Rajiv Maheshwari, Business and Start-up Advisor, Educator, Thought Leader, Enabler

Rajiv Maheshwari, Business and Start-up Advisor, Educator, Thought Leader, Enabler

  • Rajiv is the co-founder of an organization titled From the Experts’ Mouth.

 

Podcast

Overview

Rajiv is the co-founder of an organization titled From the Experts’ Mouth. He’s a business and start-up advisor, educator, thought leader, and enabler. Rajiv talks about the start-up culture prevalent today. He talks about the things that founders need to be careful of and how to go about making important decisions like scaling and raising money.

00:38- Journey as a professional manager and starting off on your own

  • Started off as a chartered accountant, then went on to do an MBA, and followed the rat race kind of path for several years.
  • During the pandemic, life gave us an opportunity to reflect on where we are going, and what paths we are taking. And that set me thinking about how I want to lay the chart for the next 10,15, and 20 years of my professional life and personal life.
  • I found that joy typically comes from helping others, being of assistance to others, and from enabling others.
  • I started this dual track of being a start-up advisor, as well as launching From the Experts Mouth, both of which converge on the same overall theme of, getting joy and a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment from helping others.

03:06- What is the kind of support you give to start-ups?

  • I believe that start-ups, despite everything that sets them unique, are, at the end of the day, a commercial organization, which has to run on commercial lines.
  • I help companies or organizations establish a fine balance between what a start-up is supposed to do in terms of disruption, innovation, etc, or solving large-scale problems, versus doing it on commercial, prudent, sustainable, scalable lines.
  • Start-ups sometimes focus on publicity, profit, or passion instead of purpose.

06:24- The inputs that you give to start-ups may ask them to pivot

  • Sometimes what they want to do is based on an overall narrative of what is popular out there. Or what, maybe the VC is trying to push their way.
  • It is my belief that not every organization needs to become a unicorn, not every problem that is solved will result in a unicorn.
  • All ancillary stakeholders that are involved in a start-up, whether it is an angel investor, a VC, or even somebody like me, will benefit much more from nudging start-up founders towards creating a unicorn. But that is not the route I take.

7:45- Some of the basic mistakes start-up founders make?

  • Start-up founders are guilty of fast thinking, it means thinking the way we are wired. And that wiring essentially comes from all the narrative that is around us, which includes what others are doing, what is popular in the media, and what society seems to be celebrating.
  • I think getting the right mix of experience at a low cost and getting the right sort of model without necessarily taking funding and splurging on getting 10 heads of departments is the kind of balance that a start-up needs.
  • And the biggest and the most common mistake is obviously not finding the right product market fit.

11:44- Should you bootstrap or raise money

  • It depends on what your business model is. So, if you’re trying to build a product, which requires a lot of investment, then there’s no point creating something half-paid, which will just not fly with the target audience that you’re targeting.
  • Also, it does not make sense to spend money on customer acquisition if you do not have a differentiator, if you do not have a moat, or if there is no customer loyalty.
  • There have been many instances where, start-up founders have built very large organizations, without any access to external funding. I mean, the big poster boys obviously are Google, Zerodha, and recently Latent View.

15:06- When should a start-up start to scale up?

  • The fulcrum on which you should decide whether to scale up is, how much is your product market fit? Is it actually solving a big problem? Or is it just because of your splurging or marketing?
  • There are times when people are swayed by the Google ad that pops up or, the next thing, they see in their Instagram feed. So, you can buy their attention temporarily, and you can influence their decision, but only temporarily.
  • I would say focus less on just these metrics, which gives you a false sense of security, a false sense of achievement, and really focus on what is it that you’re doing for your customer.

22:39- What would your advice be to a young entrepreneur who’s starting off on her or his journey?

  • Think deeply about not what you want to do, but why is it that you want to do something?
  • For a business to flourish, ultimately, you are not the center, the customer is the center, and his or her problems are to be solved.
  • So do things that you enjoy, and which is also solving a problem for people. If it is only your passion or something that you enjoy doing, but which is not really solving a problem, then it is not a start-up, it is a hobby.

RESOURCES:

You can connect with Rajiv Maheshwari- LinkedIn

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Profile

  • Rajiv is the co-founder of an organization titled From the Experts’ Mouth.
  • He’s a business and start-up advisor, educator, thought leader and enabler.
  • He works with start-ups and businesses and helps them take decisions about the product, funding, scaling and everything in between.

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