Why Not to Judge at First Sight?

We are all aware about the concept of Love at First Sight. And most of us would have actually experienced it as well. For me, it was love at first sight with my now wife, when I first met her  outside the office building. I knew she was the one.

However, love at first sight is rare, it may happen once in a lifetime or it may not happen at all. But there is another variation which we all experience, day in and day out. And that is something very important to understand and appreciate, as it is an essential building block for relationships of any kind – be it personal or profession. I’m referring here to the concept of ‘To Judge at first Sight’. And we all do it all the time.

Being Judgmental

Being judgmental is human, this post does not mean to preach about not being judgmental because it’s simply not possible, not to do judge people. However through my experiences, I have realized that it’s definitely wrong, to judge people at first sight. I have most often, proven wrong on this.

How to get out of your comfort zone?

As a teenager, one of my biggest fears was lack of confidence. I was an introvert, and the thought of interacting or being present among a group of strangers really scared the hell out of me.I had several friends who were extrovert, and could start a conversation with anyone, within no time. I longed to be like them.  At that time, this was the No.1 priority for me – to get rid of this fear. 

Stevan Noronha _ Get out of your comfort Zone

However, I did realize that certain behaviors can be learnt, but most are natural, it’s part of your DNA. I don’t think even today, I could be as spontaneous, as I would like to be, and have simply accepted that. However there are lot of other things which can be overcome.

Start-up Diaries: Top 5 Things to keep in mind to ensure start-up success

Any entrepreneur will tell you, the first few years of setting up a business is the most difficult, and how well you manage this initial phase, can decide your eventual success.

Top 5 Things to keep in mind to ensure start up success : Stevan Noronha

Taking your business to the first million dollar turnover, or first 100 clients or 50 employees, or simply achieving break even; whatever be your milestone, becomes the most critical phase of any business.

As we complete 3 years in our entrepreneurial journey, (we started off  with a measly $10,000 investment and a whole lot of passion + determination), to scaling up the business to a modest USD 2 mn dollars in revenue, we now embark on phase 2 of our journey.

We thought it would be nice to take a pause and reflect back on the journey and share the top 5 learning’s which helped us reach where we are, and also mistakes along the way.  This blog is in the form of a letter, written to those entrepreneurs, who are about to set up their new business.

The Beginners’ Misfortune

The Beginners' Misfortune

If you were to ask any entrepreneur, about key moments during his initial phase of setting up the business, he would always recall that one crisis situation which threatened the very existence of his entity. In fact, for most entrepreneurs, there would be more than one such instance – it could be relating to the lack of capital, project issue, friction among team members and/or co-founders, changes in external policy, competition, internal fights etc. But they would also proudly recall how they could successfully overcome the crisis and reach where they are today.

On the other hand, I have also met many entrepreneurs, who winded up their startups and went back to corporate life. When asked, what went wrong, it was mostly about one of these- less capital, losses in a project, Issues among the team members/ co-founders, changes in external policy, and internal fights, competition etc.

“I had the idea and business plan but did not have enough money to execute the same”

Do you find something strange here?

The Business Game Changer : Know what you are really selling.

During my stint at Mahindra’s I came across this great insight during one of our discussions with a consultant on the topic of “What are we actually selling? and therefore “What business are we in?”. And the insight has been extremely critical and in fact a game changer both as a marketer and entrepreneur. It’s one of the fundamental questions every marketer or entrepreneur needs to be clear about – for both his and the company’s success depends on this.

What are you really selling : Stevan Noronha

At Mahindra’s Commercial Vehicle division, we did not sell trucks, we sold prosperity. That was the business we were in.

People never buy products; they buy what the product can do for them.

Our objective was therefore to make our customer prosperous, So we delivered vehicles that could enhance productivity and lower cost which ultimately made him prosperous. But that’s not the only thing. We also executed many initiatives which helped drive our customers business prosperity but had nothing to do with trucks. A classic example would be knowledge sessions we held wherein experts from various fields were invited to mentor our customers on the right way to do business. This helped improve their efficiency and thereby grow their business. Trucks just happened to be one of the things we were selling in the process.   Prosperity was the higher level connect. This helped us establish a relation with our customers at an emotional level. And they bought our trucks too.

The important question to ask is “What does the customer ultimately desires from your product?”

Defining what you are really selling is extremely crucial. If you do that well you can target and communicate with your customer in a much more effective way. Also the way you approach the business is completely different and you have a much better chance of success.

One of my favourite business quotes of all time on this topic is by Charles Revson, the founder of Revlon Cosmetics,

“In the factory, we make cosmetics, in the store, we sell hope.”

And its precisely this understanding of your businesses real emotional connect with the audience that will help successfully position your product/business in customers mind and makes him prefer your brand.

So when you look at it this way, Insurance companies are not actually in the protection business but in the lifestyle continuity business (Source: Forbes Article). A florist is not really in the  ‘flower business’ but ‘brightening someone’s day’ business and Starbucks is “in the people business serving coffee, not the coffee business serving people

What are you really selling : Stevan Noronha

People ultimately buy what the product can do for them.  So a real understanding of the ultimate benefit which your product/service delivers to your customer can really change the way you do business. FOREVER