Advice for Entrepreneurs from an Online Pioneer

From Anne Giles Clelland:

I had the honor of being present at a celebration for Manisha Singal who completed her Ph.D. from the Pamplin College of Business Management from Virginia Tech on April 9, 2008.  She accepted an offer from Virginia Tech's Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management and will begin as an Assistant Professor in the fall of 2008.  In the photograph, from left to right are Divya, Biju, Manisha and Bharti (hostess).
Dr. Manisha Singal

My mother, Mary Giles, earned her Ph.D. in educational research from Virginia Tech when my sister and I were in our late teens.  I saw first-hand the intensity of effort it took and could relate to the Singal family’s pride in the wife’s and mother’s achievement.  Knowing Dr. Singal had started an online business, I asked her about her story and if she had advice for high-tech entrepreneurs.

I have her permission to quote her reply:

“When we married [Dr. Manisha Singal’s husband is Dr. Vijay Singal, Department Head, Virginia Tech Department of Finance, Insurance and Business Law, J. Gray Ferguson Professor of Finance], I wanted to get my doctorate…but life got in the way by way of moving to the United States [from India], getting a second master’s degree, and becoming a full-time mom to two wonderful sons. 

When they were in school, with Vijay's innovative ideas, I started a small Internet company (even prior to!) selling mainly comic books–it still exists at and now my son Ashish manages it, more for fun than for income.

It is truly a family business because the supplies come from a company established by Vijay's parents in India and, until her death last winter, my mother-in-law oversaw all the operations.

As it turns out my dissertation research looks at family businesses…albeit really large ones like Microsoft and Wal-Mart. I studied their merger and acquisitions strategies, and their CEO compensation policies. 

So, entrepreneurship is certainly a topic of interest to me. I recently reviewed a book on the illusions of entrepreneurship.

My advice to high-tech entrepreneurs:

1.  Don't go it alone…social networks play a very important role in success of the entrepreneur, so foster ties with everyone connected to the domain you are interested in.  Often you get invaluable advice and support from people you least expect to learn from so sustain all ties.

2. Be patient…statistics show that there are very few overnight millionaires; most people have to work very hard and for very long before they strike success.

3. Be flexible…explore and be open…while you may have deep passion for what you are doing and have great conviction in your idea, look around and be willing to change if the need or opportunity arises."

Dr. Manisha Singal

[email protected]


  1. I recall (from your post)my great pleasure in my visits to India. Several years ago I began correspondence with N. George of Hiliya Resort ([email protected])( ) in India, part of my entrepreneurial aspirarions for the Tours Group of the proposed Rural System ( The leader N. George suggested correspondence with a superior photographer and I did so. I am delighted that Nidhin G. Poothully ( ) will share his wonderful wildlife photos for use in my "Faunal Force" blog and within I hope the tourism group at Tech and Radford will consider relations with Hilya and the Tours Group concept.

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