‘Every successful professional athlete needs a coach, it should not be different for a business professional’
We spoke to Shweta Jhajharia, Founder of Growth Idea, about business in India, starting a business, meditation, and much more.
You are the Founder of Growth Idea, can you explain a little about the company and what role you play?
Growth Idea works with SMEs to help them achieve the highest asset value for themselves leveraging the right team, systems and a proper structure for each business. Both founders in Growth Idea have a corporate background with top-tier companies.
Haven worked in the corporate world for some time, we realised that corporates have strong systems, structures and strategies in place whereby SMEs didn’t have these systems or even business education to make this happen. Growth Idea was created to bridge the gap.
We provide the knowledge and information to enable SMEs to function like high-value and high-growth corporate companies. Once we combine the knowledge and systems of large corporates with the ability of SMEs to make quick decisions, we have a very powerful combination that can transform an SME.
What differences have you found between businesses in India compared to the UK?
The differences between India and the UK are fascinating. There are differences in all facets, both at the Macro and Micro levels. There are structural, system and attitude differences. For example, the legal and financial systems are very different. So, if an SME needs investment or wants to raise money, it is a very different process in India than how it would be done in the UK.
There is also a talent difference. India has a large workforce with people at the right age while UK is going through a period where talent isn’t as readily available. However, when it comes down to business despite all the differences, the fundamentals are the same. Not just between India and the UK, but across the world. This is where Growth Idea comes in, we work with businesses at the fundamental level, and this is why we have clients all over the world and only in the UK. Areas such as growing profits, having the right team, creating, and having a system that can be replicated.
You are the author of Sparks, what drove you to write this book, where did the inspiration and motivation come from?
SPARKS is what we do daily with our business clients. I wrote the book to reach out to more people beyond our existing clients. The ideas in the book are very simple and practical. We also know that business owners do not have the time to read a whole book on individual topics, so with SPARKS we adopted a model where each chapter is between two to four pages long and addresses a specific issue.
This way, a busy business owner can pick the book up and spend five minutes or less on a chapter that is relevant to a problem or difficulty they are having right at the moment. There are 68 core concepts discussed in the SPARKS book. It is the ideal book for every SME business owner.
What advice can you give for budding entrepreneurs looking to start their own business?
Make sure you have a coach. Every successful professional athlete needs a coach, it should not be different for a business professional.
My advice to budding entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses is to inform them that the chance of success is very low. The odds are against you, and you need to be prepared for that. The reason why the chances for success is low is because people lack business skills. Business is a profession just like the legal profession or the accounting profession.
Unfortunately, people start a business based on an idea without the process or rigour of learning how to start, sustain, and scale a business. The focus has to be to identify business skills and understand how business operates. Every potential business owner needs to study to understand different business models and then find out what model would work to scale your idea and then find a smart way to move from point A to B.
You are noted to have daily practices of Vipassana meditation, is this something you would recommend for all business leaders?
Vipassana is a word that means to observe oneself. The practice of observation is important, especially in the context of business where so many things are happening, and curve balls are coming your way. Because the business environment is very unpredictable, people lose themselves, lose centeredness and start reacting not responding.
Vipassana helps a person to be centred and remain centred so that you can be in the midst of chaos and remain focused and calm. I highly recommend vipassana, or the practice of meditation, sitting quietly or anything that allows you to centre yourself, calm your mind and remain focused. This is important for people dealing with multiple variabilities.
What attributes make a good business leader?
Being coachable is a very important attribute of a good business leader. I do not say this because we are business coaches but because it has been established by a lot of studies that the more coachable a business leader is, the more successful they are. Coachability, humility and curiosity. A curious questioning mind is a key element of a good business leader.
Another is definitely hard work. A willingness to apply yourself, do deep work and enjoy yourself. Also, having a scaling mindset. The desire to go beyond oneself and to do what it takes to scale. There is a lot to say about a scaling mindset and it’s something I can go over in another feature.