Solving problem after problem

I am going to take this opportunity to replay an interesting conversation I had with R. Thyagarajan, founder-chairman of the US $1 billion Shriram group. I explained to him about the magazine’s vision of inspiring people to startup their own businesses and then equip them with the right data, information and knowledge to help with decision-making. In response to this, with a very straight face, he said, “So, you want to get more and more people into trouble.” He went on to explain: “Entrepreneurs are constantly solving problem after problem. When I used to work for someone else, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Now that I am a businessman, I realise I am dealing with one problem or the other almost every day.” In typical Thyagarajan-style, the conversation was loaded with anecdotes, tongue-in-cheek comments but tremendous insights drawn from several years of experience.

At Shriram Group, Thyagarajan’s focus has always been about hiring the right set of people to grow businesses. “It is people building, as opposed to business building that I focus on. After all, it is about passing on the problems we face to other people!” he said. Back on the topic of the magazine, he asked, “Even if you make the right suggestions and equip entrepreneurs with relevant information, are people willing to listen to you? Entrepreneurs believe in something and go after that with a passion.”  He was bang on. At The Smart CEO, this is probably our biggest challenge. We draw our information and insights from renowned business leaders, who share the knowledge they have gathered over the years with our readers. Yet, we need to convince our readers on why our suggestions and decision-making guidance is relevant in their context. The solution to this, I believe, lies in our marketing strategy and conversations we need to have with our readers, areas we are going to focus on this year.

I replayed the above conversation because the person we feature on the cover of this edition, Ashish Kumar Chauhan, managing director and CEO, BSE Ltd. knows a thing or two about solving problems every single day. He’s taken on the complex task of reinventing Asia’s oldest stock exchange. Our cover story gets into details of the steps he has taken as he tackles competition from the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and MCX-SX, the new stock exchange.

Also in this edition, we revisit the Entrepreneurship 101 checklist we published in January 2013 and shed light upon six points we need to add to the list. As mentioned in the story, winning the entrepreneurship game is not about ticking off a checklist, so chances are we will keep expanding the list based on more and more insights drawn from the people we interview for the magazine.

On the business front, there are a whole lot of changes happening at The Smart CEO. Smart Media Group, a partnership firm that owns the magazine is being converted to a private limited company, Growth Mechanics Infomedia Pvt. Ltd. The change to our corporate structure is being done keeping in mind our future growth strategy and our expansion into education and publishing verticals and repositioning of our media platform. Stay tuned to this space for more updates.

Hope you enjoy reading this edition of The Smart CEO.