Thursday, May 31, 2007

Bank of India

This blog is dedicated to the hospitality shown by the Bank Of India.

As I have started my new venture with two friends of mine, we thought of going to banks and enquiring about the process and details for opening a Current Account.We went to IDBI, ICICI and till then the representatives of these banks answered most of our queries and cleared our doubts ( as there is lot of paperwork involved in opening an account ) . Plus , as usual, these banks were quiet eager to take a new customer.

Then we went to Bank Of India. Before I write down today's experience , let me mention about my past experiences with this Bank : I had a Savings A/c with this bank. Twice I went to them for a DD and both times I had to wait for 2 hrs to get it done. And the previous time I had visited the bank to remove money, ( I was still in college ) they started asking me questions as though I looked like a conman to them. Well, I dont blame them,with so much fraud happening , and people being prejudiced, they had their reasons.

Anyways, today I went there hoping things have changed. I went inside, asked a person about where to enquire for opening a Current A/c. She directed me to a lady sitting in a corner. My friend and I went to that lady, and this is what happened :

Me : Hello,Me and my friends have just started a firm. We want to open a Current A/c.

( Lady looks at us with a suspicious glare, and tells us to wait. Not to mention, she didnt offer us to sit. After 5 minutes... )

Lady : What proof do you have to open a Current A/c. ( Again, with a very cross look , as if examining us or interrogating us in a court trial . I think she believed we were strolling outside, and came inside this bank just to pass away our time )

Me : The Agreement made between us friends, for the firm.

Lady : And address proof ? ( No, we dont have that as we are running our business from M G Road footpath !!!! )

Me : That will be procured.

Lady ( Not looking satisfied ) : Where is your office ?

Me : Vishrantwadi. ( Its a remote area , kind of a suburb )

Lady : So why dont you go to so many banks in Yerwada ? ( Yerwada houses lot of banks, mostly Co-op Banks. Its a very shady kind of place where it is quite risky to open a Current A/c )

Lady : Plus, the minimum balance in this bank is very high.

Me : How much ?

Lady : It is Rs. 25,000 .

( She was waiting for a look of depression or shock on our face at these words )

Me : Thats ok.

Lady : But how will you operate from Vishrantwadi? You will have to come here everyday.

Me ( ignoring her ) : And what about Outstation cheques/At Par cheque facility ?

Lady : That is available, but no OD ( over draft) will be given initially.

Me : For how long ? For how many months ?

Lady : Atleast 6 months, or longer than that.

Me ( wanting to close the discussion ) : Ok, but the minimum balance is 25K ?

Lady ( sternly ) : Yeah .

( I soon realized it is useless getting more details from her , and we walked out from there )

I had many terrible experiences before - with SBI, BoI , but that was all because of huge queue, inability of staff to handle operations, inefficient working of the Bank's infrastructure. But this experience was the worst. Its because the Bank ( represented by the Lady ) was not keen to get a new customer. We were not keen to open an account in BoI. We went there for details. If the details would have suited us, we would have gone ahead with opening the a/c. But they actually wanted to avoid us opening a account in their bank.Nothing can be worse than this. I have never seen a vendor/establishment/institution trying to push away probable customers.

Maybe it was the Lady's prejudice that led us to this experience. But that is not how businesses are run. Maybe if we had interacted with some other employee, the experience would have been different. But that doesnt matter.In a corporation/institution, each and every employee - right from the receptionist to the Manager - represent their organization and the values that the organization stands for. People associate the organization with the employees they interact with. Each and every employee should be trained and should act accordingly.

We went to HDFC after that, where the lady at the help desk was very friendly. She first asked us what is our Business into, and what type of transactions are we looking for. She then explained all the details that were required. I am actually considering going for HDFC , even though they are not providing many Outstation Cheque facilities which are being provided by other banks for the same Minimum Average Quaterly Balance.

Organizations need to build a relationship with their customers. There needs to be a sense of trust between the vendor and customer. It is very important , atleast in this fast-pace world to offer more than just services. Providing services alone is not enough.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Entrepreneurship in India

Its been almost 2 months since I took my first step in my dream to become a successful entrepreneur. I knew it was coming, I knew I had to take the step at some time, but it just got catalyzed thanks to the same dream shared by two friends of mine from college. Everything is steady now, and I will keep everyone updated about our venture from time to time.

This is my theory for future of entrepreneurship in India. ( Yes, now I have changed my specialization from writing on 'philisophy' to 'entrepreneurship' . Or actually , now its both ! ) I think with increase in job opportunities in India, more and more people will be inclined to take the path of becoming an entrepreneur .Kind of paradox , isn't it ?

Let me explain ... First of All, the main ingredient for becoming an entrepreneur is your risk-taking ability. It all comes down to how ready are you to take a risk - calculated risk or not.Your every step and decision in your entrepreneurial life will be associated with risk, which will have an impact not only on yourself, but many other people that are associated with your venture.

So, my theory is , when people have more job opportunities, and when they see that situation is not going to be that bad in future , in terms of getting a job, people ( I mean students and population under 30 ) will be ready to take risk and opt for becoming an entrepreneur. I mean at least those who wanted to do this from a long time, or who wanted to take a bit of risk, might start doing it now. Because they know that even if the venture fails or if they don't succeed, they still have the safer option of doing a job in future.

When people don't have jobs , they start feeling insecure. There is tremendous pressure , specially on students from lower and upper middle-class families, to get a job and sustain the family.Hence people stop taking risks. They start looking for alternatives, like doing post-graduation , just so that they can get a job after doing post-grad. They feel more pressurized to take up a job.

The other day , I met one senior from our college, who is about to start his MBA this June 2007 .After talking to him for sometime, he expressed his ambition to start a venture, but as he got into a good college , he postponed his step , and might do it after doing MBA.

Recently , more and more IIM-A ad IIM-B students are opting for starting their own venture. Many of the students are not even sitting for campus placements. They know that this is the time to take the step. They are sure that even if it doesn't work, the job situation in India is getting better, and will improve for some years down the lane.

Everyone have their own reasons to take the step. Some have a burning passion to do it, some want to just try it , and others do it for necessity. But I feel this is the right time to take the step. So why not take the risk, won't it be worth trying ?

Anyways, this is my theory, and criticism is always welcome. More blogs on entrepreneurship coming soon !