An Excerpt from the Interview:
What made you start your venture?
Studio 33 was founded by three kids who met in high school in Bangalore. We started up a community theater production house at the time – writing, directing and producing our own plays – staging them in various locations across the city. What really captivated our imagination is the impact stories have on public opinion.
And, (if it’s a really good story) influencing a conversion of that public opinion into public action. Committed to this idea we split soon after – Joe went to Canada to study animation, I went to the states to study film, and Avinash stayed back in Bangalore to conquer the corporate world. We got back together and in January 2011 to set up Studio 33, a film production house in Bangalore, India that works with everyone from exciting new start-ups to some of the biggest names in the corporate world, across the country.
What has been the key to your business’s success?
• Partners with diverse skills sets who can rely on each other. • Reliable vendors who we can trust with our lives. • Sincere approach to client relations. • And – most importantly – a killer creative team who works diligently for long hours to deliver quality products on time.
What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them?
Quality films are very expensive to produce. The overheads when it comes to equipment alone are phenomenal and putting a team together with the right balance of education and on the ground experience is an expensive proposition. We are still working out the kinks on how best to balance this but I would highly advise -NEVER to skim when putting the right team together. People are your greatest asset. Period.
Do you have a mentor who guides/advice’s you on matters of the business?
We were lucky enough to win a start-up competition in Boston while we were working on setting up, and the prize package included a one year mentor-ship opportunity with Jay Rowe, a senior vice president at HBO. His help was invaluable in narrowing down our pie in the sky ideas to achievable on-the-ground goals. We have had the opportunity to be mentored by numerous other folk in the industry in Bangalore and beyond, all of whom have contributed to who we are as an organization. Entrepreneurs tend to be willing to go the extra mile when it comes to lending advice to one of their own. And we have made great use of that fact.
Have you benefited from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations?
Not really. We use fairly standard industry software and hardware to get the job done.
What strategy do you follow for Customer Satisfaction & Expansion?
Customers in our industry (I guess most industries) care about only three things: 1) How much does it cost? 2) Will it be good? 3) Will I get it on time? Over the past three years we have continued to refine the formula that ensures we deliver on all these three realms. The better we get at it, the happier our customers are and the more we will expand and grow our business.
What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Start early – the less of a personal life / family commitments you have while starting up, the better. Find the right partners you can rely on and compliment your skill set. Being an entrepreneur is hard. You need help. Always be yourself. You are going to be meeting with a lot of people and trusting a lot of people. And a lot of people will have to trust you. The more honest and sincere you are the further you are going to go. People can tell when you are not being upfront. Don’t fake it.
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