10 Entrepreneurial Learning’s
The day when 4 of us joined together and decided to enter in Y2K training business, that day is etched in my mind. Our first employee joined us in the year 1997, another important event. We seemed to be wired as a team to take good decisions. When in single mind everything seemed to fall in place and happen on a Karmic level.
2. Dedication and Passion can do wonders. Competitive moves will be blown away.
We decided to start Focus InfoTech operation on April 14 , 1997 and the launch advertisement was scheduled in Hindu on that day. We were shocked to see NIIT advertising a day earlier and their centre was across the road. We did not hit the red button we merely took note of it, we went ahead with our plans and our advertisment appeared on the schedule day. The passion and dedication were found in huge doses in our team of counsellors too. It was like a blog of butter on hot toast, things just kept happening, students walked in to our center and the batches were running full steam in few days. The levels of service and training were of high quality too.
3. Don’t procrastinate, move at the earliest and prove your strength in first opportunity.
Browsing through a buiness newspaper one day we came across an article by TCS describing how they fulfill their resources with the help of business associates. The opportunity snapped within all of us. That very same instant we spoke to TCS and pitched with a proposal on why Focus students are best suited for their needs. What followed was a buy in from TCS who gave us an opportunity to be their business associate. When we started we were tiny and we were in fringes. Years have rolled by and today we are one of the largest partner for TCS and TCS in the core of our business.
4. Face challenges head on. Dont hesitate to ask for help you will be surprised the kind of help that lies all around you
After 9/11 our business hit a downside . We were operating 3 business portfolios – training, IT consulting and software development – we decided to get out of training and we had to reduce our head count in software development and cut salaries. Then Chairman was very upfront in stating that this has to be done to save the company. It was most difficult moment in my career. I came back to office next day and initially explained to the managers and wanted them to started informing the people below them. Most of them where recruited by me , and now I have this difficult task in hand – to send some of the away and ask the rest of them to take a salary cut. To my surprise all those stuck to us, and the few who are still with us, were so cooperative that they helped us tide over the troubled times.
5. Be open to receive changes or changes will be thrusted on you
Last 10 years the amount of changes we as an organization went through was phenomenal the days to come has plenty of changes in store for us.
Personally I have played many roles in different functions and it was great experience and I found myself taking up functions that where kept aside as not being the ‘flavor of the day’ or in other words I gravitated towards challenges. This helped me to make changes in a way and it helped the function and also prepared me personally, to take up newer roles. And when I did I found myself ready and equipped for it.
6. Accept the failure and look for next opportunity to be successful
Nevertheless life has not been a teddy bears picnic, I had failed in many functions / initiatives I had taken up. I had to pass through fire and failures, there were times I did not accept the failures and it merely add up to the frustration. And when I have learnt to acknowledge the failure it kept me more at ease and helped me plan for great success in the next assignment. The present boards of directors have equipped me tremendous inputs for this learning
7. Don’t manage people, Manage their Thoughts and make them accept the challenges you perceive, they will achieve the goal.
Bangalore branch went for very huge attrition and I was assigned the responsibility of stabilising it. Only few stayed back and I had the limitation of not being able to be physically present there. I addressed them and clearly articulated to them the challenge facing us and assisted them in organizing themselves and planned to have 2 structured meetings. Within few months the operations became upbeat.Today its one our largest branch.
During this phase I understood that when thoughts managed for great clarity and when they are made to accept the perceived challenges, results will be phenomenal. If needed coach them. In the process I learnt many things and it made want to read and observe more things.
8. Make changes when going is good , results will be good . If we attempt during the bad times results will be more deteriorating.
Changes has to be made when the going is good, this would require clear foresight of what is in store in future. This helps us to tide over the challenges that await us in future with out much of problems.
9. Measure all the activities you do ,that is the only way for stable and successful growth.
When I was asked to head software development group, any discussion on numbers in board meeting would lead me to fatigue, for I know the next logical part of discussion will be in cutting down cost. Board looks at the health of the business by reading the numbers. But now I believe that is the only way organization / individual can have sustained growth and will me most helpful in the times of downfall.
10. Manage your health both physical and spiritual health and have work life balance for your growth.
For first years of starting focus I was least worried about my health , taking timely breaks was my idea of distressing. I found myself drifting into high tension zones periodically and found myself losing control my temper and at times found myself behaving erratically. As an entrepreneur I realized, that one has to have total charge of one’s own body and that order and solutions come from within. I stated investing quality time on trying to improve myself by reading and various other ways. Now I feel I can handle much more work efficiently and effectively.
I wish every one of you happy entrepreneurship journey ahead and let us all work towards a common goal to reach for when each one of us start thinking and working towards that goal , you will see magic happening even if the goal is too big.