On being your own boss…

Pawan Yadav

Starting one’s own company is no cakewalk. Pawan Yadav, after going through the agony of starting his own enterprise, decided to put together a book, Bootstrapping a Software Company, for aspiring entrepreneurs. A warehouse of knowledge and information collected straight from successful entrepreneurs, this book is a must-read if you nurse the dream of being your own boss someday.

Tender Leaves caught up with him for his thoughts behind the book and entrepreneurship in general.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: I am an enthusiastic writer on entrepreneurship skills.

Recently, I wrote a book Bootstrapping A Software Company” which I hope will become the sole source of inspiration and motivation for budding entrepreneurs. I launched it at a global level through renowned publishers Shroff Publishers and Distribution.

Bootstrapping a Software Company

I work as a consultant for budding entrepreneurs and small start-ups. I am also a mentor for students and young aspiring entrepreneurs in professional colleges, in and around Pune.

I am an engineer from Pune and have done my MBA in Marketing. My expertise in marketing strategies numbering almost eight plus years with various MNCs provides me with the niche in presenting this concept.  

Q: How did you hit upon the idea to put together a book for entrepreneurs?
A: Allow me to share the secret behind it.

It was when I was in my final year of engineering. A few of my friends thought of starting a software company. This team was passionate and eager to begin this challenging assignment and I had been leading this concept. All members were highly-committed. However I was quite worried, because in the case of a tough challenge, when it’s time to execute the plan, that’s when things may take an entirely different shape.

After passing out from the institute six months later, we established a small software firm on web development. Over the next two years, we acquired 20 Indian clients and had a monthly turnover of 50k. Up until then I had invested 3-4 lacs to expand the organization.

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

Unfortunately, disputes arose among the eleven members at this point. One-by-one the team members began quitting the company. The reasons were infinite and I could see the end of this start-up. In less than a month the team had split up. I tried to convince everybody but this start-up took a final full stop, and joined the ranks of failures.

Honestly-speaking, I wanted the team to stay together because I had a huge investment made in the company. But things don’t always work out as you expect them to. My bank balance was nil and I was quite literally on the road. The 3-4 lacs investment was in vain. As has been said by someone, ‘Without a team, one cannot win.’.

This failure began to create agony in my mind and several questions began haunting me:

  • What was the reason of failure? Lack of knowledge or team spirit. Lack of fund or experience.
  • Who was responsible?
  • How do people become successful entrepreneurs?
  • What precautions should be taken while starting a start-up?
  • Should we invest our own money?
  • How should we plan out?

To find answers to these questions, I started interacting with CEOs in my spare time. As I spent time with these founders many mysteries were unravelled and gradually my confidence level reached a zenith.

Initially, I thought to confine this “essence of experiences to my college. Now, god has given me an opportunity to share it with all of you.

It’s my sincere request that these guidelines should be followed to minimize the chances of failure. Hope you learn from my experiences and don’t repeat history again.

Q: You’ve focused only on the IT industry, but would you say the book is relevant for entrepreneurs not in the software field?
A: Yes, this book is relevant for all types of industries and businesses. Consider “IT DEVELOPMENT” as a product or domain like other product or domain. The basic fundamentals to start any business remain the same. For starting any business one needs funding and our book lets you know how to generate funds. Also, for running the show, it is important to possess knowledge of economics since the performance of your business is ultimately gauged from its financial success. If one excludes the software development section of this book, the concept becomes universal to all entrepreneurial aspirants.

Q: Is there one piece of advice that stands out from all in this book?
A: It is a misconception among masses that starting a business needs huge investments. If your idea is really worthy, there are thousands of angel investors ready to fund your concept. You just need to follow a step-by-step approach to start any business. Patience and soundness of idea are the two keys to success.

Q: A question that all our readers must be thinking about. You’ve compiled a book on running a start-up and yet haven’t started your own company. What is the reason for that?
A: As I mentioned earlier, I did start a company in December 2003. The company was ‘Kanra Technologies’ and I was its founder. I was compelled to close the company in December 2005. You can run the show in its infancy stage if you have ample money (personal or through investors) to hire the right employees or if your team can withstand you under all circumstances. Unfortunately, due to lack of guidance and knowledge, I lost the game. But I wanted to share the reasons of failure so that others can avoid them and become successful in their endeavour.

Q: What are you working on next?

Go Kiss the World

A: My next book will be on cloud computing and its business aspects. We (Abhijit Chakole and I) did extensive research to put this business model of the decade in a much more simplified way to the right contenders. We interacted with Indian entrepreneurs such as Orange scape and Ramco, who are pioneers in this field, to compile this book. It took us almost 2 years to prepare this book for business aspirants. The focus of the book is on the advantages of cloud computing to Small Medium Enterprises (SME), existing businesses and start-ups, in reducing their CAPEX.

Also, investors can benefit by investing in this domain. How one can make this business model ones cup of tea is the USP of this book. We plan to launch it by the end of December 2011 in international markets.

Q: Give us a list of your must-read books for entrepreneurs.

  1. Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish – By Rashmi Bansal
  2. Go Kiss the World – By Subroto Bagchi
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