Trailblazers is a series of interview sessions that are being done by KGEC E-Cell. We are interviewing college alumni or those still in college, who have found success in establishing their own startup or are intimately involved with one. The first one is with Mr. Biplab Poddar, a 2017 batch pass-out.
Biplab Poddar, an alumnus of KGEC, co-founder, and CEO of Oxedent Technologies, a digital marketing startup shared his views on how to become a successful entrepreneur.
Following are some of the excerpts:
Interviewer: What is the inspiration behind starting a digital marketing?
Biplab Poddar: I always had a dream to start a company of my own. I was looking for an opportunity to start. It is actually quite hard to start a company in Kolkata because the whole startup ecosystem in Kolkata is dead, with very few investors willing to listen to your idea. Three of us got together to start a company called planmetour.com but it failed. And that was the time I tried to figure out what I am good at. I found that most clients abroad were interested in digital marketing. As there was hardly any investment I thought that I could grow with my clients’ money.
I: Is there someone who you look up to?
BP: To be honest, I read a lot of entrepreneurial stories. I watched a lot of inspirational videos on YouTube about how people started from scratch and later went on to have a multibillionaire empire.
I: Is there someone in particular?
BP: In digital marketing segment there is a company called Techshoe, subsidiary of Indus Net, founded by Abhisekh Rungta. In a couple of years, the company grew to a valuation of 100crores. So I tried to study his methods about how he acquired clients and how he hire talent. As digital marketing is a brand new segment, so it is hard to find talent in a city like Kolkata. So now we have a client base comprising of 50 clients which is a new milestone for us.
I: What according to you does it take, to be a successful entrepreneur?
BP: You need to be able to take risks and the willingness to learn new things. Well, I had to learn a lot. I learned how to balance sheets, file returns, maintain accounts, and appoint CA s. Also retaining and dealing with clients as well as employees. And you need to be able to deal with new problems each and every day.
I: How do you deal with deadlines?
BP: My start-up is a small one which provides digital services to small entrepreneurs and business to grow their businesses online. It is actually quite hard meeting deadlines with only four people. And so we had to sacrifice our sleep.
I: How many sleepless nights did you have?
I: So, how do you push yourself through these worst times?
BP: I read a lot of books. Currently, I am reading Zero to One. Books help me to escape into a different world. They help me to get through the bad times.
I: As a strategist, how would you guide your company in this fiercely competitive market in the future?
BP: The market will be as competitive as ever. But amidst all this, one still has to stay strong. You need to find some unique USPs that you can provide to your clients that will maintain the level of work.
I: How do you deal with customers who aren’t satisfied with your work?
BP: I don’t give fake promises to my clients. I offer them free service even if they aren’t satisfied with my work.
I: If you were given a choice to further diversify your company, would you do that? If yes, how would you retain your core customer base?
BP: We are a services based company. So I am looking forward to developing apps for Android because the whole world is nowadays into mobile.
I: Last but not the least, are you hiring?
BP: As we are a services-based company, our main asset is our people. So I am definitely looking forward to hiring new people because they’ll bring in a lot of money.
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