Content Marketing Trends to Look Out for in 2019

Content Marketing Trends to Look Out for in 2019

Today, content marketing has become the most effective way togrow a brand online. The impact of traditional marketing methods like outdoor advertising is decreasing as we speak. Apart from lower costs, content marketing also has an increased conversion rate as opposed to traditional advertising methods. This is happening because today’s consumers want to see stories with real substance and not just advertisements. For instance, in the last few years, Kraft Foods has driven 4 times better ROI through content marketing than through traditional advertising.

Given its everchanging nature, content marketing keeps evolving. However, brands that can hack their way through the changes aren’t caught by surprise and can gain a huge advantage. Here are 5 content marketing trends every successful brand will need to follow to gain the most out of 2019

 Niche content will rule the day

Today, brands are creating more content than ever before. With so much content on the internet, brands need to ensure that they stand out or they face the risk of getting lost at sea. But creating niche content is easier said than done. Big brands need to focus on creating an identity and separate audiences for their sub-brands in 2019. While doing so, these brands must keep in mind that the tone and style of content for their sub-brands needs to be different from that of the parent company. They can do this by creating content that is in-depth and creative. For instance, Nerd Fitness focuses on a niche in the fitness industry i.e. “nerds who are looking to get fit”. 2019 will see a shift towards niche content that will find its own relevant audience.

 Long-form content is here to stay

As readers are increasingly looking for trustworthy sources on the internet, long-form content will gain even more importance in 2019. Also, search engines are rewarding lengthier posts in results rankings. Search engines prefer long-form content as opposed to short-form content. However, long-form content needs to be a quality resource that is worth the readers’ time. Bite-sized content might be easier to create, but long-form content will help you establish your brand as an authority in its space. For instance, Red Bull’s magazine that goes by the name ‘Red Bulletin’ has adopted a traditional journalistic approach of creating long-form features about sports, culture, and lifestyle that are both relevant and interesting to the brand’s target demographic. Most of the content pieces found in this magazine are well over 2000 words. The magazine’s editorial team is dedicated to telling unique, real-life stories that provide value and entertainment.

Video content will steal the show

In the past 5 years, consumption of video content has increased tremendously, and its growth isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. Talk to any digital marketer and he will tell you that video content is most saleable. Hence, brands need to make it a point to invest in making and distributing videos in 2019. While creating production-grade videos is great, don’t let it be your main focus. Instead, create videos that are highly relatable and of decent quality. For instance, Taco Bell is conquering the video marketing world with its creative campaigns. Their strategy involves posting short videos that will make viewers chuckle.While you’re at it, try to customize your videos for different social media platforms. Taco Bell once posted a six-minute mini-movie on SnapChat to introduce their ‘Spicy Chicken Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos’ on the red carpet of the MTV Movie Awards.

Content marketing will be preferred over traditional marketing

Over the last decade, online presence has become mandatory for all brands, no matter their size or the industry they belong to. While social media helps generate brand awareness and revenue, it is content marketing that is going to steal the show in 2019. Brands are increasingly adopting content marketingafter looking at examples around them. Content Marketing Institute (CMI) reported that 91% of B2B brands and 86% of B2C brands use content marketing and are seeing results. Moreover, the brands that don’t use it also plan to start soon. Among businesses that use digital marketing, nearly 80 percent plan to increase their investment in content marketing in 2019. DemandBase, a marketing technology provider that specializes in serving B2B brands, used infographics, white papers, SlideShare, and webinars to source new leads for one of their campaigns. According to Top Rank Blog, the company generated 1,700 new leads and connected with 125 webinar viewers. This helped them generate over $1 million in new revenue through content marketing.

Personalized content will take centerstage

 The easiest way to deliver delightful customer experiences is through one-to-one marketing. In 2019, more and more marketers will strive to provide highly personalized experiences to their consumers. This is because personalization of content is imperative to the current and future success of brands across all industries. Did you know that personalized content marketing converts 4 times more than generic marketing?Northeast Nursery understood this and so they used Core DNA’s personalization functionality to allow contractors to view and receive a special price on selected products. According to a research by Invesp, 57% of shoppers are willing to give away their personal information in order to reap the benefits of personalization.

While the trends are indicating an increasing adoption of content marketing, it still remains to be seen how businesses use it to their advantage. Brands that have got it right are reaping the benefits of their efforts. The biggest takeaway is that a lukewarm approach to your content will no longer suffice in 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

Did Your Wikipedia Page Get Deleted? This is What You Need to Do Next!

Did Your Wikipedia Page Get Deleted? This is What You Need to Do Next!

 

Wikipedia is great for SEO and also for bolstering your credentials in the online world; almost every search term throws up a Wikipedia page on the first page of Google, and it has become the first stop for information for millions across the globe. At last count, Wikipedia clocked 18 billion (yes that’s a B) page views per month!

But you knew all that; which is why you spent all that time and effort creating a Wikipedia page in the first place! And I guess it got deleted? Which is why you are reading this article!

Facilius Inc. creates more approved Wikipedia pages than any other company and as most of our clients come to us once their own efforts have failed to produce results – we have dealt with a LOT of deleted pages!

Before we tell you what to do with your deleted page,

let’s understand some details of why pages are usually nominated for deletion.

Most deletions fall under these 5 processes:

Speedy Deletion: As the name suggests, these are pages which are deleted instantly and don’t require any discussion. Why? Because they don’t warrant a discussion; speedy deletion is used for pages that are hoaxes, pages in blatant violation of copyright, empty pages or for ones filled with nonsensical content or pages on topics already covered under another title.

Proposed Deletion (PROD): These have been flagged for deletion and unless an objection is raised will be automatically deleted in 7 days. If an objection is raised, then it will proceed to AfD (articles of Deletion).

Articles of Deletion (AfD): this is an invitation to open a deletion discussion. Editors discuss whether an article needs to be deleted and unless there is an agreement on keeping the article intact it will be deleted. This process lasts for a week.

Proposed deletion of biographies of living persons (BLIPROD): This is specifically for articles on living persons. If the said article does not have any sources or references at all, then it can be nominated for deletion. If the writer adds one reliable source within a week, then the deletion nomination is removed.

Copyright Problem (copyvio or CP): This type of deletion is for copyright violation which hasn’t been sorted out within two weeks from nomination.

To effectively defend your submitted page, it is crucial to understand these deletion processes, For a novice, all this markup text and abbreviations might seem complicated, but once you decipher the code, the reasons behind them are usually fairly easy to understand and in some cases easy to fix.

Here is what we do with a deleted Wikipedia page, and we are certain it will work for you too:

Find out why

When we first encounter a deleted page, we evaluate the objections that were raised very objectively. The guidelines are fairly clear on what are the basic requirements of a good Wikipedia article – namely notability, verifiability, and neutrality.

Do read the objection raised and try to understand what the problem is. If you don’t seem to understand the problem, then you can also ask the nominator who originally raised the objection or raise a query in the general forum.

Your page or your deletion log will have the objection and the process under which your page is flagged. You will also find the name of the editor and the deletion summary there along with a talk option to message the editor directly for more clarity.

Address the Problem

Now that you know the objection raised against your article you have two choices; fix it or let it go.

If the problem is something you can work on, then all in not lost (details in the next point).

If you feel the objection raised holds water and you can’t really change the article to meet the guidelines, then the honourable thing to do would be to submit it for deletion on your own (you can just put a {{db-author}} right at the top of the article).

Re-edit, resubmit or represent your views

If you have decided to fight to save your page, then you can do a few things:

Rework the content to overcome the objection

If you feel the objection is not correct, then raise the matter for discussion

Let the deletion take place and resubmit the changed content later (don’t resubmit the same content as it will get deleted again) – this could be useful in scenarios such as adding third-party sources to make your article meet the verifiability criteria.

Conclusion

Your first reaction – or your second (disbelief being the first) – will probably be panic (if it’s for your boss) or anger (for all the lost hard work), but don’t worry a deleted page is just a deleted page. If it falls under the basic guidelines of Wikipedia submissions, then there are ways to fix it – we at Facilius Inc, have done it for hundreds of clients over the past few years.

Thinking of Starting a Blog? But First, Read the 5 Things that No One will Ever Tell You

Thinking of Starting a Blog? But First, Read the 5 Things that No One will Ever Tell You

 

Hey, so you found us!

We bet this is not the first article you have read on “how to start a blog” – there is a ton of information on the Internet about all things blogging.

We don’t want to repeat what is already included in the content out there. So, this is not a step by step guide to setting up your blog or an article about WordPress installation.

Instead, we will focus on 5 things you wish you knew before you start a blog.

Why do you want to blog?

Before you write even one word or pick a name, you need to know what type of blogger you want to be!

Are you a hobby blogger? Are you doing it to make money or support your career? Or are you somewhere in the middle?

To be honest, blogging is hard work. Gone are the days of bloggers becoming famous organically! Today, it requires a clear identity and a plan. Everything you plan will stem from the type of blogger you want to be. There is no right or wrong answer here – but you do need to answer this question.

What do you want to blog about?

If you have reached this far then clearly you have a theme or niche in mind. Now, it’s time to expand it and take it for a spin.

Try out these steps –

Write down your theme, what you want your blog to be about and who is your ideal reader.

Do some research to find similar blogs and check out what is working for them.

Pitch the idea to your immediate circle of friends and family or to online communities.

If you are wondering why we are suggesting this, then the answer is simple – writing, researching and talking about your theme will help you clarify the details and concretize your thoughts.

How will you pay for it?

Basic blogs don’t cost all that much. But assuming you want to be more than a hobby blogger, your blog will cost you time and money.

Factors to be considered are – the domain name and hosting, graphics, videos, content production and marketing costs. All these have to be paid for and it’s important that you create a realistic budget and a plan to help you turn a profit down the line.

Blog business plan

Successful and profitable blogs don’t just happen by accident. You need a solid and very detailed business plan to make sure that you and your blog stay focused on building a loyal tribe of followers whom you can someday turn into loyal customers.

If you are ready to get serious about creating a business plan, then do check out this business plan template by Regina and one by Melyssa, who both have successful online consultancy businesses teaching people how to sell and create online brands

How will you get traffic?

In the digital world, everything is tied to how many people engage with your content. Traffic is the only metric of success. The truth is that generating traffic entirely depends on how much of your time and money you want to put into your blog.

If you dedicate hours of your time engaging with people on communities and forums or spend quality time writing guest posts or work with a respectable marketing budget – then the traffic will increase – slowly, but surely.

What’s your long-term plan?

When you have to run an interesting blog on one theme for years and churn out fresh content 3 times a week, you can run out of ideas really quickly.

Map a 6-month content calendar with details of themes, blog titles, and synopses. We promise this process of putting down your thoughts on paper will streamline your process for a long time to come.

Conclusion

Our work puts us in touch with thousands of bloggers every day; in fact, we have an entire team dedicated to analyzing data and that elusive human angle on what works and what doesn’t.

All good bloggers have one thing in common – they are passionate and think strategically about their work. The World Wide Web is a mature and crowded space and the only thing that will stop the reader from pressing the back button is when useful content is delivered consistently.

6 Ways to Improve Your ROI from Content

6 Ways to Improve Your ROI from Content

Every brand that spends marketing dollars on online marketing invests in creating great content. While every statistic is looked at minutely and improvised upon, have you considered the ROI from content? Are there any ways in which you can improve these returns?

Many brand managers ask these questions constantly. The answers lie in how effective and efficient your brand’s content marketing game is. The bottom line is: the higher the value your content is providing to your followers, the higher the ROI from content.

What kind of content fetches the highest ROI?

  1. Cost-effective content

It is not always a given that the most expensive content will give you the best returns. Content marketing is considerably cheaper than other modes of marketing. The idea is to find high-quality, cost-effective content that can make the biggest possible impact. A well-crafted article or an impactful, yet short video will show you results without being too costly.

  1. Evergreen content

Content that has a long shelf-life on the internet is hard to come by. But it is this kind of content that has the best results and ROI. Unlike advertising campaigns, it will have a far longer life online and will constantly be generating returns. This kind of content will stay on the internet for as long as you want it, provided it has enough repeat value.

  1. Targeted content

It is a no-brainer that the more you invest in your content the more it will work for you. The investment, however, needs to be strategically planned. Content that is targeted towards a specific set of audiences usually is the best bet. A good strategy coupled with great content and intelligent investment will build up over time and give compounded returns.

Here are 6 ways in which you can boost your ROI from content:

  • Create multi-faceted content

The best kind of content is the kind that serves multiple goals for the client. Copy that increases traffic to your website, while also pushing a certain product and also works to improve the brand’s relationship with the audience is far better than simple informative copy. Optimize your content to serve a number of purposes without compromising on any one of them.

  •  Focus your content efforts

Having a ton of content online is not always the best solution. While it may feel like increasing the content on your website, social media handles or your Wikipedia page will increase engagement, it may not always be the case. Instead, focus on specific content entries that serve a designed purpose. Work on a strategy based on what the audience wants instead of simply focussing on volume.

  • Create content with the help of specialists

When you want to give unique information to your audience, it is best if you have someone who is extremely familiar with the subject writing for you. Specialists are uniquely placed to produce content that is not only long lasting but also explores subjects in greater depth with a better perspective. They make sure that your content stands out in the crowd and maximizes the ROI from content.

  • Re-use your content from time to time

Content should never be left stagnant. Try and reinvent it as and when possible and keep it in the mix of things. Experts recommend revisiting old content and adding follow-up pieces to them on an ongoing basis. The key here is to identify trends before or when they happen to make sure that you are capitalizing on your content.

  • Encourage user-generated content

It is the age of user-generated content. Brands that are engaging their audience are finding it easier to create more user-generated content. It is not only highly engaging for your audience but also incredibly cost-effective when done right. Well-orchestrated campaigns driven by user-generated content have a history of working brilliantly.

  • Update old content

Google’s algorithm loves updated content. A few added paragraphs can make an old article relevant for today. It is also a good idea to change the headline and introductory paragraphs for it to relate to what is trending. If you want to improve your ranking on SERPs, it is important that you add new relevant content based on current trends.

There are a number of ways in which you can drastically improve the ROI from content. The key here is to ensure that you are constantly on the lookout for creating engaging, original and relevant content for your target audience. With the right strategy and partners on hand, your content will be working for you for a very long time.

The Obsession Called Instagram Verification

The Obsession Called Instagram Verification

Every major social media platform (be it Facebook, Instagram, Youtube or Twitter), today, has incorporated a system through which you can verify your social media account. The first platform to start this system was Twitter, and it was later adapted by everyone from Facebook to YouTube to Instagram among many others.

The blue badge on Instagram, when first introduced, was limited to specific public figures, celebrities, and the likes. It was awarded by Instagram but the requirements for it were not made apparent. While it is still restricted to public figures, the definition of what a public figure is has become more lax. Over the years, getting verified on Instagram has become a matter of pride and status. Simply put, Instagram verification has become a craze that does not seem to be dying down. So, what do you need to get verified on Instagram? While the list below is not all-inclusive, it covers the key requirements for Instagram verification.

  1. Press – you must have significant coverage in the press to prove you are worthy of being verified
  2. Wikipedia page – this will seal the notability requirement that Instagram has. A Wikipedia page is usually a sign of sufficient press and notability. If you want to know to learn more about creating a Wikipedia page, you can read our blog here.
  3. Organic followers – you can get verified with as little as 1000 followers if you a celebrity but if all your followers are bots or fake, Instagram can detect it
  4. Instagram verification requires a strong presence on another social media platform. For example, someone verified on Facebook, Twitter or Youtube is more likely to get verified on Instagram

While you can officially apply for verifying your Facebook page here, Instagram verification is far more elusive. This exclusivity has, to some extent, further fueled the obsession.

Complete control of your identity (a.k.a avoid the fake accounts)

Instagram verification will ensure that no one is able to use your or your brand’s name for nefarious purposes. It helps distinguish the real account from the many fake accounts that pop up like mushrooms after rain. It gives your followers the assurance that they are interacting with the real deal. It is essentially the process with which you can take ownership of your own identity, something that is crucial in today’s social media driven world.

Having a verified profile has become more important than ever for businesses and individuals. It is a sure-fire way to avoid someone else from capitalizing on your identity while boosting your own brand online. While the process can be difficult, Instagram being the toughest nut to crack for a verified profile, it is definitely worth the effort.

Marks you as trustworthy

Social media users understand the importance of following verified accounts. A verified Instagram account works as a stamp of approval, something that sets you apart as being a trusted, significant entity and ensures you are given the attention online that you deserve.

Boosts content

Over and above having a positive impact on your image online, Instagram verification plays a very important role in helping your content get out there on social media. There is a great deal of increase in the visibility that your content gets if you get verified on Instagram. This will have a cascading effect which ensures more followers and thus a better promotion for you and your brand moving forward.

Elevates your Instagram presence

If you want to make sure that you get the traction your brand or you deserve online, Instagram verification is key. It works as a status symbol, signalling to the audience that you are a significant entity in your own right. This not only helps drive more and more people towards the content you are putting out there but makes it easier for people who want to do business with you to locate you.

If you are looking for Instagram verification, get in touch with us. Our team of specialists can help you with the entire process from end to end.

4 Mistakes People Make When They Create a Wikipedia Page

4 Mistakes People Make When They Create a Wikipedia Page

The world’s biggest collaborative information accumulation project, Wikipedia has over 100,000 active volunteers working in 270 different languages. This open source website is one of the most effective marketing tools for a company or an individual if you create a Wikipedia page smartly. The keyword here being ‘smartly’.

A Wikipedia page can add huge value to your brand. Over the years, it has become a matter of prestige to be on Wikipedia. As our CMO Mohit Mirchandani says, ‘Everybody who is somebody wants to create a Wikipedia page’. Moreover, with a domain authority of 97 (yes 97), it has tremendous SEO value. You can also read our blog on why one needs to create a Wikipedia page to know more.

However, being a successful Wikipedia editor requires a specialized skill. There are multiple guidelines one must follow to successfully create a Wikipedia page. We have outlined some basic mistakes you should avoid when you create a Wikipedia page:

Wrong Referencing

Citations are the backbone of a Wikipedia article and ensure its authenticity. It is important to note that there are only a certain kind of citations and references that will work on this website. Blogs, social media, personal websites, or press releases will not be considered as valid citations. It is important to find books, press articles, academic papers or other such validated sources to back up your claims in the Wiki article. Failing to do that would usually get your article flagged, or in extreme cases, it may even get deleted. Every single claim made in the article need to be backed by credible citations.

Promotional Language (A Wikipedia page is not an advertisement)

Wikipedia is an information dissemination, open-source website. While it can work as a great promotional tool for brands or individuals, it is not advisable to write on this site as if you are promoting your brand. The language needs to be as matter of fact as possible. ‘Wikipuffery’ or adding unnecessary adjectives and descriptors should be avoided. This is usually done to increase the prominence of the article, but it will almost always work against you and may (or will) get your article deleted. For example, an award cannot be called prestigious since that is a subjective word. A musician cannot be called a ‘great’ or ‘very good’ musician. Keeping a neutral and factual tone is not only advisable, it is a necessity.

Autobiographical Entries (Don’t write your own page)

One thing that should be carefully avoided is uploading your company’s Wikipedia page, or your own page, yourself. Not every writer can be a Wiki editor (well, technically you can but in reality, you can’t). One of the most important policies of Wikipedia is having a ‘neutral point of view’. The website is designed to seek neutrality. Creating a Wikipedia article about yourself or your brand or having someone close to you do that will be flagged up with a ‘conflict of interest’ tag.

Don’t solicit votes on a deletion discussion

If your page has got flagged for deletion, most people enlist other Wikipedia editors and make them vote ‘keep’ in a ‘keep’ vs ‘delete’ discussion. In some cases, they tell their friends to create a Wikipedia account and then vote. With no history or credibility associated with these accounts, Wikipedia admins see right through this. We have seen cases where over 10 accounts have got deleted at once. In the Wikipedia world, this is known as ‘sockpuppetry’. If your page has got flagged for deletion, back up a ‘keep’ vote with references and Wikipedia policies. Emotions or long talks do not work. Simply voting ‘keep’ does not work either. You need to justify why that page should stay on Wikipedia.

At Facilius Inc, we certainly believe that Wikipedia writing is best to the left to qualified Wikipedia editors. Be it a new page or a putting back a deleted page, we can help. In fact, we create more Wikipedia pages than any other company. While Wikipedia is not designed for promotional purposes, who don’t want to be that ‘somebody’ on Wikipedia. If you need the right Wikipedia editors, contact us now

Why Wikipedia ?

Why Wikipedia ?

Picture this. You’re Googling information about something. Anything. It could be something as commonplace as chocolate. The search results throw up pages and pages of information. You scroll up and down a bit, but you are most likely going to click on the Wikipedia page about chocolate.

It has come to a point that if you’re looking for something and it doesn’t have its own Wiki page, you’d rather not look it up at all. So, what do you do if you want to feature on Wikipedia too? How has Wikipedia become the Holy Bible of all things? In 2001, founders Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger founded Wikipedia – a one-stop internet encyclopaedia that could be edited by anybody. Its success is based on the ‘neutral point of view’ – a rule that the volunteer database of editors fastidiously sticks to. Although Wikipedia doesn’t claim to be free from flaws or inaccuracies, it is exactly this rule that makes sure it stays above the rest.

To that effect, articles on Wikipedia are straightforward to the point of sterility. Any kind of descriptive language is frowned upon and articles are regularly flagged for ‘too many adjectives’. Being aware of Wiki guidelines and being able to ensure that articles stick to them, is no child’s play. This is where we come in.

Have you ever ‘Googled’ your own brand? It could be your company, a product you sell, or your own name. Do you like what you see? Will potential clients like it? Before a prospective client approaches you for business, they look online to find out more about your brand – consistency, description of your business and body of work. Wikipedia pages are not for everyone, and if your company or business has one, it will not only add to the credibility of your firm but also makes your online presence more cemented. There are a great many benefits of having a Wikipedia page of your own.

  • Improves your reputation and credibility: Today’s customers do a thorough check before buying or availing of, any service. A Wikipedia page provides independent verification of your existence. Buyers are wary of scams and a well-made Wikipedia page will help lure customers and convince them that you are legitimate. A Wiki page is like a seal of approval and a well-made Wikipedia page is the icing on the cake! Wiki articles need to have citations for everything mentioned – whether your business is being talked about by others or just to list its achievements. Nothing goes on to a page without relevant sources. Availing the service of Wikipedia page writers then is a wise decision.
  • Enhances your visibility: Using Wikipedia pages can boost your visibility by improving your search rankings. Wiki pages always feature on the first page of search results, helping propel traffic to your business. The Wikipedia pages can divert attention to your home page as well.
  • Powerful SEO: If someone searches for your company’s name, the Wikipedia result is for it is going to be on the very first page. In the absence of a Wikipedia page, one will have to trawl through a lot more content to get an idea about your company and services. The main reason why Wikipedia works is that of convenience. The way information is structured makes it an index of all the most important things mentioned about the subject, all in one place, and with reference links to boot.

All things considered, a Wikipedia page is perceived to be reliable and credible. It is about the most obvious way to uplift your online presence, which is also what makes it so niche. We at Facilius, understand this thoroughly and believe in an extensive step-by-step approach to help you put your best ‘Wikipedia’ foot forward!

Never a Start-Up, Always a Business.

Never a Start-Up, Always a Business.

I recently started following Mahesh Murthy on LinkedIn (who doesn’t). In the semi serious world of LinkedIn, it is perhaps the only genuine entertainment you will come across.

He recently criticized a Facebook post where Bookmyshow highlighted itself as the only major startup that is in the green. The post highlighted the losses all the bigwigs made. From Flipkart (2000 crores), Snapdeal (800 crores) to PayTM (1000 crores) – every major tech startups losses were chronologically arranged and the companies were even categorized into sub-sectors for us commoners to analyse the ones who have drowned the most money. Personally, I found nothing wrong with the post. If you are the only big league start-up in the green (3.1 crores to be precise), use every inch of your social platforms to flaunt it.
Importantly, it got me thinking about what kind of companies qualify as startups. Is it Mahesh, is it a VC or should it be ME? Not one for boring technicalities, for me it was always a matter of perception. For a millennial (which unfortunately I am not) or a new entrepreneur (which I am) – Bookmyshow, Zomato, Flipkart and the likes have become gold standards. Funded repeatedly. Co-founders from IIM or IIT. More press coverage than even a Reliance and a solid tech platform to backup their ideas.With the continuous losses these companies make, are the new gold Standards of entrepreneurs misdirected?
My own company, a content marketing firm called Facilius Inc, doesn’t qualify if any of these benchmarks were real.
We are not repeatedly funded (only once till now). None of the co-founders belong to the IIM-IIT breed. Perhaps most importantly, we have not been in the red EVER. This company was started with an investment of 12,000 rupees and we haven’t made our 120 crores yet but that 12,000 rupees has got it’s fair share of returns.
I grew up in a modern but Sindhi business household. It was not a start-up friendly atmosphere. The one rule of business was profit (well, two rules – profit and goodwill) but the question of taking someone else’s money and making a loss in continuity would have been an idea that would have got me disbarred from all business talks. So when we see the Bahls and the Bansals as celebrated entrepreneurs, there are days I wonder if we are celebrating their insane ability to change the landscape of business in India (which they have) or their ability to run a business (which I, in my humble capacity don’t agree with).
Following the rules I grew up with, when I started my company, I was very clear that it needed to be my source of income. No decision was made for cosmetic reasons. It had to make sense to the bottom line. Clients were taken if the pricing made sense. We did do work at rock bottom prices to build a portfolio but the volume justified the pricing then. Admittedly, I don’t have a tech company. The rules for a service based business are different but the employees working with you must grow and my partners and investor MUST not lose any money.
Everyday, we do take risks that we hope will pay off but never has a decision been taken to ‘look bigger’ or for the press. In September 2016, we got funded. I wanted to increase the pace of my growth and an external infusion was needed. During the very painful negotiations, I very clearly told my investor, we will not make you 15x in 2 years on your investment but I will make you 3-4x in that time. Following the investment and subsequent expansion, I am VERY proud to say that I will pay my investor his first dividend in April.
It was at the dinner table with my investor (at the closing) that my father (who by the way completely disapproved of me bringing in an equity partner) asked me “When do you stop being a start-up?”. Almost immediate was my reply “Papa – we were never a start-up. We were and always will be a business.”