Hello friends and honorable readers of Pro Motivator, it’s so good to see you today and more good it is to present to you the continuation of our interview series. This one is solely focus on “How to Succeed in Business“.
We must however apologize to you for being so mute this past few weeks – no excused though but you must know that we are now back and yes…..for good! 🙂
So today, we bring to you another fantastic personality, someone who knows the inside-out of entrepreneurship, even though he is but a teenager.
Not to waste much time, I have with me today a great personality in the person of Chirag KulKarni. Chirag is a serial entrepreneur, speaker and a startup advisor.
He’s had a fantastic journey thus far and we hook up with him today to share insights of those things he’s learned.
So let’s jump start into the interview as Chirag shares insights of how to succeed in business.
1. Hey Chirag, its nice having you here on Pro Motivator. Would you please introduce yourself and what you do to our audience?
Ans = Thanks for having me. In short, I am an entrepreneur, speaker, and startup advisor. I am best known for starting two companies; STR and C&M Group. I sold STR in 2012, to focus full time on C&M Group.
2. Personally I love Indians because I’ve grew up watching them in the movies and those were fantastic movies. I believe Indians are very savvy people and can easily turn things around. And Chirag, you’ve been able to prove you’re one of those savvy Indians there is. But like seriously, what would you say is the secret to your business success, considering the fact that you’re still very young?
Ans = Thanks for the kind words. My secret to business success is simply maximizing the resources around me, meaning, going to my mentors and asking them a million questions and learning mainly from their failures, as well as successes.
Failures, in general, are something that is easier to understand because it is what you should not do. Success is attributed to a myriad of different things, and is not as specific.
Although I have learned this the hard way, I stick to the strategy I have. After I have gotten considerable market validation, I execute accordingly.
Lastly, I believe I am very good at showing people I truly do care about them, and even with clients, I try to show them how I can help them, and the money comes. I don’t focus on the money and then help, but vice versa.Chirag on a Magazine
3. Wow! It’s cool to know that young boss but I’m wondering. What exactly is C&M about?
Ans= C&M Group is a strategy-consulting firm focused on growth for companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. C&M Group’s team is comprised of founders of various companies. Our mantra is “entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs”, which means we can help you strategically move from point A to point B based on our expertise, and experiences. All team members of C&M Group are founding CEOs, and that is our value proposition.
4. How long have you been into online business?
Ans = I have not been into the online space; however, I have worked with many companies that incorporate e-commerce into their business.
5. What do you think were your greatest challenges in launching your internet companies?
Ans = One of the greatest challenges I see in launching Internet companies is in understanding whether your product is really wanted by consumers. Market validation is something that a lot of companies don’t do, and can be the reason why companies succeed or fail.
6. Chirag, I want to believe you have some people, perhaps notable figures that have been able to carve their name in the history book who has influenced your business and personal life. Who are they?
Ans= My Dad is someone that propelled me to jump into entrepreneurship. He always told me to “Never work for anyone but you” and it is something that has stuck with me for a long time. My mom, and my sister, Neha Kulkarni have always been encouraging of me in my ventures. Other huge influencers have been Gregg Brown, Diana McBride, Scott Kreshel, Donna Deeds, Jaspreet Singh, Richard Branson, Mark Cuban, Eric Reis, Ash Maurya, Hiten Shah, and Neil Patel.
[Tweet “Never work for anyone but you!”]
7. Chirag, are you currently planning another great start-up company or project? If yes, do you mind telling us about it?
Ans = As of now, I am just working on C&M Group.
8. Now here’s the big one and the one question am sure my readers have been expecting me to ask. So Chirag, How do I start an online or offline business? Is money really required to launch a startup or ideas? Please bro; do shed all the light you can on this for us.
Ans = You need an idea that has market validation, and potential for paying customers. I can’t tell you how many startups start without those two things and expect to succeed. You do not need capital to start a business. I started STR and bootstrapped the business, which means I used revenues within the company to sustain the business.
[Tweet “Market validation is something that a lot of companies don’t do, and can be the reason why companies succeed or fail.”]
9. In your own opinion Chirag, what are the basic things needed for startups to succeed?
Ans = Startups need market validation, focus, vision, strong management, ability to pivot, and persistence.
10. I’m already in love with your name. So Chirag, you create and develop different services, right? Do your services have a global reach or you are limited to a geographical location?
Ans = Because we are in a service based industry, we have unlimited global reach. We prefer to work with clients in person; however, we do a lot of our business on Skype/phone. Thanks to the internet, you are able to reach a large demography easily with very little costs.
11. Do you have books in which you share your experiences, or any desire to write one soon?
Ans = At this point, I haven’t written any books. I am a frequent blogger at chiragkulkarni.com, and usually share a lot of my experiences there. I maintain the blog for C&M Group, and the blog can be found on cmglobalgrp.com. I usually blog about new things I am learning or discovering in business.
12. Social Medians has become the order of the day. Can you please elucidate the importance of social media to the survival of a new business?
Ans = Social Media is extremely important for the success of any venture. I utilized Social Media very minimally at STR, but I never used a lot of things such as content marketing, SEO, and customer development to improve my company. Looking at the mistakes at STR, C&M has become much more social media friendly. It is vital for success in your venture.
13. How soon should startups begin to expect real profits?
Ans = It really does depend. Unless you are looking to solve cancer, you should see revenues very early. Revenues would equate to successful market validation. We saw profits at STR in 4 months because our startup costs were so low. My suggestion would be to focus on creating the best product/ service possible. Be sure to do this before running off to get money from VCs. At the end of the day, real profit is determined by your upfront costs.
[Tweet “After all said and done, revenues always equate to successful market validation.”]
14. Just before we wrap up, Please Chirag, what do you think is the challenge fellow young stars need to tackle to get to the top?
Ans = Getting to the top requires immense focus. A lot of young CEOs get discouraged to quickly. Again, market validation is something that a lot of companies fail to do. Focusing on your product is very important to success of your venture. If you want to be an entrepreneur, stick with it. Don’t indulge in things that will waste your time and effort.
15. It’s been nice talking to you young Boss, but there’s one final question I’d love to ask. Alright, I want to start my own startup business, where I aim to sell my own products and expertise, such as eBooks and help people in setting up there online businesses. Do you have any special advice in this regard, I mean for those of us who are either afraid to start a business or just don’t have the resources/capital to start one?
Ans = My suggestion would be to just go for it. Depending on how young you are, the risks are very low. Worst case, you fail and start something new. It is much easier to start your second venture by looking at your failures from your first venture. My second piece of advice is to learn from the failures of various companies, and learn to not repeat those failures. Read up on various blogs in your space to learn what industry leaders are doing.
16. It’s time to say good bye to your new fans. Don’t you think is necessary to give them your final words?
Ans = Don’t be afraid to use the resources around you. There are all kinds of people willing to help you, especially if you just ask. Be sure to use the resources around you before taking investment from VCs, and enjoy the process. Most of us do what we do because we love it.
17. Thank you Mr. Chirag. It’s been such huge blessing having you here on Pro Motivator. Like seriously we need more people like you with strong entrepreneurial spirit and great achievements. Thanks for your time.
Ans = My pleasure! I had a blast sharing what I have learned. Feel free to reach out to me for any additional questions.
Back to you, my honorable readers.
That was Chriag Kulkarni – the 18yr old serial entrepreneur. Hope you got some inspirations from him? What precisely did you derive from this interview? And I sure you indeed learned “how to succeed in business?”
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