Three words for entrepreneurs – D K Raju, Mentor, Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust (BYST)

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A senior person among the audience, during my presentation at Startup Idea, was D K Raju, Mentor in BYST (Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust). When meeting him again at CII Connect 2013, I asked Raju to speak of the three words that he thinks are the most important for entrepreneurs.“There is no question of failure for an entrepreneur. That is number one,” he begins. “Number two, many people have the misconception, ‘Oh, I made a mistake.’ No one makes a mistake knowingly; you make decisions, which may not always give you the results you are expecting. And this is part of the entrepreneurial journey.” The third, Raju adds, is that the spirit of enterprise never dies. “It’s always there. Success and failure are only ups and downs in managing the cash flows. Otherwise there is no failure for the enterprise.”

What distinguishes an entrepreneur from others? He or she is an individual who would like to make a difference to life around them, says Raju. “This starts as an idea, and the entrepreneur develops a passion to convert the idea into a product or service which serves a purpose by satisfying a need or a want of a certain market segment. His/ her struggle starts in making the product or service economically sustainable while satisfying the customer at an affordable cost.”

Entrepreneur has to continuouslyinnovatein product development/ services package, or in managerial process, to face the challenges in the changing dynamics of market place, he advises. “Entrepreneurial journey is a voyage of wonder, and if one understands what Rudyard Kipling wrote under the title ‘If,’ nothing deters one in facing the road blocks on the way.”

Financial gain is a must for any economic activity to sustain, reminds Raju. “If that does not happen, an entrepreneur has to move on with a different formulation. This does not mean a failure but experimenting with one's innovative idea and its economic viability at any given point of time.” He clarifies, however, that financial success alone does not make an entrepreneurial activity great. “That is why we talk so much about social entrepreneurship.”

Raju

“A rustic boy, walked a few miles every day for elementary education, realised education is the name of the game, went on to post-graduation,” begins the LinkedIn summary of DommarajuKrishnamaraju. “An innate adventurous streak took me away from academic life, got into corporate life and after 10 years of working, turned into an entrepreneur to become economically independent in order to touch many a life which is what I have learnt from my father.” He is CEO, Wine Legend India Pvt Ltd, which is into marketing imported wines.

Raju worked at IIT for some time as consultant in rural development. At BYST, supported by CII, he has been mentoring young entrepreneurs, counselling and motivating them.

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