Priya M Nair, Partner & CEO of Doukani LLC; Author, Formula G

Priya M Nair, Partner & CEO of Doukani LLC; Author, Formula G

Priya M. Nair is the Partner & CEO at Doukani LLC, an e-commerce solutions provider based in the UAE. She is also the founder and chief editor of DeTA.

 

Podcast

Overview

Priya M. Nair is the Partner & CEO at Doukani LLC, an e-commerce solutions provider based in the UAE. She is also the founder and chief editor of DeTA. A qualified digital marketing professional, Priya is also a vocal Diversity and Inclusion advocate. Priya is also a mentor in the Westford Mentorship Program, an initiative by Westford University College, UAE. She is also an author of Formula-G, scale your Startup to a Growth Machine.

00:31-Tell us about your journey from a technical writer to a CEO, and an author.

  • As a teen, Priya wanted to join the Indian Civil Services, although after not making it on the first attempt, she pursued a Master’s in Journalism.
  • By the end of her master’s she had other plans, she wanted to marry and for this, she took up a job in TCS as a writer.
  • She got married in 2006 and moved to the UAE. And joined the UAE Air Force as a technical writer. Followed by her job at an American engineering consultancy, which she left last year.

03:24- Tell us about Doukani and your motivation to start it.

  • She joined last year as a CEO and partner. Doukani was founded by two Lebanese brothers in 2016 as a side hustle, then moved to be a b2c marketplace.
  • Following the pandemic, they wanted someone to be the face of the business, someone who could take it to the next level. And that’s how she was brought in.
  • So she joined as a partner and CEO in November last year.
  • Now, the company is an exclusive b2b platform that connects suppliers, with corporate offices, and everything that you need to run an office smoothly and back of the house.
  • The aim is to become one of the top five brands in homegrown brands in the UAE by 2025.

08:58-  How do you see Doukani as a competitor to the brick-and-mortar retail business?

  • In recent times, one of the biggest challenges that brick and mortar have faced is decreasing footfall.
  • She thinks one of the biggest solutions for that is to learn and adopt E-commerce strategies.
  • The brick and mortar businesses are already adopting a lot of E-commerce strategies like Omni channel sales and marketing which is the brick and mortar opening, extending their business online, and shopping online but collecting at the store.

11:09- Tell me about your book Formula G scale your startup to a growth machine.

  • Formula G was actually the result of long conversations that I had with my co-authors, who are accomplished seafood executives, with more than 20 years of experience.
  • 10 chapters of the book can be used as a system and can be implemented to grow your business.
  • The chapters talk about small businesses. How do they do it? What are the challenges they have? And how can they scale if they don’t have the resources that the big companies don’t have?

13:28- What are some important qualities that a startup founder should have?

  • Two aspects, one in terms of mindset and another in terms of the skill set, are important.
  • In terms of mindset, a sense of adventure is important. One has to be passionate about the purpose, and the core values, have a strong willingness to learn and unlearn things and accept failure and rejections.
  • In terms of skill sets, one has to have a broad idea of every aspect of the business, about the product, bank, customers, and the growth strategy
  • It is also very important to have or to know when to let go, not only in terms of when to exit your business but it also if you see and know that something is not working, one should not be afraid to shut it down and move on or try something else.

16:36- What are the three top reasons why startups don’t make it?

  • Three top reasons would be starting too soon, starting too late, and not having sight of the bigger picture.
  • Starting too soon means not doing enough research, on the market, the target audience, the need for the product or the service, and whether the market really needs that product or service.
  • A lot of people start up because they want to want that freedom, or just because they think that they have a brilliant idea. Or as a side hustle. So they don’t realize entrepreneurship is a serious business.
  • Starting too late, is once you have zeroed in on your niche, and you have found the right product-market fit, you should not wait for perfect timing, or even to perfect your product, it’s important to take the product to market and test it out. If you wait too long, someone else might do something similar technology or the market forces might make your solution or product redundant.
  • The third one, not having sight of the bigger picture, which is like not having a strategy to scale or grow, and not having the right team. All of this affects your cash flow. And so it’s not just enough to start up. It’s important to build a sustainable staff.

18:55- Should one bootstrap as long as possible? Or Should one raise money?

  • There is no hard and fast rule about the mean of raising money. If you have a great concept and idea, and you are unable to bootstrap on your own, then you could go for pre-seed funding.
  • But the longer you can wait to raise funds, the better. What you can do, meanwhile, is to try attending pitch competitions and try getting grants instead.

18:55- What are the three lessons, you would people take away?

  • Once, we need strong female leaders at the top.
  • Another is if I can do it, you can too. Make bold decisions, and work outside my comfort zone.
  • Third most important thing is to be kind to support each other. Entrepreneurship is not easy. So let’s try to lift others up and grow together.

RESOURCES:

You can connect with Priya M. Nair – LinkedIn

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Profile

  • Priya M. Nair is the Partner & CEO at Doukani LLC, an e-commerce solutions provider based in the UAE. She is also the founder and chief editor of DeTA.
  • A qualified digital marketing professional, Priya is also a vocal Diversity and Inclusion advocate.
  • Priya is also a mentor in the Westford Mentorship Program, an initiative by Westford University College, UAE.
  • She is also an author of Formula-G, scale your Startup to a Growth Machine.

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