“It needs nerves of steel to follow your dreams,” says Meenakshi Shenoy, Founder of Corporate Database Recruitment Consultants, a senior level search firm. While she may be talking about the start-up boom in Bangalore, the statement could well apply to her journey as an entrepreneur.
“The timing was right,” she says, recalling those early days of entrepreneurship. “IT was booming and there were plenty of opportunities.” Of course, there were challenges too. You have to be in the driver’s seat and never lose focus says Meenakshi. She started small, with just 4-5 clients. Initially, clients would seek her services to recruit Project Managers or Programmers, but gradually as they saw her passion for recruitment and her professional services, the requirements and the clients grew bigger. Today, she takes great pride in being a boutique consulting firm catering to a very niche market.
We caught up with Meenakshi Shenoy for a free-wheeling chat to understand how the entrepreneurial landscape has changed over the years. Here’s an excerpt.
What made you strike on your own as an entrepreneur?
I have always been an entrepreneur at heart. I started to develop the confidence to establish my venture. This is my passion and purpose. Success is finding joy in creating whatever it is you set out to create.
Didn’t you ever think about having your own office set-up?
I did toy with the idea of having my own independent office space but a serviced office works well in terms of costs, facilities and support services. You don’t have the headache of running an independent office. The Golden Square team is very responsible and professional and I feel safe even if I’m working late. Their customer care is amazing! We’ve moved into the virtual office zone today, which allows you to work from any part of the world.
Any logistic challenges that you faced then?
Initially I was sourcing only out of Bangalore. Companies wanted talent pool from all over India and having people relocate to Bangalore was a challenge!
What kind of changes have you seen in Bangalore’s entrepreneurial landscape over the years?
Earlier, people were averse to risk. They wanted a secure job and parental approval. In fact, many did not want to move from an Indian Corporate to a Multinational. Today, the younger generation is more willing to take risks. In fact, even failed entrepreneurs are the most sought after today! Startups have to have leaders who have the skills to lead!
The latest Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking by San Francisco-based Compass, rates Bangalore as the world's 2nd fastest growing startup ecosystem…
Bangalore has definitely made a dent. Actually, investments started coming into Bangalore when SM Krishna was the Chief Minister. Many companies moved into Bangalore then.
The entry of private equity funding and venture capitalists has encouraged a lot of start-ups. In fact, there are more start-ups than MNCs in Bangalore today! Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and the many success stories emanating from the Silicon Valley have inspired youngsters. In fact, even those in their 40s want to quit their jobs, move out of their comfort zone, roll up their sleeves and chase their dreams.
How do you think the start-up scene will pan out?
It’s a cycle. Some companies have made the cut and some haven’t as funding is shrinking especially in the last 2 months. Most Investors say it will pickup in 2-3 years. Investors are more keen on profits and will not have their investee companies burn cash and want them to save money. Startups are shutting, laying off people and investors pulling out funds and questions are being raised whether startups will last. Startups have to be sustainable. Confidence to back yourself is the number one challenge which one has to overcome. It is something that you need to keep working on as you take on bigger challenges in business and work. There are a lot of people wanting to be entrepreneurs but it requires a certain maturity. It’s not as easy as it sounds. I am not dissuading the youngsters here, but grey hair has its wisdom. It needs nerves of steel to follow your dreams. Resilience and Perseverance are the keys to achievement.
Looking back at your journey as an entrepreneur do you have any regrets?
It’s been an interesting journey with a lot of learning. I witnessed the Dot Com boom and the subsequent bust, Y2K, the emergence of start-ups…and today I work with some of the best MNCs and startups. The path has been challenging, exhilarating, frustrating at times but definitely fulfilling.
This article is written by Nahida Sunil
This article is written by Nahida Sunil