Statistics state that 20% of small businesses fail in their first year, 30% of small business fail in their second year, and 50% of small businesses fail after five years in business. But if you can survive the first few years, you will likely make it for the long haul and reap the rewards, which are bountiful. Here are 2 Antal Entrepreneurs who are a living testimony to this fact. Here they tell us what kept them going all these years.
Joseph Devasia: Joseph is the Managing Director of Antal International India. He brought the Antal brand to India in 2006 as Antal’s 1st franchisee, 12 years on he has built the Antal brand which today has 45 offices across India. He tells us what kept him going in all these years.
What kept you going all these years – My passion for this business, the fact that it Joseph Devasiainfluences 1000s of people and their families and most importantly all those colleagues who work with me depend on us doing well, that motivates me to do better every-day, every year.
What are the hurdles you faced and how did you overcome them – Running any business in India is a challenge, hurdles come in all forms and sizes – sometimes these are regulatory, compliance-oriented,
or the most difficult being people specific hurdles. Being patient with any issue and taking them one small piece at a time without getting over-whelmed about the magnitude has helped me overcome them quite easily.
When you feel dejected or demotivated how do you deal with it – I think about what I have set as life goals for my family and the dejections then seem like small bumps in the road, while the journey is a long one to take. Eventually one gets to the destination irrespective of the speed or the mishaps on the way. Being generally of a positive outlook in life, I am not easily defeated, so the need for external motivation is low. My family, very close friends and colleagues are the true source of inspiration for daily struggles to be overcome.
How has entrepreneurship changed you – personally and professionally – Entrepreneurship has been the most rewarding experience in my life. Personally, I am no longer daunted by any incidents that may have otherwise seemed life-derailing, so there is a lot more valour, vigour, energy. Professionally I have grown to be able to manage people, understand clients’ businesses and what they need from talent while persevering under pressure, seeing the pleasures and pains, wins and losses and settling in the fact that this is but a journey. While I may have done things differently had I got this experience earlier, I would not change what I have become today. Entrepreneurship is empowering, liberating, giving, caring, sharing and allowing others around you to prosper too.
Vinu Nair: AS Managing Partner, Antal Cathedral Road, Vinu joined the Antal network as a Franchise owner 9 years ago. He leads a team of 20 IT recruiters and is a fitness enthusiast. He shares his entrepreneurial journey with us and tells us what kept him motivated in his almost decade long journey.
What kept you going – When I started my business, one of my intent was to help start a few careers – Team members who trusted me and joined the business. 50% of my team at any point in my journey so far, started
their careers in my business. Secondly, the belief that success in this job impacts the client’s business in a positive way and also that we provide career guidance/opportunities to candidates. Last but not the least this job is by far the most interesting role I have had in all my career, SAP consulting was good but most fires were doused as expertise grew, not so much in recruitment though.
. What are the hurdles you faced and how did you overcome them? Overcoming Client TA team’s style of working was a big hurdle, I did not play along with most of them and on many occasions kept persisting for a direct channel with the hiring manager. I leveraged my experience and presented my understanding of the role and data from the search exercise to help win Client confidence. Many of Client’s (TA function) believe what worked for them in the past would always work in the future too, this was mostly highlighted to stonewall my ideas, I did walk away from some but where I knew there was a semblance of a chance, I invested my time to win them over with processes which are time-tested and got you a results faster. Building a team was another challenge, I grew from 2 to 5 and then to 10 and closer to 20, all these hires were with almost zero experience in recruitment, this meant I had to train them about the industry, the roles to be filled, the data points which can differentiate a good candidate from an average one and lastly when to give up on an opportunity.
. When you feel dejected or demotivated how do you deal with it? Actually, this happens quite a few times given that we are dealing with multiple candidates and clients who are individuals with their own reasoning and ideas. Candidate dropouts are something which gets me off track and so does poor communication or feedback from the client on resumes interviewed or submitted. I often feel that although IT organizations have grown manifold over the years, talent recruitment is an area where most of them have not laid emphasis on (I don’t mean to say recruitment numbers or headcount but talent). I am sometimes at loggerheads with Client’s to argue and thrash out a point and not to simply be subservient, the problem today is that anyone can start a recruitment agency and approach a client with a fee which is lower than the lowest in the market, unfortunately sometimes you have to explain your fees and service levels in comparison to such agencies. Favoritism is also something that you come across in this line of business, I wonder in such cases how should one react?
. How has entrepreneurship changed you – personally and professionally? Personally, this has been a very rewarding experience with almost a 360-degree view of my business and taking risks on investments and expenses on my own. I now have a larger responsibility towards my team and family, which is a lot different from a corporate role where I have funds/investment backing me during a bad month or a quarter. Monetarily it has been rewarding too and I hope to build the business to reward more and more of team members in the coming years. Insights and foresight from running this business for 7 years show me a mirror from which I cannot escape the good or the bad. Professionally, I am able to have long-term targets for the business and myself, this is something which I could not do while I was in an MNC. Working with client’s to help them recruit some of their key talents who in turn contribute to the Client’s business in a very positive way is deeply satisfying. Some of my Clients are 4 to 5 years old and they call us for some critical and urgent requirements and many times we establish a relationship with a prospect who was referred to us by an existing Client, in such cases nothing can speak more than a positive reference.