BENGALURU: Entrepreneur Rajive Dhavan’s debut book STFU -- Start the F Up was launched this September, a book he started writing in mid-2013.
Dhavan, in his late 20s, is part of three start-ups, one of which took off five years ago. In an interview, the Hyederabad-based author-entrepreneur talks about his experience with business and in penning the book.
What made you name your book STFU -- Start the F Up?
As the book is primarily for young leaders of start-ups and SMEs, I wanted to connect with them using their lingo. ‘STFU’ is a commonly used acronym (It stands for ‘shut the f*** up). Also, the book is about execution and channelised aggression, so I felt using the acronym with this twist would make an apt title.
What did you have in mind when you sat down to write this book?
The idea was to document our failures, learning and experience. We went through a lot of issues starting up, and I realised these are common. I thought writing about them would help other entrepreneurs.
Tell us a bit about your start-ups.
Our first startup is an advertising agency — What’s In a Name Creatives. It began in 2010, when I was 22. All we had then was the passion to bring about a change in the way brands communicated with their audiences. That’s what keeps us going.
From being a print advertising agency, we soon became a full-fledged service advertising and digital marketing agency. We launched a specialised production house, Namesake Productions, in 2012. It focuses on videos and photography. In 2013, Just Flaunt, our salon and spa, came up.
What made you an entrepreneur?
My first brush with entrepreneurship was when I was in Class 8. A distant cousin had a business selling canned fruits, sauces and food colour. I decided to sell his products. I approached bakeries near my house. When I first spoke to the owners, they laughed it off.
Hurdles...When we launched our first start-up, I didn’t have a penny in my pocket. So, the big hurdle was to arrange the initial investment. Banks were not ready to give us a loan as I had not worked long for my previous job. Finally, I got `40,000 from a moneylender.
One thing a newbie start-up founder should remember...
They should remember that they will constantly face challenges. Only passion will help them survive, especially when things are not going their way. They should get their hands dirty, and execute things when needed.
What is a common mistake new-entrepreneurs make?
Most don’t have a strong purpose. Their only goal is funding, and making money. Money is a crucial aspect, but it can’t be the key purpose.
How is your book different from other books in the market?
Most business books talk about entrepreneurship from a later stage. Mine starts with the very first question all entrepreneurs should ask themselves before they takes the plunge -- What’s my purpose?