This was one of those weeks that reminded me why I love my job so much. I am lucky to have access to some of the brightest entrepreneurial minds in India (possibly the globe) working to build powerhouses that are revolutionizing traditional industries. Every day, I learn about problems that my business is facing and unique new solutions to fix them. This information also benefits the entrepreneurs in our portfolio and under my wing.
I met with 2 founders that have built solid businesses and are also active angel investors. Out of the various topics that we discussed here are two nuggets of wisdom that are pure gold for founders & investors.
I learnt the importance of delegating responsibility From Pravin Agarwal (Founder of Better Place) –We are coinvestors and board members of Confirmtkt
Pravin advised the founders of Confirmtkt to identify the main pillars of their business eg for Confirmtkt these pillars would be Tech, Operations, Data Mining, B2B partnerships and B2C and appoint/recruit (from outside or within) a person to oversee each one. This person must have significant expertise in that department and can drive its growth. Although the other founders and heads of department may have certain things to add, the buck ends with the person in charge of that pillar. By dividing the responsibilities and having just one person concentrating his/her entire focus and effort on one pillar the speed of execution and decision making would significantly increase.
While this sound like common-sense, the way Pravin explained it was pure gold. As a founder, I have in the past, felt the need to be involved in every aspect of my business and I see this attitude being mirrored in many of the founders that I work with daily. However, in my opinion, the empowerment of individuals through the proper delegation of responsibility creates a leadership hierarchy that will propel a company forward. This is advice that I not only preach but also practice.
I learnt the importance of motivating each employee to be inclined towards generating a profit to achieve profitability for the entire organization from Mr. Ramakant Sharma (Founder of LivSpace)
Employees at every level must make any and every decision with grave responsibility keeping in mind not only its impact on their team but also on the organization. I have come across many startups, who end up making losses at the unit economics level because junior employees who operate the day-to-day functions and deal with them are given no say in any decision-making processes. This is a problem at the eye of the storm.
Therefore, as a practice, Mr. Ramakant advocates that everyone should understand how their role affects the bottom line, i.e. the larger mission of the company. They should strive to achieve individual profitability, the profitability of their team and those that report to them and therefore the profitability of the organization. He also encourages front-line feedback on why profit targets are not being met or what are the changes that are needed to bridge the gaps.
It only makes logical sense that a company that has a profit culture that percolates down to the last employee, will be profitable. This isn’t just left up to the top management to ensure. Employees at every level that imbibe this culture are sure shot superstars and destined to rise.
Implementing these two core strategies can transform any company and its fortunes.
Like I said, it’s experiences like these that make me love my job!!!