How many CEOs take the plunge to change the whole league? Just some days ago, we met a Philosophical CEO, Abhijit Roy, who is making a remarkable change in the New Normal with his simple philosophies. And here we bring to you his story, Aapna’s story.
AAPNA Infotech is a leading company that provides software development solutions & Quality Assurance services. The company is based out of New Delhi and has a presence in USA & Australia.
An innovative Jolly Bengali, Aapna Infotech’s CEO and founder Abhijit Roy is not running to make just a successful company but aspires to make ‘Aapna’ a great company. He is a true philosopher who turned out to be an entrepreneur and is constantly bringing change in the ways a corporate setup works. On being asked what is a great company for him? He says, “A company where everyone is Happy.” 😊
I believe in service excellence and what I give is WOW service. That means when I give you a service, you must say Wow! It’s my endeavor.
He says that I am on a journey to building a great company and it can not be done in a lifetime. I am only sowing the seeds and my goal is not going to be met by me. So my successors have to be carefully selected so they don’t dilute this core purpose.
Here are the excerpts of our conversation with Abhijit Roy.
Please tell us about yourself.
I’m an IT professional and an entrepreneur running a boutique software company for the last 15 years. And this is my second stint in entrepreneurship, and the first one was more of a freelancer, where I got stuck after about ten years of my journey. I gave up that journey and decided to take up an international job to get the management experience of working in a large organization as well as healthy international exposure.
I’m a big promoter of organizational culture and creating a great work place. I also strongly believe in the balance of life. So I like to do a lot of things with passion.
I keep a constant focus on fun elements in the company. I believe that hard work is the only way to lead a successful professional life, and a relaxed mind can help a person work hard. I want Aapnaites to be relaxed and work hard. I feel that they should work hard because they want to be successful. They should work by heart, not for just obligations. And that’s how I, too, lead my life. I work hard but also have a healthy balance of fun and play.
Please tell us something about Aapna.
Aapna is the Sanskrit word for ‘Reliable.’
When we started the company and brainstormed for a company name, we decided that our name would represent our primary tenet, that we are reliable.
And that is what I expect from every Aapnite. Our presence should make a client feel that we are reliable. And besides being reliable, we wanted the Indian element to it.
We operate internationally, but we didn’t want to lose our Indian flavor. So we use the Sanskrit word for reliable, which is Aapna. The whole Aapna runs like a family. 😊
What makes you happy about Aapna?
I feel proud when people come up to me and say that it is like a family-like environment. I believe that, as professionals, most of us are going to spend the majority of our time at our workplace. We work for 8 to 10 hours and would not spend that much time doing anything else in our life.
You are going to eat for a couple of hours, spend time with family for a couple of hours, and play for a couple of hours, but for 10 hours, you’re going to be at work, so you better enjoy it.
If you are not enjoying your work, you leave and find a place where you will enjoy it.
Either learn to enjoy what you’re doing currently or change your situation. I’m a strong promoter of being happy and believe that you must enjoy your work because that enjoyment results in happiness.
What are the challenges you are facing?
Many people in Australia believe that Indians are not reliable. And being a small organization in an industry where there aren’t many reliable companies, it is tough to create a reputation of being reliable. That is the challenge, and we are trying to break that stigma.
What is Aapna’s approach?
As I am driving the organization, a lot of my core philosophies are adopted by our leaders. Our approach has always been employee first. Every guy in my organization presents a kind of passion and works with full ownership.
Many fellow entrepreneurs believe that the ‘Client is god’ and clients come first in their priority list. But for me, my team member comes first. In our induction program, I tell every new joinee that my job is to serve you.
I am spending all my day figuring out how to make life great for them and keep them happy. I believe that if I do that with extreme passion, they will be happy and will automatically serve the customers in the best possible way. And we see that happening. Our success today is because of that. 😊
What is different about Aapna?
Positive Energy and focus on our USP of Being reliable!
When we had offices, I have a lot of examples where people have said that ‘there is an aura in your organization. We have walked into many companies. But when we walk into your office, there is life. We feel that there is positive energy in the room which is not there in many places.’ And it would take me by surprise. 😃
Now that we are virtual, we are trying to replicate all of those positive vibes in our current setup. We have got a lot of innovative initiatives. We have a meeting allowance which allows every Aapnaite in any city to go out and have a drink with fellow Aapnaite in the same place.
With this concept, the Aapnaites can go to play some games or find a coworking place and work together. And it’s all paid for by the company. 😊
We are at the forefront of innovating how a virtual company should operate.
The second thing is that we don’t serve too many clients at one time and work hard to stay connected with our tenet of being reliable. We don’t like to work with clients who are abusive or want to get things done in half the time or put pressure on Aapnaites. I have multiple examples of a client calling me up in the morning to say, “I called you to inform you that your team was working the whole night, and I know that your team will not even come and tell you” that’s what I take pride in, and when such things happen, I get tears in my eyes.😃
How was the Journey?
I lead by a philosophy that doing hard work and being reliable is the key to success in professional life. And the good part is that nobody ever calls us a vendor. They call us partners.
Talking about his experience, he says that there are many incidents when people walk up to him and tell him that ‘Abhijit, you have a great team. I want to share that I have been in the industry for 15 years and have worked with multiple companies and many offshore teams. And there’s always a conflict between onshore and offshore. But your team is absolutely amazing. They work like our own teams. It’s almost like every Aapnaite is a part of our organization.’ And that’s what I take pride in. 😊
How COVID 19 affected Aapna?
When Covid hit us, everybody was reeling. But we anticipated that this was something serious and took it as an opportunity.
We spent a week preparing and shut down our first office permanently. We called Aapnaites and said, Let’s go virtual. That is how, just three days before the lockdown, we locked ourselves. Later, the government declared a lockdown in Delhi, and the nation also got locked down after three days.
Sharing an incident, he says that I was lucky to have a friend who told me, ‘Abhijit, this situation will go bad, stock up the food at home.’ I came back home and asked my wife to make a list to stock things up. She laughed me off and clearly said ‘No’ to the idea. After two days, people started realizing that covid cases started getting higher.
So, when Covid happened, We sent everybody home with their machines. And we said, ‘Let’s Work From Home’ We did not realize that we would not be able to go to our offices again.
But today, we are competing with even big companies of the world and enjoying being the front runners in innovating best practices for working from home. So, Covid was a boon for us. We were 100 people in March 2020. Today we are close to 200. 😊
What are your Future Plans?
We want to build the organizational structure where Aapnaites own shares of the company. So I started exploring ESOPs about a year back. It is difficult for a service organization of our size to think about ESOPs, but we explored them. We did all that was needed to do this and figured it all out. 😊
And at our annual trip to Goa, I distributed a significant part of the company across multiple stakeholders. So now, almost 50% of Aapnaites own small pieces of the company. They own stock options now, and I hope this ESOP will take us to an entirely different level.
Message for next-gen entrepreneurs.
On this, he shared with us a small story on wealth creation and concluded the answer in one sentence and said, “Focus on your own journey and yourself. Don’t get into the rat race of looking at others and comparing.”
So, here are the excerpts from our conversation with the CEO of Aapna Infotech Private Limited, Mr. Abhijit Roy.
Watch Interview Video: