Moving to the Express Lane
Have you often wondered about the allure that entrepreneurship somehow manages to create around itself? Why is it that we sit up and take notice of people who have decided to venture on this path? Why do we see entrepreneurs as aspirational, slightly off centre and engaging? Well, the only way to answer these and many more pressing questions is to delve deep into what makes entrepreneurs tick!
Prashanth Vaidyan is a first generation entrepreneur who co –founded MapleCode, a talent acquisition company in 2009. He did not begin his career as an entrepreneur though. There was a period of time where he was a “non – entrepreneur” when he worked in other organizations in roles as varied as strategy and process implementation. So, why did Prashanth opt to switch lanes moving from the safety of a salaried job to the express lane of entrepreneurship? We got the answer to this and other questions from Prashanth, who candidly shared his thoughts on what being an entrepreneur means to him.
Why did you decide to venture out on your own?
I had the confidence and awareness of the unending possibilities around my specialized work area away from the conventional role that I played in my earlier jobs. There was so much to do. Though the route was tough, it helped mould me into the stronger professional I am today with an ability to solve business problems in my day-to-day work.
Was being an entrepreneur your first career choice?
This was not my first career choice. I always believed and desired to bring my various career choices before me. I started off in Project Consulting continued to IT Consulting and eventually worked towards Talent Acquisition Consulting. In short, I wanted to be in an unconventional role in the future.
What were the skills that you brought to the entrepreneurship “table” – so to speak – from your earlier positions?
Technology, Process and Consulting were my core skills. I realized that these skills are the most important for any career. These three skills helped me professionally in my talent acquisition business and in a big way.
What new skills have you had to pick up after starting your venture?
Understanding the new age talent pool and what they need was a very important skill that I learnt on the job. It continues to be a challenging skill to acquire and I ensure that daily I learn newer methods of people management.
Do you believe that anyone can be an entrepreneur or are there specific traits that one has to have?
Anyone can become an entrepreneur since the concept is not tough or alien. However, persisting and staying the course is a big key. Constant innovations, revenue challenges, unfavourable business environments and, other external challenges can make this tough. Specific traits that entrepreneurs can develop include sharp acumen, on hand knowledge of market changes, ability to adapt very quickly and take quick and rational decisions.
We have all heard about the tough times that entrepreneurs face when building their enterprise. How have you managed to stay the course so far and remain motivated?
Wanting to give up is a feeling that grips an entrepreneur very often due to the unconventional challenges and issues that a venture throws up. One factor that keeps the motivation going is that there is so much to do and that one has to give it a rational try every time you think of calling it quits. Additionally, constraints that you face in regular jobs like inability to scale up, implement new strategies etc, often force you to stay back in your entrepreneurial venture.
Is there any book or material that you have read or heard that has inspired you or helped you along the way?
“Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson and “Fish Sticks” by Stephen C Ludlin have inspired my thoughts greatly.
Today having experienced what you have, if there was piece of advice you could give to your younger self what would it be?
Be more razor focussed in personal and business decisions – I realise that immediate and firm decisions are important very early on in your professional career. Additionally, have a 24X7 self-correction mode which is needed in the 2015 era.
Given your experience in talent acquisition, what is the one skill that people today lack professionally and how do you think they can build on that?
In India, we have a considerable gap between professional education and real life scenarios. This often results in catastrophes in work executions. Hence, it is necessary that professional skills acquired are revisited often and re-trained as much as possible. With additional learning, it is easy to cope. And, of course the 3Cs – Communication,Commitment and Cause. These emotional skills need a big push in this generation.
Is there any incident or anecdote, good or bad, during your professional journey so far that stands out and which you would like to share?
Though there are no specific incidents as such, I remember various opportunities that I feel could have been taken up in parallel. I will always recommend to my peers to take up all opportunities that come by your way. It is never late!
So, here are our key takeaways on entrepreneurs from our engaging session with Prashanth:
- Entrepreneurs believe in the road less taken
- Entrepreneurs never say die
- Entrepreneurs are adept at marrying the past with the present
- Entrepreneurs see every challenge as a lesson to learn from
- Entrepreneurs know, understand and live resilience
If what you have learnt about Prashanth is making you shift in your seat and think about switching to the express lane, we say Go for it because “It is never late” to change lanes!
To find out more about Prashanth’s venture, go to http://maplecode.com/welcome/
You can also find out more about Prashanth at http://maplecode.com/welcome/?q=node/69
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