Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Day with Prof Sunil Handa, an Entrepreneur Evangelist

We hear about so called Evangelist, in different fields. There are umpteen numbers of such folks. But there are few people who redefine Evangelism itself. They live, eat , breathe and preach what they love. You meet them once and it changes your life in a unique way. I have had the fortune to meet few such people. One such person who had come down to our campus is Mr. Sunil Handa, Professor at IIM Ahmedabad who takes LEM (Laboratory for Entrepreneurial Motivation) in IIM-A. When I saw the workshop invitation from IIM-Lucknow’s E-cell wing, I assumed it to just to be another so called workshop sessions. Except that this mail stated that he is not only a seasoned entrepreneur, he has inspired and motivated many of his students to take the untrodden path and become entrepreneurs themselves. I have been playing with this thought for sometime about taking the path of entrepreneur and making my mark, yet there has been this ‘What If” scenario in my mind. What if I fail, What if I don’t succeed… So I thought why not go and listen to a wise man and hear it from the horse’s mouth itself – what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.

Prof.Sunil Handa started the workshop with the question why have you people come for this workshop. Few said they had come to listen to him. Someone said that he had been having an idea in his mind for a long time and that he wanted to hear his speech to be inspired. Prof Handa called it the “Kick in the Ass” requirement.

And then he started sharing about his experience as an entrepreneur. One thing which stood out of his speech is the fact that the guy is passionately passionate about ‘Entrepreneurship”. Every word and every action of his would make you think and consider Entrepreneurship as your career option. The workshop he took was of three sessions of two hour duration. I can’t put down all that he shared with us (mainly coz I don’t remember all that was shared), yet Iam sharing the important highlights which he said about entrepreneurship.

Foremost, the point he said was that it’s best to become an entrepreneur as soon as you can. Few of the people had asked if it’s better to work for few years (2-3 years) , save some money, build network and then try out the waters. For which Prof. Handa said that the two years at this time of our life is equivalent to 20 years of his time. The energy, madness, passion and enthu which we have at this moment will fade as time goes on. Not to mention, the additional responsibilities which we would be having. Hence, this is the best time ! About the money saving/network, he said that at this time, the money we would end saving would be miniscule which can be arranged anyhow. And the contacts aim to make, would be of our similar profile, to be of any major help. Overall, his message was that the two years not is the GOLDEN period of your life. Leverage it!!!

Another important message which he had shared was the fact that whichever business you want to start on, make sure you are the KING in that business. Nobody in this world should be more knowledgeable than you in that field. Know the in and outs of the business, its working, your competitors etc. The moment you are qualified to that extent, you will be the best in your business too.

Then he told us the importance of Partnership. Partnership is the most important thing while starting out, hence choose your partner wisely. He advised that Partners should have complementary skills, instead of having someone you like, or someone you gel well with. He said that Partnership is a deep and meaningful bond which one has to share. So choose carefully and in a wise manner.

He also said the two commonly repeated phrases which a Entrepreneur hears often. First, is whenever you suggest to do something in new way, people will give you one answer – “we cant do it that way – Coz people have never done it that way!” Secondly, most of the time things will go on as they have been going on. Be it be any process to manufacture something, or way of ordering things etc. unless you question it, it wouldn’t change. And questioning is what every entrepreneur should do. Because, most often, we can find new ways of doing things much better. The standard reply people will give when you ask them why weren’t you told that this could be done before is – “You never asked me”

I will end up by saying the one thing he said which stood out in his workshop. You all would have heard about it, yet it’s the ‘Elixir’ for an Entrepreneur. It is “Never give up”. In the business and in life, you will face many situations when obstacles seems insurmountable, you don’t find answers to your problems, and nothing seems to be happening. At those moments, remember this – NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP ! Some thing would definitely happen., if you keep persisting, the problem is gonna yield sometime. But just ensure that you NEVER YIELD to the PROBLEM.

Thus ended the wonderful six hour session workshop by Prof.Sunil Handa. Just want to convey my sincere thanks to him and hopefully one day will give my Guru Dakshana to him by charting along the same path and making my mark. He is one hell of an Evangelist !!!


Banupriya said...

Thanks for sharing such Inspiring thoughts!!! All the very best on ur each endeavour to become a great entrepreneur.

Prashant Sree said...

@Banupriya: Thank you for the kind words. Iam glad that you found it inspiring ! :)

寂寞 said...

good post..................................................

Rohit said...

Hey, the post is really inspiring one..!!