Early in 2006 the prestigious Management Development Institute (MDI), Batra's Alma Mater, awarded Anurag the “Most Distinguished Alumni of the Decade” Award. Anurag is a member of
the Sales & Marketing committee of the Delhi Management Association and is the Past President of the Franchising Association of India. He is passionate about magazines and is on the Executive Committee of the Association of Indian Magazines (AIM).
Anurag is the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of exchange4media group which includes exchange4media.com, PITCH, IMPACT, Realty Plus and Franchise Plus. Since the turn of the century his enterprise has been successfully consolidating their stake in a niche yet competitive segment.
Says Anurag about his group, “Exchange4media Group is a special interest publishing company that publishes websites and magazines. Exchange4media publishes 3 trade magazines and 2 consumer magazines. Exchange4media.com is the country’s leading media advertising and marketing website, and the homepage of media planners, buyers, marketers, brand managers, media marketers, and advertising/communication professionals in India.”
IMPACT is e4m group’s weekly in the same domain in print format. Impact has an editorial tie up with the worldwide leader Advertising Age in India. Website: www.impactonnet.com
PITCH is e4m group’s monthly magazine focusing on marketing and is the face of Indian Marketing. Website: www.pitchonnet.com
Realty Plus is India’s leading real estate magazine for real estate consumers. Franchise Plus is India’s leading magazine that brings Franchisors and Franchisees together.
“Exchange4media has built and delivers communities. Communities interact with each other and benefit through this interaction. More than 65000 people read exchange4media.com everyday. We bring the industry together. Exchange4media delivers communities in a 360 degree manner.”
“Our business is the business of editorial contract and the superiority of our editorial content and its maturity determines our success. Philosophically our business is all about people and intangibles. It’s a mind product or intellect product. It’s about getting content and brand right. The business model is advertising driven.”
Anurag aired his views on the factors deciding their growth saying “Scaling up in our business is about super specialization and dissecting the sub domain in our business. It’s also about further launching regional products.”
In a display of his candid nature Anurag related the manner in which he was introduced to entrepreneurship and said “I got fired, could not find a job and hence was forced to be an entrepreneur. No I am kidding,” he laughs. “Entrepreneurship happens. Its like love, you fall into it. I am the perfect case of an accidental entrepreneur. By the way, please do not understand that I am equating falling in love with an accident (which it probably is!).”
“Entrepreneurship happened and I did not kind of decide. We had an idea and things fell into place. It’s God’s will. Having said that once you are an entrepreneur it’s much more difficult than a 9 to 5 job but also more rewarding and satisfying. As an entrepreneur you love what you do and hence you end up working 15 hours, 7 days a week. Your hobby becomes your profession and that’s a blessing. You start enjoying the rollercoaster ride that entrepreneurship is. A job is too staid and boring.”
He then went on to describe the biggest thorn in his side, as an entrepreneur. He says, “The biggest challenge is to replicate success in other businesses and be a serial entrepreneur. One has to find the right ingredients: people, ideas, capital, timing and a team that shares your passion, and that’s not easy.”
Anurag shared his mistakes with us emphasizing that they would never occur again if he could help it. He says “Both are about people. You have to be careful in choosing your team members and recognizing the strengths, weakness and motivation of your team members. The financial partners have to be in your business for the right reasons. I did not make a good judgment call on this. Two is about recruiting well. This is most critical for the success of a venture. It’s essential to get the right kind of colleagues and one should take time on reporting.”
When he was looking for the seed capital a friend came to his rescue and became an angel investor, investing 65lakh. The company has done exceedingly well since then or, as Anurag puts it, “Very healthy. We are a 360 degree media company with presence in online, print, event and mobile. We are the dominant player and leader in all the segments we are present in. 105 employees and 4 branches.”
The group and its work have been recognized for their contributions. Anurag reported on their laurels saying “Yes, in more ways than one. The biggest recognition is from readers and then from advertising. We are ahead of every player in terms of the quality and numbers of readers. We have and aspire to being the most premium player; our volumes are 3 times all the others put together.”
“My biggest achievement is having a colleague like Noor Fatima Warsia and keeping her motivated for six years. Noor is a leader and an amazing professional and we are lucky to work with her.
“We have also been bestowed with many awards and accolades. Two things that make my day are and are bigger than any award: When my friends, peers come and tell me how well we are doing and how a particular piece was brilliant. When I met Rance Gains and the Ad Age team, they had good things to say about us.”
Anurag is a fierce advocate of entrepreneurship, when asked if any job would entice him away he retorted “No way. It’s like being a slave again. I’d much rather be a job creator than seeker. I am too independent and I also guess I will be non employable now.”
He then explained what keeps him glued to his present occupation and said “The thrill of entrepreneurship:
(b) Sense of responsibility
(c) The notion that we and I make a difference
(d) The pursuit of excellence
(e) I have to feed my wife and kids and keep my kitchen running
(f) The idea of having an institution”
Envisioning a Leaner/Meaner/more profitable organization for the future, Anurag advises the budding entrepreneur in his own fashion saying “Read my column in DARE magazine. I will share six suggestions that I follow:
Yourstory thanks Anurag for sharing his story and hopes he continues to set the standards for many a day to come.