Your Company name and Area of business
I am a partner at Zesty Foods that runs two franchisees of Pizza Republic, a leading Pizza chain. But before becoming a restaurateur, I was working for various Technology Start-ups and ran my own Web Consulting Practice. The restaurant is supposed to be a sustained source of revenue for me to pursue my own technology start-up .
Where you are operating from?
I work from India, but most of my clients are based out United States and Canada . I also consult for some SME’s and Start-ups in Coimbatore (Tamilnadu, India), my home town.
How long you are into this business?
I have been into business for about two years. The restaurant business is just 4 months old and still in its infancy.
What was the driving force for you to start your business?
That’s a difficult question actually. May be its the air I breathe or the Siruvani water .Coimbatore is a city that was built by entrepreneurs and just like my predecessors before me, it was only a matter of time. There was a time in Kovai (Coimbatore), when taking up a day job was frowned upon and you were expected to join your family business or start a new vertical. But today the crowd mentality has taken its toll in Kovai too and the number of entrepreneurs has come down drastically today.
Is the business running as successfully as you thought it would? Please comment.
The food business always needs a bit of nurturing and like I said, four months is still a small amount of time to judge it . But on the whole we are able to break even from day one , by running a lean and mean setup. I always believe in bootstrapping and keeping it lean since my IT days.
Who is your target audience
I believe that “People who love to eat are always the best people” . Anybody who loves fresh, personalized food is my target audience.
What is the most challenging aspect of your business?
The most challenging part is to control costs . We do this as I said above by staying lean, adopting Operational excellence strategies and sourcing locally making away with the traditional supply chain model of franchising .
If you are given a chance to start any business other than the one you are currently into, which one would it be and why?
My core are of interest was and still is Consumer internet . I strongly believe that the Internet was the most important innovation after the invention of Printing. The internet is responsible for shrinking the world today as our fore fathers knew it., the same way Guttenbergs Modern printing press changed the flow of information in the classical era.
Your Suggestion to the start up companies and entrepreneurs…
I would hardly call myself an entrepreneur, at least not yet, although I promote entrepreneurship and evangelize Start-ups . To me an Entrepreneur is someone who starts from scratch, with little or no cash and only an idea as investment and desire to start-up. If you are that person I strongly suggest them to follow bootstrap principle. We are now working on a concept called Minimum Viable Product (MVP) which will help an entrepreneur plan his personal financials before starting up. The way I see it, there is no x+y=z mantra for success. But by adopting methodologies and principles that can reduce your cash burn and time to market, an entrepreneur can increase the life span of his product or service .
What is success according to you?
I believe a business is successful , when it completes a full value cycle, i.e. it adds value to all the three stake holders in its system, the Customer , the employee and vendors. When all these stake holders benefit from the value created by this particular business it is a success..
Who/What is your greatest inspiration and why?
A host of business and social leaders. One person I greatly admire is K. Kamaraj (Former Chief Minister, Tamilnadu – India)for his sheer honesty and Simplicity . From a business perspective i admire a host of personalities like G.D.Naidu, Steve Jobs, Sergi Brin. I have recently grown to admire Elon Musk for his innovative approach and also the fact that he thought process is completely futuristic and can identify critical business areas around high end technology. He is a leader for tomorrow.
What is your leadership/management style?
I believe in empowering my team and delegating work. Once you align your team to your views and send the message across that they are not mere employees, but rather stake holders, a founders Job is done.
What is your leadership mantra?
Very Simple…Never Micro Manage !
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