On the 19th August 2015, we had the Chat with Expert session with Milind Kher on setting up and running a successful enterprise. Milind runs with his wife Gauri a training company called HQ. HQ focuses on:

  • Behavior profiling
  • Communication skills
  • NLP
  • Emotional Intelligence

Milind is based in Mumbai and a professional with 28 years of experience in diverse sectors like Pharmaceuticals, FMCG, Jewelry and Education.

You can read below a transcript of the Chat session with Milind.

Question: I run a start up called EnhanSkill ….It’s a one month old venture. Any advice for first 90 days.

Milind: For the first 90 days two things are critical. One is to reach out to as many people as possible. The other is to keep expenses down. There may sometimes be a temptation to splurge on publicity expenses.

Question:  What are the tax components to be taken care of in an LLP?

Milind: About your query. Income tax at a flat rate of 30{8ead27c4518c0b10559874054ae3fda4d54ed4b9784c4144c679fdb93c45d0af} is levied. Also, do not go by the individual tax rates. We are operating a Sole Proprietorship Model, hence I would advise you to take a CA’s advice on statutory compliances of an LLP. Also to the best of my knowledge, in an LLP you would have to bear in mind a few things. If your annual turnover exceeds 1 crore you have to pay a surcharge of 10{8ead27c4518c0b10559874054ae3fda4d54ed4b9784c4144c679fdb93c45d0af}

Question: What are the hygiene issues where one should not be scared to spend?

Milind: Talking of hygiene factors, I would say that spending for creating awareness is a must. I would advise against spending for persuasive advertising.

Question: How do I get training assignments?

Milind: For getting such assignments you have to be a member of various training groups. : Then trainers will give you content development work. Later once you are known, you will get independent assignments

Question: My forte is training delivery. I have a behavioural training company. Business development is a challenge for me. How do I work around it? So far clients have been people I know or their contacts.

Milind: There is a large difference between what you will earn delivering for others and under your own banner You need to use 2 routes. One is when you are working under someone else’s banner.  The other is one when you are doing your own event.

Always be ready to help, and in turn people will help you. If you do that, you will always be in a position to assess where you stand. The most important thing is goal setting. In the training world it takes a long time to get known and for income to start coming in.

Question: I always aspired to have my own business…. But however stepping out of the comfort zone …  Juggling with responsibilities…. Hesitant to take next step…. Wonder is it the hesitation or lazziness… Some times I post the question to myself with no answer coming in hand….   Just that I have a spark and unable to take the next step…

Milind: Comfort zones are difficult to get out of. The best thing to do is to take the plunge. Always keep a buffer of 6 months running expenses and keep the balance to do your business.  Do not keep waiting for a big assignment.  Even smaller ones will make you “battle hardened” and will grow your reputation in the training space.  Critical thing is to be hands on and lead from the front. Never delegate critical tasks

Question: How do you deal with agreements when people only talk over the phone?

Milind: If they have committed over the phone, then quote this commitment in your written correspondence. Once they agree to that or endorse what you are saying, then that is as good as a yes Ensure you do not deviate from the written agreement without getting written consent from their side.

Question: Starting your own venture can be such tough.. It takes away so much from one.  And one keeps losing faith. How do you keep up your faith?

Milind: The most important thing in starting your own venture is that it should be your passion. Your passion will always keep you going.

Question: Is there any government procedure we need to adhere to while we start up on own?

Milind: If it is a proprietorship, you can start without any registration. However, above a certain level of turnover, you will need to get the registration done. When we got the registration done it was Rs 10 lacs. Always refer to your CA. We did.

Question:  If you are skeptical about the market while starting your venture!! What to do in that case? Is there a forum we get information on market research?

Milind: Formal research is very expensive.  It is better to use directories of different companies, as well as portals. I would not advise investing in a product with a shrinking market. Always invest in a product whose market is growing.

Question: A friend of mine in corporate wants to take a plunge into freelance training. He wants to know what should he take care of before taking the plunge. He is in his early 40’s?

Milind: Before he takes the plunge, he should start conducting training on weekends. Only once he feels confident that he can deliver well and that people are responding that he should take the plunge

Question: I think business development is the big Achilles heel for most people. Your inputs on that please

Milind: That is the Achilles Heel for all of us ?. Yet, I will address this. The two most critical activities are to network and to keep doing events.  Small assignments do not seem lucrative, but they hone our skills and spread the word.  Also, associate with groups other than training groups as well. Because while training groups will give you an identity and inputs, other groups will give clients

Also, resist the temptation to have cash cow products. Go for the stars even if the initial revenue is low.

Question: Please explain.

Milind: A cash cow is where you have a good market share, but the market is not growing. In the case of a star, even if your market share is low but the market share as well as the market are growing. Wills filter is a cash cow. Dark fantasy is a star. In the training space, business etiquette is a cash cow, communication skills is a star.

Question: Maruti Alto 800 is a cash cow and Ciaz is a star?

Milind:  Agree with Maruti Alto 800, yet to decide about Ciaz..

Question: Any practical advice on how novices like me, although experienced in the industry get in the training space???

Milind: What is your domain? Tie up with a training company on a freelance basis. Once you are established you can be on your own.

Question: Since communications is something most trainers claim to be good at, is it not slowly turning to dog?

Milind: Traditional communication is turning to dog. Today you have concepts like Non violent communication and powerless communication which are very powerful

Question: Is it a good idea to deliver international proprietary courses in India ? Example , coaching, salesforce? What is your take?

Milind: The idea is conceptually good. However, the license fees and marketing expenses will need to be seen. Very often, a long time goes in merely explaining the concept.  Especially true for coaching, people always ask “Coaching in what?” without recognizing coaching as a distinct discipline.

Question: One last question. How critical do you think certification is, especially in our industry? Do clients truly value it or is it just like a degree that we need, not because we value it but because it has become a norm?

Milind: Certain clients value it and certain don’t.  This is for standard domains. However, for NLP, DISC, CELTA it definitely makes a difference.  Benita, I would say undergo certification only if you are totally confident that the market has the potential to recover your investment. In case of doubt, avoid

This is the essence of the chat that took place. It is edited and consolidated. All comments superfluous to the strictly question and answer format have been deleted.

You can reach Milind on milindkher6@gmail.com or visit his website: www.hqindia.net