This is the adjective that comes to mind when on reads “Take Me Home” by Rashmi Bansal, which covers the stories of 20 entrepreneurs from small town India.
The entrepreneurs come in all varieties and sizes-some are Engineer-MBA types, some are 12th pass etc.
They hail from all parts of India-Srinagar to Coimbatore to Cuttack to Rajkot to Guwahati to Meerut etc
And yet the stories of their struggle to get their businesses up and running,tangling with the bureaucracy,attracting talent,getting capital…there is a quintessential Indianness about them
I enjoyed reading each one of the entrepreneurship stories and some common takeaways I found across each one of them were as follows:
- Importance of a supportive spouse…no entrepreneur can survive if his spouse doesn’t support him !
- Customer centricity-Customer Bhagwan Che…you have to give quality products/services…don’t shortchange your customer
- Determination & Grit….there will be thousands of setbacks…don’t let any get you down…In one of the stories, a Kashmiri Lady entrepreneur was fired upon with 900 rounds of ammunition by people who opposed her College.Yet she did not give up.
- Importance of a good backer with Capital.Was surprised to see how so many of these enterprises were supported by our much maligned PSU Banks
- Importance of inspiration.You can be inspired by successes in other countries,other Indian entrepreneurs etc.One entrepreneur returned to India from the US when he read Abdul Kalam’s message “What is the fun of basking in the glory of another’s country?”
- The importance of networking…in our huge, complex and diverse country, commonalities of religion,region,caste,alumni etc can open doors
The book is peppered with Hindi phrases as some of the entrepreneurs are not comfortable with English.Yet this gives the Book a “Mitthi Ki Kushboo” which is charming and earthy.
One observation which I particularly liked was by Murugan, an entrepreneur from Coimbatore:
As a child, he observed stray dogs in his locality.
He wondered where they lived, what they ate? Though he never found specific answers to such questions, a few months later he could see – they had grown, they had survived.
“I understood that survival is automatic, it is natural, it is not in our hands. So every human being should try to do something beyond survival.’
Do buy this book if interested in Indian entrepreneurship.