Thursday, May 26, 2011

Entrepreneur Success Stories

From rags to riches

Ritesh Sarvaiya , chairman & MD, Rikhav Infotech started with absolutely nothing, which in a way, encouraged him to take tremendous risks in life. "No matter what I did, I knew I had nothing to lose. While I was studying in college, I used to work under a pharmaceutical distributor and sell glucose bottles to doctors.

In 2002, immediately after graduation, I started selling the newly launched Sunday Express subscriptions. On every subscription sold, I used to get rupees 5. I had been given a target of selling 20 subscriptions a day. Though it was a physically and mentally strenuous task, I worked hard to achieve it.
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Moreover, door-to-door selling only helped me to become more tolerant towards others and their nature. And above all, the satisfaction I derived when I received rupees 100 or more everyday after a hard day's work was priceless," reminisces Sarvaiya.

"After a small stint at a school, where I used to teach computer to school kids, I landed into my first serious (read: long-term) job at Reliance Infocomm where I worked as an associate executive. There, I could see the bigger picture and how a small idea can become huge and create a lot of wealth for the country.

After another two years at Wipro, I finally realised that if you have the passion and belief in whatever you do, you can achieve anything. I knew that if I continue to work under somebody, I would be fulfilling his/her dreams - and not mine. And from that day on, I started dreaming big and never stopped. In 2006, Rikhav Infotech was conceptualised as a website development company and the rest, as they say, is history," he continues.

How he manages to run a bigger set-up now and Sarvaiya replies, "Of course, as the organisation gets bigger, the responsibilities also increase. But I have always believed that if you are great at people management, nothing is too difficult in life.

You keep every one happy and you are bound to get the desired returns. If you don't, there is something wrong somewhere - you need to immediately identify it and fix it. With every bigger step, we set bigger goals for ourselves and that is how we've never had to worry about the present.

If you set your goals higher, you are automatically protecting the present. Furthermore, I had always learnt the importance of processes even when we were small. And I knew that these processes would be hugely beneficial as we grow. Today, we follow the same processes and it has made life much simpler, seamless and transparent."

A paradigm shift

Vipul Jain , CEO and MD, Kale Consultants started his career with Tata Administrative Service and was deputed to the Taj Hotels Company to set up and head the information systems department. "At Taj, I was responsible for the development and implementation of an on-line hotel management system in 1982 and went on to develop many other interesting systems for the hospitality industry.

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In 1986, I left a high-flying corporate career to join hands with Narendra Kale and begin my life as an entrepreneur. Together, we co-founded Kale Consultants," notes Jain.

Talking about managing a bigger set-up, Jain explains, "Managing a bigger set-up is definitely much easier than running a smaller one. When your organisation grows big, you acquire a team of good and capable people who take over the various responsibilities of running a set-up. Your role then becomes that of a mentor and coach.

Also, the exposure that I got from my first job helped me immensely in my role as an entrepreneur. As I was in a customer-based set-up in my previous job role, it helped me to understand what a customer wants and expects. The strong learnings from a customer's perspective helped me to fit into the role of a vendor, as I now know what customers expect from their vendors."

Investing for success

Rajesh Bhatia , founder & MD, Tree House was an investment banker prior to setting up the chain of pre-schools. "In my previous role,

I used to guide companies on ways to make their niche businesses grow. Hence, when the thought of opening a pre-school came up, I used all my professional experience and skill towards building Tree House to what it is today. Opening a pre-school was perfect as it fulfilled my entrepreneurial urge while at the same time make a meaningful contribution to society," says Bhatia.
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Why this shift in role and he says, "Tree House originated from my own need as a parent. I was seeking admission for my son and found that there was a lack of quality pre-schools in the city. I sensed an opportunity to build a business and offer a differentiated service and that's how the first Tree house was set up with the intention of providing quality pre-primary education at affordable prices, at a center near the child's home."

How different is this from the previous line of work and he says, "I would say that the two job profiles are drastically different, where in one, I met many people related to the financial sector as an I-banker while on the other, I met people related to the education domain. In my current role, I have developed a unique business model by using my previous skills as an I-banker to the fullest."

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