How to write a business plan

September 1, 2009 at 4:56 am

One of the occupational hazards of working for a VC firm is that you need to go through business plans of every kind. This is especially true of the space in which my fund operates. Early/seed stage deals. This (irrelevant business plans) could arise due to various reasons and we shall not get into that now. This post refers only to those who are making business plans for the purpose of fund-raising. Let me get straight to the point.

What is a business plan? I think most people refuse to ask this question when they start building out one. It is a set of well-accepted business jargon that people continue to use and reuse. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. A business plan, in my opinion, is a document created for a certain purpose detailing the core aspects of the business addressing the basic questions of what, how, why, who, when and a few other purpose-relevant questions.

a-Satyam: Do we really know?

January 8, 2009 at 3:07 am

I am sure by now you are innundated with mails and news reports about how and what Ramalinga Raju did to Satyam. Of course he built it up from 0 to 50,000 employees but he also has put all of their careers into serious uncertainty. Do you appreciate this man for having built an organization so far or just plainly accuse him of fraud for his confession as the standard reaction has been? As far as I am concerned, I am still reeling under shock.

The noise about Nano

January 11, 2008 at 12:32 am

There is one thing that I don’t understand. Are we those critics that change our fundamentals everytime we make an argument? Are our rules different for different people? At times like this, my thoughts are confirmed.

Tata releases their Rs. 1 Lakh car named ‘Nano’. ‘Nano’ means the small one in Gujarati. It looks good. 624cc engine; 20+ kmpl mileage; 20% larger than Maruti 800; own one today and pay Rs. 2200/- per month for 5 years (there must be a downpayment clause that I must have surely missed); satisfies all safety norms; obeys all emission norms (Euro IV and BS III).

Everything sounds too good to be true. And maybe that’s the reason there is so much of argument about this car increasing road congestion, pollution (apparently sheer volumes will push up overall pollution), making roads uncomfortable for pedestrians and others.

But please help me understand one thing: Why blame Tata Nano for this? What about the automobiles that have been sold till now? Are not they creating congestion? People make me sound like an idiot when I ask these questions. They go “C’mon, it’s because of the congestion that those cars have already created that we are asking ‘Nano’ not to make it worse”. This is like punishing the best because he did not enter the market earlier.

And coming to the problem on the roads and the Nano there may be an obvious link between the two, but the responsibilities for each are with different entities. The Indian Government must wake up and take measures to avoid further congestion. As citizens, I guess there is a need for mass agreement to obey traffic rules. And as far as I can see, both these things don’t seem to be happening in the near future. If I am wrongly informed, please correct me. Handcuffing corporate organizations with country’s economic problems and asking them to stop developments on innovation and cost reduction does not sound necessarily right to me.

Apple’s iPhone worries

October 3, 2007 at 3:22 am

A price reduction of $200 (approx Rs. 8000/-) by Apple on their 8GB iPhone (Price after reduction: $399), would have been such happy news if considered in isolation. But when you consider that they did that within two months of launching the phone and also stopped production of the 4GB model (priced at $499 at launch), it should rank among the worst-ever strategies to have been undertaken.

There is a probability that Apple would have gotten away with this if they had done this in India considering the ancient laws we have protecting the consumer. But in America, I believe you have a possibility of making $1 Million if a company does such a thing as Apple has done. Check it out. A customer who had bought a 4GB iPhone for $499 has sued Apple for $1 Million.

We, in India, need a system in place to atleast to help keep the consumers aware of their rights.

I, for one, am pretty miffed with Nokia for announcing that the price of its latest phone Nokia N72 is Rs. 9399/-. I paid Rs. 9696/- for it! :( Let me look up my consumer rights booklet immediately and keep my resignation ready.

Thinking in the background: $1 million means Rs. 4 crores. 1 Mercedes Benz (Rs. 60 Lakhs), 1 flat and 1 farmhouse in Mysore (Rs. 40 Lakhs)… anyone wants a loan?! :D

Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder?

September 7, 2007 at 1:36 am

I have been looking at upgrading my mobile to something that works! Do you remember the 6610i phone? I use that as of now. I went into UniverCell to find out how much discount I would get if I offered my cellphone in exchange for a new one (N72 I am looking at). The sales guy tried really hard to supress a smile on seeing the phone in my hand. He said, “Rs. 1100/- saar”. I was crestfallen. I am transmorgified into the past (the C&H cartoon strip effect). It was my dream phone three years back. I had paid a fortune (around Rs. 6,000/-) to get it then. And today I hear in the background (foreground main dream chal raha hai na yar!), “Outdated. Camera is not at all useful. Nokia has stopped production. No Bluetooth also”

My primary reason of buying this phone was that. I just needed a device to make and answer phone calls and listen to FM Radio while driving (You get to watch movies if you do this). It was the need to be connected that drew me to it. Infact my first preference was a plain vanilla 6610 – the one without the camera. But by the time I could buy it, Nokia had stopped production of that one. And by the way, I am one of those who buys only Nokia mobile phones, Sony Walkmans and Apple iPods. So 6610i it would be.

Life lessons from NRN

August 3, 2007 at 11:17 pm

There have been times when I have criticised the media for wasting too much ink on N. R. Narayana Murthy (NRN). But this time, comes up with a great one. The kind you always want to read but don’t find anywhere. Click here to access the article.

It’s all changing!

May 24, 2007 at 5:10 am

[via email from Sam]

Beginning of the end?

March 26, 2007 at 2:14 am

[via Vatsan

Read this.

Thought this would happen sooner than later. But didn’t expect it to happen so early.

Mysore will also be a Silicon Valley

December 21, 2006 at 3:50 am

Mysore will be another Silicon Valley of India as a number of IT firms have evinced interest in setting up shop here, Karnataka industries minister Katta Subramanya Naidu said in Mysore. 
Speaking to Business Standard, he said Infosys, Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services and a couple of other companies were coming to Mysore. 
Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro and Shapurji had sought 100 acres of land each. A few other Fortune 500 companies are also holding talks with the government for locating their projects here, the minister said. 
As the availability of land for new industries had become scarce, the government proposed to acquire 4,000 acres of non-agricultural land. The formalities will be completed shortly. 
However, care will be taken to discourage chemical and pharmaceutical industries which may damage environment. 
As regard the much-delayed airport, Naidu said that the High Court was yet to deliver its judgement over the disputes land. In the meantime, the Airports Authority of India had sought an additional 67 acres and acquitions process had been initiated. 
All these investments will give a tremendous boost to Mysore and it will grow as an IT hub, the minister said. 
During the last six months, Naidu said, the Karnataka government had cleared investments amounting to Rs. 90,000 crore in the state. At least 70-80 per cent of investments may come through in about two-and-a-half years. 
The government will give a thrust to development of tier II and tier III cities. It is releasing another Rs 100 crore, the subsidy amount due to industries.

I hope Mysore retains its identity and not become another “silicon valley”. Development should not be at the cost of the positives it has to offer today. Long live Mysore! 

Article courtesy: Business-Standard

$100 Laptop | Rubbished by HRD

July 29, 2006 at 9:23 am

Quoting an article from the ToI dated 25 July 2006:

“…According to the project plan, the Central government is supposed to foot the entire bill, which is $100 per laptop for one million pieces. The project was floated by MIT.

Complete with technical problems pointed out by IIT, Madras, pedagogical suspicions raised by NCERT and first-hand experience of a senior HRD official who found that the laptops have not even crossed the prototype stage, Banerjee had said that OLPC “may actually be detrimental to the growth of creative and analytical abilities of the child”….”

They are talking about the Nicholas Negroponte’s $100 Laptop. Probably he hasn’t done whatever is required by the Government. Otherwise, would Rs. 450 crore ever be wasted by getting into newsprint?

Another interesting part of the article is the last paragraph which says:

“…The HRD official also said that an OLPC-like project has already been started by an Indian company which has supplied 50,000 laptops to South Africa at a price of $200. “Indian companies are not lagging behind. They may need more encouragement,” he said.”

This Indian company must be either Novatium or Encore Software. Whoever it is, if the HRD official is truthful then let’s hope this is the first success for Indian Hardware Industry. Beating Negroponte’s well-publicised (probably over-hyped too!) $100 Laptop venture is not easy.