[quote style=”boxed”]If I could start over, I would have used more resources around me. One thing I didn’t realize are the amount of people that are willing to help you, and by simply stepping back and using your resources, you can eliminate less confusion in the future.[/quote]
Chirag Kulkarni is an entrepreneur, speaker, and startup advisor, who has experience starting and running successful companies. Chirag was recognized as one of the top young entrepreneurs under 21. His first company, STR received honors such as “top 15 business plans in the nation” and “2nd best business in Kansas City.” He later sold STR before starting, C&M Group, a strategy consulting and R&D firm headquartered in Boston.
Where did the idea for C&M Group come from?
I founded the C&M Group because many people were dissatisfied with the traditional methods for consulting, and saw many of the larger firms as stereotypical agencies that did not necessarily give their personal advice through experience. C&M Group was founded to help join entrepreneurial thinkers and innovators with business owners to make effective change in organizations.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I typically wake up at around 4:30 in the morning and start my day with mediation for at least an hour. I try to make sure that I maintain a balance between my work, family, and spiritual life. I then take a quick shower and proceed to send out and reply to about a million emails. Sometimes I will have lunch with clients, or meet with potential clients on site. By the evening, I sometimes have meetings with my team, and sneak in a quick workout! I try to make it a point to eat dinner with friends or family. By around 11:30, I am fast asleep.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I am lucky because I have an amazing support system that I am able to bounce ideas off to. Whether it is my team, parents, mentors, or friends, I know I have a group of individuals that can understand and develop what I’m thinking about. Half the time the idea is not as important as a planned execution, so I make sure that I plan all the
necessary components to execute my idea effectively.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I am really excited in hearing and seeing how Amazon will be revolutionizing the supply chain through drones. It will be fascinating to see how efficiently products will be able to be delivered, and the complications that may arise with this newly identified method. Space travel is also something that fascinates me. Its amazing how space travel will change the way our food is delivered, to the distance from our loved ones.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I think that by maintaining a regular and well-balanced life style, I am really able to increase my productivity by thinking strategically about my thoughts and ideas over a certain time period.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
One of the toughest jobs I had was volunteering at Boston Building Resources. It was a job that required me to work the majority of my time with my hands, and I felt that I should be using my brain more. More than anything, I learned to work with people that are very different than me, and learn what it takes to be successful, by seeing how hard people work everyday to make ends meet.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
If I could start over, I would have used more resources around me. One thing I didn’t realize are the amount of people that are willing to help you, and by simply stepping back and using your resources, you can eliminate less confusion in the future.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
As an entrepreneur, I make sure that treat others like my family. It sounds simple, but people remember good treatment. Whether it be sending thank you notes to business mentors, or investment in employees, showing people you care is a great indicator of trust in others.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
In the beginning, I always heard about content marketing, however I never realized how effective it is. We have experienced a crazy amount of views.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One of the biggest mistakes I had in my first venture, STR, was making sure my employees were 1. Told exactly what is expected of them 2. Held accountable for their actions. When I started C&M Group, I made sure that my employees agreed on the tasks that they were responsible for, and I have even found that they go above and beyond through their execution.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Lately, I have become fascinated with the idea of Social Entrepreneurship. I think people look to developing countries like India for social entrepreneurial ventures, but are overseeing opportunities in the US. By simply looking back at the basics, we can tackle issues in, for example, unhealthily lunches by the substitution of healthier meals. I believe there is a lot of people that believe in a health revolution.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
My first business experience was when I was forced to read Captain Underpants when I was in 3rd grade, and I actually began to create comics and sell them on the school playground similarly to the characters in the book!
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
I am a huge Apple junkie; everything from the new Macbook Pro Retina, to iCloud are what I use for personal use and business use. My favorite websites are TechCrunch, and CNN. I try to stay as up to date as possible regarding my business news, but also politics, international affairs, and health.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Through my fascination in social entrepreneurship, I would suggest anyone that wants to learn more about business to read “A Fistful of Rice: My Unexpected Quest to End Poverty Through Profitability” by Vikram Akulla. One of my favorite books is “Good to Great” by Jim Collins.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
I love reading the industry reports that come out of McKinsey & Company. A lot of great business leaders post interesting insights into the business world. Some of my favorites are @mcuban and @richardbranson
Chirag Kulkarni on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/chiragkulkarni
Chirag Kulkarni on Twitter: @cgkulks
Chirag Kulkarni on Chirag’s blogs: http://www.chiragkulkarni.com
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.