Mirum’s Hareesh Tibrewala and Sanjay Mehta in a candid live chat narrate the tale behind their entrepreneurship and the secret for a sustained partnership.
Having done engineering together and masters from the same school, Hareesh Tibrewala and Sanjay Mehta, the Joint CEOs of Mirum India, have come a long way. 10 years of doing other things the duo came together starting the first startup called HomeIndia.com. Their book, ‘If I Had To Do It Again’ talks about the nine-year journey of bootstrapping and building HomeIndia.com in the early days of the internet in India.
The seeds of the venture were sown in 1997. It went through a whole lot of ups and down before establishing itself as a brand. Just after coming into the business for one-year it was hit by the wave of dot com burst. “We were struggling to survive,” the duo shares. But that did not stop them.
As a part of #SamosaTalks, the duo talk about their entrepreneurial journey and what it takes to climb up the ladder.
On being an entrepreneur
Entrepreneurs in our country have a lot of respect. Exemplifying further Hareesh shared, “After running Home India for 10 years I was doing a corporate job for 2 years. I remember someone saying- compared to running a large company, even if I own a small kingdom, I am still the king of that kingdom.”
Hareesh’s and Sanjay’s entrepreneurial journey was accidental and started at a dinner table. The duo strongly thinks that we also need to observe the ecosytem (family) as the core support system because if things don’t go right they’re the one to face the brunt while embarking on entrepreneurship. “Immediate family is extremely important,” exclaims Sanjay.
How do partnerships sustain?
Knowing someone very closely is the key and partnerships sustain because of generosity. “There will be situations where there will be differences in opinions, you will feel the other guy is wrong and only you are right- this requires generosity on part of the both the partners,” noted Hareesh. The philosophy also extends to building partnership with an investor who believes in your thoughts and ideas giving you enough space and allows to flow. This ecosystem- of family, professional partners and investors – everything has to come out well to ensure that you deliver great value.
“Until you get an answer, keep on knocking doors,” added Sanjay.
What it takes to be an entrepreneur?
In the life of an entrepreneur there are only two stages – either you are working or sleeping.
This entire process of work life balance does not work if you want to become an entrepreneur. The duo sterned that you need to commit yourself 24*7, everything else that comes is a bonus. Your passion has to be so strong that it kind of motivates you to take that effort. That extra effort is what gets created as the value for the Focus on building value, if you build value, evaluation will form. There is no substitute for hardwork.
Things we didn’t do right
One of the things we humans tend to do, is become complacent. If you set yourself a business target and that is not getting met, you start giving yourself explanations- you let the time going. “But it’s very important to keep on smelling the cheese everytime,” quipped Hareesh.
When you get up in the morning and you know that the cheese that you are chasing is still there- the process isn’t static, that’s the trap we fall into.
If you start believing that your cash in the bank is going to fund your losses in a very small manner than that makes you completely complacent. It is on the entrepreneurs to use the capital efficiently to grow the business exponentially. Things don’t change- you have to make things change.
Smaller agencies to survive in the current scenario
Smaller agencies require specialization. They can pick up a small thing and become brilliant. For a niche area, pick up a small expertise or a basic vertical to start something cooler. So, small agencies build this expertise and then go to the bigger guys and brands to offer that. They also need to look at what the bigger ones are not going after because there can be a big scope too. If you go behind same things there are possibilities of getting hurt.
Check out the entire interview below: