Mr. Sameer Walia, co-founder of ‘The Smart Cube’
This was a great opportunity for all of us to have a face-to-face interaction with a person of such a stature in my journey series. Mr. Sameer Walia co-founded “The Smart Cube” (TSC) in 2003 and has built the organization from a scratch over the last 4 years. He currently takes care of the India operations and is focused on developing a strong capability for the firm.
He started his words with the ultimate secret of success, which we all know ,but we never implement it in our life that is “FAITH”. Consultancy is a desk based business in which we need computers and proper phone line but while starting this venture there was nothing with him, except his Faith on himself. Before actually starting up with his venture, Mr. Walia and his business partner outsource their business from Evalueserve and became their client. They made a lot of money there and generated revenue of 70,000 pounds where there investment was only of 15000 pounds, which was a big margin for them. And one fine day they decided to set up their own venture and conveyed to the Evalueserve that they wanted to be their competitor from their client. He quit his job on sept 23,2003. And after a lot of planning he started up with his own office. He believed “whatever you do, do well”. He gave an example of that, In his office 40% of his investment was gone in a single generator, because he wanted to create an environment which would lead to increase in productivity. And the result was that, the people from city bank, world banks and London business school joined them, there was of course more analytical rigor. Their planning shifted from staring of the first year to its end, at first they planned that it is not necessary that they will succeed in first year, so failure is not a problem, but eventually they made a go for it, make or break situation and they succeeded. One more different key to their success was they didn’t have investors they own all their investment and they never run out of cash
But it was not about success only. They suffered several setbacks too.
First setback for them was, when 18 analysts out of 50-60 in numbers left them to Hyderabad to set up their own ventures. It was a huge loss for them, both emotionally and financially. Second setback was when they kicked out Sky which was an important client for them, having a turnover of $ 2.8 million, whatsoever were the issues behind it he didn’t share with us but again their business suffered. Next set back was Ceiling of their office in which, they invested Rs 2.5 crore and it was a salvage value. They went to Supreme Court for this. Their cash reserves went down to zero but they get the relief for 9 months.
Then he proceed his speech by showing his confidence that now they are strong enough to fight with any kind of problems as they have learnt a lot in this period. Of course they walked two steps forward and one step backward during those unfortunate periods but, this is a part of business, therefore you should take setbacks very calmly, and things will go on. You need challenges in life of success., It’s all about how you take it. This must not be wrong to say “There is a will, there is a Way”.
His opinion on entrepreneurship was:
It’s not about being an entrepreneur, one should be entrepreneurial. Which means being resourceful. sNo, “NO” should be there. He shared his experience with us, that while he was traveling to the Korapur his train was caught in cyclone and they stuck there for many hours. Then they saw a train which was moving in opposite direction. They caught that train and of course they didn’t reach their destination, but at least they moved from there and then took some other way of reaching there. So he always remains resourceful, so he was extremely entrepreneurial. He said even as a student we can be extremely entrepreneurial. We could be resourceful always. If we are lazy, we can’t help our self so we should be hardworking and last thing Entrepreneurship comes with huge personal sacrifices.
He also gave us ingredients of success.
There is no Magic Mantra. It’s all about luck. He also believed, there is nothing like permanent bad luck. Both good and bad luck lasts at sometime. Hard work and perseverance changes your bad luck. He gave examples of Shahrukh Khan, Akshay Kumar and Rajnikant that they didn’t succeeded in one day. Akshay had 17 successive flops, but it was his bad luck, by his 18th film he was back again. It’s not about bad luck but It’s about how you face it.
About taking risk, He said:
In binary situation, it’s easy to say but difficult to live that moment, when u go to minus actually. Taking risk is core thing.
About making Decision and living consequences, he gave his views as:
Decision making is a natural procedure. While he take decisions he know it that out of 10 ,2 of them are going to be wrong .Once you made a decision good or bad you should live with that. This kind of attitude makes life happier. It is worse to taking back your decision. People shy from a conflicting situation, but they have to take tough decisions.
Then he told about humbleness, as If we treat all as equal. If we are humble we can do many things in life. The more humanity we have, more grounded we are, more grasp we will be having in our business. These are small things which will go a long, long way. We should have ability to connect dots together. Environment should be perceived, economic and social. Analytically it’s called Trend analysis.
He gave his views on ability to with stand adversity.
He said he didn’t think success requires high IQ, It’s about high EQ, and Emotional Quotient should be high. If it is not increasing, 5-10 yrs from now, we will less likely to succeed.
He spoke about personal sacrifices also.
Personal sacrifices, includes health but biggest scarifies is time. Even we have to sacrifices time for our family too. We have to sleep less and less sleep will lead to certain consequences. Our body is unchangeable, so we should take care of it properly, it’s very important. He said, we should be very detail focused. God lies in details, a lot people do yoyo, Up and down. Consistency matters a lot and it brings in people’s trust.
Dark side of Entrepreneur.
Speaking in his language, first of all it’s not about Money. Money is a driver, the joy and satisfaction that lead to drive. Money part is not as glamorous as it looks from outside. There are lots of heartburns, tears. It sounds glamorous from outside. It takes away your comfort, it’s very lonely ride as an entrepreneur. It’s stressful, no back outs. It can make you a tough person. You have to take hard decisions, even if you don’t want to, as business demands it. Your antenna should always up, you can’t trust anyone. Your life will be completely changed.
This interesting session was concluded with a query session in which Mr. Walia cleared all the doubts and curiosity of the students, by enriching them with various insights of professional as well as personal life.