YourStory partners 1M/1M Strategy Roundtables by Sramana Mitra

9th Jun 2010
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YourStory is happy to announce its partnership with 1M/1M strategy roundtables conducted by Sramana Mitra, author, Forbes columnist, and strategy consultant in the Silicon Valley. YourStory had featured her interview sometime back.

1M/1M Strategy Roundtables for Entrepreneurs

As part of the 1M/1M initiative, Sramana Mitra offers free weekly (Thursday, 8-30 PM IST) online strategy roundtables for entrepreneurs looking to discuss positioning, financing, and other aspects of a startup venture. Up to 1,000 people can attend each session, but only the first five who register to pitch will be able to present their business ideas. All attendees are able to join in on the conversations via a live chat.

Sramana requests that entrepreneurs use the Clarify Your Story appendix of her Positioning book to prepare their pitches. You can find the excerpt here.

How can you attend?

Upcoming 1M/1M Roundtables:

Thursday, June 10, 2010, 8-30 pm IST, Register Here…

Thursday, June 17, 2010, 8-30 pm IST, Register Here…

Thursday, June 24, 2010, 8-30 pm IST, Register Here…

What will YourStory do?

YourStory will feature the recap of roundtables by Sramana Mitra every week. You can also find the recording of the roundtable in Sramana’s blog in case you missed it. A heads up of each roundtable will be available on Events on

About 1M/1M

Sramana made a New Year’s resolution this year. Through the Entrepreneur Journeys project, Sramana found that that the most vulnerable phase in an entrepreneur’s life is the pre-$1 million revenue stage. This is where numerous ventures fail. Once the $1 million revenue milestone is crossed, it’s easier for entrepreneurs to find additional customers, manage working capital and access funding, whether it is credit or equity.

In her online strategy roundtables, the vast majority of entrepreneurs Sramana works with are in this rather vulnerable pre-$1 million revenue stage.

There was born the 1M/1M idea: Help a million entrepreneurs globally reach $1 million in revenue (and beyond). That would be the foundation of a robust, well-distributed and sustainable-economic-value creation that would add up to a trillion dollars in global GDP. It would also result in the creation of at least 10 million jobs around the world.

By using bootstrapping, crisp positioning, and laser-sharp focus, entrepreneurs can, in their individual domains, build small businesses with solid foundations.

Beyond that, depending on how large the market opportunity is, they can scale to their potential, with or without external investment. Some will scale up to $10 million a year, some will scale to $50 million. And a small percentage of these ventures may even scale to a billion dollars.

Through Sramana’s efforts–blog, books, columns, roundtables–the effort is to develop a scalable entrepreneurship education system that entrepreneurs from every corner of the world can access.

The goal is to teach Silicon Valley’s best practices to a global community of entrepreneurs so they avoid common mistakes and significantly improve their chances of success. Normally, only one in 10 or 20 entrepreneurs succeed. The rest fail. Imagine how powerful an economic impact it would be if we could alter the mortality rate and make 10 out of 10 ventures succeed?

Sramana says:

“Together, we have also started analyzing the key reasons ventures fail. Based on my roundtables, I now have a reasonable sample of entrepreneurs for me to do some trend analysis and draw a few conclusions:

A good 25% of the entrepreneurs don’t bother validating their ideas. They build products without talking to prospective customers first, and hence, more often than not, they build the wrong product. If we can simply plug this basic gap, we can improve their chances of success dramatically.

Another 25% are immediately interested in raising money. Again, raising money without validating the business is pretty much impossible. These entrepreneurs go bumping from door-to-door, getting refused repeatedly, their emotional energy draining each month, their resilience eroding slowly but surely. This is a pattern I am seeing constantly. If we can address it, we have a chance at significantly impacting infant entrepreneur mortality.

So how do we check this excessive infant entrepreneur mortality? Such immense entrepreneurial energy, instead of being squandered through these failed ventures, needs to be harnessed and put to GDP-building and job-creating work.

The answer: education.

We get them to adopt the best practices and help them avoid common mistakes. Mistakes in financing strategy, mistakes in positioning, mistakes in go-to-market strategy. People often think being an entrepreneur is about raising money ASAP. Wrong. Being a successful entrepreneur is about crafting a business that can have customers, revenues, and profits. Our goal is to teach them the mechanics of this “crafting.”

Take the example of Greg Gianforte, CEO of RightNow, whose story I have told in my book, Bootstrapping, Weapon Of Mass Reconstruction. Greg did not write a line of code until he called a hundred potential customers and asked whether they found his concept compelling. Not until he had a clear sense of what the customer pain point was did he start building a product. This is an example of the kind of things savvy bootstrappers do. Naive entrepreneurs build an entire product before speaking with a single customer or prospect.

And this kind of early validation leads to your positioning. You figure out the value proposition of your product and then gradually build out a full positioning and go-to-market strategy based on methodology–I have discussed this in my book, Positioning: How To Test Validate and Bring Your Idea To Market.

In America 30 million people are out of jobs. They need a turnaround strategy, and that is entrepreneurship. Around the world entrepreneurial energy is bubbling, as great nations like India, China, Brazil, and Indonesia are starting to find their stride. This decade will be a very special time for development economics.”

How was 1M/1M crafted?

Sramana says: “As I made my resolution, I also asked the readers on my blog for help. Many stepped up, and very quickly, a core group of “1M/1M Ambassadors” came together. We used some of the roundtables to brainstorm about strategy, and we decided that we would use social media channels and entrepreneurship-development organizations to further our mission.”

If you are interested in working on the 1M/1M project, please check the next steps and join the LinkedIn group 1M / 1M Ambassadors. You can find our current list of 1M/1M Ambassadors and more information here.

More information about the entrepreneurial development organizations (EDOs) that are partnering with us on this mission can be found here.

About Sramana Mitra

Sramana Mitra has been an entrepreneur and a strategy consultant in Silicon Valley since 1994. Her fields of experience span from hard core technology disciplines like semiconductors to sophisticated consumer marketing industries including fashion and education.

As an entrepreneur CEO, Sramana founded three companies: Dais (off-shore software services), Intarka (sales lead generation and qualification Software; VC: NEA) and Uuma (online personalized store for selling clothes using Expert Systems software; VC: Redwood). Two of these were acquired, while the third received an acquisition offer from Ralph Lauren which the company did not accept.

As strategy consultant, Sramana has consulted with over 80 companies, including public companies such as SAP, Cadence Design Systems, Webex, KLA-Tencor, Best Buy, MercadoLibre and Tessera among others. Her work has also included numerous startups and VCs, and she played interim VP Marketing roles for seven such ventures. Sramana has a proven track record in turnarounds, both small private companies (Example: think3, with Joe Costello) and divisions of larger companies (Example: a $100 million business unit of Cadence, with Lavi Lev). She has also created major growth strategies through new market penetration, M&A, industry roll-ups, etc.

Sramana has developed a well-regarded methodology for Positioning which she has used repeatedly in different situations and across a variety of market segments.

Sramana writes a weekly column for Forbes and is currently authoring Entrepreneur Journeys, a series of books focused on demystifying entrepreneurship.Entrepreneur Journeys (Volume One) and Bootstrapping, Weapon Of Mass Reconstruction (EJ Volume Two) and Positioning: How To Test, Validate, And Bring Your Idea To Market are now available from Her latest book is on Innovation.

Sramana has a Masters degree in EECS from MIT and a Bachelors degree in Computer Science and Economics from Smith College.

Sramana is an engaging and entertaining public speaker. Here are some video clips of her at Forbes and YouTube. A recent NPR appearance on Marty Nemko’s radio show was particularly animated.

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