Monday, January 24, 2011

24th Jan 2011, Maple Dreams Office, Mumbai - Did I miss the bus or am I driving one???

24th Jan 2011, Maple Dreams Office, Mumbai - Did I miss the bus or am I driving one???

A very happy work week to all of you. I am sure you had a great weekend. I definitely had one. I spent the Sunday working with the sales team of a property development company “Rustomjee”. They have a massive 120 odd acre residential cum commercial property coming up in Thane, bang on the Mumbai – Nashik highway.

The property business has been one of great interest over the past decade in India, Mumbai, mostly because of it’s out of the roof land prices. However, I had very little interest in this business per say. Though I did buy a flat for my family very early in my career, the procedures & paperwork was completely looked after by my Uncle and hence I had very little access to property paperwork and the knowledge one derives in the process. This project has been a revelation. I have been introduced to the deep interest the Indian Middle class shows in property investment and also how well informed they are about little details of property laws and current happenings. Every time I am at this site, training & reviewing the sales team, I get an opportunity to watch them interact with the huge flow of walk-in prospects seeking property.

The number of people that flood the sales office is no indication of a country engulfed with so called “inflation”, “recession” or “poverty”. People are buying properties worth crores as their second homes or merely as investment propositions. They are not first time buyers & the biggest surprise for me is.. They are all mostly average middle class families, who are out on a Sunday shopping spree buying flats worth crores of rupees. I may seem to be exaggerating the whole issue, but it is an eye opener for me. I had never assumed the common man today has so much money in hand. Or is it a phenomenon restricted only to the metropolis, I do not know!!! For I observe families investing in properties for reasons as simple as sudden capital gains, the son in the family planning to get married or merely as a tax saving option.

The salaried class truly has grown to gigantic proportions. The kind of lifestyle they live, spending habits they enjoy, the expectations they have from their future career prospects is all simply alarming for me.

Yes, I do sound too alarmed, I agree & NO!!! I was not on Mars in hibernation for the last decade and neither have I been suddenly dropped on this planet to discover the sudden social change.

I missed this boom, because simply after working for 1 year after graduation in a low paying job for a sole proprietary firm where I had no access to any great employee benefits, I chose to become an entrepreneur at the age of 22. Ever since then I have been too engrossed in my routine business chores like paying rent, salaries & bills so much that I completely ignored what the generation I belong to are enjoying as paid beneficiaries working under some flashy MNC banner. This is I believe the core reason for my utter disbelief with respect to the BIG FAT PAY CHEQUES people are getting these days, for the challenges of an entrepreneur are very different to that of an employee.

• Entrepreneurs have no personal & professional divide. They carry their work to their homes & vice versa.
• They truly have to win their bread.. everyday, if they don’t show up for work, they don’t get paid.. simple - there are no CL, PL & IPL’s favoring them.
• They have the responsibility to make the future, not just for themselves but most importantly for people associated with them and depending on their vision.
• There are no real privileges in entrepreneurship & it is not for the weak hearted for sure. You reap what you sow!!!

So, the questions is, Do I regret not working for some loud mouthed boss but being assured of getting paid beyond my worth on a fixed date every month????

I would say a big…. NO….OOOOO!!!

Do I want to earn beyond my worth??? Again.. NO!!!

I don’t think I have missed any bus…I believe I am driving one.

Yes, it may be squeaky, slow & crackling with loose parts but it is at the end of the day MY BUS & I choose where I want to take it... Nobody can throw me out of it except for my poor performance.

I believe in meritocracy which I observe is completely missing in today’s corporate culture and this is creating an artificial middle class bubble which I fear would one day burst. That would be a sad day!! Because I observe guys & gals from my generation, not all of them, but many taking their jobs for granted.. this is disturbing…

I am not against the working class. I am part of the working class. My entire family belongs to this section of the society that is today bearing the Indian flagship worldwide. My mother worked hard all her life in a job & raised me.. My aunt & uncle are superior workaholics known for their sincerity in their respective organizations.

But I am against senseless & unfair pay packages and that must change!!!

I believe young entrepreneurs like me should hang on.. Yes the route to freedom is tough but the destination is too enchanting for us to be troubled by the journey!

So my 8 point suggestion/advice/ whatever…. to me & all my entrepreneur friends is this….

1. Hang on to your dreams.
2. Convert your dreams into concrete step by step plans.
3. Work on the plan everyday!!!!
4. Make your product / service too valuable for anybody to negotiate on its worth… Only then can you earn big!!
5. Build systems & a team, don’t do everything yourself, for too long…
6. Expand.. Expand.. Expand
7. Improve continuously personally & professionally, become interesting!!
8. Don’t worry about what others are doing.. Keep moving on & you will be proud of yourself at the end of the journey!!

All the best my lovelies!!!

I will be off the blog for a few days as I have certain work & personal commitments & will be offline for most of the week. Apologies!


Mohnish Nair