Written by Jasmine Hon
Sunil Godse’s new book – Fail Fast. Succeed Faster. – is a compilation of stories about challenge and failure, featuring a wide range of companies from McDonalds to family-owned grocery stores that went bankrupt. It took Sunil one and a half years to write this book, after having personally interviewed all 75 companies featured in the book.
The purpose of Fail Fast. Succeed Faster. is to save entrepreneurs both time and resources by allowing them to read and learn from the mistakes of those who were once in their position. The author himself has experienced a few of the struggles mentioned in the book, and one of the most important lessons he claims to have ever learned is to trust his intuition. “Far too many employers are relying on standard résumé questions to screen their candidates, when they should really just trust their gut feelings and see how they would react in real-life situations,” he said. Intuition is also set to be the theme of his second book.
Another important point Sunil stresses is to build an extensive network and to find a qualified mentor for guidance. “Sometimes I think that I have a brilliant new idea, but then my mentor – whom I am very fortunate to have – would help raise the red flag by challenging me with some really tough questions to get me to rethink it,” he said.
Radical Solutions Group all started when Sunil realized his great passion for helping companies find efficiencies. After graduating from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Engineering, Sunil could not find a job as an engineer despite mailing over 800 resumes, a sign of the time in the mid 90’s for civil engineers. Thus, he started helping companies find efficiencies instead – was really good at it, and one consulting job even earned him $90,000 in three months.
Sunil’s parents, on the other hand, were not very happy. “They told me to go get a ‘real’ bloody job,” he laughed, “because they really did not understand what entrepreneurship was. They desired more security for me in the form of regular employment.” To please his parents, Sunil got a “crappy engineering job” making $28,000 a year, but earned a 6-figure amount joining entrepreneurs in their business and eventually exiting after growing the business.
As more entrepreneurs starting coming to him for advice, Sunil realized that the majority of them were all asking relatively the same questions. He then started wondering why a reference or guidance book for them did not exist – and that is what sparked the idea behind Fail Fast. Succeed Faster.
As an entrepreneur himself, Sunil is constantly seeking for new ways to increase the value and efficiency in any given situation. While he was still a student at the University of Manitoba, Sunil noticed that the engineering department had many ugly shirts lying around in storage that nobody wanted. As part of his action plan to sell them, he designed a cool new shirt with the logo “Friends Don’t Let Friends Take Arts” (because of the fierce rivalry between the Engineering and the Art faculties). Sunil sold them for twenty dollars at a booth in the university, and the old ones on the side for a dollar. More than 5,000 shirts were sold as many staff and students from most faculties flocked to purchase the cool new shirt, and many of them also picked up the old ones for a dollar – they were convinced by the price difference that they were a great deal. Sunil also managed to convince many customers that the old shirts would be worth it even for small housekeeping tasks such as mopping up spills.
Sunil is constantly seeking for new opportunities to expand his network. While studying his MBA at the Richard Ivey School of Business, Sunil increased the number of members of the India Club from 20 to 153 simply by being more open and welcoming to others. In addition, he was able to raise $25,000 as President of the Hi-Tech Club, the most money raised by any Ivey student club to date. He also recently sold a copy of his book to a man in the elevator just by talking to him from one floor to the next.
Fail Fast. Succeed Faster. is part of the mere 1% statistic of business books in retail stores that end up selling more than 10 copies according to a Canadian publisher, having sold over 1,000 copies within the past three months. “Things are going a lot faster than I thought,” he said with a smile.
This entrepreneur said that the best value he has ever gotten out of his career is the joy and satisfaction of being able to help other entrepreneurs succeed – exactly why he has continued to do so for 19 years now.
As a student entrepreneur, I am inspired by Sunil’s creativity and ability to make the most of every situation. He never fails to find new ways to increase efficiency and value – not only for himself, but for others as well. “Everyone needs to have that one person, that one mentor who will ask the really tough questions, in order to help you succeed and avoid failure within your first few steps,” Sunil said, “it’s important to be honest.” It is also essential for entrepreneurship to have both creativity and a sense of reality – a fine balance that Sunil Godse seems to have achieved after many years of practice and experience.
About the writer
Jasmine Hon is a first-year student studying Media, Information and Technoculture (MIT) at Western University with Advanced Entry Opportunity (AEO) to the Richard Ivey School of Business. While her interests lie within the fields of journalism and business, she is uncertain as to the kind of career she’d like to pursue in the future. For now, Jasmine is just greatly inspired by the entrepreneurs she’s met to continue working hard and discovering more about her passions. In her spare time, this eighteen-year-old is often spotted exploring the city of London, visiting the farmer’s market, or tapping away furiously on her laptop in various coffee shops around the city.