Mr. Samarjeet Singh stresses that entrepreneurship is a lifestyle that you choose based on its pros and cons
“I was always attracted to entrepreneurship and wanted to be an entrepreneur. I have been part of 5 start-ups in various leadership roles, and at different stages till date,” says GIM alum Samarjeet Singh, who is the CEO and Founder of Iksula. Through his various entrepreneurial roles, Mr. Singh, who graduated from the institute in 1997, found himself working in the dynamic and exciting e-commerce industry in a senior role with eBay as Baazee was sold to eBay. That is where the opportunity for Iksula came from.
Pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams is one thing – leaving your well paid job is quite another. Mr. Singh admits that he was faced with this dilemma when he made his move with Iksula: “I knew that with starting a new company there would be risks involved. I knew there would be lifestyle changes that would have to be made, and I had prepared my family for them. The career risk didn’t seem too high because I always had an entrepreneurial bent and the pros of success easily outweighed the cons of failure to an optimistic person in me”
For a hands-on entrepreneur, especially for a start-up, you have to jump into the thick of things with a plan for success. Mr. Singh puts things into perspective for aspiring entrepreneurs as he describes his journey so far, from beginning to end. “I call the first couple of years of entrepreneurship as hustling years where you try to leverage anything and everything to get business for your startup,” he says. “Years 3 and 4 were about acquiring strategic clients and creating broad framework for growth and sustainability. From year 5 it has been about organization building, consolidating your existing business and looking for strategic and inorganic growth ”
According to Mr. Singh, setting the future direction of the company is crucial through these different stages. But what are the important qualities that budding entrepreneurs should have to see their dreams come true? He spells them out for youngsters today: “You have to believe in your passion with clarity of vision. Secondly, you need to have a purpose to pursue your vision, because the purpose which would guide you through critical times. Lastly, it’s your grit and perseverance that will be your biggest asset during this journey as an entrepreneur.”
The Nature vs. Nurture argument probably works for entrepreneurship as well, and you have to wonder if the mind-set can be absorbed by young students working their way through management programs. Mr. Singh ponders before replying, “Entrepreneurship to me is a deep passion and requires perseverance and vision. If you have that, then an appetite for risk and leadership abilities are a natural outcome. I believe B Schools can orient their programs a lot more in the direction of creating job makers of the future.”
Mr. Singh was recently returned to GIM, where it all started for him, for an entrepreneurship session and left suitably impressed. “GIM has the perfect curriculum and environment for grooming professionals,” he says. “I came from a small town and the institute helped me broaden my horizons. I have many great memories of my time here, including birthday celebrations and bucket showers I received on my and others birthdays. We would convert the hostel into a swimming pool.” Mr. Singh speaks this words immersed in nostalgia and with a big smile on his face.