How Michael Phelps Can Inspire Your Startup

Reading Time: 4 minutes

“I want to be able to look back and say, ‘I’ve done everything I can, and I was successful.’ I don’t want to look back and say I should have done this or that.” Michael Phelps

Unless you are living on another planet, you could not have missed the incredible medal haul of Phelps.

How does one man achieve so much? Is it because of his 6ft 8in wing span and body shape which helps him conquer the swimming pool? Or is there something more?

And What does this mean for you and your startups?

Continue reading “How Michael Phelps Can Inspire Your Startup”

Do You Want To Change Your Life For The Better?

Reading Time: 7 minutes

1938. Karoly Takacs was writhing in pain. The 1936 world class pistol shooter had just shot his right hand. His right hand by which he would hold his pistol.

The pain of the extinguished hopes was more than the physical pain. Everyone looking at him said “A great career which could have been has just ended” Or did it?

By 1939 i.e. in a year’s time, he won the National Shooting Championship. Olympics was cancelled in 1940 and 1944 due to World War 2. Finally in 1948 Olympics, after waiting for nine years, he wold the Gold medal and also in the next Helsinki Olympics in 1952.

He won all these championships by his LEFT Hand.

Back in 1938, He could have easily moaned in grief and led a victim’s life which everyone would have shown sympathy to. Instead he rose above his physical and mental challenges and achieved the impossible.

You may say “I am not an Olympic Athlete. How is this relevant to me?”

Let me ask you: “Do You want today to be better than yesterday?” If yes, then this is for you.

Because if you focus on the very core aspects of your life then your today is going to be better than yesterday.

What are these core elements?

Continue reading “Do You Want To Change Your Life For The Better?”

14 Daily Habits of Highly Successful People

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Most days, your day starts with tumbling out of the bed to shut off the alarm, a quick shower, then, coffee while running out of the door. A long ride in the traffic to the office, a long to-do list is made with your head in the hand, a day which goes by in a blur and before you know it, you are back in the bed staring at the ceiling, wondering “One more day gone!”

How is it that some people seem to do so much within one day while you are just about ticking the 6th item on the task list?

If you study the habits of the successful people, you can unlock the keys for a joyful and highly productive day. Want to know more? Read on.

The habits that I have studied are:

Continue reading “14 Daily Habits of Highly Successful People”

The Power of Saying Yes, Responsibility of saying No

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Do you know that by the time you reach 18 you have heard NO around 10,000 times?

No wonder we get used to hearing NO. What is worse for business is we get used to saying NO to others. NO to new ideas, new initiatives, new ways of working. The common refrain “We don’t do it this way here”If it ain’t broke, Don’t fix it.”

It requires an outsider like Starbucks to show what Nestle should have done a long time back.

This post is about how key decision makers in your organization may be operating and why it may stop you from unleashing the best.

Quite often people act from The Power of saying NO and Responsibility of saying YES mode. Let me show how:

Managers often will say NO to a subordinate’s plan for a new style or new idea or an innovative way of doing things. This comes from the feeling that “I have the power to say NO” and I am going to use it liberally.

However, when it comes to saying yes, low performing managers think “I’ll have to explain why this works. Tomorrow something goes wrong I will be blamed” so they feel a certain heaviness of saying YES.

Over time, the organization becomes “safe” and “follows procedures” rather than taking risks to deliver more value to the customer.

Now contrast this with what I am saying:

What if Leaders felt the power of saying YES. They should feel that they have taken one more step in adding value to customers. I have taken one more step in beating the competition. I have taken one more step in making my team think and deliver innovation.

And If I say NO, then I have the responsibility of not making any of the above happen. Not only am I crushing someone’s dream, but I am also reducing the company’s future growth potential.

Now if someone has this doubt “Hey, does that mean I allow every wild dreamy idea out there?” The answer to it is: judge it whether it adds value to the customer, beats competition or increases the innovation and growth in the company, If Yes, Feel the Power of YES.

As a leader, are you building this culture in your team and organization?

For more actionable insights for improving your Leadership, check out my book

Now Available on  Amazon
Now Available on Amazon

9 Insanely Helpful Ways To Keep Startup Marketing Lean And Effective

Reading Time: 6 minutes

As a startup founder or CEO, you need to run a lean operation which can get the promised growth fast. You have secured your round of funding; you want to get out there and make the most of the plans that you have outlined and secured an approval. But, we have also seen how yesteryear unicorns are going through markdowns or downrounds.

You want to make sure that your marketing is geared for delivering the growth, develops and executes programs which run fast and have the most impact.

Find below the ways by which you can keep your marketing team and programs, lean and efficient.

Continue reading “9 Insanely Helpful Ways To Keep Startup Marketing Lean And Effective”

Do You Want To Know the Secret Of Effective Marketing In Small Business?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Just Start.

If there is one proven way to have effective marketing and jumpstart growth in your small business, it is: Action over anticipation.

We are wired for taking action – but often only under fear. We all know about the fight or flight response.

But given time, we also have a tendency for “false perfection”.

Why false?

Have you noticed that nature has no pure circles or squares or triangles? They are often oval or rhomboids – slightly bulging at edges.

It is our desire to be perfect hence, we create the perfect circle and squares.

While it is good in science, it is bad in business.

Here’s how:

Being perfect assumes that everything will go exactly as per planned. That whatever is planned will definitely result in the outcome which we want.


It is said that after the first two chess moves, there are a million options by which the game can turn out. And this only with 64 squares and two players.

Now think of the marketplace with thousands of customers and hundreds of suppliers.

Perfection often leads to analysis paralysis. The need to have a beautiful, logical solution leads to endless debates on the correct step to be taken.

Perfection often leads to analysis paralysis. Click To Tweet

In the end, nothing moves.

I learnt this lesson once.

My boss used to love asking questions. On every campaign, we used to design; he would ask ten questions. Once replied, they would lead to 10 more questions and so on. One day, I decided that I would start it as a pilot project, and we will keep answering his questions. After two months, he asked, “By the way, what happened to that X campaign?” I replied “well, we started as a pilot project and got some good learnings from it and now in a better position to answer your concerns” He paused for a while and then said “you did the right thing. Let’s go national”.

The market and the customer are the best ways to understand whether something works or not.

We can have endless boardroom discussions, but it has no comparison to the rich learnings in the market.

Nothing teaches you better than the marketplace. Click To Tweet

Taking Action does not mean that you launch a half-baked product or dump low-quality stuff in your channels.

Have a testing mindset within the team so that no one is wedded to a particular idea or an approach.

Help the team develop the testing mindset by asking the right questions in meetings.

Run pilot projects, do A/B testing, check in one channel before going national, but Start.

It means beyond a point, stop the endless planning. Just start.

If you have an option between Action and one more round of planning, Just Start Click To Tweet

Check this article for how an owner of a successful online business prioritizes Action over endless debates -> Slideshare CEO

What are You going to Start Today?

Now Available on Amazon
Now Available on Amazon

9 Important Steps To Building Ownership Mindset In Your Small Business

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The key to growth in small business is in creating an ownership mindset in your employees.

The key to growth in small business is in creating an ownership mindset in your employees. Click To Tweet

As an entrepreneur, it is evident that you have it. But, how do you build it in your people? Here’re some steps

Continue reading “9 Important Steps To Building Ownership Mindset In Your Small Business”

Did You Know The Shocking Truth Of Successful Entrepreneurs?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Successful Entrepreneurs don’t take risks.

Yes, you read correctly. They infact go to lengths to reduce risks.

I was shocked too when I read this article by Malcolm Gladwell (Best Selling Author of Outliers, Tipping Point, David vs Goliath) ->

Gladwell makes a persuasive case through couple of high profile examples like Ted Turner and John Paulson (Big Short Fame) of how they intentionally keep the risks lower so that they increase the chances of their success. He goes on to overturn commonly held beliefs around risk and their downsides.

The article persuaded me. Here’s four reasons why?

Continue reading “Did You Know The Shocking Truth Of Successful Entrepreneurs?”

8 Warning Signs That Your Boss Will Fire You

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Nobody likes to be fired.

But the new millennium has shown that the chances of being fired from a job have increased.

So what are the signs that you could be the next?

  1. Your boss tells you that you are distracted and not focused

Once in a while, your boss comes over to your cubicle and while chatting tells you that “John, nowadays I find you very distracted, not focused on your job”. While you are busy trying to turn over the monitor so that he can’t see your Facebook comments, he was actually laying down the ground for the further discussion which is going to come up.

  1. Every time you talk with your Boss he tells you how unhappy he is with your performance

You are doing a review of a recent assignment or have gone to him with a proposal. He gives his assessment but follows up with “Off late, I am unhappy with your performance. We had agreed on some clear deliverables and you are behind. John, you need to pull up your socks”. He stresses on the words “unhappy” and “performance”. He is making sure that you register that your performance is being evaluated.

  1. Your HR person has started talking to you

Generally your HR knows you as “employee code A321” but now, over the past one month, someone from HR has started talking to you and asking probing questions on “how do you find your work?” “How do you handle criticisms?” “How are you improving your performance?” “How do you keep on top of your assignments?” If this is done with everyone, then, it is different matter. But, if you find you are the only one or only one among a very few, then it is a sign that the HR department is making its own assessment.

  1. Key projects and assignments are going to someone else

In the past, Key projects were given out democratically or you were one of the few who were considered. Now none are coming your way. Even when you are best qualified or best experienced. This happens multiple number of times. When asked you are told “You were considered but looking at all factors we decided to give to Debra”. The organization is preparing itself and training other people so that when time comes, they will handle your exit.

  1. You are getting a mid-year appraisal when that is not the norm

Your boss calls you over or schedules a mid-year review when that is not the norm. There could even be a HR person in the room “for quality monitoring purposes” Both of them look very keenly at your answers. In fact, your boss was never so attentive in your appraisals before. You are carefully asked to explain what actions you took and why you did it. You are asked leading questions like “Did you consider collaborating with ….?” “What policy rules did you apply …?” “How did you make sure your performance was to the desired standards as prescribed in …?”  They are building a case so that when the termination case is made, they can cite the “self-confession” you made.

  1. A senior executive in the organization who cares for you tells you to “Look Out”

There is always someone in senior leadership or in Exec Team who must like you. (If not, get yourself noticed). He would have a wind of what is coming. In an informal place probably in office party or an event, he strikes a casual conversation with you and says “John, nothing in this world is permanent. It is ever changing. You must keep your options open. Gone are the days when people used to retire in their companies. So, look out. Nothing to be done in haste. I am not asking you to leave the company, quite the contrary. But you know, keep options open”. What he is actually telling you is “I have been in a meeting where it has been decided to fire you. I can’t rat on the organization but I like you, so I am giving you a hint. Hope you are smart enough to get it”

  1. Your boss reminds you of an opportunity in the past you did not take up

In your journey of one year or ten years, you must have passed up a career move which the organization wanted you to take. The more the number of years, the more such opportunities. Off late your boss brings this up in the middle of an unconnected conversation “We need to close this sales number soon and it requires you to really step up your game. Get Marketing to give you a campaign soon. John, if only you had taken that stint in designing Performance standards seriously, you would not be in such a situation” The case is being prepared that the organization had given you all the opportunities to improve your game but you did not take them.

  1. Your discussion on your career path does not happen

You have been pressing for this discussion for past one year or six months on what are the next steps for you in the organization but nothing is moving. Your boss is stonewalling it by saying “We will discuss when the time is appropriate”. When you have approached the HR they have said “Talk to your boss” The situation is: the organization has no plans for you.

All of the above taken together is pointing to one door. Your Exit.

Take action. Engage with your boss and step up if you want to remain in the organization. Or start writing your resume, if you want to exit too.

Why you need to hire the Hare now and not the tortoise?

Reading Time: 1

Do you know the famous tortoise and the hare story? How did that turn out? We all know the Tortoise won. So why should you hire a hare?

Hare, tortoise! What is the relevance to your business?

Speed is the essence in the millennium. What we need are people who think agile, act agile.

Between a thinker and a person with bias for action, I will choose bias for action.

Why so? Disruption is everywhere. There is technological disruption. There is business model disruption: somewhere out there is a young guy writing an App which will substantially speed up the business, cut traditional layers and remove the cost of discovering solutions for the customers. Then there is the demographic disruption: Millennials move fast, act fast.

Whether you like it or not, you need to hire people who have agility. People who are willing to speed up your product or service delivery. Your customers will absolutely love it if you deliver faster than last month and last year. Your business will love it if profits come faster than last month and last year. Your employees will love it if business grows faster than last month and last year.

If you hire a tortoise, chances of his becoming a hare is rather low. There will be enough tortoises in the organization who will balance the need for speed with making sure that the hare is running in the right direction.

So, hire the Hare.

Would you agree?