The First Employee of a B2B Startup Talks About the Formative Years.
They call me the first core team member. I feel pride in this status. Here is my story.
I have met many founders while I worked to build LogiNext as a brand. Many people don’t think of me as an entrepreneur. I had been an entrepreneur which didn’t work as well as I had expected. I joined LogiNext and never looked back. I was assigned the employee number ‘LN03’. Let’s put this in perspective. LN01 and LN02 are the co-founders. Recently, I was just chatting with employee number ‘LN203’. It was quite a journey from 03 to 203. I am still here and I plan to see LogiNext reach greater heights than ever hoped. I have realized now that I neverd stopped being an entrepreneur.
Always know who you were to become who you want to be.
Let me tell you something about LogiNext. The company started back in 2014. In this short span of time, the company has achieved more than what other companies have achieved in a decade. A lot of that has to do with the work culture. There is always a lot of energy on the floors. I have mentored quite a few of the new recruits and I am happy to see the look of amazement on their faces. They see the healthy and fun-filled life at work and they get motivated to do more.
I just tell them a few words that I heard before,
“There’s No talent here…This is hard work. …This is an obsession… Talent doesn’t exist… We are all equals as human beings… You could be anyone of you put in the time… You will reach the top, and that’s that… I am not talented… I am Obsessed.”
This was said by Conor Mcgregor. I share this line with them because I relate to it. You see, I have seen the company grow through different stages. I didn’t have the facilities and benefits that the new recruits have, to get motivated. Keeping myself motivated and driven was the only way to go, back when I had joined the company.
Always know where you came from to know where you should go.
LogiNext started with a small office setup that could barely hold 4-5 people. Now the employees have their own working zones. I had no such option. It was a different time. At that time, I don’t remember ever complaining or demanding a personal dedicated space. What I do remember is that the energy in that small office was electric. That room had people who were truly obsessed and driven to achieve their goals. There have been 15 hour days that seemed to rush by us. There was just so much to do. There was an immense sense of ownership. The co-founders worked closely with us and there was utmost transparency in all business operations. The budgets were limited, but it didn’t matter, as we had heavily invested ourselves in a collective dream. A dream to help grow a company from a single product prototype and a single client to a multitude of products and around 100 clients across continents in the world. I feel proud to be part of this achievement.
Always work with all your heart and you can do almost anything.
There were times where I had to wear many different hats to keep the company functional. I have been the business development person, the accounts manager, the product designer, the marketing manager, and so on. Essentially, I was somewhere involved in the entire product cycle from inception, creation, testing, promotion, pitching, negotiating, closing, billing, and after sales service. Now each of these activities has a dedicated department. Things have developed faster than I had imagined they would. And to think that I had a hand in the entire journey is a feeling that I cannot describe. Even now, when I go to visit a client, my mind drifts back to my first product pitch. The client had asked me a list of questions and demanded a host of services. Some of those services were not even offered by any of our competitors. I assured the client that we would be able to offer all of them. Now we are one of the best fleet and dispatch management SaaS company in Asia.
Always believe in yourself and others would believe in you.
My first client was a grocery store chain. The CEO of that chain of stores was a well-reputed person in the industry. I remember working through the night and day to cover all bases. I wanted to make sure that I would be able to answer any possible query that the CEO can push on me. What happened at the meet was something unique. The CEO asked me for a live demonstration of my real-time tracking service. He was not appeased by the simulation demo that we had prepared. I didn’t lose heart. I used this opportunity to think on my feet. I asked him for assistance with a bike, and a person to ride that bike. I asked him to track my position on our software. I took the tracker with me and got on the bike behind the rider. I went across the city through the shortest and narrowest lanes and routes. I went to the outskirts of the city and back. All this while, the client tracked me everywhere. I reached back to his office and closed the deal. He was impressed by my dedication. I told him that I am obsessed because I believe. I believe in my own abilities and that of my company.
Always do what you must do to get what you want to achieve.
My first dedicated account was a pharmaceutical company. One major challenge at that time was to convince the mid-management and the sales representatives to actually use our software. There was an aversion to technology amongst them. I had to accompany them on their sales visits to make sure that they use our product. This was the only way to ensure that the top management in the client’s company, rate the product’s utility and its benefits. I was in touch with each level of users within a company so that they can properly utilize all the applications of our products. I use the same thought process when I deal with my current clients. I try to take inputs from each type of user within the client’s company. This helps me gauge the real requirements of their company. I can then pitch the perfect application of our product as a solution to them. I learned this trick along the road that LogiNext took to the fastest growing logistics management solutions company in Asia.
Always learn from your life and let people learn from you.
When I joined LogiNext, most of my peers had lined up their jobs with big MNCs. At that point, they thought I was a misguided and impractical. Now they seek me out whenever they feel stumped or stuck in their own jobs. The learning I have gathered in these past years are worth more to me than anything else. This learning is what has made me the person I am now. LogiNext believed in me, and I believed in the company. This relationship of mutual trust has been extremely fruitful for me. Outside of work, people ask me to comment on startup culture. I just tell them, if you find a startup company that you can believe in, then just give it your all, because success, then, is a matter of time. Through the journey, your experience and learnings would set you heads and shoulders above your peers. Opportunities are not hard to find, you just must be willing and courageous enough to identify them and walk the untrodden path.