7 Questions with Abhishek Rungta
Name: Abhishek Rungta
Current title: Founder & CEO
Current organisation: Indus Net Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
Bootstrapped Entrepreneur😂, Marketing & Tech Geek🤓, Venture Builder😇, #InsurTech #SaaS. Works @IndusNetTech @Techshu @XemplaHQ
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
The real challenge is to attract the right clients. You need very dynamic team members, you need real contributors who get real stuff done. And you do not necessarily have the best pay pack or brand to offer.
In brief, managing the aspirations of your team and keeping them excited in an adventurous journey is very challenging.
2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I started off in 1997 as a bootstrapped entrepreneur with $1 as my starting capital.
I hustled my way through various digital businesses to keep multiplying that $1 over the years while I learned about this business model; and kept iterating based on customer feedback.
In the early days, we did not find local customers interested and we pivoted to sell 100% online to global customers way back in 2000. We built a sleek model where we acquired business, accepted payments, delivered projects, managed people, delivered projects, and supported our clients - all online. Today, it is very common, but in those days, it was definitely "innovation".
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I spend half my day in cadence calls and review meetings with my team.
In the second half of the day, I do not put anything in the calendar. I keep it open to do a few clients calls every week, deep dive on some major initiatives with my specific team members, and do my own work.
I also learned the hard way to reduce my meetings, prepare for my meetings, and also push my team to come prepared and keep closing identified action-items.
I generally say no to most unstructured meetings/calls. But, I make it a point to meet 1-2 new people and have conversations.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
The most interesting lesson I learned - "Companies do not compete with Companies; but Value Chain competes with Value Chains. How can I create strong partnerships which can make everyone stronger and competitive in the industry?
I can see the benefit within weeks!
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
I was deeply impacted by "What Got You Here Won't Get You There" by Marshall Goldsmith. It beautifully points out the mistakes we make when we achieve some success and expect the same habits and processes to work for us taking us forward. It is hardly true unless we are talking about the fundamental value system. We have to change our method of management, our interaction, our leadership style to unlock the next level of success.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?
Coaching, Mentoring, Training. I work very closely with mid and senior management very closely to engage them, guide them, work with them as "one of them". It is extremely satisfying and also gives me a lot of satisfaction, as it brings lots of deeper insights from inside the business, team, and clients.
So, it is a win-win!
I also work with promising freshers and encourage them to ensure that they keep moving up the ladder quickly - kind of fast track path in the organization.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?
There are many!
We were bidding for a major technology project by the Government of India which was directly controlled by the Prime Minister's office.
We were competing against 20 top IT companies.
We went extremely well prepared and my team actually took a working prototype of the possible application in the pre-bid meeting.
This caught everyone off-guard and we bagged the contract through our agility.
We delivered the product in three months, and the same is being used by millions of Indians today, and it helps in strengthening our democracy. I am proud of my team for this amazing success story.