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Diwali – The show goes on with renewed vows !!!

On Monday early morning, whilst preparing for my Monday session, I got a mail in my inbox (a cc actually) addressed to a select intellectual few of my company, requesting for a new matter for the ‘I love Mondays’ column.
And thinking about the topic, I could not resist taking the onus of penning down the article myself.

So here goes an article of ‘Diwali and its strong relevance & influence wrt entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship’.
It’s a time of the year when we celebrate Victory of good over Evil.
When we light diyas outside our main doors, passage, windows.
When we decorate the entrance of our homes and offices with colourful ‘Rangoli’
When we perform the auspicious Lakshmi Puja invoking the Goddess to bless our homes and offices with her constant and eternal presence.

For businesses, it is time to write the ‘new books (chopdi). It is time to take stock, check the P &L and once again seek the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi with chanting hymns and ringing bells to improve our business and to be with us for the new coming year till we once again renew our ‘vows’ with her !!

But what does the festival mean for today’s entrepreneur?
And how can we draw inspiration from its many meanings and bring the light of Diwali to our Organisations (in whatever stage of Growth cycle it is in)?

So here how:

Kill the 10-headed Ravana of Weaknesses:
Each business has its weaknesses, its 10-headed Ravana. But sometimes we are so much in love with our ideas and systems, that we are unable to see the 10-headed Ravana staring at us in the face. The weaknesses could be in the concept itself, our processes, or the people. So sit back and take stock…
If your product or service has not been able to generate enough revenues, look at how you can reposition or reinvent it.
If a partnership or association seems to be draining your energies and sapping your enthusiasm, consider getting out. Negative energy is not something you want to deal with while working nightmarishly to grow your business. You need people who surrender to your vision, and you need those who fight with a smile. So if some ‘heads need to roll’, take that bold decision.
Identify your company’s 10 weaknesses and promise to eliminate them.

Light up with the Knowledge of Research:
The light in any organisation must be on the focus to recreate new product lines and service mechanisms. It means the investment on research. So make a plan, decide how much you will spend. That does not mean only money, it includes your time, your effort, your energy, your attention-span, your gestation period before the product or service is launched and the pilot run as well.
Many entrepreneurs end up with ‘harakiri’, ie the inability to put a feasibility plan in place (smmart has been a victim of such a Raavan and it is detailed below)
A feasibility plan shows you exactly what you need, how much you will spend, and how much you will earn when you will earn, how will you plan the future expansions etc.. etc
But the point is to learn from these instances and the impact they had on your bottom line.
Data-driven decisions are always a better bet (which is what we are currently doing) than jumping to uninformed conclusions on your own.

Add Design to Your Brand’s Avatar:
The intricate patterns of rangoli remind us of the importance of design and branding. It does not mean spend more on branding. It means to reach out to more (people, markets, industry) in as many ways and different modes as possible. There’s a reason Apple has so much brand value. The company’s focus on design set it apart and created products that are a more appealing option for buyers with sophisticated taste. If you haven’t thought about branding and brand values, now is the time to do so.
Draw up a list of everything your brand stands for and formulate how you would like to project those values to the world. Do you need to redesign your logo? Do you need more visibility through marketing forums, tie-ups, associations etc? Do you need to focus more on social media? If so, set aside some funds for branding and marketing this season.

Share the Success – Stories
All organisations have success stories to speak of and be pompous about. Stories of cash-strapped early struggles and stories of game-changing eureka moments have to be retold and re-presented in various platforms. So be prepared to do so. Stories of happy customer experiences and of overcoming customer grievances. Share your stories. Your experiences will help others in your market or in another industry. Blog, network, go conduct ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ with your customers, have a session over coffee with others in the startup community within your industry (social angle to growth and branding as well). And never hesitate to reach out if you need assistance.

Connect with your A-list of clients, vendors and Suppliers :
Festive times are great opportunities to rekindle the bond with your vendors and suppliers – both old and new. Reconnect with your faithfully serving vendors and suppliers with a personalized letter or greeting. Give your relation with them a humane touch. Reach of out to new customers, with a campaign that creates awareness about your new product or service.
The e-commerce world is full of discounts and special offers during festive seasons. And there’s a good reason for this: People are happy and more willing to spend!

Chant the Mantra of Success:
We chant mantras invoking the gods and goddess. So how about mantras for success? Be positive – motivate yourself and your team to push each other and work our butts out in achieving our plans as envisaged in our ‘smmart success multiplication strategy sheet.’

I can hardly think of a better time than Diwali to review your vision and mission statement and reaffirm your commitment to light the success towards your organization’s growth and splendid Future.

Happy Diwali to my audience, to our critics, our supporters, our arch-loyalists and our eternally challenging groups of people that dare/defy us and expect only the best from and of smmart !!!

Lots of Love & Regards,
Sindhu Santosh Nair.

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