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BW Businessworld

Book Review: Channel Your Idea

The authors say redBus was successful because the founder was obsessed with the problem on hand and was passionate about solving it, writes Prajodh Rajan

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Entrepreneurs are constantly worrying about ideas and strategies for their company. Like every other entrepreneur, on a daily basis, I keep thinking about that one right strategy which can take my company to unprecedented heights.

Found by Naveen Lakkur is short, yet powerful enough to help entrepreneurs and ideators in bringing their ideas to life by following a proven five-part framework. The reader will find the simplicity of the framework interesting and the real-life case studies in the book complement these insights.

There is a statistic quoted by Adeo Ressi, the CEO and founder of Founder Institute in the Foreword to the book, that only about four in every 1,000 startups founded each year create a global impact. That equates to a 0.4 per cent success rate, which is abysmally low. By outlining the proven, five-part process in his book, the authors hope there will be a considerable improvement in this figure in the months and years to come.

Back in 1997, Lakkur lost vision in both his eyes after a freak incident at a theme park. After several years and over a dozen surgeries Lakkur regained his sight. He is now cofounder of Compassites, a high-end software and product development services company.

Found is Lakkur’s second book and is an indispensable guide that helps both aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs discover which of their ideas has the best chance of sustainable, even global success. It reduces the time, money, and effort they may have otherwise expended on an idea that couldn’t become a business.
The book underlines a practical approach that you must take to match your idea to strategy and ecosystem for effective execution.

The authors have also included case studies of popular startups like Brompton Bike Hire, JustDial and redBus to explain his theory. The journey of these startups guides and inspires you to create your own long-term entrepreneurial success.

RedBus India is one interesting example from the book. The case enlightens the reader about how a negative emotion helped drive the founders of redBus to become India’s largest bus ticketing company. In 2005, Phanindra Sama was working as a software engineer in Bengaluru. On one occasion, he wanted to return to his hometown in Andhra Pradesh — an overnight travel by bus, to celebrate the festival of Diwali with his family. However, he couldn’t find a bus ticket available despite visiting several travel agents. Aside from wasting time and energy for what should have been a simple exercise, Phanindra was angered by the fact that while Expedia had been making flights available to consumers since 1996, there was no system in place for making bus tickets readily accessible to travelers in India. It was this indignation that prompted Phanindra to create an online solution along with his fellow engineers and alumni of BITS Pilani.

The authors say redBus was successful because the founder was obsessed with the problem on hand and was passionate about solving it.

Reading this book is like undertaking a mental exercise that helps you think in new directions. It is inspiring to read the following paragraph: “What entrepreneurs should always look for is to offer a solution that fills a current or potential market need, rather than create a solution that’s looking for a problem to solve...”

My biggest takeaway from this book is a great quote from the conclusion: “If you study the life of any successful entrepreneur, you will realise that what they really had a passion for was not so much the business they built at the end of their journey, but the joy of seeing their idea become something successful and value-creating. For them, it’s the journey and not the destination that is the real reward.”

At first glance Found may not appear like a “feel good” book that gets you fired up to go start a business. However, it is inspirational. It will get you thinking. You may learn things that help you be smarter about deciding the winning idea for your entrepreneurial venture, and how to get it off the ground.

Rajan is CEO, EuroKids International