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Chandu

Chandu Nair  |55 Answers  |Ask -

VC, Angel Investing, Entrepreneurship Expert - Answered on Nov 27, 2023

Chandu Nair advises entrepreneurs and enterprises about creating and building their business.
He has direct experience in angel, venture capital and strategic investor funding. Over the last three decades, he has made a name for himself in industry, consultancy, media and information services.
Nair is on the advisory boards of the Chennai-based private equity firm Fulcrum and the social impact fund, Menterra. He's an independent director on the board of India's first retail building products company, Shankara Building Products Limited.
He was the co-founder of Scope e-Knowledge Center, a pioneering knowledge process outsourcing company, as well as the co-founder of a business-to-business e-commerce venture, both of which he successfully exited.... more
Asked by Anonymous - Nov 27, 2023Translate
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Hello, sir. I founded a home decor brand 2 years ago and we are just starting to gain traction in the market. We sell across multiple channels - B2B, B2C and D2C as well. But as a Founder, one of my weaknesses is the lack of selling skills. Should I focus on building a Business Development team in order to generate consistent sales? Also, how do I get better at selling?

Ans: This is a tough one to answer in brief but I am going to try

Each of these channels- B2B B2C D2C - require different kinds of skills. The customer segments too could be different, perhaps the products/ SKUs too. It is my belief that the founder himself should be a salesperson esp in the initial days(years!). The first key thing is to understand the buyer's key problems and how your product is better at solving it than others in the market including alternatives. While doing this, it is important to understand who exactly is your buyer- in B2B, the buyer may be a hotel or restaurant or an office etc. Which sort of B2B segment are you targeting, how are they currently buying, from who, why, what terms do they purchase, how long is the sales cycle time, typical order value, purchase frequency etc? When it comes to B2C, the game is quite different. Are you selling both offline and online? The methods can change.

It would be useful for you to get a co-founder who has deep sales and marketing experience in this sector or B2C online/ offline. Alternatively, get a consultant who can advise you on the phase wise approach to follow, what metrics to use to track effectiveness, the kind of spend required, and so on.

Pl also reach out to others in the D2C community and understand what is working/ not working for them, the kind of structure they have, the outsourced agencies they use.

It is a process of learning. It would be good for you to get a grasp of it; simultaneously, in order to save on time, energy and money, pl consider a co-founder and /or a suitable consultant to guide you through the process. The appropriate hires can be made as required.
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I have been trying to scale my Digital Marketing and Advertising Agency since 2 years. but i am still not able to touch 1 lakh a month consistently. I know where i am going wrong, its the sales mostly. Please suggest me a way off how to a get a proper sales channel to get clients , how to manage funds for sales channels, and maybe some channels you can suggest.?
Ans: The different sales channels include traditional and modern marketplaces, retail and wholesale, and your own online store. All of these channels have their own pros and cons to take into account when choosing the right channels for your business.
Ecommerce
Ecommerce is any transaction that is completed online. For example, when you buy clothes from your favorite online store, that is ecommerce. Every time you order food from a delivery app like Doordash or Postmates, that is also e-commerce. Ecommerce is a huge market, worth over $5 trillion, and it’s expected to make up 24.5% of global sales by 2025.
Pros:
Lower startup costs, since you won’t have to pay for a physical storefront.
Can sell internationally and 24/7, as long as your website is active.
You can collect customer data to help you figure out what your target market wants.
Cons:
Problems in your distribution channel may cause the end of customer relationships.
Might have higher return rates because customers can’t try before buying products.
Direct sales in brick-and-mortar stores is still more popular despite ecommerce’s rising popularity.
Traditional marketplaces
Amazon, Etsy, eBay, Walmart Marketplace, and Google Shopping are examples of traditional marketplaces. These channels feature a wide range of product offerings and, for the most part, customers search by the product they’d like to buy rather than the brand they’d like to purchase it from.
While traditional marketplaces come with a preexisting customer base, these platforms require you to give up control of customer service and fulfillment speeds, and to compete on margins.
Pros:
You get your products in front of the existing customer base of those marketplaces.
You can use their distributors and marketing channels already in place.
Being part of a traditional marketplace can give you legitimacy in the eyes of your target market.
Cons:
Indirect sales mean you have to pay a commission for every sale made using a traditional marketplace, and those commissions can change.
Marketplaces can have really strict terms and conditions for how you communicate and represent yourself in their stores.
There might be a lot of different brands selling similar products in these stores, so it may be hard to find a way to stand out.
Modern marketplaces
Modern marketplaces are content-driven platforms that enable commerce. This includes social media channels like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and Pinterest. It also includes places like Spotify. One of the reasons these modern marketplaces are so successful as sales channels is because buyers are already there. Adding a Buy button allows you to meet buyers where they are.
Pros:
There are apps that can help you track various metrics on your social media platforms to help you optimize your posts and reach.
You can collaborate with other brands and influencers to cross-sell and cross promote.
Most social media platforms have useful templates you can use for your ads and store.
Customer support can be instantaneous on social media.
Cons:
You constantly need to create content to stay visible.
You need to be vigilant against any negative feedback or trolls.
If a social media site goes down or your account is hacked that could really affect your business.
Retail
The retail channel includes both permanent and pop-up shops, like a short-term rental in a mall, a booth at a craft fair, or a stall at a local farmers market. Retail channels provide the opportunity for you to build relationships with your customers in person and get real-time feedback. Retail is a powerful piece of the modern commerce playbook.
Pros:
You get face-to-face contact with your customers
Cut out the middlemen and get products straight into the hands of your customers.
The sales process is direct and ends with you having payment in hand at the end of the sale.
Cons:
May have added cost of hiring sales team (sales reps, sales manager, customer support team).
Can be expensive paying for overhead on brick-and-mortar shop.
Dealing with interpersonal issues with staff and customers.
Wholesale
Wholesale involves selling your products to other businesses who then retail them. Some businesses choose to make wholesale their only sales channel; others use wholesaling as one leg of an omnichannel sales strategy. Wholesale is a great way to move a lot of inventory at once.
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Ans: As a senior manager with significant experience and five years until mature retirement, you have valuable skills and expertise that can be applied to various job opportunities. Here are some potential avenues to explore:

Industry Consultancy: Consider offering consultancy services in your industry. Your extensive experience can be valuable to companies seeking expertise in areas such as operations management, strategic planning, or process optimization.

Freelancing or Contract Work: Explore opportunities for freelancing or contract work in your field. Many companies, especially startups or smaller businesses, may require temporary support for specific projects or initiatives.

Part-Time or Remote Work: Look for part-time or remote work opportunities that allow for flexibility and work-life balance. Many organizations offer remote positions for experienced professionals, including roles in project management, consulting, or advisory services.

Government or NGO Roles: Investigate opportunities in government agencies or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) where your experience and expertise can be beneficial. These organizations often have positions available in areas such as policy development, program management, or capacity building.

Teaching or Training: Consider sharing your knowledge and expertise by pursuing opportunities in teaching or training roles. Universities, colleges, training institutes, and corporate training departments may seek experienced professionals to teach courses or conduct workshops in your field.

Professional Associations and Networks: Join professional associations and networks related to your industry. These platforms can provide access to job opportunities, networking events, and professional development resources.

Entrepreneurship: Explore the possibility of starting your own business or venture based on your expertise and interests. Entrepreneurship allows you to leverage your experience to create innovative solutions or services within your industry.

Career Counseling and Coaching: With your extensive experience, you could consider a career in counseling or coaching, helping individuals navigate their career paths, develop skills, and achieve their professional goals.

Online Platforms: Utilize online job platforms, networking sites like LinkedIn, and specialized recruitment agencies to explore job opportunities tailored to your skills and experience.

Upskilling and Continuous Learning: Stay updated with industry trends, technologies, and best practices through continuous learning and upskilling. Investing in certifications, attending workshops, or pursuing advanced education can enhance your marketability and open doors to new opportunities.

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i served education institute as approved Asso Professor. superannuated before 2 years but no gratuity is paid.what next?
Ans: If you have superannuated from an educational institute and have not received your gratuity even after two years, you should take the following steps:

Check Employment Contract or Policy:

Review your employment contract or the institute's policy to understand the terms and conditions regarding gratuity. It should outline the eligibility criteria and the process for payment.
Contact HR or Administration:

Reach out to the Human Resources (HR) department or administration of the educational institute. Inquire about the status of your gratuity and seek clarification on any delays.
Written Communication:

If verbal communication does not yield results, send a written communication (email or letter) to the HR department, clearly stating the issue, mentioning your superannuation date, and seeking information on the status of your gratuity.
Gather Documentation:

Ensure you have all the necessary documentation related to your employment, superannuation, and gratuity. This may include appointment letters, salary slips, and any other relevant records.
Legal Consultation:

If your attempts to resolve the issue internally are unsuccessful, consider seeking legal advice. Consult with a lawyer who specializes in labor or employment law to understand your rights and options.
Labor Department Complaint:

In some jurisdictions, labor departments or government authorities handle labor-related disputes. You may file a complaint with the appropriate labor department or ombudsman, providing details of the non-payment of gratuity.
Employee Welfare Associations:

If applicable, involve any employee welfare or union representatives who may assist in addressing the issue.
Mediation or Conciliation:

Some jurisdictions have mediation or conciliation services to resolve employment-related disputes. Explore these options as an alternative to legal action.
Legal Action:

If all else fails, you may need to consider legal action to claim your gratuity. Your lawyer can guide you on the appropriate legal steps to take in your jurisdiction.
It's crucial to act promptly and keep records of all communication related to the non-payment of gratuity. The specific steps and options available to you may vary depending on the labor laws in your country or region. Consulting with a legal professional familiar with local employment laws is advisable to ensure you take the most appropriate course of action.
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Presently I work as Asst VP in formulation R&D and my CTC is 72 lakhs. I have a total of 21 years experience post Ph.D degree. How does my salary compare to pharma industry standards? Is it in line with the industry trend or higher than average or lower?
Ans: Determining whether your salary is in line with industry standards can be influenced by various factors, including your role, responsibilities, the company's size, location, and overall market conditions. However, your current salary of 72 lakhs as an Assistant Vice President in Formulation R&D with 21 years of experience post-Ph.D. seems competitive and well above average for the pharmaceutical industry.

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Industry Reports: Explore industry reports and salary surveys specific to the pharmaceutical sector. Organizations like Aon, Mercer, or local industry associations may publish such reports.

Networking: Connect with professionals in similar roles through industry events, LinkedIn, or professional organizations. Discussing compensation trends can provide valuable insights.

Consulting with HR: Speak with your company's HR department to understand how your compensation aligns with the company's salary structure and industry standards.

Job Portals: Check job portals for similar positions in your region to see the salary ranges offered by other companies for comparable roles.

Geographical Considerations: Keep in mind that salaries can vary significantly based on geographical locations. A salary that is competitive in one region may be considered high or low in another.

Market Demand: Assess the demand for professionals in your role. If there is a high demand for individuals with your skill set and experience, it could contribute to a higher salary.

Ultimately, while salary is an important factor, it's also crucial to consider other aspects of your compensation package, such as benefits, bonuses, and opportunities for career growth. If you feel satisfied with your overall package, including non-monetary benefits, and your compensation aligns with your responsibilities and the industry standards, then it's likely that your salary is competitive. If you have specific concerns, discussing them with your HR department or seeking advice from industry professionals can provide more tailored insights.
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Freelance Platforms:

Websites like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr often have translation projects. You can create a profile and bid on relevant jobs.
Translation Agencies:

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Online Job Portals:

Keep an eye on job portals like Indeed or Naukri, where companies occasionally post translation-related job opportunities.
Language Learning Platforms:

Some language learning apps and websites may also require translation services. Check platforms like Duolingo, Babbel, or Rosetta Stone.
Community Centers:

Local community centers or language learning institutions might have occasional translation needs.
Online Volunteer Platforms:

Consider volunteering your translation services on platforms like Translators without Borders or UN Volunteers.
Networking:

Leverage your network. Inform friends, family, or acquaintances about your skills and let them know you are looking for translation opportunities.
Local Businesses:

Visit local businesses, especially those serving diverse communities, and inquire if they need translation services.
Government Programs:

Some government programs or NGOs may require translation services. Check with local offices or online platforms for opportunities.
Remember, persistence is key. It may take time to find opportunities, but by actively seeking and applying for jobs, you increase your chances of securing a position. Additionally, if you face financial difficulties, you may also want to explore local support services or community programs that could provide assistance. I hope you find a suitable opportunity soon.
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What are best way to upskill as a student?
Ans: Upskilling as a student is a valuable investment in your future. Here are some effective ways to upskill:

Online Courses and Certifications:

Platforms like Coursera, edX, Udacity, and Khan Academy offer a wide range of courses on various subjects.
Consider certifications in areas relevant to your field of study or future career.
MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses):

Explore MOOCs from universities and institutions around the world.
They often provide high-quality content for free or at a minimal cost.
Specialized Training Platforms:

Platforms like LinkedIn Learning, Skillshare, and Pluralsight offer courses on specific skills and tools.
These platforms often have tutorials on software, programming languages, design tools, etc.
Internships and Co-op Programs:

Gain practical experience through internships or co-op programs related to your field of study.
Real-world experience can complement theoretical knowledge and enhance your skills.
Networking and Mentorship:

Connect with professionals in your industry through networking events, LinkedIn, or local meetups.
A mentor can provide guidance and share insights into the industry.
Project-Based Learning:

Work on real-world projects to apply your skills.
This hands-on experience can help you build a portfolio that showcases your abilities.
Join Student Organizations:

Participate in relevant clubs or organizations on your campus.
They often provide opportunities for skill development and networking.
Read Industry Publications and Blogs:

Stay updated on industry trends and innovations by reading blogs, journals, and articles.
Subscribe to newsletters or follow influencers in your field.
Soft Skills Development:

Focus on developing soft skills like communication, teamwork, time management, and adaptability.
These skills are crucial for professional success.
Attend Workshops and Conferences:

Attend workshops and conferences to learn from experts and connect with professionals.
These events can provide insights into the latest developments in your field.
Language Learning:

Learn additional languages, especially if they are relevant to your field or if you plan to work internationally.
Self-Assessment and Reflection:

Regularly assess your skills and identify areas for improvement.
Set goals for continuous learning and monitor your progress.
Remember, upskilling is a continuous process, and staying curious and adaptable will serve you well throughout your career. Tailor your upskilling efforts to align with your career goals and the demands of your chosen industry.
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DISCLAIMER: The content of this post by the expert is the personal view of the rediffGURU. Investment in securities market are subject to market risks. Read all the related document carefully before investing. The securities quoted are for illustration only and are not recommendatory. Users are advised to pursue the information provided by the rediffGURU only as a source of information and as a point of reference and to rely on their own judgement when making a decision. RediffGURUS is an intermediary as per India's Information Technology Act.

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