INDIA: When Manoj Tandon decided to quit his corporate job and become an entrepreneur, he was wondering what should he do not only to do some meaningful work but also so he could give back to the world of business that has given him so much.
At the peak of his career, Manoj worked in India, US, UK, France among other countries; for the last 35 years and in various roles like Managing Partner of a Consulting company in California, member of the executive committee which ran the European operations of a billion-dollar financial services company in UK etc.
“I soon realised that one segment that needs help is the SME segment. Many small companies start, do well in the beginning and then get stuck. They don’t know how to grow to the next level, can’t afford to hire experts, and therefore are left to struggle”, he says.
Upon this realisation, Manoj decided to provide them with “affordable” consulting, which he says is not the standard “giving advice and recommendations” kind of consulting. He actually gets involved in a hands-on manner with his clients.
“What that means is that I get engaged with my clients right at the strategy level and then I go ahead to helping them actively in sales, delivery, HR, Finance. Essentially from soup to nuts…”, Manoj says.
In 2013, Manoj had ended his corporate stint and started his own growth consulting company purely devoted to SME organizations. His clients include companies from India, the US, and the UK. He is also a Mentor for Tech Manchester UK, an organization whose vision is to help startup entrepreneurs.
He says that the environment of entrepreneurship is shifting and that it is becoming better as more and more young people are shifting from employment to self-employment, thanks to many factors that have ensured this comes to fruition.
“Earlier, to get a good job was the dream of every professional, but today, to be on their own and be one’s own lord/master is the dream of many young professionals”, Manoj explains.
“Globalization, brought about by the advent of technology, has ensured that markets become borderless. The scope has not only grown geographically but also in terms of the kind of opportunities that can be pursued”, he says.
As well, entrepreneurs today have better access to support from investors and other funders for their businesses to take off.
Manoj says, “The support system for entrepreneurs has become much better than it ever was, like the availability of investors to fund entrepreneurs in various stages of their journey, government support, etc.”
Besides his work, Manoj is an avid writer, having written multiple books, and as well for various business newspapers and online news channels on business and social issues. His interview series on start-ups (in 3 parts) is quite popular on YouTube.
His advice to new entrepreneurs is that one should not start a business because everyone else is, but should do it if they are passionate about something, to address a real problem, not a short-term issue.
“If your choice is only because of money, please think again…..history has shown repeatedly that people who chase money do not mostly get it but people who chase excellence in problem-solving make it big”, Manoj concludes.