Nupur Panjabi, who did her MBA in marketing and is today an adept entrepreneur, has not only emerged successful in her endeavour but has also carved a niche in the web world in a very short period of time. Her independent enterprise, theHiringtool, is a web-based B2B marketplace that connects employers with placement consultants across the country. Established in 2008, the firm acts as a vendor consolidator for its clients and manages third party recruitment for them. While the clients are offered with the opportunity to work with the company’s network of over 2,000 consultants through a single vendor agreement, consultants, in turn, get the opportunity to work with hundreds of employers without spending any money on marketing.
“The size of the third party recruitment market is currently pegged at $300 mn. There are about 20,000 registered placement vendors in India, and we are not restricted to clients in any particular vertical, so any company looking to hire through a third party is our client,” said Panjabi while explaining about scope and operation of the company.
The company is often compared to a job-board by on lookers while people in the HR industry look upon it as a placement consultant firm. However, the uniqueness of the model makes it sit right in the middle of the two. The company’s state-of-the-art service enables clients to penetrate deeper and get a wider reach to the job-board while also simultaneously avail the benefits of quality service that a placement consultant firm provides. “We charge the consultants a split fee of the placement fee when a candidate gets hired by a client,” said Panjabi.
Ask her how she plans to scale-up the business and she says, “Our model is volume based so we are looking to revamp our entire sales team for client acquisition and strengthen the account manager team in a bid to maintain the high quality that we provide to our clients.”
Seeing successful entrepreneurs, it often comes to one’s mind as to how they came about such a roaring venture when people most commonly opt for a comfortable 9-5 job. “Being an entrepreneur wasn’t a choice but more of a natural progression from my previous work experience. It wasn’t like I got up one morning and decided to be a businesswoman. I saw a gap in the employer-vendor relationship and felt that there had to be a product to fill that gap. That’s how my entrepreneurial journey began and I see no looking back.”
Panjabi took every hurdle that came her way as a challenge, but the biggest so far was to get the first client. The biggest mistake, that she admitted she made as an amateur entrepreneur, was to hire too aggressively too early. She also had a tough time managing the capital to set up her dream company, but she nonetheless dealt with it and efficiently with the help of some personal savings and friends and family members.
Most of the company’s transactions take place over web, which allows Panjabi to widen her domain and operate out of her base in Hyderabad. Her incessant hard work and determination gradually helped the firm get its biggest achievement, which was when IDBI-Fortis sought the company help to bolster the manpower in their new venture.
theHiringTool stood second in a business plan competition organised by TiE – IDG Ventures. It meant a lot for the whole team as it really strengthened the belief that the concept is a scalable, revenue-generating model. The firm has been recognised for its work by industry heads several other times, but for Panjabi the greatest reward is the trust the clients repose in the company.
“If you believe in change, don’t let go of your belief till that change happens,” she asserted while talking about what helped her stay so resolute about her entrepreneurial venture.
Tips to budding entrepreneurs — Enjoy the entrepreneurial ride. The idea is not just to get there, but also to enjoy the journey. If you have a passion to create value, wealth will be created effortlessly. But if you start with the aim to create wealth, you are likely to face disappointment.