The Second Gear, a venture by Bangalore-based management guru GK Pramod is one such organisation that provides effective mentoring to existing and aspiring entrepreneurs and employees. In an exclusive interview with SupportBiz, Pramod highlighted the challenges that exist among entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs. Edited excerpts from the interview:
According to you, what are the common challenges that entrepreneurs face?
The main challenges that Indian SMEs need to address are related to mindshare and perception towards achieving growth. Entrepreneurs in the SME segment often get so involved in day-to-day business activities that they are unable to spend time on strategic thinking. The major reason for this situation is the fact that there is no second line of business leadership in a typical SME business environment. Entrepreneurs from the SME segment are usually a one-man-show, and they prefer to work the same way. Unless and until they develop their second line of leadership, it would be difficult for them to explore further growth.
Also, there is a lack of mission and vision for businesses in the SME segment. SMEs often focus on revenue targets and chase them seriously, but they often get deviated from the main objective, which is the mission for their business. This affects the long-term growth of the business.
There are several other challenges that Indian SMEs face, but most of them are inter-related, and are related to the above-mentioned two aspects.
How is the concept of mentoring catching on among Indian entrepreneurs?
Honestly, the awareness level about effective mentorship is poor among Indian SMEs. This has to change, and I can see that the ball has already started rolling in the right direction. Though the numbers of SMEs interested in mentoring are low, it is a fact that these organisations are slowly coming forward with the desire of grooming themselves for further growth.
How can your offerings be of benefit to entrepreneurs in India?
It is very important to create a niche in the market. We help entrepreneurs and businesses in achieving a differentiation from the market competition. As a mentor, I do not provide them with only bookish knowledge, but also help them prepare strategies for various facets of business operations. For example, we help our clients devise effective and exclusive strategies for marketing, HR and finance management. Not only this, we also work closely with the entrepreneur in the implementation of these strategies.
Is there a thumb rule for developing such effective strategies for SMEs?
Every business is different from another, every entrepreneur is different from another. In such a scenario, we understand the strengths and weaknesses of individual businesses and entrepreneurs, and help them in building effective strategies around this. It is, therefore, difficult to come up with one thumb rule that would be applicable to all SMEs. The only rule that we follow in this regard is doing a thorough SWOT analysis of the client, based on which we help them devise and effectively implement various strategies.
You also offer The Second Gear MBA for Non-MBAs to entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs. Please share your experience in delivering this course.
We started offering this course in January 2011, and since then, we have taught 16 batches of students. We have trained 205 students with a varied educational and business background, in total. We conduct an entrance test before enrolling a student for the course, which helps us in understating his/her aptitude level. The experience so far has been phenomenal. Presently, we offer this course to students throughout Karnataka.