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We don't understand the honesty behind failed enterprises: Murthy [India Business] [Times of India]
[April 01, 2013]

We don't understand the honesty behind failed enterprises: Murthy [India Business] [Times of India]

(Times of India Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) PUNE: Innovative thinking, discipline, perseverance and an ability to motivate by example are among the essential qualities an entrepreneur must possess, Infosys founder N R Narayana Murthy said on Saturday. He was addressing the annual conference of the Pune chapter of TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs).

In a two-hour dialogue with delegates, Murthy spoke about his journey to establish one of the world's most profitable information technology services company. "An entrepreneur should be able to create and then communicate to the customer that he has a differentiating proposition for him (the customer) -- half the job is done with this," Murthy said.

He added that the entrepreneur should possess the skill to maintain enthusiasm and energy in the initial growth of the business. "It's a difficult path that tests many of your abilities, among them your inclination to sacrifice and keeping the team together," Murthy said. Personal interests of an entrepreneur must take a backseat; this is a game not of instant gain, but of deferred gratification, he said.

Listing the essentials of present-day entrepreneurship, Murthy said one should prefer niche areas that don't need large capital investments, should offer a product or service that has a high unit price and focus on large corporate customers rather than fragmented retail ones. The ability to recover money is also critical for an entrepreneur, Murthy said.

He said an entrepreneur should not rush to get venture capital funding, but should rather wait until he/she is sure to get a strong valuation. "Go to a VC as late as possible, only then will you get better valuation and a sizeable capital for the business to grow," he said.

Aiming to do everything that big businesses do can be difficult to handle, but if one can zero in on a small area and offer a speedy, efficient and economical solution, the possibility of success is higher, Murthy said.

He said India is still not ready to move to become a 'product developer' country, as products is a risky business and society is not evolved enough to understand failure. "We are a hierarchical society. We respect those who are successful, rich and powerful. We do not understand the honesty behind a failed enterprise and punish it severely," Murthy said. He added that not even European countries or Japan have demonstrated a great penchant for product development.

(c) 2013 Bennett, Coleman & Company Limited

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