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Entrepreneurs shouldn’t have a Plan B, says Narayana Murthy at think tank session with SVKM’s NMIMS students

January 14, 2021

In a stimulating hour-long virtual question and answer session, organized by SVKM’s NMIMS School of Branding and Advertising, visionary business leader N.R. Narayana Murthy advised students that entrepreneurs should avoid keeping a Plan B instead of giving their all to their venture. He was speaking at the Think Tank Series, an interactive session with business leaders organized by the school. He answered queries on a range of topics, from challenges and mistakes faced by entrepreneurs to his own ideology and beliefs. 

The Think Tank Series is part of the school’s experiential approach in learning where students get an opportunity to interact and learn from business leaders and creative professionals. The aim is to provide them with a better insight into brand building and entrepreneurship. Past speakers include advertising guru KV Sridhar, National Creative Director, Leo Burnett India; TV and theatre personality Cyrus Barocha; keynote speaker and Group President (Risk, Security, and New Ventures), Reliance Industries Ltd, Capt. Raghu Raman, acclaimed film directors Shekhar Kapur and Bharat Dabholkar; Prakash Varma, famous director & founder of Nirvana films and well-known journalist Vinod Dua. Apart from the students, NMIMS’s Pro Vice-Chancellor Dr. Sharad Mhaiskar, Registrar Dr. Meena Chintamaneni, Marketing Director Manish Dalmia, and many SoBA (School of Branding and Advertising) faculty attended this session.

Speaking at the interaction, N.R. Narayana Murthy said, “Entrepreneurs have a tremendous passion for their idea. They believe in their idea and are willing to work more than 20 hours a day. However, we must remember that luck also plays a very important role in the success of an idea. If luck is not coming your way, you have to analyze dispassionately and close your venture. But when you are running your enterprise, you cannot have a plan B and you cannot be half-hearted about your idea. You have to give your best as if there is no alternative at all. So, till you get a very clear message from the market that your idea is not going to set sail, please do not think of Plan B.”

He was responding to a query on his own beginning as an entrepreneur with Softronics, the first company he founded and was later forced to close down. He spoke on common mistakes by young entrepreneurs make in their startups. The most common mistake was not defining how their product or idea added value for the customer in a way better than their competitors. He pointed out that entrepreneurs must distinguish between the value of their product and its price. Calling himself a compassionate capitalist, he said that India can progress only if entrepreneurs create more quality jobs with better salaries. He urged students and budding entrepreneurs to work towards India’s economic growth by creating quality jobs and businesses that could hold against international competition.

He asked business leaders to build an ecosystem of talent around themselves while ensuring a fair working environment, “Leaders have to exercise self-restraint in apportioning the benefits from a corporation disproportionately to themselves. In other words, they should not take away the major part of the benefit that accrues from their company. That leader should lead by example in values, excellence, honesty, integrity, transparency, fairness, accountability, openness to ideas, and meritocracy. They have to demonstrate transparency and accountability in apportioning fruits of the hard work of everybody in their company.”

For their own and the nation’s progress, he impelled students to change their mindset to overcome indiscipline, apathy, and dishonesty while putting society’s interests ahead of their own. Thanking Narayana Murthy, Dean Mukesh Sharma termed the session as eye-opening. He advised the students to listen to the interaction again later and learn from Narayana Murthy’s wisdom. He asked them to inculcate his ideas in their daily life to create a better world. Expressing her thanks, Program Director, Priya Menon Nair gave Narayana Murthy a standing ovation.

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