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Entrepreneurs: Lord Karan Bilimoria – Key messages from his “talk”

I promised to report after attending the excellent and inspiring "talk" given by Lord Karan Bilimoria at Manchester Business School. Karan has gone through similar "pain" that I am going through 15 years or so ago. When Karan started he knew nothing about brewing beer. He had to learn fast. He constantly received "NO" as an answer. It motivated him further to be successfull. Here are the key messages I took home:

1. Make it a global brand – it’s all about brand equity. ebdex was set-up with this in mind.
2. Against all odds – Karen had a partner. I don’t. My closest partner is Affno (tied to ebdex in many ways – vice versa). I am now seeking two partners (a Sales and Marketing expert and Operations and Customer Service expert). These guys/gals will get significant equity. Visit our website for further details
3. Overcoming credibility gap – faith andconfidence on the idea – your total commitment can overcome this – What I also have in abundance is "commitment" which comes with a price tag (no need to go in to details here!!!). In addition, I have teamed up with some excellent partners, some of these being: Affno, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Access Accounting, Pegasus, etc.
4. Accept the word NO: This happens less and less as we mature as an organisation. Yet this is a crucial part of the learning process. The word "No" increases my determination to succeed further. Why does an organisation say "no" to you? I believe, in most cases, the fault lies at our end, i.e. we fail to explain the compelling benefits it (whatever it is) will bring to that particular party.
5. Always carry out SWOT analysis – I got a MBA, which comes with a variety of tools I can use. SWOT is a valuable tool.
6. Away day – with actions – Bit too early for ebdex.
7. Convert threats to opportunities – This is exactly what we continue to do. ebdex will work with our competitors for the benefit of our clients. I will blog on  this separately later.
8. Advertise on trade magazines – if not available, launch one! – Yes we would do this when the time is right. Launching a magazine is not in our five year plan. However, we can either sponsor a regular column/page or provide articles for the column/page.
9. Never ever give up – This has also been my trade mark!
10. Address the problem. Here I am in Sri Lanka doing exactly that!
11. Keep an open mind. Very vital! But you also need to stay focus, otherwise you will not achieve your objectives.
12. Proof the concept. We are almost ready to do this.
13. Hold on to the equity – be innovative. We need equity and debt finance to meet our strategic goals. Equity cannot be seen as a constraint. Instead it should help achieve the overall objective.
14. Whole team must be passionate. Goes without saying. Our team includes both ebdex and Affno staff.
15. Building the team – find the best. Refer to item 2.
16. Culture – can never be copied – give people trust. I fully accept an organisational culture cannot be imposed. We promote a client-centric organisational culture..
17. Trademark must be protectable. Another task to do. We also need to buy the rights to .com.
18. Doing things differently and better. This is all about ebdex.
19. Product – no cutting corners –  price – place -promotion – finance – people – passion. Should not be under estimated, built in to our strategic business plan.
20. PR – POS – promotions/sponsorships- advertising. Equity funding will allow us to achive this.
21. Get expensive adverisers – PR + accountants. I wish!
22. Constant innovations – don’t stand still. R&D is very important to our business. We are constantly improving our domain knowledge.
23. Mission can be measured – not the vision. vision is more important than mission. We need to rethink about our vision and mission.
24. Aspire and achieve against all odds with integrity – sky is the limit. Certainly
25. Never go without testing with customer – ask everytime major change is introduced. Current objective is to trial ebdex Document Exchange with number of customers first before roll out. We need to get the testing and debugging completed. It has taken lot longer than planned due to number of reasons.

Bit longer than I thought. But all vital points. Share your thoughts!

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