From a Founder to an Entrepreneur- The Transformational Journey Becomes Smooth With a Right Mentor

On July 3, 2023

From a Founder to an Entrepreneur: The Transformational Journey Becomes Smooth With a Right Mentor

There is a difference between being a founder and being an entrepreneur. One can be a founder right from the day of starting a business. It can start with some idea or passion for doing something. However, one becomes an entrepreneur only through a journey, and that journey can be very long and tough for many. Entrepreneurship involves a people first approach (you build everything around and for people), calculated risk-taking, business acumen, domain knowledge, and setting up leaders and their teams and processes.

As entrepreneurship depends on many external factors and situations, it cannot be fully taught in any structured format. In such circumstances, how do emerging entrepreneurs learn things quickly?

Thankfully, there is a process called “mentorship”, provided by successful veterans in entrepreneurship to the young entrepreneurs. However, there is no standard and formal way in which one gets mentorship to learn the process of being an entrepreneur.

In that aspect, I am very fortunate to be mentored by a veteran like Dr. Anand Deshpande Sir. When I say I am fortunate, a few dots were connected, literally by divine intervention.

I started my journey in 2014, but I was more of a technical person passionate about doing something in cybersecurity from India. As our services solved real problems, we could easily survive and grow rapidly.

Even a technology business needs finance, marketing, sales, business processes, teams, structures, an independent board, and legal support. We were growing, but as I said, we needed a mentor to accelerate things in the right direction.

My initial source of people’s skills and business acumen was my upbringing in a small place called Bhavnagar in Gujarat. Though small, Bhavnagar is rich in its culture of relations, and the entire community teaches the importance of relations, even in doing business. Utilizing this, we could build teams and a basic structure.

My father is a deeply religious and simple man. He taught me the importance of Guru. Whenever we seek a path, a Guru appears. It holds true in my entrepreneurship journey. Whenever I have sought a path, a Guru (mentor) has appeared and made my journey smooth from 2014 till date.

In our initial years, I often visited Pune to provide services to our clients. During those visits, I used to see the huge Persistent offices. I thought about how Persistent is one of India’s proud global business stories and was amazed by what they have done for India at the global level.

A few years later, in 2020, a divine intervention happened, and I got a chance to meet Anand Sir. It was during a TIE Master Class governed by Anand Sir and hosted in Persistent’s Pune office.

As he is always keen to meet new entrepreneurs during such events, I got a chance to meet him and was lucky to schedule a 30-min call to present Infopercept’s journey to him on a decided day.

I still remember the feeling of the day when my first call with him happened; it was one of the best feelings in my entire entrepreneurship journey. His verbal and non-verbal feedback on the call is still etched in my mind. During the call, I mentioned our vision of creating a global cybersecurity brand from India, and for that, I requested his regular mentoring. With his attitude of giving back to society and the country, he agreed to support us with his mentoring.

People have different rules, such as 80:20; however, for Infopercept, the game-changing rule was 45:30.

Starting in 2020, Anand Sir gave 30 minutes of his time every 45 days for a session on Infopercept. Here are the most important lessons that I learned from him:

  1. Every great company is also a great story; it becomes great only with great stories. Every leader needs to learn storytelling based on the truth.
  2. However deep and complex your offering may be, you should be able to communicate it in one slide, which also covers your future strategy and go-to-market plan.
  3. You need leaders within your leadership team who should run their individual shows aligned with the overall vision.
  4. Simplicity can be practiced at every level. (acquired this by watching Anand sir doing things with simplicity)
  5. Strategic thinking and visualizing are necessary ingredients for a successful company and should be practiced by all leaders at all levels.
  6. There are no shortcuts in business, and one needs to persistently create value for each stakeholder in each orbit.
  7. Structures and processes are important for all companies but even more crucial for emerging companies.

There are many similarities between cybersecurity and entrepreneurship. Both are continuous journeys, and both require guidance and expertise. For cybersecurity, we guide our clients, and we feel blessed to have Anand Sir’s mentorship and able guidance for entrepreneurship.

With his continuous mentoring and blessings, our dream of creating a global cybersecurity company from India has started taking shape.

I have never been to any leading technology or business institutes, but today, I am proud to say that I am a student of Dr. Anand Deshpande (Founder, Chairman and Managing Director –of Persistent Systems), one of the best entrepreneurship institutes in himself.