Mohit Tater is the founder and CEO of BlackBook Investments, where he helps investors get a higher ROI by investing in online businesses and digital assets. We recently spoke with Mohit about entrepreneurship and learned some tips on how the founders of small businesses can succeed in today’s global marketplace.
Tell us a bit about your background. Why did you decide to start an entrepreneur blog?
I come from a middle-class family where getting a job or becoming a doctor was the most coveted thing you could do. I was born and brought up in India and am a pharmacist by education.
I read the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki when I was in high school, and that was the day I decided to be an entrepreneur. Since then, I have started several businesses; some succeeded, most failed, but I kept on going. Today, I have a portfolio of several successful businesses and I am always looking to start a new venture on any given day!
I started down the entrepreneurship path on my own and did not have anyone to guide or mentor me. That was the primary reason I started an entrepreneurship blog: so that people like me who didn’t have access to resources and education but wanted to start businesses could get help.
If an entrepreneur were to say to you, “Since I’m creating something new, I don’t need to concern myself with the details of the existing market,” how would you respond?
I would simply tell them that before you even start making your product, just offer it to the world and see if there are any takers. And by takers, I mean paying customers. It can be your friends and relatives or people who follow you online. Or you could simply put a sales page up on the Internet and drive traffic to it to see how many people want to buy it.
Once you have enough people interested, then you go ahead and actually create your product. This will save you a ton of time because if there is no market for your product, then it would be a waste of time and resources to create it.
Name one thing that a startup can do TODAY that will improve its chances of success.
Listen. Listen closely to your existing customers to see what they think about your product and how it can be made better. Your existing customers are your best advocate, and you don’t need much marketing if your customers do it for you.
What are some of the common financial mistakes that entrepreneurs tend to make?
The most common mistake would be to build a business solely for the purpose of selling it for millions to a big VC firm. Founders should focus on creating a solid product, caring about their customers, and making their company profitable. That should be the main focus – not just burning through VC money so that you can get more VC money.
When starting a new company or enterprise, what types of business functions should an entrepreneur attempt to automate or outsource as soon as possible?
Initially, the founder should focus on understanding and doing things on their own. Then slowly, they can outsource and automate tasks such as development, marketing, customer service, and pretty much everything else.
Today, you don’t need to have everything in-house. I run multiple companies but only have six full-time people right now. I outsource everything I can to the best people I can find.
Since entrepreneurs tend to be unorthodox and nonconforming by their very nature, is it more difficult for them to become effective leaders of employees or other groups of people?
I would agree to that to a certain extent. But it’s not impossible for entrepreneurs to become great leaders. If they treat their employees not as employees but more like team members and give them the flexibility and freedom they need, it will do wonders.
What are some of the most essential leadership skills that entrepreneurs must learn and master?
Those skills would certainly be how to talk to people (clients or employees), how to work under tight deadlines, and most importantly, being honest with the people you are working with.
What do you foresee for the future of entrepreneurship around the world?
It has to be social entrepreneurship. We will need more entrepreneurs who are focused on making this world a better place while still doing good business and making money.