How to have happy and engaged employees

Business Growth Pillar #3- Employee Engagement

The number one challenge that I’ve seen with entrepreneurs as they grapple to scale up their enterprise is people. In my last blog, we saw how important a second line of management is but still overall people struggle on that particular front.  So how do you have happy and engaged employees?

Employee Engagement

In this blog , I share 3 Specific challenges that entrepreneurs struggle with.

  1. Hiring the right people 
  2. Building a formidable team that’s able to independently grow
  3. Retaining the particular talent 

In my last series of blog, I share some very specific ways in which we can do that.  The number one way in which you can address a majority of these people-related issues is making sure that you have an employee-engagement system in place.

According to a recent EY report, If you are able to invest in a total-rewards mechanism, then you will find that you have a 15% higher employee productivity than companies that don’t.

There are 3 specific ways in which we can have happy and engaged employees:

  1. Right People in the Right Place:
    • Make sure that you have the right people in place. Develop a hiring process in which we are able to get across the long term vision of your company and get your people excited about it.

    • Seek to understand what are the aspirations of your people and make sure that these are aligned with you. Show how by meeting the company’s goals, the company’s visions, they are able to also positively impact their aspirations.

    • The best advice that I’ve got as far as people go is this: Hire slowly, fire quickly. Make sure that you have a very specific way in hiring people and invest in that particular process. It may take some time and effort to do that but don’t cut corners there because it’s really important.

Imagine if you were hiring a partner, just not an employee and if tomorrow this person is going to be a partner in your business. What are the kind of interview would you want to conduct? What kind of things that you would want to ask?

I am also providing a link here on the three specific things that I look for when I’m hiring people.

2. Up-skill Your Team:  Make sure that you are investing in upskilling your team. You’ve to define the Key Results Areas for each particular role. Have an assessment to identify the skills gap between a person’s current ability and what the job will demand. This will  figure out what training you require for your team to help bridge the gap.

Help your employees become more successful in their job. If you are able to do that, then you are able to get happier and more productive employees.

3. Retaining the Talent:  To retain top talent you need to have a total rewards system. It’s not just making sure that you have a good salary package in place but there are many other things that come into play here. For example do you have a recognition system in place? This is an important way in which you are able to retain and engage talent.

Do you have a process of performance review and feedback? This will help you and team to know how well they are doing.  You need to have a process of continuous feedback.

These are 3 simple ways in which you can have happy and engaged employees.

Leave a comment below about how you keep your employees happy and engaged?

How To Develop Your Company’s Second Line Of Leadership?

Business Growth Pillar #2​ – Leadership

Do you have a second line of leadership in place which is independent and accountable? Initially when entrepreneurs start their business, they are busy working “IN” the business. But if they want the business to scale up, then they would need to, set up a second line of leadership and have more time to work “ON” the business. In 2014 Gallup study, showed that entrepreneurs that delegated actually grew much faster, and they could even set more aggressive growth targets. In this blog we discuss how to develop your company’s second line of leadership (SLoM).


An EY India report recently showed that entrepreneurs who had a second line of leadership had 3.5X higher revenues than companies that didn’t. It is very crucial to be able to develop the second line of leadership.

Here are three things that you can do to actually develop a second line of leadership for your business:

  1. Build a complimentary Team
    It’s important to make sure that you have complimentary team who shares your vision. It does not make any point having people of the same strengths and doing same sort of things.  To run a business it requires many different skill sets coming together, so it’s really important to have a complimentary set of people and the people who share the same vision.
  2. Delegate effectively
    When it comes to delegating, there are some key important things that need to be in place.

    1. Define Roles. Demarcate the responsibilities. It’s very important that everyone knows where does the buck stop, and what specifically they’re able to do.
    2. Instill Accountability. Identify Key Results Areas (KRAs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each area. Begin to monitor and measure them. Create benchmarks about what good performance looks like. Have a weekly meeting where these numbers are reviewed and action plans to move them forward are committed to. It will be very clear if someone is doing a good job or not. Achievement and recognition of achievements are key motivators of human behavior.Identify the current skills of your team and what skills will be needed for them to succeed. Develop a training plan to upskill your team so that they succeed
    3. Allowing your team to do day – to – day management. Finally, and this is difficult for entrepreneurs allow your team to take charge and do the day-to-day management.

      Yes, there will be mistakes that will happen but the kind of advantages that are there for having a good team in place, far outweigh those, and over time those things will only get better and better.

      For more details on delegating click here for the 7 steps to become an effective delegator.

  3. Treat your team as partners
    Finally the last thing is to look to treat your SLoM as partners. Is there some way in which you can involve them in key strategic decisions so that they feel part of the group? And also the other thing is that, is there some way in which you’re able to help them get an ownership? It could be in terms of employee stock options or profit sharing.  If they do good work then their company grows, the value grows, and the benefits for them also grow.

So these are the 3 simple ways how you can develop your company’s second line of management so it can scale up faster.

You can access the other Growth Pillars here:

Business Growth Pillar # 1:  Be Customer Centric

Leave a comment below about how you develop your second line of leadership.

Business Growth Driver #3 – Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement. Emerging businesses often face challenges when it comes to hiring the right people, building a formidable team and, more importantly, retaining talent. Building an efficient talent pool that is capable of taking on job responsibilities independently is essential to drive growth.

One way of addressing the majority of people-related issues is enhancing employee engagement. Watch this short video to learn 3 specific ways to boost employee engagement and have more productive employees. To get an overview of the 7 Business Growth Drivers click here.

5 Ways to be a more customer centric company

Business Growth Pillar #1 – Be Customer Centric

Customer centric companies have 2x higher average revenue vis-a-vis companies that are not according to a recent EY report. Welcome to first in a series of seven business growth pillars that can help your company scale up. So here are 5 ways to be a more customer centric company.

Customer centric BUSINESS GROWTH PILLAR #1

Let me share a personal story where I got very present to the need to be a customer centric company. I used to be in the rice business, over a decade back. We took part in an exhibition where we had an opportunity to interact with our end customers, and typically, those were housewives. Over three days we interacted with over 2,000 housewives. And we kept on asking them: “Why do you buy our rice? We got some surprising feedback.

90% of the housewives said that they loved our product because the rice was fat. Yes you read that correctly: FAT!

So we started to look into this deeper, and we looked at what did that mean for the rice to be fat? And we were able to identify that one cup of our raw rice was able to produce four cups of cooked rice.

We found out that the competitor’s rice was only able to produce two and a half cups of cooked rice. So our brand was delivering tremendous value. This is something that we had never even communicated to our customers. It’s our customers who were happy with the product, telling us this why they were buying our rice.

This new insight completely changed the way in which we marketed our product. We found a way to articulate the reason why customers bought our rice in our marketing and sales. We were able to grow our revenues by over 100% because of this new insight.

So let’s cover 5 simple ways in which your company can be more customer centric.

1. Customer Centric Companies Get feedback

Proactively take feedback from your customers. And in this day and age, it’s so much easier. Use tools like Survey Monkey for online surveys.

Use every customer interaction to solicit feedback. For a customer centric company, feedback is the breakfast of champions.

2. Customer Centric Companies Use CRM

Customer Relationship Management software helps you be more customer centric. Every time you have an interaction with either a prospect or an existing customer, always have it recorded. CRM software helps you manage this easily.

I personally use a free cloud based software called Hubspot. This software helps me track the interaction from a lead, qualify a prospect and then turn into a sale. This is a great way to track how many leads you have and the status on each.

Other good ones to consider out there include:

Staying in touch with existing customer and prospects is an important part of marketing. You can use some simple email marketing options like:


Top 5 Entrepreneurship lessons from Uday Kotak

How Your Business Can Thrive in Uncertain Times

Uday Kotak shared his top 5 lesson on entrepreneurship at the Ascent Conclave 2016 #ascentconclave16.

One of the keys to success is to build a customer centric business. Uday highlighted how he was able to spot opportunities in the bill discounting and car financing businesses when he started. He understood the customer pain points and developed profitable solutions that met customer needs.

1. When something is too good to be true, it usually is.

It may not sting now, but will sting later. So go into the details carefully and keep watching it carefully.

2. It is never as good as it looks, it is never as bad as it looks.

When things look up it’s never that good, ditto when things are down. The ability to not get carried away is important. Go after opportunities but he grounded. Getting over optimistic leads to the downfall. Keep an equilibrium.

3. Your biggest enemy is success.

Because you are successful in the past, don’t believe you will be successful in the future. Never live in the past.

4. Cultivate 3 human qualities

A good company needs to have 3 human qualities in place to succeed in an uncertain future:


The 7 Pillars for Scalable Business Growth

How many of these 7 Pillars is your company using?

Are you ready to scale up your journey as an entrepreneur and grow your business even faster? Then you need to have these seven pillars of business growth in place.

business growth

In this particular blog I’m going to give you an overview of the seven pillars and then in subsequent blogs, I’m going to go into each pillar in more detail and give you some very practical tips that you can deploy right away in your business to start scaling up.

So let’s look at the 7 pillars of business growth:

Business Growth Pillar #1: Be a customer centric company.

Is your company customer centric? Does it really understand your customer? Why? A recent EY report showed that customer centric companies have revenues that are two times higher on average than companies that are not customer centric.

So do you really understand your customers, their needs, their desires, their wants and are you producing products and services aligned to that? Because if you are, then you will have a queue of people lining up to want to be customers of yours.

Business Growth Pillar #1: 5 Ways to be a more Customer Centric Company

Business Growth Pillar #2: Second Line Leadership

This is where small businesses are really struggling. Do you have a second line in command, which is independent and accountable?

Companies with a good second line leadership will have 3.5x higher revenues than companies that don’t.

This is where I find a lot of business owners struggle with. They’re not able to get a second line in place and they’re not able to delegate. Here are 7 simple steps to delegate more effectively.

Business Growth Pillar #2: How to develop your Company’s second line of Leadership?


The 7 Growth Drivers to Scale Up Your Business

Use these to grow faster, stronger and better

The 7 Growth Drivers to Scale Up Your Business

  1. Be customer centric.
  2. Segregate core & non-core business activities.
  3. Develop a 2nd line of leadership that is independent & accountable. This is one of the biggest challenges faced by small business owners. Learn the 7 steps to successful delegation here.
  4. Use a total rewards mechanism to engage & retain talent.
  5. Finance – be ready for strategic acquisitions.
  6. Risk management.
  7. Technology – use it to strategically drive growth.

Stay tuned for more detailed videos in this series where I look into each growth driver in more detail over the next few weeks.

Leave a comment below with which growth driver you are going to focus on to scale up your business in 2017.



TREND #10 : World Wide Wealth

Here’s Trend #10 after 10 days ,out of the Top 10 Business Trends for 2017 ! This one is my favourite. In 2017 a series of buggies will land on the moon – the first time since the US and USSR moon landings in the 1970s left five buggies up there.

Top 10 Business Trend for 2017 - #10 World Wide Wealth

Trend # 10: World Wide Wealth

While the old buggies were operated by astronauts, the new buggies will be remote controlled, and sent by private teams who are all competing for the $20m Google Lunar X Prize.

4 of the 17 teams have already hitched a ride on rockets, in a race to be the first to land, drive and send back photos. India’s Team Indus is heading up in India’s PSLV rocket. Israel’s SpaceIL and USA’s Moon Express have a ride on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, and this week Germany’s PT Scientist announced a deal with space brokers Spaceflight to get them on the moon in 2017.