Guest Posts!

With each passing day I see more and more youngsters taking on the #BusinessChallenge and I can’t feel any more proud to have so many of these people in my social circle. It gives me a certain sense of accomplishment that’s totally irrational. It’s no new discovery that knowledge is all around us; we just need to know what to do with it. And I can’t emphasize enough just how much I have learnt from these extraordinary individuals who I dare to one day share the status of being an ‘entrepreneur’ with. Which is why I realized that I am doing an injustice to my readers by not sharing their exciting stories with you.

So from next month onwards I am starting a guest blog series called ‘Tomador de Riesgos’. Yes I know it’s a mouthful but I love Espanol! As a part of this series, we will see blog posts periodically from different individuals who want to share their experience as an entrepreneur. We will try to make these posts as different as possible so that you get a well-rounded idea of entrepreneurship. Most of these guests are my friends but I’d be happy to get in touch with others who you think have wonderful experiences to share. Email me their contact details at sunayana.sen.cloud@gmail.com.

At this point the posts are going to be free-flow. However, I have asked the guests to pick a theme/subject from their experience and write on that. Maybe in the future there could be a structure or Q&A or something more exciting. So keep giving feedback and we can improve!

Thanks!

3 mistakes until 3 AM. Expletives galore.

My clock is at 2:22 AM at the moment. Why am I awake you ask, especially for someone who goes to bed by 9:30 PM? Because I am so stressed that my brain can’t process what to do. And also maybe because I had coffee four hours ago. You see, today was an important day for me as a service provider and I made mistakes. One of my more considerate supervisors told me not to be too hard on myself because I’m just a few months old in this industry and I’m bound to make mistakes. I agree but I’m astounded by the lessons I learn because of these mistakes. As a change to my general monotone, I thought of illustrating these points with memes & stick figure images 🙂

Mistake #1– Customers can never be fully trusted. Harsh but well they see us the same way so it’s a tit-for-tat. Recently I wanted to give the benefit of the doubt to a certain customer which everyone else on my team was against, but I believed that they were trustworthy and deserve this benefit. Boy was I wrong. They had the audacity to tell me that they didn’t have the cash to pay right now so they would do it first thing the next morning. After some deliberation I agreed and said that in-lieu of our immense trust that you will pay tomorrow, we will hold on to your credit card. Like a guarantor/guarantee asset you give to a bank. Sounds fair right? Apparently not. They will pay tomorrow but will not leave any sort of guarantee with us. Yeah and we were born yesterday. Asshole.

Mistake #2– Once the above mentioned plan looks like it’s failing for them, I have to quietly listen to the customer bring up baseless issues and try to poke holes in our service just so they can get out of paying. While I’m like this in front of them -> 

, in my mind I’m all like ->

  None of this bullshit that you’re feeding me is correct. I can see the fuck through you man. But since ‘customer is king’ is a mantra that I unfortunately have to stick to, I will silently listen to your pathetic little excuses and appear as if I agree with you and am apologetic about it. Except, you’re an asshole that I have to put up with because by some unknown divine reason I felt I was born to be in this industry. And also because I don’t own this place, I don’t have the freedom to decide if you’re worth being rude to. When I have my own company, the second I smell bullshit, I will burn that BS and use it as natural gas to cook unhealthy food for the rest of the irrational people like you. 

Mistake #3- Stressing about these glitches all the damn time. Right now I’m awake at this godawful hour because I’m stressed out about the first two aforementioned mistakes.

 

This makes me wonder how my parents did this for 25+ years. At least all I have to stress about is work, but my parents had to stress about work, kids, elderly parents, investments and what not. Yet they sleep. In fact my father sleeps such a deep sleep that I can hear his snoring from his room to mine. Oh how jealous I am right now. I wonder what I should do to get to that point where these issues are only momentary and it’s locked away in some non-intrusive corner of my mind forever. I really wish I wouldn’t stress about these fleeting issues and had the power to do what I wanted but no I don’t. At least not yet.

I wish was like this ->

 

But finally I’m like this ->

End of my rant. And I’m still unable to sleep.

Good Morning peeps!

Types of customers & my reaction to them…Part 1

“Customer is King” 

Throughout my college days I have read this statement over and over again. I have read about how earlier it was “Business is king” and how it became “Customer is King”. Those days I used think that this new evolution was absolutely correct. Businesses should not be given any power and all the power should reside with the customer. Today I find myself contradicting this. We have given way too much power to the wrong customers.

Being in the front line of the company- Sales -I have seen different people with different kinds of behaviours. And of course, with different people, you have to behave differently. One day I lost my cool because of a certain customer and as a stress buster, classified these customers I’ve come across into 10 buckets. Let’s start with the most annoying buckets:

 1). I-have-a-disease-of-asking-for-discounts-even-if-it-costs-only-a-few-pennies

Profile: This person will typically be well-dressed, runs in the upper-middle class social circles, has polished communication skills, is a major extrovert, and most importantly, is financially well-to-do.

Behaviour: An item may cost a measly Rs.10 but they will still negotiate for a discount. I believe that the underlying thought here is that at some level this is related to their false sense of excellent negotiation skills. If they are able to get an unbelievable bargain, they feel proud of their ability to ‘negotiate’. 

My feelings towards them: Sweetheart, that’s nothing to be proud of. You have basically stripped the seller off his honest earnings and led him into a loss. Sure, not all businesses are honest but more businesses are genuine. As it is, due to the competition in the market businesses operate on narrow profit margins. These people view negotiation as a Game of Thrones battle between seller & buyer. These are the people who I absolutely detest and never want to associate with as a businesswoman.They are narcissists and think only about themselves. They don’t even consider what the market conditions are. I mean come on! Everybody deserves to make an honest living!

2). I-want-everything-but-don’t-want-to-pay-for-it

Profile: These people can be your everyday Joe. They are mostly your not-so-humble people. You can find them across middle-middle class to lower-high class. These people are extroverts and have a decent sized social circle with one or two ‘VIPs’. Oh and they also have this false sense of societal position. And these people are the ones who constantly cry about how ineffective the government is. And don’t pay taxes.

Behaviour: These folks do most things to show off to their social counterparts. They want the sun and moon but don’t want to get burnt in the process. They want to look rich but want their bill to look like a small roadside purchase. 

My feelings towards them: The first thought that pops up in my mind is to make them run my business for one week. They don’t realize what the business has to endure to give them all this. Just last week a customer told me he wouldn’t pay for the additional valet service he insisted on. Like WTF?! Because valet drivers don’t need to earn a meal?! Why don’t these people understand that the economy flourishes only when you pump in money? 

 3). Even-if-I-can-afford-this-I-will-use-my-connections-to-get-a-discount

Profile: These are generally your upper-middle to higher class folks who have made widespread connections over the years. They have a more than healthy bank account, eat in gourmet restaurants, go on international vacations, etc. 

Behaviour: BUT when it comes to paying for something, if they know someone who knows someone else who owns/runs the business they are paying for, they WILL use it. They will casually throw in the statement to the salesperson, “Is Mr.Owner-whose-first-name-I-happen-to-know in office today?”. They will first negotiate with the salesperson and when the salesperson reduces his quote and gives the final number, this person will say, “Okay, I’ll talk to Mr.Owner-who-I-don’t-know-personally-but-will-somehow-get-it-reduced.” Eventually even if the owner-given discount is a measly 2-3% they’re content.

My feelings towards them: Do you have any idea how small a person you look in front of the salespeople and the business owner when you do this? Anybody who pulls this nonsense in front of me gains my disrespect. You’re negatively proportional to your bank balance dude. 

To be continued……

Sunayana Sen

Marketing Gyaan #1

You know how smart people say that you learn more while on the job than you do in the classroom? They are absolutely correct. (Read carefully you MBA-crazed robots.) I figured this out for the first time in my first year at Facebook and this week once again I realized that my decision to work instead of jumping into an MBA immediately after college was a really good decision I made. Anyway, I thought that I would share some of the marketing gyaan a.k.a knowledge that I receive from various avenues.

The first gyaan that I want to share is about hoardings. In my current job as the marketing head, I have to consider multiple things such as media channels, investment in each channel, ROI, schedule, etc. My company is launching a new property and this month onwards we will start a marketing campaign. And I had to look for hoardings in key locations for this. So the other day I took the car and driver and drove all around the property noting down hoardings that I liked and taking photos of them. This is the first time I’ve ever had to do this so obviously I didn’t know how to do it and what factors to consider. So I called my Marketing Director a.k.a my father and got some valuable gyaan on this topic from him. Here’s a list of factors to consider when choosing a hoarding:

  • The obvious factor to consider is the eyeballs that it can gather. It has to be in a prime location, some place that has  mid to heavy traffic.
  • Hoardings should ideally be on the left side of the road (For countries where it’s right-side steering). Because you drive on the left side it’s easier to view. Also in case there’s a high divider or trees or a flyover in between the two sides, hoarding on the right side will be hidden.
  • The elevation (height) of the hoardings should neither be too low nor too high. If it’s too low, you can view it only from a few feet away. If it’s too high, your info needs to be in massive letters which means you are left with little space for other info. It should be in the middle- it should be visible from a distance and have just the right amount of info.
  • If you can place a hoarding at a signal, there’s nothing like it. When people are driving, they have barely a second to look at a hoarding. But when they’re waiting at a signal, they have enough time to take in the info.
  • The orientation- horizontal or vertical -also is a thing to consider. If you already have an ad creative then your choice of hoardings becomes limited due to the orientation. In my case we decided to pick the hoardings first and design the creative later.
  • Illumination is a relatively recent addition to outdoor media. While hoardings with illumination are generally more expensive, it’s worth it because it’s visible even at night so you don’t miss out on the rush hour traffic post sun down.
  • And finally, it’s not wise to fill the hoarding with content. Like I mentioned above, people can barely focus on a hoarding for a second while driving so filling it with too much content will put them off. The ad has to be succinct, visually attractive and easy to recall.

I’m sure there are marketing folks out there who are more knowledgeable than me about this so would love to hear your thoughts on this. Keep those comments coming!

 

P.S.: I’ve included a couple of examples of good and bad hoarding I came across.

There's way too much information on this hoarding and not enough time to take it all in.

There’s way too much information on this hoarding and not enough time to take it all in.

While I hate that I chose a TRS hoarding, this is an example of a good hoarding - good height, illuminated, simple and to the point.

While I hate that I chose a TRS hoarding, this is an example of a good hoarding – good height, illuminated, simple and to the point.