Sales Pipeline: Stages and Managing

There are any number of sales pipeline stages you can use: but ideally you shouldn’t have more than six stages. It’s also OK to call them anything you want, as long as you are clear about what each stage represents. We’ll use Leads, 10% Opportunities, 50% Opportunities, 90% Opportunities and Closed Won/Lost. Click here to know how the system works

A sales pipeline that is well managed from beginning to end is critical to the success of any organisation. Management of the long-term sales cycle is called “Pipeline Management” and involves identifying sales stages and what needs to be accomplished in each stage. Read this to manage sales pipeline effectively.

Journey to Success

Opportunity based entrepreneurship has been shown to impact the national economic growth far greater than Necessity based entrepreneurship. Ventures that are built on the basis of opportunities often show a very high growth potential even in the face of environmental constraints. Here, in conversation with Prof. K. Kumar of NSRCEL, we have Mr. Manoj Upadhyay, Founder, Chairman and Managing Director of Acme Telepower Ltd. who was shortlisted for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2006. Mr. Upadhyay speaks about his zeal for doing something new. To create a product that was completely new, coming from an economy which is largely dependent on creating cheaper copies of western products. He also states the importance of doing social good through an entrepreneurial venture and the importance of patenting to protect the product. India as a nation has many indigenous problems which generate a wealth of opportunities for budding entrepreneurs. Mr. Upadhyay explains how he identified such a problem and built a company around it.

To read further, click here.

iWeekend – Winning entrepreneur feedback

NSRCEL asked the two winning entrepreneurs who developed their ideas over the iWeekend to share their experiences

  1. Are you satisfied with the final outcome of the event as far as your projects are concerned? What is the difference you feel now compared to one week back when you had not yet gone through the experience of iWeekend?
    Deven Shahh - Yes, I’m happy and satisfied. Some of the key differences post-event are:
    a) Something that was just an idea in my head and was only being discussed with a few close friends/mentors, has now become something that is publicly announced to a group of people, web-casted live to the world and will soon be covered by media. I now have got a sense of urgency to take WikiPaisa ahead. This fact of just giving a ‘kickstart’ to a dormant idea is very valuable.
    b) I now have support from team of 15 more people who are willing to work with me on WikiPaisa as freelancers/volunteers. These people have a good understanding of what WikiPaisa stands for and we also formed a great deal of bonding in just 48-hours of working together.
    c) We also have support from a few mentors who are willing to guide us. Specifically, Dev – one of our mentors, was very encouraging and had explicitly said that he would really like to help us ahead in WikiPaisa.
    d) While I was very convinced about the concept of WikiPaisa even before I came to the event, some of the penetrating questions posed by co-members, mentors and VCs made me think harder, it helped me understand about a few problems/opportunities/perspectives that I had earlier not thought about and because I could come up with convincing answers to almost all the questions, my own conviction in WikiPaisa became stronger.
    e) Its a little difficult to pinpoint a list of specific reasons, but it just feels very good to be part of iWeekend.

    Vinayak Rajanahally: I am extremely pleased and happy with the outcome of this event.  Concept was very unique and well thought out.  It stirred me up and woke up the sleeping entrepreneur in me.  Having an idea mere is of no value.  But to work and execute upon it is when we create value.  iweekend was a great effort in demonstrating this.

    I happen to learn a great deal of things from iweekend.  Key things to highlight are :
    1)  Pitching of an idea, convince stakeholders
    2)  Transformation of a raw idea into an excellent business proposition, Business plan preparation with key details and vital points.
    3)  Team building, Managing group dynamics, Fostering Bonding, Synergizing strengths,..
    4)  Creativity and Ideation, Validating with realities and enhance constructive criticism.
    5)  Generate Drive and Passion, Conviction, Execution excellence.
    6)  To create a difference.
    7)  This event also stretched me to know myself better, my capabilities, strengths and weakness.

    2) Is there anything we can do differently in the upcoming events in Delhi and Ahmedabad to have better outcomes as far as the two winning projects are concerned? Were you comfortable with the creative chaos of Saturday and Sunday or did you miss something?
    Deven Shah: a) I think it will help if there is one interim presentation scheduled at 8 pm on Saturday night where each of the winning projects give a 10-minute ‘status update’ and share their experience of the day followed by a 5-min Q&A. This, I believe may benefit quite a lot because leaving the schedule completely open from 10:00 am on Saturday morning till the final presentation on Sunday night can bring in inefficiencies, having an update presentation as one of the milestones at the end of the day can help the teams be more focused and given an opportunity to learn and share with other teams.
    b) Winning members should be encouraged to write their profile highlighting their experience and skill-sets and a copy of it should be given to mentors and vc’s so that they have a better idea of who they are listening to.
    c) While I believe that the creative chaos has its own benefits and interesting learnings and outcomes can emerge as opposed to a very process-driven format, I do think that it would really help if we define some broad outline and share it with the team in the beginning of day-1 itself. For instance, on Sunday morning we got a PPT structure that we could use for our final presentation, but we had already started work on it on Saturday itself and would have helped earlier.
    d) I think a few of the members from my team as well as kickoffers got a feeling of ‘strong competition’ between the two teams and were ‘jokingly’ talking about being secretive with what one team was doing and trying to sneak in to find out what the others were doing. I didn’t view it as competition and told everyone to freely share and learn from each other’s experience and in-fact even help the other team if they need some resources that we can provide. So I think the aspect of “there is no first-prize winner, both teams will be equal winners…” is something the moderator can mention on day 1 so that there is good sharing across the teams.

    Vinayak Rajanahally:  Well for forthcoming events, the objectives of iweekend should be informed to all participants on friday evening.  It should be made amply clear that 2 projects / teams are not in competition with each other.  As the whole process of Business Plan preparation is so complex and hectic within 2 days, there should be 2 intermediate presentations from promoters, one on saturday evening and probably another one on sunday afternoon or so.  This would help the teams to monitor and track their efforts, whether they are headed in the right direction.

    3) Also, it would be helpful if you can shed some light on how you would describe your project now, especially after the feedback received from mentors and the jury panel during the Sunday night presentation.

    Deven Shah: WikiPaisa aims to be India’s most trusted source for effective investor-education content. It will demystify the world of personal finance and provide unbiased information in simple and interesting format, including video, interactive games and comic book. The content will be customised for different age-groups, organized for beginner to advanced levels and will be available in multiple regional languages.
    WikiPaisa is a collaborative platform to bring together people and organizations (e.g. financial planners, journalists, companies, regulators, consumers…) committed towards financial literacy. It is a community-based, volunteer-driven effort and we are in the process of setting it up a not-for-profit entity.
    The ultimate aim is to include topics that cover the entire spectrum of personal finance and take it beyond the web e.g. the content can also be used offline (posters, booklets, event material etc.) by those driving financial literacy initiatives in rural India. As a pilot program, we plan to begin with a few web and mobile based investor-education initiatives targeted at internet-savvy audience and will then keep expanding as we deliver results.


Vinayak Rajanahally: Kickoffers, the portal for sale, discounts, offers and promotions is going through massive transformation with adding in new ideas, features, extensions, opportunities, etc.,  We feel sky is the limit.  There is so much to learn, explore and harness value.

The Kickoffers team has gone crazy in running their creative adrenalin wild.  We have formed Kickoffer googlegroups and are continuing the momentum we built in iweekend.  Kickoffers is a movement that kickstarted spirit of entrepreneurship in all of us and lead towards becoming successful entrepreneurs.

We continue to iterate, filter and refine the idea further.  We are strengthening our conviction in the idea so that we could commit and risk ourselves to it.  We are working hard to create an enterprise that makes its mark and leaves a signature behind.

I am grateful to mentors Mohan and Surya for their invaluable insights and enduring encouragement.  Jury panel were helpful in making us realize the points we need to work and focus on more.  Luv, you were just superb !!!
On the whole, I express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to everyone who made iweekend possible.  I am convinced that iweekend shall bring out and gift this world with many more successful entrepreneurs.

iWeekend at NSRCEL@IIMB – 12th March to 14th March 2010

- Mohan Sundaram

NSRCEL@IIMB were host to iWeekend, an innovative workshop for the first time in India, where 50 entrepreneurs got together to form two working businesses by the end of a week end. The objective of the exercise was to show the start-up community that a business can be started over a week end if the motivation is right. An important learning was that the role of mentors was very important to show right directions from time to time to put the teams on the right track. Below is a brief account of what happened during this event.

Day 1: 12th March 2010 5pm – 10pm

iWeekend was kicked off in earnest in the evening with a fairly large registration of participants taking place. The final tally of registrations was 40 with the last minute walk-ins. The participants, sponsors and mentors convened in C22 in the central pergola.

The first exercise was a brief ½ minute introduction between pairs of participants in a round robin fashion so that every participant has a chance to get to know every other participant. This also broke the ice which facilitated formation of teams the next day. With this quickfire intro round accomplished a tad in excess an hour, the process of the individual presentations was set in motion. 15 entrepreneurs offered to pitch their ideas and the whole process of entrepreneurs decision to pitch their ideas was fascinating. The numbers of entrepreneurs offering to pitch their ideas fluctuated till the last moment and post the rapid round introduction; most of them gathered courage and decided to pitch their ideas. Participants were given 4 minutes to present their idea and face a questions round. On completion, all proposals were put to vote. A three stage process was used to filter proposals – first stage to a cull out a smaller set of 8 and the second to derive the best 4 from these 8 by another round of voting and a final round to select the winning two ideas.

The chosen ideas were:

1. WikiPaisa by Deven Shah
2. Discount Sale Portal by Vinayak

Day 2: 13th March 2010 10am to 9pm

In the first session, Deven and Vinayak presented their ideas again and the group of participants were invited to volunteer themselves to work on any one of the ideas. The group consisted of folks from technology, finance, business, operations etc. The entrepreneurs were also encouraged to woo specific people they would want in their team. This was meant to give them a glimpse of what it takes to build a team with the force of conviction in ones’ own ideas.

Each team had the service of two mentors to tap on demand right through the complete two day process with the onus lying with the entrepreneur.

In the second session, the entrepreneurs were given the task of logically breaking down the process of building out the idea with the team, arrive at a common understanding of the broad business plan/ boundaries.

The third session focussed on laying out the enterprise into functional blocks with an overseer group to stitch these elements together into the business plan. This stage was the one that dealt with allocation of roles and responsibilities, functional deliverables and the implementation plan.

The last session was long, demanding and iterative thro’ the stages of the implementation. The hunt for meaningful data to base business numbers on, validation of various premises that were generated in the second stage, functional interplay were some of they experiences the teams had.

Day 3: 14th March 2010 10am to 8pm

The teams assembled at 10am though quite a few of them had worked late through the previous day and some arriving early to catch up on work and team members. This kind of camaraderie, commitment and energy were reflective of the start up environments and a pleasure for the mentors.

The first session was focussed on fine tuning the business plan, implementation plans, financial numbers and the internet presence strategy. For both the teams this session was the one where frills in plans were trimmed, implementation processes changed to make financial numbers sensible and draw up implementation milestones to track progress of the enterprise.

The second session was aimed at building a prototype of the planned web application by the operations team. The other teams were involved in making the whole pitch to the investors. These two tasks were intense, animated and provoked the teams to think of alternatives to present their idea/ business with impact.

Day 3: Final Shoot out. 8pm to 9pm

The teams were ready and raring to go. The mentors and investors represented by DFJ and Cisco Ventures were tasked with firing questions and providing feedback.

Each team was given 15 minutes to present their idea and have a Q&A session for 15 minutes. The panel asked questions, give pointed feedback and ideas as to how these ideas could be developed to be better for the real world.

Our wholehearted thanks go out to Luv Sayal of iWeekend, our sponsors Qualcomm Ventures, CISCO M&A and Draper Fischer Juverstone and the mentors who made this event lively and real as possible.

Dreamcast, who streamed the whole event on the iWeekend website delivered excellent value for money service.

Epilogue:

The teams were so charged that they stayed back, met as groups, wished others well, reminisced the experience and have promised to take their ventures forward. Mailgroups have already been formed by the entrepreneurs to discuss their action plans moving forward.

Prof. Kumar on WSJ: Promoting High Growth Entrepreneurship in India

The centrality of entrepreneurship in the economic growth of nations is increasingly coming into focus in these troubled times. As pointed out in a recent article in The Economist, even as governments are busy trying to save their economies, policy makers are demonstrating a renewed interest in entrepreneurship and innovation. (Read the full article)

Young Entrepreneur Awards

Call for entries:
Businessworld is scouting for the hottest young entrepreneurs with energy, enthusiasm and innovative new ideas. The chosen finalists will feature in Businessworld’s Promising Entrepreneurs Issue.

If you:
a) are below 35 years of age
b) have a business that is over 2 years and less than 5 years old in a brand new niche, a new business model in an established business or an entirely new business, you are eligible to apply.

Last Date for entries: Extended to 15 December 2009

Click here for details

Villgro presents INNOHUB-The Innovation Fair for business partnerships with 20 Innovators on 11-12 Dec 2009 in CHENNAI

WHERE PATH BREAKERS MEET PATH MAKERSDear Entrepreneur,You have a great opportunity to get into business partnerships with Innovators for launching or scaling up new products & technologies targeted at rural markets with INNOHUB, The Innovation Fair featuring 20 Innovators ranging from the individual brilliance of Nagarajan to the agri-tech savvy IIT Kharagpur. Please visit www.villgro.org/innohub to view ‘Product & Technology Showcase’ section featuring products & technologies in Agriculture, Energy & Water sectors to be displayed at INNOHUB and schedule face to face meetings on 11th & 12th December 2009 at Hotel Green Park, CHENNAI with the Innovators at the venue or request for virtual meetings in case you are unable to travel on those dates.

INNOHUB is part of a mega event ‘UNCONVENTION – where path breakers meet path makers‘, being held on December 10-12 at Hotel Green Park in Chennai, India. It would be our esteemed pleasure to have you register as a delegate for Unconvention. You can win an Early Bird Discount on delegate registration by sending us an SMS. I also urge you to share this e-mailer with those whom you feel will be interested in attending. We have the best and brightest in the social entrepreneurship and innovation sectors coming together to share their expertise, brainstorm, and network to develop new strategies for impacting the rural poor.

Looking forward to your support, and most especially, seeing you at INNOHUB!!

Sincerely,

Rajeev Surana

M: 91-9381755790 | E: Innohub

Save 10% EARLY BIRD DISCOUNTTo receive a 10% early bird discount on delegate registration fee, please SMS VILLGRO SUMMIT TO 54999 to receive your discount coupon.
The mega Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship conference featuring sessions chaired by the best and brightest talent in the field. Catch them all under one-roof as they brainstorm ideas that can impact the rural poor.10% Early Bird Discount for Registration SMS “Villgro Summit” to 54999Registration deadline- Nov. 30th ’09
India’s biggest Business plan competition for social innovators, with focus on agriculture, energy, dairy and water sectors. Participate and get a chance to win 12 lakhs in cash prizes and meet social investors!!FREE application status updates. SMS “Villgro Wantra” to 54999B-Plan Submission deadline- Oct. 31st ’09
An Innovation fair showcasing highly market-worthy innovations handpicked by Villgro. Match-making sessions featuring pre-scheduled face-to-face meetings between innovators looking for assistance and entrepreneurs looking for ideas.FREE networking alerts and event updates. SMS “Villgro Innohub” to 54999
The gala ceremony to celebrate & recognise innovators, innovations, Wantrapreneur winners and other outstanding stake-holders in the innovation and social entrepreneurship eco-system in India.
Supported By

Advancing Change – Energy for India’s Poor

NSRCEL@IIMB is partnering with Ennovent, an international social venture capital firm, in promoting the Global Energy Challenge: ”Advancing Change – Energy for India’s Poor”.

Most of India’s population has no access to affordable, let alone clean energy. Help us find in India and around the world proven, for-profit solutions that can meet some of the critical energy needs of India’s poor. Ennovent will invest up to USD 500,000 in the Solver to incubate or scale the winning enterprise in India. Ennovent will also offer a reward of USD 3,000 to the Connector who nominates the winning enterprise.

Inadequate access to energy is part of the poverty trap for the majority of India’s poor. Like anyone else, they need energy for example for cooking, lighting, domestic heating, or power for appliances. Dirty and unsafe energy sources such as kerosene and firewood lead to health hazards and take time away from productive livelihood activities. Earning around USD 3.- or less a day (local PPP), poor people in most cases cannot afford clean and safe sources of energy. Despite massive investment by the Government of India in expanding access to electricity, many communities are still in need of services, especially those in remote areas. The private sector is already playing a key role in helping the government meet its goal to ensure energy for all. Investments into innovations – products, services, processes, and business models – are needed to bring clean, safe and affordable energy services to the Indian BoP market.

The mission is to promote entrepreneurs who advance innovations for sustainability at the base of the economic pyramid. This competition is part of our activities to achieve this mission.

Participate in the Challenge by submitting energy solutions or nominating enterprises online at http://www.ennovent.com. Deadline for submissions is 31 January 2010. For more details of this competiton, write to office@ennovent.com or please follow the URL, http://www.ennovent.com/cms/network/the-challenge/media-r…

Ignite innovation to shape the future

Abstract

Young talents from across the country showcase their designs & analysis that could possibly transform the way we look at our cities & towns.

Synopsis

There are numerous day to day issues, complexities and problems that we face as a society. Solutions are sought to these problems but mostly end in vain. Is there a way we can change this situation? Can we facilitate by bringing in more creative and inspiring ideas to reach the solution to the various problems?

Concept

Nat Geo partnered by NSRCEL@IIMB, IIT Delhi and IIT Mumbai went out to hunt for the Best Brains in the world of Science to help them Re-define & Re-shape our world!! A nationwide campaign to identify scientific and technological innovations originating from the best science, engineering and medical colleges in India and select a few outstanding ones for wide media exposure and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Regional Finals

Over 91 ideas were received in the southern region and 26 ideas were short listed for the regional finals to be held at IIMB on Nov 18 to pick the final 5.

The program for Nov 18 is as follows:

Registration 10am to 10.30 am

Talk on “Innovating Entrepreneurship” Prof K Kumar, IIMB 10.30 am to 11.00 am

Presentations by short listed teams 11.00 am to 1.00 pm

Lunch 1.00 pm to 2.00 pm

Presentations by short listed teams – cont. 2.00 pm to 3.30 pm

Tea break 3.30 pm to 4.00 pm (and time for the judges panel to finalize the top 5 teams from the region)

One to one mentoring for the 5 finalists (10 minutes each) 4.00 pm to 5 pm

All of you are invited to attend and encourage the young participants.

Salaries: A reflection of values? What do you think?

Author Anjana Vivek

Anjana Vivek is Founder, VentureBean Consulting (www.venturebean.com), working with entrepreneurs and growth companies and Guest Faculty, IIMB.

As an entrepreneur/founder you have many choices when you set up your company. One of the first few things you may like to think about is the employee policy and salaries. Gyan, the business advisor, recently met a few company founders and they informally discussed this aspect. One of the points raised by John, the founder of a high-growth, four-year old company, was that there have been enough and more debates about the top of the pyramid salaries in recent times. He wanted to take a different line of discussion in the meeting … and look at the salaries down the line. Two companies (names changed for confidentiality reasons) were mentioned and their employee policies debated.

The first company discussed, Great Images, was … (Read the full story here).

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