They stare at the walls, scribble in books, chat away on the phone, pretend to listen or close their eyes and sleep. These are a few of the many options available to tune out the boring lecture that goes above the head. A dry monotonous teaching pattern along with equally stark study material adds to the woes of aspiring students. Last minute studying, crash courses and smart friends doubling up as teachers have been born out of this stagnant teaching-learning process.
An increasing number of students now turn to the global saviour i.e. our beloved Google, to solve their alarming issues. While a couple of websites are out there making quick bucks banking on this growing issue, two friends turned business partners, Sukrut and Murtaza, came up with a rather unique idea to help those in distress.
Startoholics caught up with Sukrut and here’s what he has to say about their unique approach, MBA ka Keeda.
Could you shed some light on your life before MBA ka Keeda? What motivated this start-up?
Actually I never thought that I’d be starting a website like this. I wanted to start a website focused on teaching students shorter and smarter methods to solve any quant problem. I wanted to create walk through videos for topics from Quant to Logical Reasoning. I wanted to start something similar to what “Khan Academy” is doing, but when I started, I quickly realized that I’m not really good at making those high quality videos and also I wouldn’t be able to attract the right traffic to my website.
So I sat with my friend (co-founder) Murtaza to create a game plan for the website. We decided categories and content that we wanted to be covered. We decided how to monetize it.
There were two major reasons that led to this startup:
I am very passionate about CAT , especially in CAT Quant, it’s not because I consistently scored very high marks in this section. It’s because I really like solving these problems. It gives me a sense of satisfaction when I teach it to someone. I love solving CAT Quant questions even more than getting into IIM, maybe that’s the reason I couldn’t get into IIMs. Just kidding.
Before I thought of starting the website, I had gone through a lot of reading about internet marketing including Blogging, Social Media, SEO, copywriting, Direct Response Marketing etc. and I have read a lot of books on Marketing and Sales.
I think there are 2 things important to succeed, passion for your subject and ability to market your product or service.
How did you take your first step towards MBA ka Keeda?
First, I was not sure about which name should I give to my website. My focus was to come up with some unique name. I didn’t want to come with some jargonic name. I was thinking of coming up with something like Pagalguy, which is a unique blend of Indian and English flavour, so I decided to come up with name with the same idea and we ultimately came up with two names-MBA Ka Katta and MBA Ka Keeda, but we chose MBA Ka Keeda. My friend Murtaza gave me these two ideas.
What are your plans for promoting MBA ka Keeda?
My initial plan was to create more and more content and share it on my wall and Facebook page, various forums/ Facebook groups and telling my friends to share the content on their walls. It resulted in momentary traffic spike but we were not able to create permanent traffic. It didn’t happen until I come across some gentlemen like Ryan Deiss, Ben Settle and Derek Helpern , who through their courses , live events and books made me realise my drawbacks. I changed my entire game plan and revamped the entire marketing strategy. Instead of creating 3 not so good articles on the website, I focused on creating 1 article every 2-3 days and focused on quality. My main plan is to promote website through social media right now. I have run several successful campaigns since then on Facebook which has created a lot of traffic and loyal subscribers.
Have you got the feedback and growth that you expected since launch?
“NO” not as expected because I did a lot of mistakes in the initial phase. I was not aware of some of the things like email marketing and other various promotional strategies which I didn’t get to know until I decided to take help from real mentors and then things started to change. Then I could bring more repetitive traffic, I was able to attract 1000 subscribers in 2 months and now I can communicate with my audience anytime through email broadcasts.
How difficult has this journey been? Have you faced any failures yet?
The journey is still not a big success but it will for sure be. The lesson I have learned is not to be bogged down by temporary failures and defeats.
My website was hacked by an unknown hacker 2-3 months after the launch and entire data was wiped out which was followed by some other major setbacks and because of that we implemented some strong security measures. I am lucky that I escaped from all the major troubles and accidents unscathed.
I dedicate it to the team of hard working people Akansha, Manoranjan, Rajul, Sarthak and Viswa.
What more do you wish to include to take MBA ka Keeda to the next level?
Initially I had plans to release premium content, getting money through Google adsense or direct ads and after going through the real marketing training , I debunked all those plans for obvious reasons.
First of all, I failed to realize that this is not a good business model to earn money and later I realized that there is more recognition and value creation in making it a subscription-based site, creating own products, creating joint venture partnerships and cross promoting complimentary products and services.
If not for MBA ka Keeda, where would you be now?
If not MBA Ka Keeda, I would have started a company specialized in providing solutions to small and big business owners and helping them create marketing strategies to get more traction, more clients, more sales and more profits. I learned all this marketing through Eben Pagan, Seth Godin, Ben Settle , Jay Abraham and various other experts.
The reason I want to do this is because most people including all those who have pursued MBA are not aware of some of the promotional strategies because B-school doesn’t teach you contemporary skills in marketing like digital marketing/ internet marketing and I think it’s the need of the hour.
If you go to the U.S.A, you will find a large no of experts teaching this topic but in India, you can hardly point out and expert doing similar stuffs. I am not talking about a company here; I am talking about an individual.
What has been the biggest lesson MBA ka Keeda taught you?
The biggest lesson MBA Ka Keeda has taught me is that even if you work with a team, you are still alone. In the times of major troubles/ difficulties, you have to find a way out and when you hit a major roadblock, you have to grow past that. This is the biggest lesson I have ever learnt and I think every solo-preneur should keep this in mind.
How important is the role of Social Media for startups?
Social Media is very important for startups. But one should know how to use it to the advantage from a business perspective. For each business, there are slightly different ways of using it and if you don’t know then you can always check out what your other successful competitors are doing now and if they are too big to copy, then check out what they did when they were in the initial phase of their growth.
This is a copy cat game but make sure don’t copy wrong ideas rather try to inject your own flavour in your marketing techniques.
Finally, what advice would you like to give to other young entrepreneurs?
I am not in the position to give advice and I don’t think I have accomplished some great feat yet except winning the hearts of many wannabe MBA aspirants through some of my articles and my story. I get messages, calls, mails and friend requests after people have read my story and I think that satisfies the part of my inner ego a little bit but if you ask me for some valuable tips somebody should take before starting up, I can certainly help.
Identify the topic you are passionate about. For me it was MBA and Marketing. A common mistake many people do is going after E-commerce, Apps or whatever just because they see mass going there and are not passionate about the topic or idea. They just want to start because they see a lot of money into it.
Thinking of money first and then building a business around it is a complete waste of time. Yes, you can make a lot of money into it but you won’t sustain when you see massive failure, it’s very difficult to persevere in difficult times.
Learn marketing and sales and by this I don’t mean get an MBA in marketing. Don’t get into the trap of bragging your degree. I am not saying this to tear down MBA or IIMs but because I have talked to many of my friends and some of them have openly admitted that they just did it because they wanted a big fat salary.
Learn from the people who actually build their business and not from some PhD professors.I came across this saying which is very true: “One will learn more by spending $1000 at Amazon and reading for six months than by spending $1,50,000 and four years at an Ivy League University.”