From cold calling and cutting costs to making the right employment choices, entrepreneur Saurabh Kathuria tells it like it is
When I started out as an entrepreneur I was mentally prepared that life was going to be tough and change in a lot of ways. As we developed the company, these were some aspects of my work which I found to be very challenging:
It is tough to cold call, especially if you are not from a sales background. I always avoided cold calling. Why? Because of the fear of rejection, embarrassment, confrontation, intimidation. But gradually, I learnt that:
A sale is made on every call you make: You either sell the customer your product or service, or the customer sells you a reason why he can’t buy. Either way, it’s a sale. At least, you made the prospect aware of your company and he may come to you in the future.
Make a cold call with the intent to open a dialogue, make a connection with the prospective client, and get permission to fix an appointment or share your company profile.
Also Read: The joys and sorrows of starting up in India
It is better to cold call only for a fixed period in a day instead of the whole day.
Try your best to complete this chain from start to end:
Find a relevant contact -> Cold call them and fix an appointment -> Make a presentation of your product and/or service -> Work on the effort estimates-> Sign an agreement -> Deliver the product or service -> Seek client sign off and get payment.
For a person like me who had managed offshore delivery teams in my previous job, this complete process gave a tremendous amount of confidence that, ‘Yes I can do it end-to-end!’
Always remind yourself that cold calling is only part of the initial phase. Once a delivery with good quality is made, future engagements with the same client will follow without any cold calling.
Cutting down your daily expenses and lifestyle needs
When I started as an entrepreneur, I met a friend who had also ventured into entrepreneurship about six–eight months ago. While our meeting was to discuss on how we can synergise, during the conversation he told me candidly that,
“It gets very tough when you have to cut down the daily expenses of your family. They are accustomed to a lifestyle and when you start cutting down their expenses, that is the time you start to think of giving up!”
His words echoed in my mind… and with immediate effect, I started to save and cut expenses. Here are some tips:
Build a cash cushion: This is very important in the Indian scenario. Ideally, you can breathe easy only if you have built the cash cushion to cover up all expenses for at least a quarter. For employees, job security is a big concern in India.
I remember attending the new hire induction of a big technology company in my previous job. During the Q&A round, one question was asked about the uncertain environment/layoffs happening in the industry. The CEO made this statement: “If you all stop working today, the company has the cash reserve to keep all of us for the next two years.” It was a big statement and gave us a big sense of security.
Buy used hardware: Available at dirt cheap prices as compared to the cost of new ones, this is a great option to explore to save investment cost.
Use free software: For example, everyone in the office would not require MS Office, you can use Google Docs.
Hire employees cautiously and in a staggered manner: Before hiring, conduct a thorough check of the work pipeline. If the potential demand or projects in the pipeline require 10 additional employees, take a conservative approach and hire the first three-four in one go and the remaining in a staggered approach.
Hire resources on contract initially: In India, you only need to pay two per cent TDS (tax deducted at source) in this case, plus you are responsible for retention till the end of contract only, unlike in the case of an employee.
On a closing note, I must say that being an entrepreneur is in no way easy, but it is completely worth it because you get to live your dream. And you have an opportunity to make it big!
This article appeared first on LinkedIn.
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