Anurag Parihar graduated from MATS University in 2014. At present, he is the founder and chief executive officer of Rostrumlegal.com. RostrumLegal.Com is an online e-learning platform for lawyers, law students and anyone who wants to learn law. The company operates with a vision to deliver professional legal education to millions of people from around the world at affordable costs.
In this interview he talks to us about:
- Biggest challenges to start a business.
- How to protect a great idea.
- How to obtain a domain name.
- Online courses helpful in starting a business.
What are the biggest challenges to starting a business?
I think taking the first step is the biggest challenge. I always say this to people that every tom, dick or harry in this world has one or two business ideas which can be worth millions of dollars but no one dares to materialise those ideas. I think each one of us have experienced that moment in life when, after hearing a news about some cool startup, we say that “I had a similar business idea, I should have given it a try…” Taking the first step is a real big deal in starting any kind of business.
There are lot of other things, like commitment towards studies or the job, and pressure from family and friends, which prevent us from taking risks. If you think that your idea can create an impact in changing the way people live their lives, you should definitely give it a try.
How can I protect my great idea?
It might sound a bit hilarious but from my personal experience both as a law student and an entrepreneur I would say that ideas are the only form of intellectual property which cannot be afforded any legal protection. Also, you cannot sue anyone or claim a compensation for stealing your ‘great idea’. In fact, stopping someone from pursuing the same kind of business as yours can prove to be unlawful and anti-competitive.
If you have a great business idea in mind and you have fully convinced yourself to start your journey to become the next Steve Jobs or Elon Musk of the industry, it would be a very good thing to share and discuss your idea with as many people as you can to take positive inputs to start. A suggestion from an unknown fellow passenger in a local train can also prove to be helpful in realising your billion-dollar dream!
Once you have started or when you are already in the business, you can utilise a lot of legal routes to protect the things which are important to your business. Those things can be your logo, the name of your business, software codes, designs or your secret fried chicken masala (it’s better not to spill such secret)!
How can I obtain the domain name I want?
I think choosing the right domain name for starting a website or a blog is really important to create a good online presence. Domain names can be very crucial if the business is targeting online users. To choose a domain name one should keep in mind that it should be a unique web address. Also, at the same point of time it should be very general to the industry you are doing your business in. Following this suggestion can help businesses or blogs to get organic traffic from search engines. This can be really helpful in contributing towards the growth of the business especially in early days. The perfect example for such type of domains can be housing.com or conferencealerts.com.
There are a lot of websites which sell domains and provide other web hosting services. It is advised to go with a big brand and since these service providers sometimes offer great deal on domains and hosting packages, one should do a proper research before buying to crack the best deal. Also, it should be noted that setting up an ecommerce store or a blog is very easy, there are several articles available on the web which can help you in learning to do so.
How much should I capitalize my business with at the beginning?
The amount of investment needed while starting the business completely depends on the type of business. Some types of businesses can be started at the cost of very small or zero investment. A YouTube channel or a Facebook page sharing funny posts to make people laugh can be turned into a profitable business, the cost of starting such things is practically nothing. A small e-commerce website or a blog, publishing articles on topics like 10 things to not, can be started at a cost of less than 5000 Rupees.
On the other hand, there are lot of capital intensive businesses, like a restraint or a manufacturing company, which can require a lot of investment at the beginning itself. A business can be started either with no money or with a lot of investment but it is very important to plan the budget and the source of income for a long run to manage some of necessary spending in future.
Where can I get money for my business?
Investment is a very important ingredient for growth or expansion of a business. There are a lot of options available for entrepreneurs to raise funds. Some of the important sources include an angel funding, or a funding from a venture capital fund. Two of these are can be simply differentiated by the amount of money they invest in your start up. The former is an investing company often managed by few people known as angel investors who invest significantly less amount of money when compared to venture capital funds which are usually giant corporations managing a huge pool of money. There are lot of schemes run by government and various public and private sector banks which offer collateral free loans to small and medium scale companies on a lucrative interest rates.
There are other creative options to raise money like crowd funding where a startup can raise money from general public by simply posting their business plan on crowdfunding website and offering exclusive launch benefits to the investors. There are a lot of competitions which select infant startups and provide them with mentorship and a small amount of initial funding. There are a lot of startup incubators which look for promising early stage startups.
The amount of money available as compared to the requirement of startups is very less. Only one in a 100 startup is able to attract investors to provide funding. Not only the business idea, but a lot of factors contribute in making a startup attractive to the investors. And, last but not the least, the revenue generated by the business is also an important source of funding.
How should equity be divided among co-founders of a startup?
I think that this is the toughest question in the interview and also one of the most confusing decision an entrepreneur has to take in his life.The equity can be divided by looking into various factors like the type of responsibilities each founder has. Such responsibilities can include the development of the product, investing initial capital, formulating and refining the business idea, marketing, business development etc. Sometimes it is good to take advice from a third party who is close to all the founders, knows the business and is not interested in the business of the company.
It is also important for the founders to enter into a founder’s agreement which decides the share of equity each founder gets and also enlists the responsibility of each of the founders. The agreement should also accommodate plans to include team members and investors who will join the company in future. There a lot of articles, blog posts and tutorial videos which can be referred to gain a clear understanding on this area.
What online resources are helpful for learning more about starting a business?
Several types of free resources are available, both online and offline, to learn about the ways of doing business. Just ask google if you are stuck on something and you will surely find the solution to your problem.
There are a lot of websites like Forbes, Tech Crunch and Entrepreneur who publish a lot of articles on important issues. Also, there are lot You Tube channels who publish videos to help entrepreneur. I would recommend following ‘Google for Entrepreneurs’. It is also advised to know about the life of entrepreneurs and other type of leaders. One can also watch movies and read books to get inspired!
I would recommend people to watch my latest favourite movies ‘Steve Jobs’ (2015) and ‘The Big Shorts’ (2015). Also,If you are looking for a step by step guide to start a business, you can read ‘The 100 Dollar Startup’ by Chris Guillebeau.