My name is Manu (Swish) Goswami, and I am a serial tech entrepreneur (CEO & Founder of Trufan), LinkedIn Youth Editor, TEDx speaker (signed with the National Speakers Bureau & The AAT Project). My entrepreneurship journey statrted at the age of 7. I was raised in Singapore. I have been recognized for curating the world’s first youth social capital fund, an online incubator for entrepreneurs based in rural areas and a mobile application to fight malnutrition on college campuses. The business I’m currently building out is Trufan. We are working with some of the biggest brands and influencers to help them identify and reward their top fans. I got the idea from a friend of mine who manages a few NBA players. That’s how I find the spark to build ideas: either from my own problems or from the problems my friends face. If you’re doing something close to your heart, it’s the best motivation to keep going even when times are tough.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
The biggest obstacle to building Trufan so far has been just figuring out what type of company do we want to be. I struggle between making a decision on whether I want the company to just service big brands or whether I want to amend our pricing model to allow for smaller companies and less established influencers to come in. I haven’t overcome it yet but I know I will by simply putting the product out there, talking to people about it and trying to figure out where the biggest interest and whitespace in the market is.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
I moved to New York after finishing two years at the University of Toronto. Other than my brother and mother, no one really understood why I was making that decision. I knew that I wanted to move to NY not only to pursue an opportunity I got from there but to surround myself with entrepreneurs in the social media and tech industry. When I found out that some of my friends were skeptical of my move, I honestly did not pay attention to them. I care about the opinions of some people in my life but at the end of the day, I have to live my life and directly deal with the consequences of every action. I knew I wanted to move and I made sure I focused on making sure it was worth it. I wouldn’t do anything differently.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
Patience. I have a lot of patience in waiting for traction to generate and for the business to grow. I know that building a million dollar company is not something that happens overnight and I have a very honest approach with the companies I have started.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
Planning is one of the best ways to screw up your business. What I mean by that is that planning to a certain extent is great. It’s good to think about your company, what you’re offering, how you’ll get your product to market and who your competitors are. What I find however is a lot of entrepreneurs including myself a few years ago would plan for ages. We’d plan for several weeks and either jinx ourselves out of the idea or miss the window of opportunity to start it. Instead of planning for a long time, I like to take my initial ideas and just get started. If I’m building an app, I go onto inVision and build a simple prototype. If I’m starting a service, I take my idea, knock on a few doors and ask random people what they think about it and whether they would use it. Testing and the feedback you get from it is the most invaluable asset an entrepreneur can have in the early stages of their journey.
What advice would you give to an upcoming young and old entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Just get started. Stop being fancy with your ideas and start executing on them by sticking to the fundamentals: build a product, get it out to some people, get feedback - rinse and repeat.