Waqar Azmi, Founder & CEO of SutraHR, was just another Engineering student out of Mumbai. He hated Engineering so much so that he found himself wanting to drop out before he lost any more time. “I absolutely hated studying. I remember failing more than I passed. It was in my second year of engineering when I wanted to drop out. I had failed all six subjects of that semester, and I knew I couldn’t do this any further.” he said. But that wasn’t the end, not even close. He added, ” I was making money out of reselling second hand cellular phones, back then. And I didn’t feel the need to pursue any degree at that time since I already had enough money coming in. I was only 17, and this was going well for me.” His parents didn’t think the same way, they pushed him to finish what he started. But Waqar persisted and continued to follow his heart into business as early as he did.
While he was making his own share of profits, it wasn’t enough. He wanted to do more. While he was exploring his options into new ventures, it struck him! What is the most common problem these businesses have? It was Manpower, the most common concern for them all. And that was the beginning of SutraHR, now one of Aisa’s top HR consultancy. It was founded in 2008 and has grown multiple folds in different wings, since then.
SutraHR was only a start to his flight. After creating a mark in the field of Recruitment, he had clients wanting more from Sutra then just hiring and that gave birth to another idea. In 2012, Waqar came together with Jay Thaker to introduce, sumHR – a HR and Payroll software that manages attendance, leaves, payroll and more. While both his ventures were fitting into the competition and growing with time, his urge to do more was still alive. And so he push his part time income source to a full fledged venture called, Mumbai Coworking. Shared work space for small businesses, budding entrepreneurs and freelances. Since Mumbai is infamous for its limited space and expensive property, the idea of running a shared workspace was a breath of fresh air. Since this industry has been on the rise for a few years now, this seemed like a perfect next step in expansion for him.
While he took me through his entrepreneurial journey, I wondered why all these companies didn’t fall under one brand name, and so I asked him. “I’ve intentionally ensured to maintain each of them as separate units. You see, if tomorrow, I were to sell any of them, the other should remain unaffected,” he explains. Pro Tip: So if any of you plan on expanding like Waqar, you now know what you must consider while thinking of a future for your ventures.
I found myself asking him, What motivated you to reach thus far? And he told me, his goal was to make 1 lakh per month. That’s all, it was that simple at the start but as he went on growing, he made a lot in his business. “When the result is four times more of what you set out to do, it’s hard not to keep going,” he added. He was far ahead in the game from his other friends, all of whom when on to complete their bachelors and masters. But soon after he realized that money without growth wasn’t exciting him, and so he went on to expansion and that’s what gave him the real satisfaction.
This all might sound idealist and farfetched, but this is a result of pure hard work and persistence. And there is no denying the struggles and failure that came his way on his climb up. “The last year has been the toughest year for us so far. Our revenue dropped drastically because of the market conditions. In my 10 years of experience, I hadn’t seen business suffer this much, it was miserable. We made about 6.5 crores, in all our businesses, which is our lowest so far. Having said all of this, I’m highly hopeful that we’re going to have an amazing 2018,” he says positively.
I asked him for a tip or take away for our readers, and he said, “It has to be networking, undoubtedly.” While he was still starting out and visiting cooperate events and seminars, he’d take a bunch of his business cards and his only goal would be to finish them. Which means for every card he gave out, he’d get a card back. He built such a strong network for himself and that’s probably what helped him on board clients with the likes of Practo, OLA, DMart, etc. Pro Tip: Networking can take you places. Don’t hesitate to approach people.
If you are someone who’s starting out or have a startup and want to grow further, here are 5 takeaways from his success journey:
If you are someone who’s starting out or have a startup and want to grow further, here are 5 takeaways from his success journey: 1. Find your purpose. I started out for money but thankfully found what drives me, quite early in my career.
2. Don’t be impulsive. Your fight has to be crazy, so get ready for it.
3. Persistence and dedication will go a long way.
4. Entrepreneurship is all about finding your own way. Today you’re doing something, tomorrow something else may come up. Be prepared for anything and hold courage to follow though.
5. 3 qualities that you have to have as an entrepreneur – Reliability, Excellence and Speed.
“If 10 years ago they told me that my journey would have these experiences, I would never have believed them. And now, I’m living out of my dream and I’ve built it all,” he says signing off proudly.
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