Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Brand building’s key to LONG-TERM SUCCESS

Becoming An Entrepreneur Is Nice, But Building A Brand Is Quite Special.
How Early Should Start-Ups Seek To Build Brands.

BRAND building started on day one for Riyaaz Amlani’s new venture six years ago. His Mocha coffee shop chain wanted to differentiate itself from others, which Amlani thought had followed the Starbucks template faithfully. He spent several weeks planning nuances such as the quantity of the dessert scoop and the mix ‘n’ match of furniture. He designed the whole project with a belief that a coffee shop is not a restaurant, but a place for socialising. All this got early visitors talking about how different the experience was. And Mocha had got its brand baptism.

On the other hand, Internet portal didn’t begin a brand-building exercise until this year, though it had started as early as 2001. The company focused on developing a critical mass of users and let growth come from word-of-mouth. Unlike the flashy dotcoms that rose and fell during the bubble, Sulekha conserved cash for operations.

Start-up companies often grapple with the dilemma — whether to build a brand or not? While a strong brand equity can bring enormous value to the company, it also requires a large commitment of capital and management energy early on. Many businessmen wonder if they aren’t too small to attempt brand building or whether they can afford it.

Experts say new businesses should start planning for brand building as early as possible. For some, it might start at the pre-product stage, while some others would have to wait till they establish the core attributes of their product or service offerings. But, failure to build a brand and to start investing in it at the right time can bleed the company of much of its potential, experts say.

“A company should start building its brand, stagewise, as soon as it has validated its core,” says Harshal Shah of Reliance Technology Ventures. He says this ‘core’ comprises the team’s values, experiences and capabilities. For instance, when Steve Jobs started Apple in the mid-1970s, the computer industry was dominated by stuffed shirt veterans dealing in complex mainframes. Those who saw Jobs roaming about his office barefoot and in frayed jeans would have suspected he was going to convert the mighty computer into a gadget for everyone. And that’s exactly what he did. Today, the Apple brand enjoys a cult following as it stands for innovation and fun.

A strong brand is a profitable asset. People pay far beyond the manufacturing costs and nominal profit margins for products they recognise, trust and enjoy consuming. For an early stage company, it helps in defining the product to both potential customers and its own employees. It tells buyers that this company is investing for the long term, it will be around tomorrow and it will repeat the performance. Internally, it tells the team members that the entrepreneur stands for certain values which must be reflected in every action that they undertake.

Products without a clear brand definition eventually lose their direction, recognition and value. They will turn into commodities that will be bought from the cheapest vendor without a quality promise.

The identity of a brand flows from the organisational culture, experts say. It is the essence of the attributes of the offering, that will be consistently performed every time a customer experiences it. It is not mere advertising, nor even just marketing, but a clear recall in the consumer’s mind of all that a product or a service stands for. “Any moron can put an ad in the paper. Communication is the easy part. The process of communicating and then delivering on a promise builds the brand,” says Sanjay Anandaram of Jumpstartfund, who is also a visiting faculty at INSEAD.

But when does the core get validated? Shah says it typically is about a month from the starting day, but can vary depending upon the resources available and the opportunity at hand. For travel portal, which started selling to consumers before tapping business customers, the validation happened even before it started, he says. “When Yatra came to us for funding, we looked at a lot of other companies to understand the space. We found that these other companies didn’t have experience in the travel business. (But Yatra’s founders) came out of the travel industry and therefore had the domain experience and customer knowledge.”

With some companies, the first big customer win can propel a company into the branded league. Further customer wins become easier as a satisfied first buyer will provide the testimony. For WiMAX equipment supplier Telsima, such an opportunity came in the form of Reliance Communications. Shah says Telsima experienced its Big Bang moment with such a top name becoming its customer and there has no looking back since then.

The key to brand building is promising exactly what the business can deliver and delivering exactly what it has promised. Every time. From employee behaviour in front of customers to the words chosen for advertisement copy, every interaction that a company undertakes with the target audience defines, embellishes or destroys the brand. “Every interaction also gives an indicator. If a company promises to deliver on the next day and if they don’t, it is an immediate indicator,” says founder Avnish Bajaj, who has now turned a venture capitalist with Matrix Partners.

So, it is a good idea for a start-up to make sure that its product works well and is ready for brand-building. “You do not want to start brand building and then if your product doesn’t work, you will lose your customer and s/he won’t come back,” Praveen Gandhi of Seedfund cautions.

Once an early-stage company decides to invest in brand-building, the first step would be to define its own genome and go about imprinting it on its products. R Ramaraj, who steered Internet company Sify in the early days of access business, says: “Our core was to encourage an innovative environment.” Having taken this decision, the company went about encouraging that culture within the organisation. “After all, we were one of the first Internet companies. We had to be innovative as there weren’t enough role models.“ Today, Sify is not only a large access company, but a complete content and telecom services provider.

In Santa Cruz, a Mumbai suburb, sits a little company that has no fixed work timings. People play computer games when they want to and the company gives an X-box 360 to their most successful business partners. During their quarterly off-site gatherings, they spend half the day playing football and basketball. This is a gaming company and their theme is “Play together”. Quentin Staes Polet, co-founder and CEO of Kreeda Games, says ‘playing’ is part of Kreeda’s core and the brand values flow from it.

Quite often, entrepreneurs fail to recognise such intrinsic values that will help a company win against competition and provide a lasting value to customers. “The lack of value creation is because people don’t know what to focus on,” brand consultant Ramesh Jude Thomas says. In other words, value creation is the eventual goal. Those who don’t see this and claim to focus just on growth are wasting their time.
The next step, of course, is to ‘live’ the values that a newborn brand claims to represent and communicate to the audience that the same results can be expected in all the transactions. Promod Haque of Norwest Venture Partners gives an example: “One of our portfolio companies based in San Antonio is called Rack Space. They provide web hosting services. The management of this company calls their customer support “fanatical support”. Here, the brand of the company and the company culture are intertwined. It is drilled into their employees that they will provide fanatical support.”

Infosys Technologies, the oft-cited example for entrepreneurship, enjoys arguably the best brand name among Indian software services providers. One of the chief attributes of its brand was its ability to bridge the cultural gap between the East and West. Early on, it focused on training its employees to understand the finer points of Western culture and conduct themselves accordingly while working on customers’ sites. This, eventually, has got it better billing rates than other Indian companies.

Longevity and profits in the long term are a good reason for early brand building.

Article Resource:
Author: Jacob Cherian is the Chief Editor in the The Economic Times, Mumbai and the article appeared in one of their successful columns on Entrepreneurship/Start-ups called "Starship Enterprise".

Long Leap: From Setting up Websites to Big-ticket Embedded Solutions

STORIES of companies that perished when the dotcom bubble burst and those that survived the crisis with grit and innovation are now the stuff of entrepreneur lore. Chennai-based GoDB Tech is one such company that has reinvented itself successfully. Today, its success as a player to be counted in the service delivery applications in partnership with top companies such as Texas Instruments (TI) is a long leap for a company that was once building websites.

Though lesser-known than some of its counterparts, GoDB has managed to grow substantially and get contracts from multinational customers that use TI chips in their devices. Its embedded software business is less than a year old, but already the company is working on a partnership with Analog Devices, another major chip player. GoDB’s application works on chip platforms and the company rides on such partnerships to access a wide range of customers.

“Our goal is to reach as many customers as we can. The marketing costs are minimal since we are going through our partners. For example, TI introduces us to its clients and if the clients are convinced, they sign up with us,” said founder-director Mahavir P Chand.

The company had clocked revenues of Rs 1.5 crore in the first year (2000-01) itself, but many of its dotcom clients folded up soon, leaving the company with an uncertain future. Chand and his co-founders, Raja Raman and Ravi Kiran, had to look for a new opportunity to keep the company afloat. They had already developed expertise in the area of service delivery, which helps data updation and synchronisation of live websites. They sought to convert this into a platform that could be used by companies to capture data from field staff for supply chain management.

Initial revenues and a funding of Rs 3 crore from Intel in October 2001 saw it through the difficult years when the company was investing in product development without earning any revenues. The decision to build the platform had been a smart one, freeing the company from dependence on internet properties and giving it a toehold in the corporate segment. However, getting customers for this was proved to be tough.

GoDB Tech founders Raja Raman (sitting), Ravi Kiran (left) & Mahavir Chand

“There were times when we questioned the wisdom of it,” recollects Chand. In fact, 2003-04 was the only time Chand came close to considering chucking it all and going back to a job. But in the end, he and the other founders, decided to stick it out and the lucky break came soon in the form of a big order from Hindustan Lever (now Hindustan Unilever) in 2005. “Then, we knew we were home,” Chand said. Others like the ICICI group, which had placed small orders initially, also started coming back for more. Today, its enterprise customers include HDFC Bank, Tata AIG, Standard Chartered, Reliance Capital, ICICI and of course, Hindustan Unilever.

In 2005-06, the company took Kalyan Chakravarthy, who had successfully nurtured a business and sold it to Flextronics a few years earlier, as an advisor. Under Chakravarthy’s guidance, the company tweaked the application that was already being used on PDAs by Hindustan Unilever’s agents, and demonstrated it to TI. TI tested it and was quite happy to recommend it to one of its clients. From then on, the company’s embedded solutions grew to account a fourth of revenues, the enterprise segment accounting for the rest. Future revenues are expected to be split equally between the two businesses, Chand said.

Unlike many companies of that time, GoDB has diverged from the beaten track of building dotcom companies with an eye on quick valuations and sell-out opportunities. Its founders stayed patient even in the face of adversity. The company is now looking to scale up, given that embedded technology is spreading rapidly among mobile and computing devices.

Article Resource:

Author: N Shivapriya is the cheif editor in the Economic Times and the article appeared in one of their successful columns called "Starship Enterprise".

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Crossing the Rubicon and tapping into a Niche Drug Delivery System

RUBICON is the Italian word for Rubico, the Latin name of a small river in Northern Italy. To protect the republic from internal military threat, the Roman law forbade any general with a standing army, from crossing that river, as it formed a boundary between the Roman province of Cisalpine Gaul and the Roman heartland. When Julius Caesar crossed the river in 49 BC, supposedly on January 10 of the Roman calendar, in pursuit of Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, thus breaking the law and making armed conflict inevitable, he uttered the famous phrase ‘the die is cast’. Today, the phrase ‘crossing the Rubicon’ refers to a person committing himself irrevocably to a risky course of action.

And that’s what three scientists committed to, when they set up Rubicon Research in Mumbai in 1999. With no personal fortune or company backing, Maharukh Rustomjee, Sudhir Pilgaonkar and Pratibha Pilgaonkar decided to set up a research company, with a mission to provide formulation development services to global pharma companies.

In a country filled with generic drug makers and bulk contractors, Rubicon has developed novel drug delivery systems that could be used by innovator companies in the West to make their patented drugs in newer formats. “We saw a great need for contract research in the formulation area, and one has to have the innovative skill sets, competency and be cost effective to compete,” said Ms Rustomjee.

The company started as a contract research organisation providing generic formulation development services to Indian and European companies. “We developed non-infringing processes for various generic products, stability data and worked on technology transfers,” she said.

Maharukh Rustomjee

Founder and COO, Rubicon Research

Ms Rustomjee had already undertaken projects for international development while working with Novartis Enterprises and GlaxoSmithKline. Sudhir Pilgaonkar had over 30 years experience in manufacturing value-added speciality pharmaceutical products, and handled activities such as manpower management, production planning, inventory control, safety and cost reduction in production management.

Pratibha Pilgaonkar had worked with Sun Pharmaceutical Industrials as vice-president for product development, and added significant value to the team. But setting up Rubicon proved to be a challenge. “Recruiting people initially was very difficult and competition is tough,” she explains. “In the first two to three years, we spent a lot of time training people. Research is a way of thinking, it can’t be taught in a class room, it only comes with experience, while working on projects.”

Funding the venture was another problem. “We were three scientists, with no company backing and no personal fortune, so we needed bank loans to start operations,” she said. While the company soon started working on small projects, which provided funds to further scale up the business, Rustomjee realised that to add value to the company, they needed to work on their own technology. “In pharma research, unlike IT, scaling up operations is very difficult. Each project requires a different approach and a small dedicated and vibrant team,” she explains.

In 2003, Rubicon Research started working on new drug delivery platforms like extended release systems, orally disintegrated tablets and drug coating technologies. The same year, Rubicon Research received approval as a commercial R&D company from the government of India’s directorate of science and technology, and filed its first international patent.

“Today, Rubicon Research develops pharmaceutical and consumer products and licenses out technologies to improve the convenience, side-effect profile or the therapeutic efficacy of pharma company’s new and existing drugs,” said Rustomjee.

In 2005, it licensed out its first controlled release product to a US-based company. Along with its own technology, Rubicon started developing drug delivery technologies for the specific needs of its global pharma customers. “Pharma companies come to us with a problem relating to drug delivery that we help them solve. For sponsored projects, the IP rights remain with the pharma company,” she clarified. Rubicon now has a team of 120 people in Mumbai, including 80 scientists.

In a significant milestone for the company, in 2007, Kotak Mahindra Bank’s private equity fund picked up a stake in Rubicon Research. “This is a new business model,” said Alok Gupta, country head for life sciences and technology at Yes Bank. While there are companies similar to Rubicon in the Western world, like Penwest Pharmaceuticals, Ethypharm or Azopharma, few Indian companies are present in this segment, points out Ms Rustomjee.

Rubicon is still at a very ‘early stage company’, admits Rustomjee. But as big pharma struggles to keep its head above water while swimming from one blockbuster drug to another, incremental innovation may play a significant part in their R&D strategy. And as the number of new drug approvals in the US and in Europe decreases, the demand for technology that may improve existing drugs, may soar.

Article Resource:
Noemie Bisserbe is the Chief Editor in the The Economic Times, Mumbai and the article appeared in one of their successful columns on Entrepreneurship/Start-ups called "Starship Enterprise".


TATA's small car is spawning so many business oppurtunities that you can even assemble and sell it.

Preeti Burde, who owns a chain of driver training schools in Maharashtra’s Thane city, plans to buy Tata’s Nano the moment it is launched later this year. She is not exactly from the price-sensitive middle class family that the world’s cheapest car is targeted at. She is a businesswoman trying to profit from it. Ms Burde believes a large part of her future customers will be Nano buyers and she may have to migrate at least part of her fleet to the new car to help them learn on the car they’ll drive. “We definitely see a growth in the business as more and more people would come in wanting to learn how to drive in a Nano, which means we too would have to buy more of the Nano model,” she says.

As Ratan Tata pushed gears to ceremonially drive the Rs 1 lakh car at its unveiling in New Delhi, he was not just challenging the automobile industry with its radical economics, but also firing up new business dreams of scores of entrepreneurs across the country who expect the high volume sales of Nano to spawn opportunities to make money. While people like Ms Burde will leverage the high volume sales of Nano to power their businesses, Tatas themselves will be doing their bit for entrepreneurship. If Tatas’ plans succeed, Nano will not just be a car but a new business model and the central piece of ecosystem of entrepreneurship. The way Nano will be built and sold is going to be very different from the way others cars are brought to the showroom. Call it McDonaldisation of the car industry, but Tata wants the small guy to help him assemble and sell the car. This way, he hopes to create new business opportunities for young engineers across the nation, even while finding a cost-effective way to push Nano to the remotest corners of the market. “We would create entrepreneurs across the country over time that would produce the same car,”

Tata group chairman told ET in an exclusive interview. “We would produce all the mass items and ship it to them as kits so it is similar to an SKD or CKD operation,” he said. He explained that the company will bring together business aspirants from around the nation to set up satellite assembling and dealership operations. These entrepreneurs need not have experience in the automobile industry. “My aim was that, I would produce a certain volume of cars and then I would create a very low-cost, low-break-even plant that a young entrepreneur could buy and that bunch of young entrepreneurs could establish an assembly operation,” Mr Tata said. Tata Motors would retain the responsibility for quality assurance and train people who will oversee the operations of these entrepreneurs. The whole ecosystem will look up to the manufacturing strengths of Tata Motors, but will do final assembly at the local units. “It will be very satisfying if the small car created 10 or 15 satellite groups of young engineers who thought they could get together and do a business and never be able to get, normally, in the assembly of cars,” Mr Tata said.


While much more details would be needed to fix the risk and reward ratio for the entrepreneurs, a quick chat with industry veterans suggested each small set up would have to invest about Rs 15-20 lakh. Nano, being a Rs 1 lakh car, will have to work with wafer-thin margins and make up with very large volumes. Dealers in India’s car market typically make a profit of 2.5% or less of a unit’s sale price. Even assuming such a margin will be available on the small car’s sales, it will be a small amount in rupee terms. “Although we know that margins are minuscule in car business, we are hoping we can concentrate on other areas too like finance, insurance,” said one of the entrepreneurs already shortlisted by Tata Motors. To understand what Tata is talking about, it may help to go to a McDonald’s outlet and watch the process there. The core food is prepared at a central kitchen, frozen and sent across to the chain of outlets, where the food is reheated, “assembled”, and served. The Speedee Service System, as it is called, makes the service faster, reduces cost, standardises the product and is easy to manage from the quality control angle. Now, if the central kitchen were Tatas factory and the franchise be the entrepreneur’s operation, the hamburger would be the people’s car. It is new and radical and the industry is still trying to understand it. The jury will not return until the car is launched and the new model tried. But dealers are already speculating whether the after-sales service would also be decentralised. After all, this is the area where the current players make maximum money. With Tatas’ plans to sell 2.5 lakh cars in the first year and reach the one million mark in four years, there will be enough room for the business model to evolve and entrepreneurs to jump into.


The roadscape of Mumbai has been dominated for long by the rickety black Premier Padmini taxis, only to be changed a little recently with the government-sponsored modern taxi service. But cab operators are already imaging the sleek Nano in their place. With its low price, high mileage and small size, it is compelling city taxi material and can be a stylish alternative to the current fleets. Middle class families, the target market, can easily be trapped. “From the first look of the car, it’s definitely a sound buy for the taxi services,” says Arun Sabnis, managing trustee of Fulora Foundation, which runs the Mumbai Gold Cab Services. On an average, a cabbie gets to ferry two people per fare, which the new car can easily take. At a total cost of less than Rs 2 lakh, including taxes and permits, Nano is exactly what the cash-strapped taxi operator will go in for. For an officially-backed fleet service like Mumbai Gold, however, the government stipulates a minimum engine capacity of 1000 cc, which Nano lacks. If black taxis go away, can autorickshaws be behind. Bringing an autorickshaw on to the road, complete with the paperwork, can cost anywhere between Rs 2 lakh and Rs 4 lakh, they say. So, switching to Nano can be a profitable and low-cost alternative for the owner-driver too, Mr Sabnis says.


The Nano has also enthused lenders and at least some investors. Car loan operators believe the demand will rocket. Ratan Tata’s dream to nurture an ecosystem of entrepreneurs has also made project lenders sit up and take notice. Most venture capital investors think this satellite manufacturing may not be the field for them, but at least one of them says otherwise. Avnish Bajaj, co-founder and managing director of Matrix Partners India, says he would look to invest in “someone whose core competence and demonstrated expertise is in low cost, high volume and high quality manufacturing with applicability to all lowcost cars and not just Nano.”

Economic Times
(With inputs from Ritwik Donde, Lijee
Philip and Jacob Cherian)

A Perfect Balance...

Entrepreneurs running seasonal businesses have to be always on the lookout for ways to keep revenues coming in during the lean period.

WITH Christmas celebrated, New Year ushered in, partying done and shopping wound up, the spacious shop floor of David and Co in south Mumbai wears a calmer look once again. This past month has been back-breakingly busy for its owner, Felix Dias, who sells Christmas ornaments and trinkets to scores of families that have bought from him for generations. But with one more profitable season behind it, Dias’ enterprise has now transformed itself into a wedding card business. It’ll remain that way until it’s time again for candles, carols and the call of Christ.

Entrepreneurs, who run seasonal businesses, are among the most adventurous of their lot, having to constantly figure out ways to keep revenues coming in when it is no longer the peak period for their ware. Dias has been doing it since 1953 and so have a number of others dealing in flowers, winter clothing, school uniforms, umbrellas, tour packages, psephology and an endless variety of other stuff. They have evolved innovative solutions to smooth out the volatility of their seasonal businesses and make money all through the year.

The first trick, of course, is to encourage people to buy products during the off-season by promoting new uses and giving heavy discounts. Almost all businesses witness some seasonality and examples abound of companies offering new value propositions to attract customers. Mr Diaz promotes his decorative ware among students in the late months of a college year, for use in special days celebrated by them at campuses. Thus, he is able to reposition his product in the off-season.

Just consider why is January the best time to buy umbrellas? Because you don’t need it right then and the shopkeeper desperately wants to clear his stock. The best brands are available at attractive prices and even given away as gifts for heavy purchases at bigger stores.

It is also a good idea to develop a portfolio of related businesses that will keep the business running through the year. When the season for one ends, that for another could start. Farmers have been following this strategy for ages. They rotate crops using the same land, which otherwise would lie vacant during the off-season for their main crop. Of course, they ensure that the rotation doesn’t hurt soil quality.

The same thing goes for entrepreneurs. Dias’ wedding card business is the counter-weight for his Christmas-related offerings, not requiring completely different skill sets or business model. “The wedding card business is what keeps our business going on in the off-season,” he says.


Cash flow is the oxygen for any business. Expenses are certain to happen everyday but not sales. So, it is crucial to keep a leash on the balance between them in a business that fluctuates with the season. Madhav Oza’s Bluestar Travels has a very strict credit control policy which helps him keep his costs down and thus make most of the peak season throughout the year. Set up in 1987, Bluestar is one of the largest ticketing consolidation businesses in Mumbai. “It is very important to budget out your expenditure at the outset of the high season. And keep a strict policy on payments (to be received) for your services. Else, your cash flow goes haywire for the entire year,” Oza warns.

Another policy followed by some is to employ only those many workers that can justify current demand. “If practical, employ workers on a seasonal rather than permanent basis,” says Vikaas Gutgutia of Ferns and Petals (F’N’P), whose business in flowers swings in tandem with weddings and festivals season. Temporary workers are themselves trying to manage their skills that have a seasonal demand. So, they might be engaged in other trades during off-season, but be readily available when demand picks up. However, this model is not without its drawbacks. “The downside, of course, is that you may not be able to attract the quality of employees that you want,” Mr Gutgutia says.

In fact, Mr Oza of Bluestar is totally against employing workers only for the season. “By the time you complete training your temporary staff, the peak season is past you. Also, it always helps to have 7-10% more people than you need, for demand in a travel industry is high during holiday season. It takes care of absenteeism,” Mr Oza says.


A key strategy of successful seasonal businesses is to rotate the markets. Business season, just like the climate, can vary every few hundred kilometres. Mr Gutgutia’s flower business doesn’t remain idle when peak demand ebbs at its home base in Delhi. “When it is off-season in Delhi, we look at places like Hyderabad and Mumbai, where the season is just starting, in this way, we look to hedge out the seasonal factor in the business,” he says. Weddings and festivals are the main reason people buy flowers in large quantities. But in a country as varied as India, no one custom is uniform across the country. Mr Gutgutia exploits the wedding cycles of various parts and minimises volatility in his income. So, while flowers is a seasonal business in any given location, the mobility and wide reach of F’N’P makes it a perennial business for the company.
Others have tapped the corporate and student sectors to tide over temporary dips in demand. “Thanks to the corporate sector orders, a business such as ours, which used to see a 40-50% dip during the off-season, now only shows a 15% dip,” says Mr Oza.


The major risk in seasonal business is losing touch with buyers during the slack season. While it is important to maintain the company’s staff and operations all the time, “it is equally important to keep in contact with one’s customers as well,” says Mr Gutgutia. “Some people who run seasonal companies act as if their customers actually vapourise during the off-season. Just because they’re not in your store or in your town, it doesn’t mean they’ve ceased to exist,” he says. He advises young entrepreneurs to send e-mails or newsletters to customers, exchange pleasantries or inform them about new items. The effort needed for marketing during the peak season may be that much easier.


The off-season is not just about selling. It is also about preparing for the peak season. Gutgutia says a company can build up inventory, planning ahead for forthcoming demand. Entrepreneurs can also step up research and development, product innovation and training. Gutgutia, in his early days, often spent the slow period studying foreign bred flowers that could be imported. “This is one way of better preparing yourself for the next season,” he adds.

Article Resource:
Ritwik Donde is the Chief Editor in the The Economic Times, Mumbai and the article appeared in one of their successful columns on Entrepreneurship/Start-ups called "Starship Enterprise".

Five Global Business Books To Read Now

ARE you thinking about taking your business global? Whether you’re entrenched in the global economy or merely want to familiarise yourself with recent developments, these recent releases will help you take your knowledge to the next level.

Doing Business Anywhere: The Essential Guide to Going Global (John Wiley & Sons, 2007) By Tom Travis

Who should read it:

Business owners interested in starting their first global venture.

Why this book stands out:

Instead of homing in on the specifics of importing, exporting or international investing, this book informs the inexperienced global trader about what to generally consider before delving into international trade. Travis never downplays the complexities of navigating confusing laws, interacting with foreign cultures or operating in other countries, but his six tenets of global business aim to simplify and clarify as much of it as possible.

The Elephant and the Dragon (Norton, 2007) By Robyn Meredith

Who should read it:

Those who want to know how India and China are transforming the global marketplace.

Why this book stands out:

As a foreign correspondent for Forbes and formerly a reporter for The New York Times, Meredith knows where to look in the past and the present to get beyond the generalisations made about China and India. While she uncovers images of barefoot children selling pirated Harvard Business Reviews in Mumbai and “lush pharma company sites that [spring] up like mirages in an Indian countryside still largely without electricity,” readers get to tour both countries through Meredith’s vivid journeys and eye-opening research.

World Inc (Sourcebooks, 2007) By Bruce Piasecki

Who should read it:

Business owners wanting to be more conscious of international social and environmental issues.

Why this book stands out:

Piasecki’s experience as a lead energy and environmental consultant to some of the world’s most successful companies led him to conclude that making money and making socially conscious decisions go hand in hand. He isn’t the first person to author a book making this claim, but his angle on the concept is engaging: Businesses are more powerful than government when it comes to ailing social situations.

India Arriving: How this Economic Powerhouse is Redefining Global Business (AMACOM, 2008) By Rafiq Dossani

Who should read it:

Your friends abroad who may be considering doing business in India but are not yet sold on the idea.

Why this book stands out:

While many think both China and India are competing to be the future’s economic powerhouse, Dossani argues that India will surpass China by far. He takes you on a tour through India’s recent cultural, political and economic transformations to show you how. Though his heritage and his roles as a Stanford professor on Asian-Pacific businesses and deputy editor of Business India Weekly may render him a little biased, his book offers a well-researched argument for his claim.

All the Tea in China: How to Buy, Sell and Make Money on the Mainland (Portfolio, 2007) By Jeremy Haft

Who should read it:

Business owners who want practical advice on how to do business in China.

Why this book stands out:

While China often incites fears of indomitable manufacturing competition, many forget that China is buying goods and services from the US at a much faster rate than we’re importing from them. Haft elaborates on why and how of this.


Economic Times

Eliminating Health Risk to Profits.

Two Entrepreneurs Help Firms Implement Preventive Healthcare.

When billing is per hour, as it is the norm in the software services industry, every second counts. Good health among employees generally makes sound business sense, but more so in a people driven enterprise. Well, nothing much of a revelation here, but that was enough for Vipin Prasad and G Krishnamurthy to smell a new business opportunity. Employed in Toyota and Brand-Comm respectively, the duo considered leaving their jobs for a venture that would help companies, especially in the outsourcing sector, minimize health risk among their staff: “Why not ratchet up a preventive healthcare platform and sell it to corporates?”

That was in late 2004. Today, their start up, People Health, caters to fifteen companies counting among the world’s most popular IT, internet and BPO companies. “The most important asset for an IT company is its people. Employees are billable and no company can afford having them not showing up for work,” says Mr Prasad.

Most individuals react after falling ill and ignore preventive healthcare. When people start suffering from illness, it is often too late for a company to get them back on track and eliminate the loss of productivity. So, PeopleHeath seeks to create a company wide database of staff health that can be used to formulate a policy of prevention rather than reaction.

Says Mr Prasad about one of their endeavours: “We started a risk assessment programme in an IT company in Bangalore and found that out of the company’s thousand employees, seven hundred suffer from back problem. To address this problem, we implemented a series of sessions conducted by orthopaedic surgeons and physiotherapists. “While this may sound common, the potential loss in productivity is significant.

“Our programme has enabled one of our customers to actually save Rs 10 lakh. “ wellness and preventive health care programs can lower medical insurance premiums and improve employees productivity.

PeopleHealth started at Mr Prasad’s house in Koramangla in Bangalore in November 2004. For a while, Mr Prasad and Mr Krishnamurthy, who had met years before at Brand-Comm, where they had worked together, had been wanting to do something on their own.

They saw a great opportunity in healthcare. While it is well set to become India’s next trillion industry, there are still significant gaps in terms of delivering healthcare policy in the West.

Sitting at home, Mr Prasad and Mr Krishnamurthy developed a tool, ‘health track’ to assess the health risks associated to a company’s employees. The tool takes into account an array of information related to employees’ health, habits and lifestyle, gathered through medical tests and questionnaires.

To start with they established each and every employees’ individual health score card. Then a corporate health score card for the entire company. PeopleHealth designs a corporate health care policy. Based on the results, they gather a health calendar for the company that may include assistance programs, induction sessions, stress management courses and health plan utilizations.

Mr Prasad had successful stints in the media, automobile and healthcare sectors managing portfolios like business development, strategic planning, marketing communications and brand management. Prior to co-founding PeopleHealth, he worked with Japanese automobile giant Toyota, where he was he was responsible for planning and executing communication campaigns for all Toyota Brands in India. Mr Krishnamurthy joined Mudra Communications from campus in 1996, before shifting to Brand-Comm as Account Manager in 2000.

Finally, in March 2005, the company bagged its first customer, one of the world’s most popular consumer services and internet security brand. The company is also developing a program to encourage employees to take care of their health. They created a benefit card that makes one earn points for consulting any of the centres associated PeopleHealth. It helps one to track their medical expenditure and are awarded cash back irrespective of how they choose to make payment. The card also allows you to load a PeopleHealth program anytime, anywhere.

Krishnamurthy (L) with Prasad

Article Resource:
Noemie Bisserbe is the Chief Editor in the The Economic Times, Mumbai and the article appeared in one of their successful columns on Entrepreneurship/Start-ups called "Starship Enterprise".

Don't Search, Just Dial...

VSS Mani
Chasing a dream with Rs 50k in your Pocket

Starting with just Rs 50k, V.S.S. Mani has built a business with an annual turnover of Rs 100 crore and a valuation in excess of Rs 500 crores. Just Dial is a case of getting it right the second time around. Not giving up after having to wind up Ask Me, VSS has taken his phone-based business model to print, online and SMS. He is now busy executing an International rollout.

Where did the Idea Come from?

Ok so going back to the early days, Mani was actually doing CA articleship along with Graduation. But some where down the line, he had to drop his CA exams because he had to contribute to the family income. So he took up a sales job with a yellow pages company called United Database India (UDI) in 1987. He worked with the company for about two years. While working there, he thought – why not to have something like this over the phone? In 1989, he got some like-minded people to join him and started a company called Ask Me.

Mani came from a middle class family, where if there is no (other) family income, one could set back to zero and sometimes even minus. He needed more capital. From 1992 to 1996, he worked on different ideas to survive, and to save some money to start Just Dial. This included a concept called Wedding Planner, which was in tie-up with The Times of India. He just used to dream of numbers and millions of people using his services.

Mani could not start Just Dial because he didn’t had enough capital. In those days, a phone line used to cost Rs 15,000 under OYT or else one had to wait for a few years. He did not have Rs 15,000 for a phone. He applied by paying Rs 3k, and actually came a year later! Finally, he started Just Dial, with number 8888 8888, some borrowed furniture, rented Pcs and with a capital of Rs 50,000!

Call for Information, but share some too.

The next time you call Just Dial for some information and a sweet little voice on the other end of the line makes a plea for your name, phone number and email address, please don’t say: “I’d rather not give it.” Just give it. The tele-information provider, which is present in 42 cities, receives on an average more than three million enquiries per month nationwide. And 11 years after Just Dial was flagged off, more and more callers are beginning to realize the virtues of providing the operator with their own details. As V.S.S. Mani, Founder & MD, Just Dial explains: “ Till date, we have never ever given out our database to telemarketers, but we just don’t have the time to explain it to people over the phone.”

Well, this is how it really works. When you call Just Dial, it is obliged to inform the establishment/service provider about your inquiry. As Mani puts it: “Our revenues come from sponsored customers, and sponsored customers need to see tangible results. Our sole purpose of being is to help people out with information, the end result of which leads to sales for paying clients.

Apart from its core function of just giving numbers and addresses of specific establishments, Just Dial also offers a plethora of services through its vendors; these include offers on electronic products, travel packages, medical services and moving and packing services.

Boasting a turnover of Rs 100 crore, a database of 2 million business records and 10 million regular users, along with 2700 employees across 12 Indian cities, Just Dial has come a long way. In 1996, Mani landed in Mumbai with a princely sum of Rs 50,000 to find a home and an office space. Both weren’t easy to find. What Mani did find were generous relatives, who offered him an empty flat in one of the city’s far-flung suburbs, rent free. Mani soon after succeeded in renting a 25-square feet office in Mumbai’s financial district, Nariman Point, for Rs 5000 a month.

Mani was a part of the trio that started the now all-but-defunct Delhi-based ‘Ask Me’ Service. “We were much ahead of the times. Those were the days when people had to wait years to get phone connections. The idea was good and well-appreciated, but we didn’t see any financial gains from it,” he says.One of the invaluable lessons he was taught during his experience at Ask Me was that the phone number for this service would simply have to be easiest one to remember. Enter 8888888. Today the number is no longer seven eights, but 39999999 – and here’s the best part – irrespective of which city in the country you are calling from, the number remains the same.

In mid-march, Just Dial took an online avatar, somewhat belatedly, one could argue. But Mani say’s he’s already getting page views of 220,000 per day, which he expects to take up to 1 million by the year end. But this seems one business model that work best with Voice.

Business Today
Deepti Khanna Bose

Monday, February 18, 2008

Deliver a Presentation Like Steve Jobs

by Carmine Gallo

When Apple CEO Steve Jobs kicked off Macworld 2008, he once again raised the bar for presenters everywhere. While most deliver information, Jobs inspires the audience. After analyzing his latest presentation, I've extracted the 10 most motivating elements to incite listeners.

1. Set the Tone.
"There is something in the air today," Jobs projected to the crowd to open the Macworld conference. By doing so, he set the tone for his presentation and hinted at the key product announcement-the ultrathin MacBook Air laptop. While every presentation needs an angle, it doesn't have to be unveiled right away. Last year, Jobs waited until the 20-minute mark. When the time was right, he noted, "Today Apple reinvents the phone." Once you identify your angle, make sure to weave it throughout your presentation.

2. Demonstrate Enthusiasm.

It's impossible to deny Jobs' passion for computer design. Next time you're crafting or delivering a presentation, think about infusing it with your personality. Most speakers get into presentation mode and feel as though they have to strip the talk of any character. Remember, your audience wants to be vowed, not put to sleep. The audience will follow your lead. So set an enthusiastic example.

3. Provide an outline.

Jobs set expectations by noting, "There are four things I want to talk about today. So let's get started..." Verbally opening and closing each of the four sections helped to make clear transitions between talking points. For example, after revealing several new iPhone features, he said, "That [the iPhone] was the second thing I wanted to talk about today. Number three is about iTunes." Make lists and provide your audience with guideposts along the way.

4. Make numbers Meaningful.

When Jobs announced that Apple had sold 4 million iPhones to date, he provided context for the figure. "That's 20,000 iPhones every day, on average," Jobs explained, "What does that mean to the overall market?" Numbers don't mean much unless they are placed in perspective. Connect the dots for your listeners.

5. Try for an Unforgettable Moment.

This is the moment in your presentation that everyone will be talking about. Every Steve Jobs presentation builds up to one big scene. In this year's Macworld keynote, it was the announcement of MacBook Air. To demonstrate just how thin it is, Jobs said it would fit in an envelope. Jobs drew cheers by opening a manila interoffice envelope and holding the laptop for everyone to see. What is the one memorable moment of your presentation? Identify it ahead of time and build up to it.

6. Create Visual Slides.

While most speakers fill their slides with data, text, and charts, great presenters do the opposite. There is very little text on a Steve Jobs slide. Most of the slides present one idea for the audience to walk away with. This is further supported by see-and-say syncing. For example, when outlining, "The first thing I want to talk to you about today," was accompanied by a slide with the numeral I. When he discussed a specific product like the iPhone, the audience saw a slide with an image of the product. Inspiring presenters are short on bullet points and big on graphics.

7. Give 'em a Show.

A Jobs presentation has ebbs and flows, themes and transitions. Including video clips, demonstrations, and guests creates the feeling that the presentation is more of a show than a lecture. Enhance your presentations by incorporating multimedia, product demonstrations, or giving others the chance to say a few words.

8. Don't sweat the Small Stuff.

Despite your best preparation, something might go wrong as it did during the Apple CEO's keynote. Upon attempting to show a few photographs from a live Web site, the screen went black. Jobs smiled and said, "Well, I guess Flickr isn't serving up the photos today." By moving forward and recapping the new features he just introduced, it was no big deal. Don't sweat minor mishaps. Have fun.

9. Sell the Benefit.

While most presenters promote product features, Jobs sells benefits. When introducing iTunes movie rentals, Jobs said, "We've never offered a rental model in music because people want to own their music. You listen to your favorite song thousands of times in your life. But most of us watch movies once, maybe a few times. And renting is a great way to do it. It's less expensive, doesn't take up space on our hard drive..." Your listeners are always asking themselves, "What's in it for me?" Answer the question. Don't make them guess. Clearly state the benefit of every service, feature, or product.

10. Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse.

Steve Jobs cannot pull off an intricate presentation with video clips, demonstrations, and outside speakers without hours of rehearsal. Jobs rehearses the entire presentation aloud for many hours. You can see he rehearsed the Macworld presentation because his words were often perfectly synchronized with the images and text on the slides. A Steve Jobs presentation looks effortless because it is well-rehearsed.

Use this 10-part framework to wow your audiences. Many observers claim Steve Jobs has charisma. True. But he works at it. Nothing in his presentations is taken for granted. He studies the art of telling a story to inspire his audience. You must do the same to electrify your listeners.

[About the Author: Carmine Gallo is a communications coach for the world's most admired brands. His book, Fire Them Up!, contains insights from top business leaders who inspire through the language of motivation.]

Travel industry’s back-office boys

QuadLabs Stands Out In A Crowded Market With Its Service Model

AIR travel has become much more popular in the country in the past four years. With rising incomes, many middle-class passengers who were taking the train earlier have started flying. And the expansion of civil aviation, experts say, has only begun in India. Little wonder, then, that business opportunities are cropping up by the dozen in this sector. QuadLabs, started by an entrepreneur in his mid-20s, is one such entrant catering to the software side of air travel management business.

Think of ticketing software and there are several companies selling branded products in the market. Both airlines and travel agents use them. But Quad-Labs has taken a different path, which it believes would be more profitable and sustainable in the long run. The company offers ticketing software as a service and takes a cut for every ticket sold.

The process of booking a ticket and transferring the payment is a complex and cumbersome one. Travel agents and online ticket vendors such as Yatra and TravelMasti would rather outsource this process than take it on themselves. Investing in a ticketing product may prove expensive and the seasonal nature of tourism makes that upfront investment unattractive.

Engineer Gaurav Chiripal, 27, figured that these companies would willingly adopt some sort of a payper-use model, coupled with a much lower upfront fee. A minimum business commitment would even make it a sustainable business model for an entrepreneur.

When the company started operations in October 2006, its offering was to set up the infrastructure required to take a travel business online. The initial cost of setting up the technology for a travel portal would start at a minimum of Rs 70 lakh if it were to buy a product licence and the required hardware, says Faraz Khalid, QuadLabs’ cofounder and head of products. Not many travel agents can make such investments. So, the company expanded its offering to give a complete ticketing solution in the services mode, leaving travel companies to focus on selling.

It was the lure of the travel business that made the founders come up with this offering. Back in the fall of 1997, Mr Chiripal worked in his father’s company, NC Tours & Travels, in the old residential neighbourhood of Patel Nagar in Delhi. He was just 17 years and was trying to explain to his 46-year-old father the advantage of taking their business online. Dad was listening patiently but the young Chiripal knew he wasn’t going to apply it.

“He wasn’t ready to believe in the idea. My Dad was a pure travel agent. He bought tickets in bulk from airlines and consolidators and would resell them. He did not see how technology could help and was sure that his team was all that was needed for such a business.” The young Chiripal decided he would have to take things in his own hands.

Soon, opportunity came flying in his way in the form of Turkmenistan
Airlines. A friend, who worked for the airline in Delhi, told Mr Chiripal about the difficulty the airline was having in managing passenger and luggage load. Mr Chiripal wrote a small programme to enable the airline to use in four cities that it would touch — Ashgabat in Turkmenistan, New Delhi, Kathmandu and London. The software kept tabs on the people and luggage that got on and off
the planes at these points.

During the big bad internet boom, Mr Chiripal attempted to launch a travel portal at When the bubble went pop, they, like many entrepreneurs realised there weren’t enough people with credit cards to allow such a business to survive in India. And so, this company sold the software it had developed for own use to other travel companies in Europe.

One of its bigger clients was eBooker, says Mr Chiripal. In the second half of 2006, Gaurav Chiripal, Manav Lohia, and Faraz Khalid came together to form QuadLabs. Before this, Mr Chiripal was part of Final Quadrant, a company that is now its competitor. He parted ways with the co-promoter of Final Quadrant after a clash of vision. Now, though they work apart, the two companies share some intellectual property.

It has been a year and three months since the company QuadLabs gained its own identity. The initial funding of Rs 2.5 crore came from the founders’ savings and an angel investor in London. The investor had put in money in Final Quadrant as well. QuadLabs claims to have been profitable since day one. The upfront fee it charges clients takes care of the infrastructure cost and the usage charges bring steady revenue and profit. During its shift from product to services, the founders had to plough their profits back into their business to set up the hosting facilities for their business.

Gaurav Chiripal (L) with Manav Lohia and Faraz Khalid

Article Resource:
Jacob Cherian is the Chief Editor in the The Economic Times, Mumbai and the article appeared in one of their successful columns on Entrepreneurship/Start-ups called "Starship Enterprise".

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sabeer Bhatia

Rags to riches - the Biography of the man who created Hotmail and is one of the Richest man in US

When he was only 28, Sabeer Bhatia got the call every Silicon Valley entrepreneur dreams of: Bill Gates wants to buy your company. Summoned to Microsoft's command bunker in Redmond, Washington state, he was deposited on the new acquisitions conveyor belt. Round and round the Microsoft campus he went. All 26 buildings. At every stop, Bhatia's guide helpfully pointed out the vastness of the Microsoft empire. The procession ground on until it reached Gates's office. Bhatia was ushered in. Bill liked his firm. He hoped they could work together.

He wished him well. Bhatia was ushered out. "Next thing is we're taken into a conference room where there are 12 Microsoft negotiators,"Bhatia recalls. "Very intimidating." Microsoft's determined dozen put an offer on the table: $160 million. Take it or leave it. Bhatia played it cool. "I'll get back to you," he said. Eighteen months later Sabeer Bhatia has taken his place among San Francisco's ultra-rich. He recently purchased a $2-million apartment in rarified Pacific Heights.

A month after Bhatia walked away from the table, Microsoft ponied up $400 million for his start-up. Today Hotmail, the ubiquitous Web-based e-mail service, boasts 50 million subscribers - one quarter of all Internet users. Bhatia is worth $200 million. He is already working on his follow-up: a "one-click" e-commerce venture called Arzoo! And Bhatia is looking homeward with an ambitious plan to wire India.

Bhatia was born and raised in the southern Indian city of Bangalore. His father, who held a high post at the Ministry of Defence, and mother Daman, a senior official at a state bank, placed great value on education. In 1988, Bhatia won a full scholarship to the California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena. When his plane touched down that fall, 19-year-old Bhatia had $250 in his wallet and butterflies in his stomach. "I felt I had made a big mistake," he says. "I knew nobody, people looked different, it was hard for them to understand my accent and me to understand theirs.

I felt pretty lonely." Ten years later you can still catch a glimpse of the innocent abroad. People say when Bhatia enters a room he owns it. "I call him the Hindu Robot," says Naveen Singha, Bhatia's friend, mentor and proud owner of the third-ever Hotmail address. "He is persistent, focused, disciplined. He's a superior human being." Others say he glows with a beatific, otherworldly air.

Doing his masters of science at Stanford, Bhatia attended lectures by such legends as Steve Jobs of Apple and Scott McNealy and Vinod Khosla of Sun Microsystems. Listening to them speak, Bhatia "realised they were human. And if they could do it, I could do it too." After Stanford, Bhatia found work as a hardware engineer at Apple. In his cubicle, he read about young men starting up for peanuts and selling out for millions.

Bhatia pondered what the Net could do for him, and what he could do for the Net. Then he had an idea. It was called Javasoft - a way of using the Web to create a>personal database where surfers could keep schedules, to-do lists, family photos and so on. Bhatia showed the plan to Jack Smith, an Apple colleague and they got started. One evening Smith called Bhatia with an intriguing notion. Why not add e-mail to Javasoft? It was a small leap with revolutionary consequences: access to e-mail from any computer, anywhere on the planet. This was that rare thing, an idea so simple, so obvious, it was hard to believe no one had thought of it before. Bhatia saw the potential and panicked that someone would steal the idea. He sat up all night writing the business plan.

Hotmail made perfect sense: it included the letters "html" - mthe programming language used to write Web pages. A brand name was born. Bhatia had $6,000 to his name. It was time to find investors. By the time he reached the offices of venture capitalists Draper Fisher Jurvetson, 19 doors had slammed behind him. Steve Jurvetson and his colleagues quickly saw the potential and put up $300,000. Bhatia and Smith stretched the money all the way to launch day, July 4, 1996.

By year-end they were greeting their millionth customer. When Microsoft came knocking, 12 months later, they'd signed up nearly 10 million users. At $350 million, Hotmail's investors agreed: Sell. Bhatia returned to the table, alone, and once more said: "No." The contract was inked on Dec. 30, 1997, Bhatia's 29th birthday. The price: some three million Microsoft shares - worth $400 million at the time and twice that now. Today Hotmail users are signing up at the rate of 250,000 a day, and the firm is valued at some $6 billion.

Yet it is here that Bhatia launched Hotmail and it is here that he hopes once again to transform the Internet with Arzoo! - his latest brainchild. The company is only six weeks old, and the offices are strewn with boxes that once housed computers, monitors - and a ping pong table.

Dhiru Bhai Ambani

Dhiru Bhai Ambani built India's largest private sector company. Created an equity cult in the Indian capital market. Reliance is the first Indian company to feature in Forbes 500 list.

Dhirubhai Ambani was the most enterprising Indian entrepreneur. His life journey is reminiscent of the rags to riches story. He is remembered as the one who rewrote Indian corporate history and built a truly global corporate group.

Dhirubhai Ambani alias Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani was born on December 28, 1932, at Chorwad, Gujarat, into a Modh family. His father was a school teacher. Dhirubhai Ambani started his entrepreneurial career by selling "bhajias" to pilgrims in Mount Girnar over the weekends. He was the second son of a school teacher. Dhirubhai Ambani is said to have started his entrepreneurial career by selling "pakora" to pilgrims in Mount Girnar over the weekends. When he was 16 years old, he moved to Aden,Yemen. He worked as a dispatch clerk with A. Besse & Co. Two years later A. Besse & Co. became the distributors for Shell products and Dhirubhai was promoted to manage the company’s oil-filling station at the port of Aden.

Assisted by his two sons, Mukesh and Anil, Dhiru Bhai Ambani built India's largest private sector company, Reliance India Limited, from a scratch. Over time his business has diversified into a core specialisation in petrochemicals with additional interests in telecommunications, information technology, energy, power, retail, textiles, infrastructure services, capital markets, and logistics.

Dhirubhai Ambani is credited with shaping India's equity culture, attracting millions of retail investors in a market till then dominated by financial institutions. Dhirubhai revolutionised capital markets. From nothing, he generated billions of rupees in wealth for those who put their trust in his companies. His efforts helped create an 'equity cult' in the Indian capital market. With innovative instruments like the convertible debenture, Reliance quickly became a favorite of the stock market in the 1980s.

In 1992, Reliance became the first Indian company to raise money in global markets, its high credit-taking in international markets limited only by India's sovereign rating. Reliance also became the first Indian company to feature in Forbes 500 list.

Despite his almost Midas Touch, Ambani has been known to have flexible values and an unethical streak running through him. His biographer himself has cited some instances of his unethical behavior when he was just an ordinary employee at a petrol pump in Dubai. He has been accused of having manipulated government policies to suit his own needs, and has been known to be a king-maker in government elections. Although most media sources tend to speak out about business-politics nexus, the Ambani house has always enjoyed more protection and shelter from the media storms that sweep across the country.

Dhirubhai Ambani was named the Indian Entrepreneur of the 20th Century by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). A poll conducted by The Times of India in 2000 voted him "greatest creator of wealth in the century".