Vignesh, a budding entrepreneur and co-founder of CarPal, a company in the digital car selling space, joined us for an interview-format conversation over coffee. His company helps customers make better car purchasing decisions and offers all associated services online. He had taken the Professional Styles assessment earlier and was interested to see what his Entrepreneurial Potential Profile could tell him about his entrepreneurial style. The Entrepreneurial Potential report from Saville describes Entrepreneurial Potential in 21 areas under six themes. (See a sample report here)
A quick look at Vignesh’s overall profile summarises his potential in the six entrepreneurial themes.
“Why entrepreneurship?”, we asked and he said, “I wanted to do something of my own and I always had some ideas that I really wanted to implement. Initially it wasn’t about money. But then it became so, for practical reasons.” His high scores on Action Oriented (95th %ile) and Compelling Vision (90th %ile) describe his entrepreneurial motivation very succinctly.
On how he gets in touch with clients and dealers, he said, “I always wanted to do something with cars. I started blogging about it. People started asking questions and leaving comments on my blogs to seek help. That’s how I got my first leads. Today, I am active on social media. I also use Quora, answering at least two questions from potential customers and I get two signups every day. We have 5-6 test drives every weekend. I network with people only when I feel they can add value to my business. I am honest with people, especially partners, about what to expect. I tell this to all our dealers we work with – ‘this is a new venture and these are the kind of numbers you can expect realistically’.” His strengths in Purposeful Networking (90th %ile) and Creating Partnerships (90th %ile) are evident through this narrative.
His highest scores are on Experiential Learning (99th %ile). This is clearly evident from how he revised his business model in an emergent way, building on his experience. On his business model, he explained, “When I realized that people need a decision making tool while purchasing cars, I created an app called CarMatch. The app helped match individual preferences and requirements with available cars based on an algorithm. But from a business sense, it did not work out. Revenue came from giving leads to dealers, for which we needed a lot of downloads. This required a lot of investment on advertising. So, while the app worked and we still maintain it, we pivoted the business model. Now we focus on digital car buying through our website CarPal. We work with dealers, finance providers and used car dealers to help customers buy through us.”
By his own confession, he believes his major challenge in the future will be creating a team which can sustain the business success and customer value. His profile picks up on this insight in two scores – Building up the Team (40th %ile) and Customer Delivery (10th %ile). He is very much aware of these aspects and has a founding partner who focuses on operational details to keep things working, while he focuses on what he does best – sales and marketing.
Towards the end, on my request to reflect on his report, he said, “I think the reports summarises my tendencies well. I hope to leverage others who can complement me in areas which may not be my strengths. I also see that too much of action orientation at times makes me impatient and this eventually gets picked up by clients which is not the best. I can see how I can easily go overboard there.” He closed the conversation with a big smile as he expressed the desire to work more with himself to become a better entrepreneur. Vignesh is very hopeful about his venture and its success. He is expecting funding in the coming 3-4 months. He hopes to scale up and work directly work with the manufacturers, as they open up to digital sales. We wish him all the very best.