An excerpt from the Interview:
• What made you start your venture?
I have always been a curious person and also very interested in Science & Math in my school years. I used to do a lot of reading and activities on my own to get answers to questions I had. I grew up with the feeling that the school system in India does not do full justice to Science & Math – because they remain limited to textbooks and exams. They never have time to explore Science in the world around us.
I established Connecting The Dots with the deep faith that teaching disciplines like Math and Science can be made more fun & practical. Our approach is to connect a central concept to everyday experiences and to the functioning of the world around us. Our teaching method involves model building, classroom discussions, storytelling, quizzes and competitions, field trips, multi-media content, and magic tricks.
With this approach, learning is more than just gathering vast amounts of information – it becomes a voyage of discovery for the child. Having personally spent almost 24 years in the technology industry I am now more convinced than ever before that the foundation we lay in Science & Math among children needs to be vastly improved.
• What has been the key to your business’s success? Parents and children have responded very positively because our methods appeal to them. Our approach is the approach parents wished they had when they were growing up. They can see that their children enjoy their learning experience with us. Some schools now work with us to bring in elements of our approach to their curriculum.
• What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them? There have been many. One is the challenge of getting the attention of children and parents. There are many activities and priorities vying for their attention. We need to get our message heard by them so that it registers as a priority. The other challenge is to scale our operation while retaining the focus on the quality of education. The third is to constantly innovate and remain fresh in terms of our content and approach.
• Do you have a mentor who guides/advice you on matters of the business? I cannot say I have just one mentor. I have sought guidance and help from several well-wishers and experts in this area. I am constantly overwhelmed by the amount of goodwill that we have going for us. I also have partners who bring different strengths to the table. We complement each other very well.
• Have you benefitted from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations? A couple of areas stand out. One is the increasing use of social media for marketing ourselves. Another is the use of cloud-based office-collaboration tools.
• What strategy do you follow for Customer Satisfaction & Expansion? One major approach to expansion has to been to increase our reach with partnerships. Our partners typically have a good brand in the area of education or children’s activities. The other thing is to cover more topics. Recently we introduced programs covering diverse topics such as Economics and Computer Programming. We constantly seek feedback from parents, children, partners and suppliers about how we can be a better organization.
• What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? One skill is what I call “zoom-in, zoom-out”. You need to be able to zoom-out and have the big picture in mind at all times. You also need to be able to zoom in and pay enormous attention to detail. Another thing is to be able to constantly re-invent yourself through new ideas, content, partnerships and other possibilities.
The third thing is to back your instincts. It takes courage to move from a sheltered, structured environment (like the job I was in) and venture out on one’s own. It takes strength to follow one’s dreams. But, most important of all is the belief in a cause behind which you are willing to throw your full weight.
Find out more about Connecting the Dots: http://www.connecting-the-dots.in/ Like them on Facebook: Connecting The Dots