10 Startup lessons from the Bollywood movie “Band Baaja Baraat”

My young entrepreneur friends will really enjoy watching the movie “Band Baaja Baraat”, and there are 10 reasons to like it. First of all, I must confess I had a choice between Tees Maar Khan (TMK) and BBB, and I am happy I took right choice. The story is simple, a guy and a girl are young, ambitious and want to do something in life. Like every other love story in Indian cinema, boy meets girl, they fight, then start liking each other, start a business together, again fight, separate and then with some twists and turn, come together for a happy ending.

I am listing down 10 lessons every startup should learn from the movie:

1. You do not need a degree to be an entrepreneur – but need passion

The hero and heroine do not have a MBA or any fancy degree. The heroine has the passion to be a wedding planner and the hero chooses to partner her to avoid going back to his father’s business. With this initial enthusiasm, they go about meeting the customers. A degree can help you to a certain extent, but this should not stop you from going ahead to start your venture.

2. TEAM matters

Right from the beginning, the hero/heroine work towards making a good team. They divide responsibilities, work together, share profits, and enjoy what they do. The heroine is clearly the CEO and decision maker – an important aspect of any team is that there is a clear leader rather than a mix up of who does what. In BBB, the hero is an instinctive person, while heroine is well-balanced and methodical. In a scene in the movie, Shahrukh Khan who was supposed to dance in a wedding is unavailable at the last moment. Then the hero and heroine team up to put up a grand dance show!

3. There is always a first time when you start

In a scene in the film, a rich businessman questions the young company why they should get a contract as it is their first time. The hero convinces him by telling him the story of a young person who started tyre manufacturing 44 years back and is now the “tyre king” – happens to this same rich businessman. So there is always a first time when you start. When you meet a customer, be sure to showcase your confidence.

4. Size does not matter

When any startup begins its venture, it has to compete with large entrenched players. The startup company in the movie “Shaadi Mubarak”, competes against large players by providing personalized service and creativity. They do not cut prices, they simply innovate (bring their college friends to do DJ, use a new caterer, add “DHINCHAK” feel to marriages)

5. Competition does not matter

When you do the right thing, competition does not matter. The young team do their own thing, they are customer-focused, and most importantly, they do not imitate the competition. When you start a venture, you will have a very easy choice to copy your competition but that will not take you far.

6. Treat your vendors as partners

The BBB team treats their vendors (DJ/caterer/flower-person/decorator) as their partners. They share joyous moments with them, as well as profits! They treat them like family, and during a downtime in business, these same vendors support the BBB team. Make sure you treat your vendors as partners in business, and not treat them as if you are the boss.

Remember – when you behave like boss, you get employees but when you behave like a leader, you get committed soldiers who will lay their life for you.

7. Ethics are the foundation of business

When the BBB team starts business, the hero tries to steal power to save money, but the heroine reminds him that this is not the foundation they will build their business on. This spirit continues in the future when they grow big and leads to further success. When you are small and starting your business, there will be several moments when you want/can be unethical like avoiding taxes, not paying employees etc. but if you start weak, you become weaker.

8. Start small but dream big

The BBB company dreams to be the best wedding planner in India but do not mind starting with Janakpuri (a small locality in Delhi). After gaining experience and establishing their brand, they move on to Sainik Farms (a high-end locality in Delhi)! When you start a business, you need customers to establish your credentials and gain momentum so it does not matter if you get small or large business, as long as you are moving in the right direction.

9. Know your customer

In a scene in BBB, the company wins a large contract by knowing their customers (connecting with them on facebook, and finding out their personal preferences, history etc.). Marketing is not about advertising in Star or Sony; it is about knowing your customer and using that knowledge!

10. Entrepreneurship is better than job

This is my personal preference – I believe every individual should try starting their ventures at least once without fear of failure. Hero’s friend goes in for MBA while the hero starts his venture and becomes hugely successful! Just follow your dreams and you will enjoy the process.

Last but not the least, please put all your lessons in action. Idea does not make a business, execution does!

About the Author

Amit Grover, founder of AHAtaxis.com, is an IIT Delhi and IIM Indore alumnus, having more than 12 years of industry experience. He started Nurture Talent Academy, and earlier worked with Infosys, Asian Paints, Onida and Mumbai Angels. He regularly blogs on www.amitgrover.co.in. AHA Taxis, his recent venture, offers one way outstation travel across India.

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