Shark Tank India judge's 5 winning lessons for startups and entrepreneurs

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Lenskart CEO Peyush Bansal, a judge on Shark Tank India, said that brands today need to do a lot more to stay relevant. He also shared some insights on spotting talent. (Image posted on LinkedIn by Peyush Bansal)

Peyush Bansal, the co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Lenskart, is among the judges on the Indian chapter of Shark Tank, a reality show where aspiring entrepreneurs try to win investments for their ideas. The experience, Bansal said, gave him some key learnings, which he shared with his LinkedIn network.

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Bansal said in a post that he went to Shark Tank to offer advice to young entrepreneurs but came back learning more than he could give. He summarised the lessons he learnt in five points.

The Lenskart CEO said that at present, brands need to do a lot more to stay relevant.

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“Consumers are changing,” Bansal wrote. “Next-age brands may not be brands of today. Social media has completely transformed the knowledge, aspirations, preferences, dreams and desire to fulfil those dreams of consumers. And hence micro communities/segments are developing small groups of consumers with similar set of value system, preferences and desires. This is also leading to new fan following, new heroes and new brands.”

The CEO of the prescription eyewear retail chain added that there is no “secret sauce” for success and the only way is to “hustle, fail, learn and grow”.

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Bansal also pointed out a flaw in recruitment processes of businesses.

“Talent is not only what we see shuffling in the so-called unicorns of India, but it is sitting multi levels below, but we never reach them because our recruitment processes are largely designed to look for people working with brand names we all see on TV, and not necessarily searching for potential,” he added. “And if companies can master how to spot this talent, it becomes a moat for them and a win-win situation as more talented people get opportunity to grow and prove themselves.”

The Lenskart boss added that innovation is happening in smaller towns much more than larger ones.

“Because they [small towns] are constrained more and larger the constraints, bigger the innovations (as we know…necessity is the mother of invention),” Bansal added. “Plus the environment is still lot more grounded, humble and close to consumer as it is relatively more distant from the unrealistic world of building business for valuations and investment.”

In Bansal’s view, most barriers faced by entrepreneurs are internal.

“What 20-people teams with all resources and funding are not able to do in a mid to large company, because of all the genuine reasons, 2 entrepreneurs are doing in a small room with no money…that too faster and better,” he added. “So it is all about hunger, passion, failing, trying.”

The Lenskart CEO also reflected on the changing speed of growth. “What would take 12 months 1 year back, is now taking 1 month and will soon take a day,” he said. “And this is because depth at which startups are using technology to find innovative solutions to solve problems is very different.”

He added: “So, if we are still talking year-on-year in our conference rooms, we have lost the plot. Month-on-month is bare minimum and week-on-week ideal. Plus thinking technology in solution of every problem, and not just as building a website is must.”

Bansal said that he had only shared his personal learnings. “Also, please take these with a pinch of salt, as I am still failing, learning and hence revising my own thoughts every month…sorry every hour,” he added.

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