of the week!!
If entrepreneurship was to be learnt ONLY in a class I would have learnt it by the end of my MBA course.
But then like everything this subject too has a lot of practicality involved, of which I was specifically informed by my professors back then.
I have this habit of meeting and talking with people , while travelling, while rummaging old places, while having a roadside delicacy, a lone conversation with a bus conductor, a rickshaw puller.
But never ever I thought that the biggest lessons would be told by an autorickshaw driver who completely , mind it completely sold himself in a matter of hardly 20 minutes.
I won’t say that I din’t expect entrepreneurship from him, that would be wrong cause these people have shown me that the most relentless strength lies in these corners.
But what I was actually amazed was by the principles of management that this guy was following.
So, it was one usual night in Gurgaon when I stepped out from a late office night to catch a movie with some friends. We planned to watch a movie at Star mall, but before that planned to have our dinner at Chunnu ka Dhaba (Those in Gurgaon should definitely try this place).
And for this distance I come across an auto wallah who sees me, turns and comes back.
The same bargaining game starts, this time albeit small. He asks for Rs 150 while I pull it to Rs 100 and we both settle for Rs 120.
2 mins down the drive he cracks the ice by telling me that I am his two thousand three hundred twenty sixth (2326th) customer. He has already gotten me interested while he introduces himself as Rajesh.
(Lesson learnt : Have a killer opening line, applause will follow)
I cannot completely fathom the fact that an auto driver is actually calculating the number of unique visitors to his auto. So, I ask him how long he is doing this. He tells me the exact date and says that it has been eleven months since he bought this auto and that was when the count started.
Even when I am mulling over this, he tells me that he has got 634 repeat call customers.
(Lesson learnt : Start with the stats, the achievements , impress them first)
Before I can say anything he tells me that he has a reputation of best quality. He says that he gives his number to passengers and they call him if they need his services. And then the next moment he shows me his mobile with a message received 15 minutes back. It read something like this.
“ Dear Rajesh, Need to drop 2 American ladies from location A to location B. Would it be possible for you.”
(Lesson learnt :Back applause with facts and you have got the kill)
Sir, sabse pehle maine wo ata hai na tuk tuk uske bare me suna and socha ki jab wo kar sakte hai to mei kyu nahi.
Rajesh tells me that he got this idea from radio tuk tuk, an agency which operates on the same lines as Meru or any other radio cab business but instead of cabs uses autos.
(Lesson learnt : Your business need not be unique always, but if there is market potential you can still jump for opportunity)
Rajesh tells me that people need to give him a call 2 hours prior to the stipulated time and he would reach there. I ask Rajesh that isn’t it costly for him.
He says ki sahib Quality service ka paisa bhi quality hota hai. I charge 120 bucks if the travel has to be done from 11 at night to 6 in the morning. And the surety from my side is that I will always be available, 24 *7. Aur yahi reason hai ki log paise dete bhi hai.
(Note to self : If you can give quality there would always be quality connoisseurs who are happy to pay even a premium if the right quality is available)
And then he says ki sahab (by now I have told him that my name is harsha and he should call me by my name) ,logo ka trust banana padta hai. Acha kam karo to paise dene walo ki kami nahi.
At the point of trust I ask him, ki Rajesh baki sab theek hai but what about ladies. Do they also call you.
He tells me that of these 634 repeat calls, 89 are from ladies. He tells them ki bhaiyya apni jan tak de dunga but ladies passenger ko kuch hone nae dunga. Then he goes on to tell me the divided demographics as well.
Dekho sir maximum to deloitte se hai, kyunki unka timing shayad thoda different rehta hoga, kuch TCS se hai. Par zyada to IT se hi log ate hai.
Now this is something, not only has got his CRM correct but he has also segregated his user base on the basis of demography and clusters. He also knows what time is the most suitable and with this data mining very soon he would know the exact time for the best price at various routes.
This should have been enough for me but then he told me why he was a Rodinhood in the real sense.
Harsha Sir (he gets my name right as well 🙂 apko batau mei apne neeche 23 auto walo ko kam deta hu. I think that he has got autos under him as a chain or as a bigger business. But he tells me that if he gets calls from locations he cannot reach, he checks with his most trusted colleagues ( fellow auto drivers) who at any cost won’t break the trust that he has developed and asks them to take care of his customers.
I ask him whether he gets something extra from these people, maybe a monthly Rs 100 or something. Again pat comes his reply. Sahab bantne se hi to kam badta hai. I give these people work in return they give me work as and when possible.
(Note to Self: Do, give, Do, get)
I finally with my small life experience offer him my 2 pence. I tell Rajesh ki visiting card chapwa lo log yad rakhenge aur zarurat padne p call karenge. ( Brand recall and touch point logics).
But he tells me ki sir bas EEGO (one famous taxi car) le lu fir sabse pehle card chapwaunga.
By now we reach at the dhaba just next to where my friends are sitting while I stand impressed by this man.
I offer him a Rs 150 but he says ki sir jo fix hua tha wahi lunga. I still insist on giving him Rs 150 for the valuable lessons he has taught me. I ask him for a photograph for which he readily agrees. I can hear the laughter of my friends saying ki Harsha pagal ho gaya hai, auto wale ki photo khich raha hai.
Finally I shake hands with Rajesh for the priceless lessons he has taught me.
I know this is not something new as many people would be doing this. But tell me one thing, who actually who keeps on looking at the bigger picture while not forgetting the smaller scene.
This guy was actually creating his BIG data and also mining it in the right way. Being a management consultant I have personally seen companies who don’t even know what to do with their sales numbers. Who don’t even take the pain of looking at trends, and analysing future potential. And mind it these are not small companies but some real big ones. And in these times I meet a man who has got his basics perfect till the CRM. A guy who knows ki uska maximum business value wise repeat customers se hi ata hai and that is the base he is strengthening.
I was amazed.
When I discussed this stuff with my office colleagues next morning they told me that they knew an auto guy who has enlisted him as a flower delivery guy,online. Technology + Hard work and then magic.
And happy that I emerge one more experience strong.
Added on june 21, 2013
Rajesh & Harsha!
Updated: Nov 10, 2013
Presenting the rubber stamp
On 9th Nov 2013, that is yesterday, at the Delhi Rodinhoods Open House at IIT Delhi Auditorium, a magical moment was created! Some of the Rodinhooders after reading this article decided to make Rajesh’s entrepreneurial skills reach out to more people through a creative idea – The AutoStamp!
They created an interesting stamp in the shape of an auto and placed it inside a yellow box welded behind his seat. Anyone who is interested in having Rajesh’s number to avail his services, can take the impression on a piece of paper, behind any old visiting card or old cards placed inside the yellow box itself.
The concept was to create something that would make Rajesh’s unique service of being at your service at your call within 2 hours at any hour of the day, to more and more people. Being cost-effective and interesting enough, the stamp helped Rajesh get some much needed attention and get his number in most office goer’s pocket just like any other visiting card they carry!
The idea was shaped by multiple rodinhooders that include Abey John who helped in the content part of the stamp and Anamika Joshi and Tarun Jangid whose creative agency, nailbites, designed and executed the idea.
Yesterday, we presented the stamp (ref pic) to Rajesh in front of an audience of more than 200 rodinhooders at the Open House along with a Rodinhoods Tee. You can also watch the video created around the idea to know more.