“Excellence is doing ordinary things, extraordinarily well.”
Hardik is a detail-oriented person with a knack of driving problems to their logical solutions. He has an eye for perfection and hardly ever loses sight of the strategic objective. He has an expertise in business process, strategy management and leadership. He started his career working as a quality assurance professional and gradually moved up the ranks working in different organizations.
He came to the forefront, after he entered the entrepreneurial club and launched Effex Business Solutions. This startup was formed with a vision of introducing best in class Business Management Concepts in the SME Segment of India.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
We are a management consulting company helping small and medium size businesses create systems and processes that help them become more productive, manage staff effectively, arrest leakage of money due to broken systems, tap on right opportunities and grow the business.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
I was a part of the process excellence vertical in my corporate life. When I got married, I got acquainted with relatives who owned family run businesses and got an opportunity to have a closer look into how they operated. I realized a lot of them were successful in identifying the right market and a right product but were struggling to scale up, simply because they could not manage high number of daily transactions. Lack of systems and processes made it impossible for them to track performance and do improvements in the right areas. Firefighting and overdependence on a few people was the way of business. The entrepreneur had only two choices, either to be happy with the scale at which they were operating and accept that in some cases their business will die naturally due to no growth and increasing costs; or be ready for a chaotic journey in an attempt to scale.
I realized this scenario could be changed by applying process excellence principals. Understanding key deliverables and designing well defined & measureable processes, hiring for skills required to run these processes, defining roles and responsibility, measuring performance, continuously improving processes and employing technology. We also realized it was important to not only design the business processes but also help implement them, which was not possible without the involvement of the staff right from the design stage.
We knew we could make a change. The service offering was very wholesome and grounded with practical and doable approaches and that gave birth to ‘Propel’ – a systematic approach to plan and implement growth, solve business problems and improve performance of the Indian Small and Medium Size Business.
What is your life mantra?
We all strive towards making things better, I call “making things better” Excellence. Whether it is striving to work for a better pay scale, going for a holiday for a better relationship, or voicing your opinion for a better society, our quest for Excellence never stops. Excellence in my mind is a combination of a well thought through “Design” and its consistent application is “Perseverance”.
My mantra in life is design your journey intelligently and persevere, Excellence will be yours.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
The most challenging part of the journey is to sustain as an organization in its early days whilst not changing the ethos behind the company.
How did you overcome those challenges?
We knew deep and strong that we were people who could design processes and therefore solve business problems. We were people of “Logic” and not “Philosophy”. Logic is not enticing enough to the audience but philosophy is very interesting. Lot of people requested us to do motivational pep talks and were willing to handsomely compensate. We had to politely decline such offers and work towards what we were meant to be. The only way we could make process consulting work was by proving that logic gives results and its more than worth investing in it. It was difficult for us to find new clients in the early days and people would seldom understand what we do. So we met more and more people to increase our chance of landing a new assignment and then we made sure results on all the assignments were nothing less than excellent. There was no magic, but simple math, if you crack one assignment after meeting ten people and your target is two, figure out a way to meet 20 people.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
We are Services Company and in my opinion, we do not need external investments right now. If we perform well, we get referred and that is the only way that works. So as long as we are performing and making our clients happy, they will either retain us or refer us to their friends.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
We do not face this issue. There are enough number of consultants, coaches and trainers who run a single person company and offer services different than ours. We train and certify them as Propel consultants and assign projects to them. They carry out the project on our project management system, so that every step taken is well documented. We review the progress of the projects every week and make sure the implementation is in right direction.
Also, to keep a strong check on the quality of consulting, all projects are subject to audits by us and all improvements are objectively measured. There also is a team of Propel Engagement Directors, which are veteran business owners, who keep in touch with the promoters to facilitate strategic advice and learn how they see the progress of the process improvement project.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
Ability to self-evaluate: This helps a person identify strengths and weakness, everyone has a strength, which must be used to its optimal level and everyone has weaknesses, which need to be accepted and then worked upon. If one is not able to self-evaluate, he may fall into the trap of incorrect self-pride or low self-esteem.
Ability to change: You do not learn everything at once. Learning is a continuous process and therefore is change.
Ability to persevere: Luck is defeated if you do the above two consistently in relation to the goal. If you cannot persevere long enough and solve enough problems no goal can be achieved.
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
We use a variety of things:
Dropbox: An amazing file sharing and storing tool for an SME
Facebook and LinkedIn: Super social media sites for low cost marketing
Asana and Bitrix: Very good low cost, easy to implement online CRM and Task Management tools for SME
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
I start my day with a goal, an objective outcome I want to achieve and then make my todo list. The todo list has activities which will help me reach my objective outcome and followed by administrative aspects. When I start working, I avoid multitasking, what works well for me is to concentrate on one task complete that with full concentration and then move on the next one.
Striking-off completed tasks is my way of appreciating myself
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
Not all things are in my hands. I understand this, yet end up getting myself stressed by falling into the trap of thinking how could I have changed the outcome.
Answer in less than 50 words
One tip to success: Identify your strength, apply it in the right area and persevere
One mistake you believe every individual must avoid: Cooking stories of how tomorrow would look like and get worried, even when you know you have done everything that you could. Wait for the ‘tomorrow’ to happen.
One most important lesson that you have learnt till now: Proof is the best way to convince
What are your plans for next 3 years?
We wish to build a community of small and medium size businesses that are dedicated to continuous improvement, growth and excellence using a structured method of ‘Propel’.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
I have loved the journey so far, it has been the best learning experience I could have got. I would live it all over again with no changes. Everything that happened or did not happen was important.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
GOA, GOA, GOA – not the commercialized side. The calm and less explored one.
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
“Excellence is doing ordinary things, extraordinarily well.”-John W Gardner