Think Unique!

At The Smart CEO, every time we work on a story brief or a new idea for an article, the first question that always pops up is, ‘how are we going to make this story unique and different?’  That’s when someone suggested we do a whole cover story on unconventional, untested and unique business concepts. We thought about it, but put it in the backburner. Then, I had a conversation with a friend of mine who works in Silicon Valley about how Venture Capitalists (VCs) view the Indian and American markets very differently. His view was that VCs tend to be a lot riskier in the United States and they invest in forward-looking, untested and very different ideas that may or may not make it big. But, according to him, in India it was exactly the opposite. There’s enough room for growth in several conventional sectors that VCs seem to prefer these tried and tested areas like education, financial services, retail, and of course information technology. This might actually be true, but it’s not deterring entrepreneurs from taking the plunge to work on completely novel business models and ideas. We decided to dig deep and pursue the idea of a cover story on unconventional businesses. The story goes on to talk about the steps one needs to take to make these unique ideas work. What we also realized through our research was that, there are many such entrepreneurs springing up in all corners of the country. People are willing to take risks to pursue a passion, keeping in mind that if the venture has to be sustainable, it needs to have a clear vision and business model. I am sure you’ll enjoy reading our cover story, which features 4 such unique businesses: Amelio (onsite employer-sponsored daycare), Azure Power (selling solar power as a service), Desicrew (rural BPO, outsourcing work from urban to rural India) and MentorSquare (an online platform that connects entrepreneurs with mentors, with all mentors being stakeholders in MentorSquare).

Keeping the ‘unconventional’ tone of the issue going, we also spoke to Pawan Agrawal, the CEO of Mumbai’s Dabbawalas to get a first-hand perspective of how they manage one of the most efficient supply chains in the world, and clock an annual turnover of Rs 50 crores with no computer systems in place. It’s a story that’ll make you sit up and take notice of how processes, systems and the drive of your employees can help your business go a long way.

In our story titled ‘Down Recession Lane’, we analyse four recessions we’ve seen over the last three decades. We wanted to break down the cause and effect of these downturns for a layman, and possibly put together a list of lessons learnt from these tough phases in the economy. There’s also a story on ‘Marketing Remix’, which uncovers the complicated process of marketing and selling to the Indian consumer. It goes on to talk about how every company needs a ‘localised remixed’ strategy in place to actually connect with potential Indian buyers, drawing examples from several brands that have made a mark in India. In this edition, we’ve also introduced a new section titled India 2.0.  This section will take a futuristic view about what India needs to do to become a developed country.

As we mentioned in our last issue, our editorial and business teams are dedicated to delivering a high-quality product that’ll serve as a platform to inspire Indian professionals. We strongly believe in the importance of interactivity, so write to us at and tell us what you think about our articles.

We hope you enjoy reading The Smart CEO.

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