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February 04, 2009

Are you well-qualified but still without a job? Have you been laid off by your employer and are thinking of the way ahead? Do you want to start your own business with an idea that you have?

How do you go about coping with various challenges associated with job layoffs and venturing to start on your own?

To answer these and various other layoff and start-up related queries, Atul Khekade hosted a chat with GA readers on February 3.

For those of you who missed the chat, here's the unedited transcript:

mamu asked, Hi Atul, can you give me some tips on how should I spend my time constructively till the time I find a new job? Was sacked 15 days back from an MNC? I was in the technology team.

Atul Khekade answers,  at 2009-02-03 12:59:06Hi, You can perhaps look into magazines like popular science, gizmodo. Check venture funded startups or SMEs who are doing well. Keep networking meet those people who seem unaffected with the global financial crisis.

Akshay asked, i am doing mba from a reputed B-school and have an idea for a business start up. please guide me on how i should go about converting the idea into a startup.

Atul Khekade answers, Hi Akshay, It is very important to be absolutely clear about what your business is going to offer to the customers. How you can possibly bootstrap it and who are the biggest competitors for you. You can make a business plan that will make you even more clear about the idea. Sample business plans are available on the web. You can search through any of the search engines.

Prasad asked, Hi Atul, I have 8 yrs exp in netorking and looking for jo. how is the situation now if i come and search in india

Atul Khekade answers, Hi Prasad, Assuming that you have 8 years of experience in networking in outside countries, you can check for openings at local startups or small companies that can do well in next 2-3 years. India has a great growth opportunity. You can perhaps already find companies that you can work with and then shift as soon as you find an option to join.

langtu asked, Hai, I am a CA with 12 yrs of post qualification experience looking for a suitable opportunity in Bangalore. I am presently working in an FMCG company but due to recession company is laying off people. How should i get a suitable job???? Please advise

Atul Khekade answers, Hi, You can possibly check with sectors such as health care, energy, food. Especially small companies who are recruiting. In the financial crisis, big corporate are definitely going to opt for layoffs. Small companies however have a lot to achieve and would not take layoff routes.

nirbhay asked, sir i am ding MBBS and searching for some part time jobs..i am good at computers..please sir in which fields should i try ??

Atul Khekade answers, You can search for emerging companies in healthcare where your talent of computers + MBBS can play a role.

raju asked, I have a question and if you give me suggestions I will be grateful to you. I am a 35 old years guy working in a pvt. ltd. company in the field of EDP jobs. My job involves with fully computer related like operating of various types of software, looks after & supervising of computer departments, troubleshooting, networking etc. Now I want to do a professional/technical course that will be help me to get a better job. Please suggest. Also I have enquired about the course of MCSE & CCNA, is it right decision? Please help me. Thanks & Regards, Raju

Atul Khekade answers, A full time learning should help as long as you have financial backup to sustain. You can look at those courses who have more practical use in today's world. Make sure the syllabus and course is not outdated and whether previous students are doing well.

WannaBeFinanciallyFree asked, Hi Atul. I am very much interested in starting a business. But I don't know where to start and what to start with, what kind of product to develop. How do I get to know all these details? and how do I prepare myself for the tough road ahead???

Atul Khekade answers, You have to find a need in the market that you can solve. When you start a business, essentially you have to solve someone's need. So you can take a look outside and see what is the kind of service that you can provide for which people can pay you. As long as you get this sorted, you will definitely work out the rest.

Sanya asked, Hi Atul, I want set up my own BPO, where my focus will be assisting people about security of there machines through remote Troubleshooting, email support etc.Where i can get such processes, what should be my first business strategy?

Atul Khekade answers, Hi Sanya. You can take a look at existing companies in the space of remote monitoring or automated customer service. I would strongly suggest that you look for sofware as a service model than a BPO model. Meaning, you make a product that can act as a platform to service remote troubleshooting and then you can give basic traning to people and find corporate who might want to use it.

ravi asked, hi atul ji.. i did my gradution in tourism management.. and now i am pursuing MBA 4 sem.. can u tell me what should i do to get Job in tourism.. industry

Atul Khekade answers, Tourism is booming across India. I am personally very positive about the tourism industry in India that is attracting more global crowd every year. You can maybe think of taking international sales position for hotels, tour companies and airlines.

Ramki asked, Hi Atul, My company presently is undergoing recession and laying off people.I work in an domain where their is not much scope in Bangalore. I will have to shift to some other locations in India. Is it wise to shift to an MNC say in Delhi [Images] or a small company here in Bangalore itself if i'm layoff? THanks, Ramki.

Atul Khekade answers, Hi Ramki, I would have answered you better if I could know the domain in which your company operates. Look for a post with responsibility. If you can get it in a MNC , its fine but generally its small companies who can have such kind of positions. Look for a role that gives you responsibility and make sure that you grow the company by growing yourself within it.

aditya asked, what are the best areas to start my own business during these times?

Atul Khekade answers, Hi Aditya. Any area generally has an opportunity. Just make sure that you are providing a solution that is 10 times cheaper than existing players without having to compromise on teh quality.

Ramiya dixit asked, hi Mr Atul, i want to start a soft drink business. actually b4 1 year i hd been to pune and i drunk 1 kind of soda in iranian hotel ..i want to start that things in my home town in orissa

Atul Khekade answers, Hi Ramiya. You might need to prototype a machine or process that can produce that soda. Once you have that, make sure that it can be produced in cost effective way. You can then get started, get some initial customer feedback and look out for investments to scale it.

sunil asked,  hallo sir i m computer hardwere engg. so currently i have jobless so give some tip what can i do for ?

Atul Khekade answers, Read michael dell's biography "Direct from Dell"

petu asked, Hi Atul , Am currently working for a MNC as a software engineer. Long term intention is to be an investor/lecturer . If i don't make into the top 15-20 B-schools , I plan to do CA . Any suggestions? Any advantages of CA over MBA ?

Atul Khekade answers, Hi, MBA has it's own advantages as long as you are in the best crowd. Make sure whatever you do, you landup in the best crowd that is doing CA or MBA and that shall give better career options in the future.

tina asked, hello atul, I have completed physics with 70%, and worked as a physics faculty for 1-2 yrs. after tht i got married n now i am doing a s/w testing course. which is almost completed. now i m looking for a job in s/w testing. now due to this recession period no IT comp. are hiring. could u plz give me any suggestion how to attend interviews, and should i register in any consultancy so that i might get a chance for any interview. i just need a job. which is very important me.

Atul Khekade answers, There might be smaller companies in software testing which might be hiring. If cash flow is the priority, you can try for a consultancy and give yourself some time to find a long term job.

SS asked, My total exp in IT is 5 years (Oracle Apps HRMS).I am looking to work in good start ups (any technology in India).I am very good in technology and have superior man management skills + I have 2 years of experience in US) Do you suggests some start up website india specific?

Atul Khekade answers, There are tons of startups in HR space coming up in India. You can search for such openings on blogs/websites such as "venture woods" or "VCCircle"

amit21setia asked, wht id do after gradutation

Atul Khekade answers, You have to do something that you like. Find a role model for yourself. Read books about people that you want to be like and you will surely find a way.

Shruti asked, Now coming back to the question I wanted to ask Atul:- How do you tackle the bargain you are offered on lower side by new employers .As they know industries is going thru a down turn

Atul Khekade answers, We all have to make sure that we survive in the worst of the times. Money comes, it is just a bi product of your potential. Make sure that higher number of salary does not affect your long term target.

Murali asked, Hi. I want to start on my own small venture in an education industry. What are the options available and how does one go about indentifying one.

Atul Khekade answers, Hi Murali. Education is the best industry to survive in the long term. No matter what, people will always keep learning. You can find your role models first. That will guide you towards what you have to do in the future. E.g. princeton review. Search for companies on "VCCircle" and "Venture woods" that are in education and study their model.

asa asked, I would like to start a professional Institute. Financing the project is taken care off but i m looking for some consultant to guide me in the project?

Atul Khekade answers, Generally you have to find a role model for your project. Role model would be a company which is already established a big in the industry that you want to start your business in. You have to search those companies, research their business model. Study how they make the money and what they offer to customers. If you just focus on role models, it will surely give you a headstart

doll asked, i am in IT JON BOR 2 YEARS ,now as economy is slowing down ,AM SCARING OF LOOSING MY JOB.

Atul Khekade answers, Hi. Just spend a few days away from everything and cool your mind down. There is nothing to get scared of. Just calm down and think what you can do now that will make you avoid this economy slowdown if it hits the market again.

rsp2 asked, Hello Sir, I wanted to be an enterprinuer, but before that shall I do MBA or Enterprinuership course to gain business knowledge. What are the pros & cos of each?

Atul Khekade answers, When you want to be an entrepreneur, you have to lead people. You need to have the strongest mind to lead them. Read a lot of books about people who have already developed businesses and are successful. Read how they got started. I think all you need to start a business is a mind that is clear about what exactly you want to do. Read books such as "direct from dell" or "losing my virginity" by richard branson

rahulm asked, hello sir i am a civil engineer from a reputed college of india i want to make my carrer in finance or managment consultancy.i am having intrest in economics and other business related issue ..kindly suggest a good job

Atul Khekade answers, You might look into two domains together such as "finance for real estate". Since the real estate market is down, a lot of people are going to need cheap housing options and ways to finance them. If you can find a solution for them, you can do well.

eash asked, hi sir i am looking for used car sales business sir what is future of this business?

Atul Khekade answers, Used car sales will definitely grow as market slowdown will affect new and pricier car buying capacity of the people. You can study businesses of or mahindra first choice and that should give you the way.

chetan asked, hi i m chetan i like to working in account i will like to work in home in account so any resule

Atul Khekade answers, You can work with an existing CA or small companies who find it difficult to manage their accounts. Start small and grow big.

RAJEEV asked, Atul sir i have done B.TECH.(mechanical) and then MBA(Marketing)but i am still unemployed what should i do sir i m really deperresed and frustrated sir plz help me in this regard?

Atul Khekade answers, Firstly you have to motivate yourself. Take a time off, sit at peace and think what exactly you want to do. Read some biographies of great people who have made it big in career. Read how you want to be like. Watch only things that you will like to do. You will surely find a way.

pkk asked, My son is doing B Tech in Computer Science from an average reputed Engineering College in Lucknow, India. I don't expect offer of very good job to him through campus interviews/placement consultant. Can I improve the job prospects for him by admitting him to MBA course (in an institute other than IIM's because it seems difficult that he qualifies in admission tests for highly reputed Management colleges). Or do you think that job prospects would not improve by pursuing MBA, rather situation would be complicated in reference to the decision about where to apply i.e. Engineering Job or Management Job. I think by pursuing MBA in an average reputed college, he would be average in both fields and best in none. If he joins engineering job just after B Tech, he may gather two year experience and improve his situation instead of doing MBA for 2 years and then face a dilemma of selecting job field. Please suggest better option.

Atul Khekade answers, Hi, It is very important to know from your son what he really wants to do. If he is clear about what he really wants to do, he can easily get ideas about what to do for the same. MBA is a good option but thats not the only option. You just have to find what your son really liked doing and let him excel in that.

ankur asked, hi atul, I m ankur working in ltd firm as a EDP executive, my main profile in company is trouble shooting of compters and software problem. Recently i completed my CCNA and Micrsoft xchage server course, Now my problem is that i dont get job similar to by certification, Sir pls help me how to get good job in this field ????????????

Atul Khekade answers, The job that you get will be determined by what value you can offer to the employer. Certifications help, but in the current market you have to find companies that are into breakthrough technology and that are new. You can check with startups.

Prince asked, Hey Atul How R U doing? What exactly will be termed as an Enterpreneurship? A small Kirana store or an Online Website or an IT firm?

Atul Khekade answers, Small Kirana store can also be qualified as entrepreneurship. Companies like Walmart, Pantaloon [Get Quote] are nothing but kirana stores with good scalability feature.

Rahul asked, Dear Atul Sir, Hii..I am 28 years old..textile engineer...I am unemployed now..have 1 years experience in textile and some experience in my family biz..I want to restart working in textile..I am confused about my career..considering my age I do not have much work I too late in my the loss to my career reversible?Is it too late if I want to do full time MBA? Please answer!!What are the options in front of me??

Atul Khekade answers, There is never too late. You have to do something that you are made for. If you have spent a lot of time in textile, you might explore new innovative ways of doing business in the same field. You can also do an MBA from good institute. That might give you some time to be clear. IT really gets down to "what you really want to do". As soon as that is clear, the universe shall give you answers.

manish asked, Hi Atul,I have 5 yrs exp in warehousing and material dipatch but I am not finding much scope in this.Can I move into Supply chain management? Kindly let me know what industry expect from a supply chain profesional...

Atul Khekade answers, You can jump to an opportunity if you find it interesting. It is really about your gut feeling. You can talk to a HR consultant for what the current jobs are like.

WannaBeFinanciallyFree asked, How can I contact you personally for getting some ideas on entrepreneurship??? Plz reply.

Atul Khekade answers, I can be contacted on info at netzcapital dot com

neyvelianand asked, hi iam willing to do export bisiness u mean seeds and pulses what r the procedure i should do for that pls help me

Atul Khekade answers, Generally you have to find an already big company which is into the business that you plan and then study that company inside out. Study it's clients and what exactly it offers and how it makes money.

KS asked, Hi Atul .. I am working in IT domain since last 9 years ... Shall i take a break in job and go for MBA ?

Atul Khekade answers, Hi. MBA might give you more time and education to decide what you really wan to do in career. If MBA is required to achieve your goal you can do it.

ABBCC asked, HI ATUL SIR . I M 26 YEAR OLD AND I M UN EMPLOYED I did compelte 2005 but not get job any maching field

Atul Khekade answers, Dont run anywhere. First build a mind. Read books and discover what you really want to do. If cash flow is a problem, then you can take a temporary role and still keep an eye on long term career.

Subhash asked, Hello Atul, Iam a s/w engineer and now wants to start bsns in education domain.It will be of language and softskills training, career counseling and some packages for kids. What is ur suggestion ?Is this domain good to work in?

Atul Khekade answers, Hi Subhash, Education is the best field to do business in - even in the financial downturn. You can sutdy companies like princetonreview and find out what they do in education. You can do research on similar companies that provide education related solutions and that can give you a hint about what you want to do.

RAMEHS asked, Dear Sir, i am working in asia`s largest multi model transport logistic company since augst,2003 in various department and having good knowledge of logistic bussiness my earning is not well as my subject knowledge can i change this job in this time.

Atul Khekade answers, If the company is not providing long term career options, changing a job after 2-3 years can give you a new perspective.

Tapan asked, This question is more regarding salary cuts. Don't you think many of the companies in India are un-necessarily doing salary cuts in the name of recession and making a fortune themselves?

Atul Khekade answers, Hi Tapan, a company really works like a household which has a budget and expenses, except for the fact that it has to be profitable. sometimes there might be genuine cases of expenses going out of budget.

biswas asked, good afternoon sir, I am working as Placement officer in engineering institute, in the present condition most of the big companies freezed their recruitment, small & mid sized companies are also not recruiting freshers... I took them for visit for one day entrepreneurship session and shows them 42 small /mid bussiness at incubator center, 1) what next to do for Btech freshers please suggest.

Atul Khekade answers, Hi Biswas. You have taken a great step by introducing students to entrepreneurship and business incubators. If jobs are not there in the market, we have to create our own jobs. You can take brainstorming sessions from students towards starting companies and connect to some industry to help you out in this. We have an incubator running called "netz capital" where we are incorporating companies through college students by utilizing their skills.

RAJEEV asked, Dear sir can u suggest me some books so that i could motive myself by reading them so that i could clear my views regarding my life at present felt that my life is useless i can not do anything?

Atul Khekade answers, generally you have to read biographies about people that are your role models. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you can read books like "direct from dell" or "losing my virginity" or "The HP way"

madan asked, What do you think about the future of Media Industry.

Atul Khekade answers, Most of the investments in the market are going into media industry. It will stay in the long term.

yuio asked, I started a WebSite called inspite of having a good site - I have not been able to take it to the next level.Can you please help me how can I get a mentor?

Atul Khekade answers, You might send a detailed business plan to various VCs. We have a start up venture capital arm called "netz capital" and you can also send it there if interested - info at netzcapital dot com

ajay asked, hi atul , i am a full time employed senior manager , yet i want to start something on my own, in fashion related items( though this is not my field ). what are your suggestions ?

Atul Khekade answers, If you want to get into fashion relatd items, you can study companies what are already big in the segment that you suggested. If you study them inside out, you might get a clue to how to start by yourself.

Sourabh asked, Hi Atul, I have 6+ years of exp in Software Product Development and Consulting Services. I am looking to start up my own software company (product based), I already have a team of 3-4 people in place and a small software product in Healthcare Tourism space. While we are trying hard to sell it in existing market, the issue remains that we are still doing a job to meet our financial needs and cannot devote the required time to implement the ideas we have. Can you guide me as to how should I approach things moving forward?

Atul Khekade answers, Hi Sourabh, It is a stage that most of the start ups have to go through. I would suggest, you find an existing company that is your biggest competitor, study it and start offering even better services by that company.

Atul Khekade says, thank you all. I tried to answer as many questions as possible in the limited time. However feel free to connect with me over linkedin or facebook if I still left your questions unanswered. Logging off. best wishes to all of you.

Atul Khekade is a co-founder & CEO of Airnetz Charter Inc, a pioneer in private aviation and online marketplace and GDS for the upcoming market of private aircrafts globally.

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