Aniruddha Atul Bhagwat is a young entrepreneur who, along with his co-founder and leadership team, aspires to redefine communications in India. With a focus on emerging brands and start-ups, Ideosphere, intends to bring stakeholder insights and consumer focus to communications to the forefront. Aniruddha has been one of the few entrepreneurs who has been focused on a solid financial education to help him achieve his goals.
Scripbox: Why did you start Ideosphere?
Aniruddha: By the time I, along with my co-founder Minal D’Rozario, thought about starting Ideosphere, I had good experience and exposure in the communications industry. During the course of each of our careers, we realised that PR & Communications is more than what it was made out to be. It involves taking into account both consumer and stakeholder interests.
We wanted to change the way the industry works. This was the foundation of Ideosphere.
Scripbox: Did you have a financial plan in mind when you started Ideosphere?
Aniruddha: Yes, we did have a plan when we started. We used our own savings to raise seed capital. As to the plan, we realised early on that plans have to be realistic and agile. We are very happy with the fact that 4 years on we are within a 10% tolerance range in terms of business results we planned at the inception of the company.
Scripbox: At the time of starting, did you consider yourself financially ready?
Aniruddha: I realised the importance of financial planning and readiness much earlier than most of my peers. I had a financial plan for myself ready by the time I was 23. I had made sure I was investing before that and my investments kept pace with my salary raises.
I spread my investments across property and mutual funds. I got good returns from my property investments and I also kept in mind that my equity investments needed time to deliver good results. So in a sense yes, at the time of starting Ideosphere I was as ready as I could be.
Scripbox: Did you have to compromise in terms of lifestyle when you started? What challenges did you face?
Aniruddha: I did have to become more conservative with my spending. It was a question of psychological acceptance and my family was supportive as well. Thanks to my relatively substantial savings at that point, I wasn’t in too stressful a situation. My financial planning helped me a lot at this stage.
In terms of challenges, I faced three major ones. The first few months were incredibly hectic and you could say I faced paralysis by analysis. We were thinking too much. The second one was the fact that I was paying a home loan, which made managing my family finances tough.
The third challenge was something as simple as getting a credit card. For the self-employed and entrepreneurs, especially if you are bootstrapping, trying to get a credit card is difficult due to the fact that you don’t have a salary.
These challenges came to the forefront when on a break to Goa soon after starting the company , I went to the ATM to withdraw cash and realised there was no money left in the account. This brought home the reality of being an entrepreneur.
Scripbox: How important is money for your personal happiness?
Aniruddha: While money doesn’t define happiness for me, the lack of it definitely leads to unhappiness. I believe a good bank balance is important if you want a sense of security and freedom. Security and freedom can help enable an environment of happiness.
Scripbox: Are there any specific lessons you would like to share with our readers?
Aniruddha: Have a financial plan at an early age! You can take more risks at that stage, which should reflect in your investment portfolio. For this, though, you should invest in your own financial literacy. You have to make an effort to learn, which sadly most people don’t. At the very least you should plan for contingencies and start building reserves as soon as you start working.