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Author Archives: Sukanya Badri

Its never too late to ‘intern’​!

As I watched Robert De Niro spout insight after insight as an ‘intern’ to a stressed-out CEO (played by Anne Hathaway) on HBO recently, two thoughts struck me: one, do all young entrepreneurs go through the same state of mind? Two, it is astonishing what a readily deployable talent pool is available in the form of experienced older men and women!

The focus of this piece is on the vast pool of experienced men and women who have opted out of the employment system for various reasons. My point of view is that many of these would be willing to come back and share their experience with today’s professionals, given the right opportunity.

The New Age Startup Checklist

Imagine the scene in the startup sector in a couple of years from now. With the launch of ‘Start up India Stand up India’ program by the Government of India, startups have become the buzzword in the country once again. India  has been generating entrepreneurs in this area for at least a decade now. But what was essentially a technology wave has evolved over the last few years with many young entrepreneurs testing out non-tech ideas such as health management, food and grocery aggregator platforms, home maintenance services, property services, and riding the new age e-commerce boom. And with high profile investors such as Ratan Tata and Narayana Murthy stoking up the excitement through their financial backing, startups are now firmly entrenched as the most happening sector in India.


When you wish to know your customers better, what initiatives does your organization undertake? Do you go meet customers, organize customer events, design feedback forms to be filled up by customers, or even commission an external consultant to conduct a Customer Satisfaction Survey? You may be doing some or perhaps even all of these. Which is commendable as these exercises certainly help in understanding your customers better and cementing the relationship further.

But how many of you actually know where your core customers (the 20% who contribute to 80% of your turnover) have positioned you in their growth plans? Do they view you as a vital partner or just as a current supplier or service provider? Do they see you as a key contributor to their long term goals? Do you figure in their future plans? Based on their perceptions, how do they expect your organization and your people to respond to them? How do they position you vis-a-vis best of class firms of a similar nature?


Customers are everywhere – we just need to be tuned in to find them. Any committed executive having a little business orientation can spot them if only he or she applied themselves intelligently. For all the training and field trips that sales, business development and marketing teams are put through, sometimes simple common sense is what you need to land a good customer.

I was recently at a seminar organized by an industry body for a specific member group. The theme was to connect technology and industry for mutual benefit. Speaker after speaker, reading out from generic corporate presentations, extolled the virtues of their organization claiming their place as the best technology providers to industry.