Who is the best driving teacher? Your first bicycle. I believe in learning by experience. I have always learnt more from people and situations whom I have met and faced – family, friends and colleagues. These people have not only inspired me but have always had my back through the potholes of life.
Here are the five lessons that have helped me build the organisation of my dreams:
- If you have the will, you will build your way from Ramayana: One epic that has really inspired me is the Ramayana. One of the greatest learning that I have derived from it is the importance of Value Systems in our lives. It says, “Praan jaaye par vachan na jaaye”. As entrepreneurs, we make a lot of commitments to our stakeholders. I strongly believe that it is our responsibility to try and fulfil them. Another important lesson is if you really believe in your cause and you are ready to stand up for it, there is no way that you can’t accomplish it. Imagine what must have motivated two young boys to enter the kingdom of a demon like Ravan. When he decided to stand up for it, he found a lot of help on his way. It also makes me believe that passion is as important as talent. Imagine an army of monkeys could win over the well trained soldiers of Ravan. When the dotcom bust and 9/11 happened, many thought that IndiaMART won’t be able to last. But, our team was sure that this too shall pass and we worked together without worrying about the results. I feel proud when I say that we grew by 40% in that year.
- Truth & simplicity put a lot of things straight from Mahatma Gandhi: Gandhiji stood for Satya (Truth) & Ahimsa (Non-Violence). I have realised that if you speak the truth, you will save a lot of your time. You won’t have to ever waste your time in thinking what to say. Another very important lesson that we entrepreneurs can learn from Gandhiji is to have simple solutions for the masses to complex problems. He always came up with out of the box solutions to larger issues. What is important here is that common man could connect and contribute to his solution and thus his initiatives always had a mass appeal.
- Do-it-yourself first from my Grandfather: I have been truly inspired by my grandfather. I come from a SME business family. There was nothing fancy about my childhood or education. My grandfather taught me how to hold my head high and not be hesitant in experimenting. I grew up watching him and one thing I still remember is if there was ever a need he would not be embarrassed to behave like an 18 year old even at 80. He was never afraid of opening the Pandora box, rather he would happily volunteer to open it. Hence, I am never shy of picking up my phone and calling my client or admitting that I don’t know where a particular strategy would lead but we should try. Another very important lesson that he had given me was to do it yourself first. He would often try the Sunday recipes himself before asking my mother or grand-mother. And, I still do the same. If there is something that I can’t do, then I should not expect my team to know it.
- There is never going to be a better time than it is now from Nachiket Mor: Back in 2008-09, when Brijesh and I were asked about our dream board member, we had very ambitiously said Nachiket Mor. I think it was one of the best things to happen to me. I have tried to inculcate a few of Nachiket’s personality in myself. One of the best things that I have learnt from him is to be grounded. Nachiket had strictly told us to book economy flights for him. He would prohibit us from giving him any special treatments like booking a 5-star hotel. I was at that point when most entrepreneurs would want to splurge on themselves. But after I met Nachiket, I realised that a big car or a luxury villa don’t matter. What matters is what you do with them. I owe these values to him. Another thing that I have learnt from Nachiket is to never wait for the right time or opportunity but to create one. He always says that you will never have all the resources. He taught me to convert average in to the best. I still remember that after we had raised the first round of funding, we didn’t spend it at all. In fact, in one of the board meetings, I ended up flaunting a 100 Cr in our company’s account. I had expected the board to appreciate it. Nachiket was the first one to get furious. He said, “If this was the objective then why do you have us on board. Your growth rates are stagnant at 20% and you are flaunting a 100 Crore in your bank account.” The impact was so huge that in just 18 months we went from 400 clients a month to 4000 clients every month. Nachiket wanted every day report and I wanted it to look the best. Nachiket comes with a crystal clear thought process and foresightedness. Two qualities that every leader must have. Sometimes, he could understand IndiaMART better than me and that is what makes him so special for me.
- What got you here, won’t get you there from Dhruv Prakash: Dhruv’s contribution in my life has been really significant, so much that I still call him Masterji. Until 2011- 2012, we had built IndiaMART as a stable and self-sufficient organisation. IndiaMART was largely a home grown company. I would often feel the need to explore and experiment with how other organisations are working. I could foresee that IndiaMART’s growth would get stagnated if we do not diversify our team. I discussed this with one our Board Member, Mr. Dhruv Prakash. He gave me an assignment to read a book ‘What got you here, won’t get you there’ by Marshell Goldsmith. Now, I can’t read huge books so he eased it out for me by just asking me to keep the book on my desk. Every day I would read the title of the book and soon it was clear to me. We took up this project to expand and diversify our team, especially the leadership. Today our team is a healthy mix of core team members and professionals who have worked at various organisations.
Today on Teachers’ Day, I would like to express my gratitude to these people who have helped me shape my life and become their glimpse while maintaining my originality. I meet many people every day – customers, clients, investors, colleagues, family and friends. All of you have contributed to my growth. You might not have realised how the small and trivial #GuruMantra given by you have made my life significant. Today, I would like to thank each one of you for creating an impact on my life. As I said earlier, I would like to learn by experience and in your own way each one of you have made a great impact on me. I think, life is a constant learning process and because of you all mine has been a fulfilling one. Thank you Guru for your #GuruMantra.