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7 Questions with Sharmila Mathew
7 Questions with Sharmila Mathew
Name: Sharmila Mathew
Current title: Founder
Current organisation: Digi Optimization
I am the founder of Digi Optimization. I founded Digi Optimization in August 2020. We are an online internet business providing digital marketing services to businesses. Before Digi Optimization, I have worked with Wipro, Convergys, and Certification Planner. With over 17 years of experience, I have worked in various fields which includes customer service, quality analyst, content management, and digital marketing services.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
There were quite a few challenges and exciting moments when starting Digi Optimization. The conceiving of ideas to get the first client was all so thrilling. However, in all the adventures that I had with setting up Digi Optimization, the most challenging was to be vigilant and keep my focus on all the functions of the business. Looking at registration, legal, taxes, website designing, content development, speaking to clients, closing my deals, and looking at day to day activities; it used to be a long day. In the end, it seems all worth it.
2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?
When I was working with my previous organization, I felt the urge to start something on my own. I felt that I could offer much more. Managing digital marketing projects, content management, and client servicing are the skills I acquired and these have always been my strength. I wanted to explore more. Also, it was the onset of the pandemic. People were losing their jobs and businesses were closing down. I felt it was the right opportunity to start my own digital marketing agency. I went right for it and now I am so happy I did it.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I invest a lot of time in researching, learning, and ensuring day to day work is complete. A well-planned strategy is a must for someone who has a packed day. I start my work at 10 am by answering my email, then I go through the list of work that is priority, the meeting schedules, and then as per priority work is completed. I try to wrap up by 9 pm and then it is dinner and family time.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Patience. According to me patience is very important for a leader. When you’re waiting for deals to close, the client may take longer than expected. It's not worth losing patience. Waiting with patience is the answer. You cannot send follow-ups after follow-ups. It can drive them away. So, patience is the key.
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?
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. The journey of Phil Knight from his struggling days to setting up a sports shoe business to making what Nike is today. The profound impact was the journey that Phil went through in setting up his shoe business and never giving up. The sacrifices he made and the struggles he went through were all so inspiring. You can’t succeed without sweating it out.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?
By making your employees responsible for their work. Give them the free hand to do the end-to-end work, review it once they are done and before it goes to the client. Let them know how they can improve or appreciate them for the good work. This would make them feel responsible and careful about their work. Also, it gives them the opportunity to lead their own projects.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?
The story that comes to my mind is how I changed my career from working in a corporate office to starting my own organization. It was not easy making that decision. I had a good career and when you’re comfortable it’s difficult to let go of. Starting a new business is never easy; but thanks to an encouraging family I could make the decision. I had spent months thinking if I am taking the steps in the right direction and what if I fail. It's important to get support from family and friends and encouraging words that no matter if I fail, at least I tried.