay for it then. Today Flipkart, Redbus, IndianStage all thrive because of this one innovation, CoD. So innovation could be in your technology, in your business model, in your marketing, in your website - all of which makes you stand out and makes your customer's life easier. Livestrong - the wrist band innovated on how people can feel good about giving to a cause and more importantly creating a word-of-mouth buzz to generate more contributions. They were not the first social cause to raise funds, they made it fashionable to do it and easy.

Success & innovation in India - the beauty about India is that we are surrounded by challenges - most of them on a  gargantuan scale - so every one of them is an opportunity. My morning commute lasts well over an hour - that is a challenge. But on the Volvo bus, that's one hour of free time (if I have a seat) - so what can I do? What can you do? And when I don't have a seat, that's an opportunity - can you build a better strap that won't cut my hand? Can you make a bag (from recycled material) that will make it easier to read or work on my computer? Opportunities abound around us - let's grab it and don't forget to celebrate success while you are at it and look at every challenge as an opportunity to innovate.