Edited excerpts from the interview:
What is the major issue that SME entrepreneurs face, from the perspective of business operations?
In my view, the most critical issue from the entrepreneurs’ perspective is the lack of initiatives towards building better and transparent business processes. SMEs should work towards this direction.
Usually, small-scale entrepreneurs are not ready to delegate work to their second-line managers. However, by not letting the other team members take ownership of some key business activities, the entrepreneur has to run around for day-to-day work. This becomes a huge operational limitation for the entrepreneur, and a hindrance in the overall growth of the business.
You have interacted with several thousand of entrepreneurs so far. According to you, what is the main reason for this kind of apprehension?
I think there could be two reasons for this kind of behaviour - either they have burnt their fingers, or they have been warned by their peers against delegating work to their second-line managers.
It is possible that some of them delegated some work to their second-line managers in the past, and did not get proper results. This happens when the interest level reduces, on the part of the second-line manager. At the employee level, willingness has to come gradually. Employees have to ensure that their interest levels match the level of expectation of the entrepreneur.
The entrepreneur should be sure about the processes which need to be followed to achieve a particular result. If this is in place, a proper monitoring mechanism can enhance the overall impact of the processes.
What is the core focus of the consultancy services you offer to entrepreneurs?
My main focus is on building strategies for the top management. Establishing the vision and mission of a business, formulating strategies around this vision and mission statement, determining business policies to achieve end results - is our core competency. We provide training to entrepreneurs in order to streamline their outlook towards achieving growth and becoming more and more competitive in the market. Presently, I work with several entrepreneurs as a business coach.
The concept of business coaching is catching up in the Indian market. Please tell us how it is different from mentoring.
The trend of business coaching is catching up globally.
Business coaching is very different from business mentoring. Under business coaching, the coach comes up with exact solutions for the specific problems that the entrepreneur is facing. Mentoring is all about helping the entrepreneur take strategic directions.
I offer business coaching to entrepreneurs who are facing problems in achieving growth. My offering revolves around the key business problem. Firstly, we identify the problem, and then, we look at developing a solution to deal with that problem. We take an individualist approach towards solving the problem, preparing a structure of activities that are required to remedy it. This model works very efficiently for entrepreneurs. I am saying this with the authority of having interacted with more than 1,000 entrepreneurs, as a business coach.
What are the key opportunities available to the Indian entrepreneur today?
India is growing exponentially. Business opportunities are exceedingly becoming global. Now, the Indian SMEs will have to differentiate themselves from competition. Entrepreneurs, personally, will have to think out of the box, and come up with new value additions in their business offering. These aspects can prove to be wonderful opportunities for Indian entrepreneurs to prove their mettle.