To be great, one has to be selfish with selfless motives. – Anonymous
Hi, my name is Samyak Kumar; I completed my schooling from one of the Sainik School (Military School) in India. My childhood dream was to fly fighter planes, but couldn’t clear the Defense Forces exams, therefore, had to choose something, I choose to join Mechanical Engineering. I was very bad at math, but in Engineering there was so much math, that I became numb to the pain of math and started writing given data, further it resulted in my getting really good at math. My logical thinking grew as I started taking interest in engineering concepts, especially the 3rd law of thermodynamics. From a very tender age, it was my dream to do something for my country; it made me uncomfortable, that I couldn’t serve my Country. One day saw a movie in which 2 countries were fighting a war in terms of business, it was a eureka moment for me, I decided that I would contribute the country in its economic growth.
From the 2nd year I realized that I have an inclination for Business, therefore started reading business books & watching Movies like Fountain Head, Atlas Shrugged, Pirates of Silicon Valley, etc. As soon as I understood that my inclination is for business, I started taking vocational courses on business, share market trading, commodity market trading, Import-Export Business, Social media marketing, website designing, etc. I came in contact with many businessmen I befriended them and spoke with them for hours together. After engineering worked for 1 year in the R&D department but later took admission to MBA with International Business as specialization. I also did a part-time MBA in Finance from another college on a parallel basis. While doing MBA read all the fundamental books like Marketing – Kotler, Finance – Brealey-Myres, Corporate Laws, etc. In this period I learned a lot about marketing & finance. I didn’t care about HR as it was something easy job. And operations were also not needed as it could be built from my mechanical engineering knowledge. While doing the MBA there were many case study competitions where I/and my team had won. There were many Business Plan Competitions and Business quizzes where I had won a laptop, money prizes and trophies. I had also organized corporate events in college. Did an Internship in SEZ (Special Economic Zone) Pharma Company, where the project was market research for a product which was in the development stage (Research & Development). I did PESTLE (Political, Economical, Social, Technological, Legal & Environmental) analysis on the quantitative basis of the countries affected was done. After submitting the report, Export Director was surprised by the data work. My report was photocopied and distributed amongst the International marketing staff and also a special reward was given to me.
I had now collected a lot of knowledge and wanted to start my own business, but before that, I wanted to test my knowledge and prove it and get some business exposure. The salary was not in mind. After completing my MBA, I joined a company as an export manager. Here I worked so passionately that the boss was pretty much impressed. After joining, my first foreign trip happened within just 3rd month and was sponsored by my client. The market research, target company shortlisting, need generation, sending quotes, negotiation, 100% advance payment collection, Creating manufacturing order and all export documentation was done single-handedly by me. This was done for multiple customers, I was overachieving the target. In 2.5 years of my Job, I traveled to 23 countries, with each stay ranging from 5-15 days in each country. My activities involved participation in international exhibitions, contacting Indian Embassy in foreign countries, contacting & meeting CEOs of big companies, meeting chambers of commerce of foreign countries, participating in export promotion council seminars and getting various subsidies and grants to companies under export activities. In this entire process, I got lot of business exposure. I enjoyed working extra time in the office as I was very happy with my profile and kind of work I am doing.
After leaving my job I started a beverage business, where the manufacturing unit was in South India. It was an asset-light model where the infrastructure was of another company, and the brand was mine. I had developed and transferred the technology to them and they would manufacture and send across. There were distributors in metro cities whereas marketing on social media, sale across retail chain and e-commerce websites was done by me. The sale was good as compared to any other startup and people were astonished by what I was doing. My family was very happy as they saw my action in reality and not just spoken words which happens for most of the startups.
In the next few months, my money started getting blocked, I was under financial pressure. I joined various Incubator centers, startup accelerators, started taking advice from business coaches. I was not able to handle people and their issues. During MBA I had a perception that HR was easiest but realized that people management is one of the most difficult jobs.
In the next few months, I had to close down my business, as it was not giving me money on time. I iterated my business model and entered into fresh juice market, where I started the subscription model. Here, the cash flow was great, I was getting paid on a daily basis but my profitability was very thin. I had to do micro-management, in operations. There was a team of 30 people working under me, but each month I had to put money from my pocket. Every day I had to wake up at 3.30 AM to supervise the operation of home delivery and it used to take late nights to finish my work. Again I tried to consult many people to make the business model sustainable, but it didn’t work, I had to take the wise decision of closing it down.
Then I decided to go into a deep self-analysis mode. I couldn’t understand what was going wrong. I had studied most of the popular business books, won many business competitions, had performed very well in a corporate companies, followed all Gurus online, had taken personal coaching but to my surprise all in vain. Where did I go wrong when even my execution was right? I decided to remain idle for some time in search of exact reasons for my failure. I found that my own creation was against me and it was not in a profitable condition. When I surveyed my entrepreneur friends I found all of them were struggling in profits, even the well-established businesses would have survived only for few months. Then I came across news of businessman doing suicide due to financial distress which shocked me entirely. I felt I was lucky that I closed my all startups as they were not going to work for me in long term. I found that many entrepreneurs keep pumping cash from loans and other family savings to keep their business floating.
Then came a shocking news, a famous coffee shop chain giant owner committed suicide due to financial debts. I was in deep shock as his entire wealth valuation was something of INR 18000 Crore (USD 2.5 Billion) and his debt was something INR 6000 Crore (USD 0.8 Billion). I then spent more 2-3 months in search of what exactly went wrong. I surveyed many small and big entrepreneurs and found many of them were in depression.
Then I decided to write down and share my knowledge and experience with budding entrepreneurs so that they can crunch the first five-year struggle and create a profitable business.
I wrote a Book, “Take off Your Startup”- Samyak Kumar, this book draft was reviewed by 151+ entrepreneurs. Their inputs, reviews and suggestions were taken into consideration. All the concepts and formulas are given by entrepreneurs themselves. Most importantly I have told all concepts in the form of failure and success story which happened in real startups and was a hell of a task. The concepts are further strengthened by quotes by famous personalities. There is deep explanation of the concept but purposefully kept small, as I don’t want the reader to get bored.
We must remember that only concepts are of no use, practical applications along with scientific methods which are given in this book are also very important for a successful startup.
Mr. Samyak Kumar is the author of a book “Take off Your Startup”
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