Helping Businesses Through Right Tools : Story Of EasyProblemSolving’s Co- Founder, Sushant Pande
Here we bring to you the story of the Co-founder of a management consulting firm, EasyProblemSolving, SUSHANT PANDE. He is a curious middle aged successful business consultant who loves cycling and calls himself an Intrapreneur turned Entrepreneur. Sushant’s story is a story of success that borned out of rejections and a lot of persistence.
Never Chase The Hot TrendsSushant Pande
What I loved about Sushant is his spontaneous replies and relevant examples that he uses to make his points clear. A true consultant by heart, Sushant Pande lives in Hyderabad with his wife. He calls himself blessed to have a supportive wife and believes that a good spouse is the one who actually makes you rich.
Please tell us something about yourself.
I am a professional who’s worked about 18 plus years before I decided to jump into business. I always felt like starting something of my own. I don’t come from a business background. I come from a regular middle class family and they believe कि नौकरी करो और नौकरी में ही अच्छा किया जाता है। (Having a job is only good.)
So coming from that background, when I decided to join business, obviously I was scared. After 18-20 years of working, you get used to a pay happening on first of the month and in business there is no surety of payments. (बिज़नेस में कभी 1st नहीं होती… कभी 3rd होती है… 10th होता है… 20 होता है या नहीं भी होता है। )
But with the idea of doing something on my own and having faith in my capabilities, I decided to jump out in the business world. So in terms of my career, I have a diverse experience. I did hotel management, worked with hotels, then left hotels, joined financial services, worked there for five years, left that, joined consulting, worked in consulting, and then moved into IT.
What inspired you to start a business?
When I was in the job, there were many situations when I used to present ideas to the senior leadership as I had access to the top management of the company. And a lot of times, I used to feel that my idea is not getting accepted because people feel that it’s too radical.
It’s not that they don’t see value, they used to consider it but they were like why should they apply those different ideas when their work is happening without those ideas. and i used to say that it is working for now but what ‘s there next 5 years down the line?’ And they were like, we will see when that time will come?
It was fine until it happened once or twice a year but when the frequency of those rejections were increasing, I started feeling what am I doing. Then one day a senior leader told me that if you are so confident about your ideas and you have faith in it, then don’t bang your head on the walls. Just start something of your own.
Giving us the example of Mahatma Gandhi, he told us that your pain should be so sharp and intense that it compel you to make a move. And seeing your passion, people will start joining you. That’s the eventual success story. That is how Sushant took the plunge.
How was the transition from a job to business?
Transitions are difficult as it is not easy to leave things and start a new thing. It is tough sometimes to even think if it will work or not. And if it does not then what will happen. But, I was always sure of my capabilities. So in my case it was very clear, actually I was sick of proving my worth to everyone else. That is generally what you have to do in any job.
Getting analyzed and appraised from the boss at the end of the year was something not appealing to me. I was tired of that. I knew that I was good at my things and that’s what I wanted to experiment with.
If You Believe In The Idea, Persist With It, Eventually You Will SucceedSushant Pande
Eventually when you do a business, you receive clear feedback about whether your product or service is working or not. If the product is accepted, you are good and if it is not then you are not. Simple as that. Right? There is no other way to put it. So risk reward दोनों आपके होते हैं। (The reward and risks are yours only.) That was the reason I focused on doing the business.
Cash Flows are a major issue. Initially, when you do not succeed then everybody looks at you saying that why did you leave a stable career to start a flop show. But for that period you have to keep yourself thick skinned. Because when you try to make a sale which is the most important part of a business. You will hear 8 No(s) for every ten pitches that you will make. But only those two Yes(es) will make the business for you.
How was your Journey as an entrepreneur?
My entrepreneurial journey started pretty well. We (Sushant and his Co-Founder, Shishir Shrimal) started in 2019 helping the equity firms and their portfolio companies. Then We branched out into AI and started supporting the companies which are into the AI and Vision Technology Space.
Our idea was that first we will work with the companies working in this circle and then eventually we’ll move to the large corporates. So in 2020, we were about to strike a deal with a large European Bank. And then our beloved Prime Minister came on TV and said “मित्रों” and after one week ever activity was stopped… that was kind of a spanner in our works.
And suddenly everything shut down and there was no economic activity which was taking place. So obviously our funds dried up. There were no transactions, no business activity, and those were tough six months for us. A lot of our competitors went out of business, but we decided and felt ‘Okay, It is fine that we got the strike in the first year itself.’
Giving an example of a new car Sushant says, So it’s almost like when you buy a new car and if it gets dents in the first two or three months, you feel less pain and if it happens after two or three years then it hurts more. So we faced that and realized then, this is the time that we can sit back and evaluate our business. So what is fashionably called a pivot. That’s what we did. We launched our services in the managed services and the training space.
What inspired you throughout the way?
My biggest inspiration in my entrepreneurship journey has been this web series called Pitchers. It’s a TVF web series and I can’t guess how many people out there have watched it. But anybody who’s interested in entrepreneurship should look at that. It has a dialogue which has been our operating mantra-
“कि जब कमरे में अँधेरा हो और आपको स्विच ऑन करना है तो स्ट्रेटेजी मत बनाओ बस हाथ मारो, कभी न कभी एक ना एक हाथ स्विच पे पड़ जाएगा।“ [If you are left with no option and get stuck then don’t plan or make strategies, Just act. You will eventually find what you want.]
That is actually what happens in entrepreneurship. Especially if you come with a lot of work experience and from corporate backgrounds, you are used to making strategies. But जब आप खुद का बिज़नेस चालू करते हो तो आप रियलाइज़ करते हो कि आपके पीछे वो हज़ार करोड़ की बैकिंग नहीं हैं। [But when you start something of your own, you realize that you don’t have a big Daddy behind you who will save you.]
So what you need to do is; make your daily living and also make sure your business succeeds. तो इसलिए हाथ-पैर मारते रहो, धीरे-धीरे तैरना सीख जाओगे। [So keep trying and you will eventually learn to swim] That is what has worked for us.
And after 2021-22, we registered about a 67% CAGR. So we’ve really grown exponentially after the initial phase when the whole world suffered.
What were the challenges you faced on the personal front while setting up the business?
On personal front, the biggest challenge that an entrepreneur face is that when you start the business, you start it from your home and you are not supposed to go anywhere. And your family is used to seeing you going out every morning. But when you do not go out, the people after some days start asking you कि काम नहीं है क्या ? [Don’t you have a work?] Laughs
But you can’t tell everyone कि मैं मज़दूर नहीं हूँ, सर पर दस ईंटें लेकर आगे पीछे नहीं घूमूँगा। [That I am not someone who is appointed to carry bricks, my work is related to ideation] Smiles.
So there is a lot of thought which is going on but you don’t express your thought. But what really helps is having a spouse who understands what you’re going through. That is the most critical part. So I was blessed to have a spouse who understood my aspirations.
But sometimes in the initial stages you feel that your colleagues are doing a lot better than you, while you struggle with a question whether you will receive the next month payments or not. But as I said, You have to stay long, eventually the returns are far higher.
It’s a game of a lot of patience.
How does EasyProblemSolving work?
There is a fixed notion about a consultant कि वो आपका सामान लेकर आपको ही ज्ञान दे देगा। (That he will solve your problem using your resources only.) But with EasyProblemSolving that’s not what we believe in.
We believe that consultants will take over the non core activities of your business. For example, If you are running an IT business then you are focusing on your products, solutions and code. But it’s ancillary setup, such as how are people being rooted? How are they managed? Is the payroll processing happening on time? Is your project management in place?, can be outsourced by giving the charge to someone who brings that competency on the table.
So what we do is we go and understand the problem of the client and we never take any problem at face value. So we work just like doctors, we don’t treat the symptoms only but we find the root cause and we call that a discovery phase.
We try to understand why and how that problem occurs and what is the underline solution to fix it. So we figure out that eventually all problems are easy because the issue remains with a root cause.
And the second aspect that we tell all our clients is that if you’ve existed in the business for five years, ten years or longer. Rather than getting overwhelmed with the problem, the fact is that something is really working at your very core , otherwise you won’t have stayed for so long as a business.
So it’s about understanding what that core operating principle is and refine that and make it in tune with the current times. The way we work is we try to put an implant with every client. We tell them this particular resource will help you if you implement the entire recommendation that we have. So we typically don’t have only advisory services. We also give implementation support to our clients.
Any message for future entrepreneurs?
A lot of times I’ve seen people struggle to find the next sexy idea. People forget that they have to relate to the business. Do not run behind a hot chase. You have to believe in your cause and sustain it.
Concluding the talk, Sushant says, Business is a ruthless world. My final quote is what one of my mentors told me, it’s a dark one, but it’s very true. He said, “There are two great equalizers in the world. One is death. Everybody is equal after death. The second is starting a business. Both are equally great equalizers. (Smiles)
So, here are the excerpts from our conversation with the Co-founder of EasyProblemSolving, Mr. Sushant Pande. Keep hooked with us to watch his full interview.
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