We would like to share with you an interview of Amit Lakhmani, Founder and Director, MaxMobility published by tech magazine, SiliconIndia where he talks about his entrepreneurial journey and the road ahead.
Risks involved in business and way of addressing Telecom Industry with almost 900 million users provides incredible growth opportunities to companies.
A lot of companies globally clearly see this opportunity in India and jump into the bandwagon. This has led to a fiercely competitive environment. You always need to be ahead of the curve and innovate fast else you are history. In addition, there are a number of other risks worth mentioning:
1) Risk of Adoption – To understand if the application is being used by the users and solving the problem that we set out to solve. We constantly try to listen to our customers and iteratively improve our product offerings as per their expectation.
2) To adapt to the constantly changing wireless technology landscape and ecosystem.
3) Too much dependence on few large accounts – We have tried to diversify our offerings and expanded our client base to small and medium enterprises thereby mitigating the risk to a certain extent.
Most critical decision
There were two most critical decisions:
1) When I decided to leave a lucrative job offer in the US and start my own company with almost zero experience.
2) To completely change our business direction from a service oriented outsourced web development company to a highly challenging product oriented mobile application space at a very nascent stage. It was a huge gamble that seems to be paying off
3) My passion and self confidence gave me the courage to just take the plunge with a promise to either achieve what I set out to do or die trying.
Some of the difficulties faced while building product/solution
The earlier difficulties usually revolved around technology constraints. A very fragmented mobile ecosystem, with myriad disparate platforms, Operating systems and operator networks, made it extremely difficult to create a standard user experience. Pressure to launch the product first and within very tight schedules in a highly innovative and hyper-competitive market.
Three big lessons/ mistakes encountered while building company
1) Getting the right team in place is critical to scale up
2) Sharp focus on few things that are our strength and not to get distracted by other non-core opportunities
3) Managing capital and cash flows
Motivation and Driving factor
To build a product/solution that changes the way we live and to build a technology brand that outlasts me.
Something unique about my way of motivating troops
Our DNA is “Applied Technologies”. We are essentially technology people who love finding out new ways to making it relevant and useful to businesses and individuals. We spend a lot of time to get the DNA ingrained in the team. Use of new exciting technologies and seeing them solve real business problems act as a huge motivator for the team.
Way of choosing my people
This has been the biggest challenge as a company. We are still trying to figure out a way to crack this. I firmly believe that skill sets can be taught but attitude cannot. Therefore, we try to look for highly motivated people with the right attitude who share the same vision to take the company forward.
Experience with our First Project: Challenges and lessons learnt
Our first customer was Airtel. Cracking such a large account is hugely
challenging. You have to convince that you will be able to service/support the product with a small team size and agree to a lot of terms not in your favor. Perseverance is the key – you have to constantly keep knocking on their doors and sit for hours to demonstrate your product. In the end, it all worked out and we were able to demonstrate our capabilities to manage the product end to end.
Experience of reaching out to potential investors
We are a completely bootstrapped company and have not started yet looking out for potential investors.
My role at different dimensions
as the company evolved
I started as a pure techie engaged in all aspects of the product development. However, as our team grew and we scaled, the priorities kept on changing. The most interesting aspect of starting a company is that you have the liberty to don various hats. I set up each department of the company from HR to Accounts to Sales. I have actively participated and led most of the departments until I was able to find a suitable candidate to replace me for that role. Currently I am still handling the Sales role and actively I am engaged in new product decisions.
My thoughts related to entrepreneurship/leadership and management
Entrepreneurship is not for the faint hearted. It is a lonely roller-coaster ride with unexpected twists and turns. Some of the key characteristics that entrepreneurs must have are: Never Give Up attitude, Patience, Perseverance, Passion and Self-Confidence. If you are cut out for it you should take the plunge NOW! I can assure you that whatever is the result, the journey is going to be worthwhile.
Advice for fellow entrepreneurs
Whatever are the circumstances, do not give up. Keep going at it and you will succeed. Have the positive conviction that everything will work out in the end. More often than not, it does!
A company I admire
The obvious choice is Apple. Their products are highly innovative and have a huge impact on the way we live.
As a leader how I make sure
that I am connecting the right dots
I wish there was an easy answer to this. With experience and right guidance from successful mentors you can try to avoid certain mistakes. However, you are bound to make mistakes as you go along. They should not deter you. You need to learn from your mistakes and try not to repeat them.