Summary Of The Book:”How I Braved Anu Aunty And Co-Founded A Million Dollar Company”, is a humorous, simplistic true story about two young boys and their entrepreneurial journey, depicting their victory against all possible odds. The author purposely uses boyish slang and incorporates in its literature, the typical language of the youth. This is a great plus point for it helps capture the attention of youth readers and makes it a very relatable narration for them.
The protagonist is Varun Agarwal, the author himself. He narrates his roller coaster ride, of achieving his entrepreneurial dream along with his best friend Rohn Malhotra.Varun, was an unfocused boy, with no apparent aims in his life. He would spend all of his precious days in going out with friends, whiling away his time on Facebook and sleeping until afternoon. This was a massive cause of worry for his mother, who was always complaining about Varun to her ‘Kitty Party’ friends and would perch herself in front of God, constantly praying for Varun. Little did she know about Varun’s ambitious entrepreneurial dreams.At this stage in Varun’s life, enters Anu Aunty.
Anu Aunty was his Mother’s friend from her ‘kitty’. She was a very bossy woman who had to poke her nose into everyone’s business. She would act like she wanted to help Varun get out of his rut, by getting him interviews with Tech Companies, but her actual motive was to put Varun down.
She would always praise her son and boast about his grades, achievements and jobs and was a very condescending woman.Varun along with his best friend, Rohn Malhotra decides to start a company called ‘Alma Mater’, which sells personalized school and college merchandise. Anu Aunty repeatedly belittles Varun, calls him a t-shirt salesman and tells him that his company will never succeed.Varun lends a deaf ear to Anu Aunty’s remarks and continues putting all his hard work into ‘Alma Mater’. Despite all her efforts to bring him down, he manages to overcome all obstacles she creates for him.
Varun and Rohn, go against all odds, put together all their savings, take a loan and start ‘Alma Mater’. They definitely had a roller coaster ride ahead of them, full of ups and downs. They have to deal with never-ending problems like expensive merchandisers, condescending family members, a teary-eyed mother, lack of a logistics partner, using a friend’s apartment for storage due to lack of a warehouse. They did not have any other employees so they managed the accounting, marketing, logistics, branding, packaging all by themselves. Every family member and every situation seemed to go against them. But, most importantly, they never lost hope and they never gave up. They struggled and hustled through every impediment that came in their way, only to emerge victorious, despite all odds.
How Is It Connected To Entrepreneurship?This book narrates a story that was set in a time period, wherein India as a country, had not accepted ‘Entrepreneurship’ as a means of livelihood, with open arms. It shows us the harsh, obstacle-filled journey of two young boys in Bangalore, who took up the journey of starting their own company called ‘Alma Mater’.The two boys, namely Rohn and Varun, literally sketched out their business idea on a piece of tissue paper, at a restaurant, when out with their friends one night. They scribbled down the numbers and their business plan on that piece of tissue. Entrepreneurship is all about having an idea or a vision that doesn’t exist, and then putting every ounce of your belief and efforts in turning the vision into reality. Entrepreneurship, in modern times, has taken on a very flexible approach. People used to believe that being an entrepreneur or starting your own company, is something you can do only once you’re 30-40 years old, with enough work experience. This book shows us exactly how Rohn and Varun, two very young boys in their early twenties, managed to build a million dollar company, all on their own.
They used the ‘Just Dial’ service, to hunt down their manufacturers, accountants, financial analysts etc. When it came to storage and warehousing, they literally used their friend Sid’s apartment. Rohn and Varun, along with being the owners of ‘Alma Mater’ were also drivers, delivery boys, salespersons, marketers and a lot more, for the company.
This depicts the flexible nature of entrepreneurship. There is no need for starting with an office space, having a bunch of employees or any other formalities as can be seen in old established companies. This book shows us that anyone can be a successful entrepreneur as long as they have an idea and are driven with passion to work towards it.How would you relate “How I Braved Anu Aunty And Co-Founded A Million Dollar Company” for your B-Plan?I feel that when it comes to relating with our B-Plan, this book is ideal.
It narrates the journey of two boys that are just as old as we are. That ensures that the way we think, speak and ideate is very similar. Rohn and Varun, when starting ‘Alma Mater’, face different problems on a daily basis. First it was looking for the right merchandise manufacturer, then find a suitable market to sell their product, creating the perfect pitch, designing the brand image, settling on a logistics partner, launching their e-commerce store, taking care of legal procedures and securing investments for their company.
The list goes on and on. This is what the life of an entrepreneur is. Each day is unpredictable and filled with different issues, unlike employees of a company, who have to deal with one job role only, throughout the term of employment. In this way, we also wish to deal with the obstacles that lay in the path of our B-Plan, one by one, to achieve the best possible business plan for our idea.
We want to be dynamic and flexible, so that we have the ability to deal with the variety of problems that come our way.How would you innovate your product / your B-Plan idea using concepts mentioned in the book?Something that has really been stressed upon in this book is the proper use of social media in this day and age, to maximize the reach of your company and product. Rohn and Varun used various techniques such as sharing photos of happy customers on Facebook, tagging people on their image posts on Facebook. This helped multiply the number of users that saw each post, which led to a direct multiplied increase in the number of interested customers. In this era of social media websites and applications such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, it is very essential to make your own company’s presence felt on such platforms. Hence, we will ensure that our product is well marketed and our brand image is present on these platforms.The other thing that really helped Rohn and Varun was directly meeting their customers, when they had to first deliver the orders.
It showed us how important it is, to maintain a relationship with your customers and recognize their actual wants. We will also include an ‘Interactive Customer Feedback Mechanism’ in our B-Plan, to ensure that our customers and heard and their demands are looked after. This is also a very essential step that must be taken by all companies, otherwise they may lose their customers, to other competitors. What is your key learning from this book as an entrepreneur and also as an intrapreneur ?Two words, that hold a lot of meaning, “Carpe Diem”. It means ‘seize the day’. This truly resonated with me.
It is very simplistic, but it’s something so important that it must reflect in our attitude as we take over each new day!There were many lessons that I learnt from this book from an entrepreneur’s point of view. The first and most important lesson was to ‘just do it”. A lot of times, people have an idea in their mind but never really get to achieving it, for they are too scared to risk it all. This book beautifully conveys how one should not let their ideas ‘die a natural death’, and instead just work towards it with all they’ve got. Another important lesson I learnt was to know the answers to all the questions relating to your company, product and industry. As an entrepreneur, there should be no room for ambiguity when it comes to your own company. It will make things easier for you when it comes to delivering a pitch, attracting investors, or even just managing your company.
Rohn and Varun literally lived and breathed their brand, ‘Alma Mater’. They were so passionate about their business, it seemed as though they were obsessed with it. ‘Alma Mater’ was all they ever spoke about to people and they would put forth their brand name in every place possible. This is a very essential lesson for an entrepreneur because if you aren’t obsessed and passionate about your company, nobody else will be.A certain job role played by Rohn and Varun played a very crucial role in the success of ‘Alma Mater’. In the infant stage of the company, they did not have a logistics partner for a while.
This led to Rohn and Varun becoming the delivery boys for their own company. They would go from door-to-door, delivering the orders of their customers. This helped them in two ways.
Firstly, this helped Rohn and Varun, come into direct contact with their customers. They would interact with customers and gain feedback about their company. This would help them to better ‘Alma Mater’ and cater to the customers’ exact wants. Secondly, this also helped them build a network of people. Whilst delivering their products, they would also exchange business cards with the customers, and this provided them with a strong network base that proved priceless for the company, in the long run.
This helped me learn how important it is to stay in direct touch with consumers and collect their feedback. It is extremely necessary to keep updating one’s products and services based on what their customers truly want, in order to be a successful company.