Ajay follows this mission statement which drives him & defines the things in which he gets involved.
Ajay Hiraskar heads Success Alchemists that works with start-ups in diverse areas like Industrial IoT (Internet of Things), Enterprise Security, Digital Transformation, B2B platform for leather products, International student enrollment platform & also Work exchange platform for freelancers.
Ajay wears multiple hats as the Area Director within District 98 of Toastmasters International and as the Governing Council Member of the Pune chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE).
Ajay is an alumni of IIM Bangalore & Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies and has earlier worked in the corporate sector in global roles across Sales, Marketing, Training & IT Services. His stints have been in companies like DELL, Idea Cellular, Reliance Infocomm, Eureka Forbes and The Times of India.
While talking to Anand Gijare of cxoguide; Ajay reveals his experience about the needs of entrepreneurship and the challenges they face and how his venture Success Alchemist is of help to budding entrepreneurs.
Q. Pls. provide your views about need for entrepreneurs in current scenario
A. Entrepreneurs are the life-blood of the economy and is an essential part of setting up robust successful businesses. Most startups fail, but the lessons learnt even from failure are critical for future success. Failure is also the process of separating the ‘wheat from the chaff’. Those who can bounce back from failure will always do better than those who never failed.
Entrepreneurs also challenge most accepted ways of doing things and in the process create new products, innovative solutions, superior customer experiences & better efficiency. This keeps incumbent players on their toes as they can become redundant very soon.
Q. What are mentoring needs according to you
A. Mentoring needs differ at different stages of the company’s growth;
- Concept stage startups need help on their Business Model Canvas, Idea Validation, Product-Market Fit, Pricing Models, Customer & Market Segmentation.
- Pre-Revenue or Early Revenue companies require mentoring on developing a robust Go-To-Market strategy, Winning or Acquiring early customers, Quick Iterations & Development of a replicable success model.
- Companies which have reached a certain level of success need mentoring on Building robust scalable processes, HR strategies for the right talent mix, Financial prudence (especially if some funding is available) & Profitable growth strategies
Q. How will you (Success Alchemists) propose to help brewing entrepreneurs
A. Success Alchemists focuses on identifying the fundamental blocks which are impeding the growth of the company. It starts with an evaluation of all the fundamental premises for the business, motivation of the entrepreneurs and the ambition for growth. Typically if the basic foundation is not planned well – one can never build a strong business. Thereafter we help business owners to prioritize on their goals and work together to create strategies which will ensure razor-sharp focus on the objectives with clear measurable for progress on various parameters.
All of this is done with the approach of asking the right questions – rather than provide pre-conceived solutions to problems. Mentoring is unique as it needs to draw on answers from the entrepreneur, markets & the situation rather than based on previous experiences of the mentor. This is what helps Success Alchemists to provide mentoring support to companies in domains which are unique & different.
Lastly Success Alchemists also become a ‘Sounding board’ as well as someone who tracks progress of the startup on key focus areas.
Q. What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs
A. Most budding entrepreneurs land up focusing on surface level problems or me-too solutions. They are so convinced about the idea that they land up creating a business and investing time/effort/money which will ultimately be wasted. My advice to them is to have an in depth understanding of the problem they are trying to solve, adoption of the ‘Lean Startup’ approach to derive & test solutions, Fail Fast and arrive at a solution thru an Iterative approach.
Another problem is that many budding entrepreneurs are more focused on getting investments or have dreams about selling / exiting the business fast (making a fast buck). Fundamentally strong businesses are never built with a short term thinking mentality and ill-conceived ideas will also never get funded. Also investors are interested not just in great ideas, but also demonstrable capability of the entrepreneurs to execute and deliver success.