Advice to Entrepreneurs seeking funding
“Answer to yourself first, how convinced you are that you can make this project a completely scalable model and take it to the next level. Because if you are not convinced then you cannot convince anybody else.
Be convinced that these are the skill sets, which I can use for my project, and these are the skill sets I can find from others. Therefore don’t hesitate to find the right co-founders for your project. It is very important to have a balanced team at the management level so that you can always have crossing of ideas. Single promoter driven companies are always not the best choice for the investors.”
Smriti is an investment banking professional, with extensive experience in advising clients on fund raising, mergers and acquisitions, growth strategy etc. She runs a boutique Investment Banking Firm – First League Ventures, based out of NCR, to support early stage businesses in their strategy and fund raising process. A Chartered Accountant by profession, she has worked on multiple statutory and internal audits, tax engagements and due diligence engagements for both large enterprises as well as SMEs. She has over 12 years of Investment Banking experience from a Big 4 firm in India, focused on private equity / venture fund raising and strategic acquisitions. Her expertise is financial modeling, deal structuring, valuation, due diligence and deal negotiation in the Telecom, Media and Technology sectors, including Education and Professional services.
Q. Tell us about your journey as an entrepreneur.
A. After 15 years of experience in Leadership & Learning domain working with Accenture, I left the corporate world to start my own venture. I started LeaderinU around 3 years back with the vision to harness the uniqueness in every individual and work on his or her strengths.
Its when I started out and formed my company, did I realise that women entrepreneurs in India are still struggling to make their mark. They are faced with challenges like culture bias, public safety or balancing work, life and home.
And I started with the new program called L.I.F.E. – Leader in Female Entrepreneurs. It’s a program for Female Entrepreneurs; dedicated to encourage their progress and help them grow their business. It arms them with tools to build their entrepreneur skills, networking skills and stay inspired to venture into new business opportunities or enter the next phase to grow existing business. It’s all about – Harness your power to your passion.
Q. What keeps you up at night?
A. Financial Management is critical for success of any business – especially a start-up. You need to do so much with very limited resources – money, time, and people. It gives me sleepless nights.
Q. What keeps you going?
A. The whole journey towards achieving my goal is a rewarding experience. It gives me the motivation to keep moving ahead inspite of any challenges.
Q. What are 2 most essential skills any entrepreneur must have to succeed?
A. The most essential skills will be
- Confidence in your abilities, in your own strengths, to help you grow your business.
- Determination to overcome any challenges that stop you from achieving your goals.
Q. If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
A. Keep yourself focused and determined and don’t let anyone or anything pull you down.