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Burning bright!

I walked into a bustling Software Training Institute in my neighbourhood – the two Computer labs at this branch of a popular franchise were packed, students sat in front of every available computer and the theory classes were in session too. At the Reception Area I had to wade through a crowd of chirpy college students who were waiting for their turn. It seemed to me that business was flourishing – in the months ahead these kids would be knocking on the doors of Infosys, TCS, Wipro and other Software Companies in India.

Soon I saw the owner of the Institute hurrying down the corridor to greet me – I was there on invitation.

The call had come a week back – a bright voice said – “Hi, Jayadev! This is Roshni from Kollam. Remember me?” Before I could respond she added “I used to work for the Kollam franchise of …” She mentioned the name of a company I had worked with in the past.

I said “Yes. I know you. We are connected on Facebook too, right?”

She said – “That’s why I called. I have been reading your articles at Sales Coach Blog and wanted to say they were interesting and useful. I also want to discuss some training programs for my team. Can we meet and discuss?”

We had not met for more than a decade now – from her Facebook profile I learned that she married an Engineer who works at the Oil Refinery and they have a daughter who is going to Standard – V. On the phone we exchanged news about mutual friends and soon discovered that my residence is just couple of kilometres away from where her business is located. When she invited me to drop by and see her workplace I agreed –  since it meant some training and consultancy opportunity for me too.

During the phone call Roshni Binu had mentioned that she ran a “small” computer training centre, but walking into the institute I realized it was anything but that; it was a decent sized place that was crackling with energy.

After we settled down in her office Roshni saw me running my eyes over the entire place, as if I was sizing up the place and she said – “I know this place needs refurnishing; we had last done the interiors more than 5 years back.”

I said it’s not the decor but what was happening inside that mattered to me. And everyone seemed to know their job. Roshni hardly had to intervene and nobody poked the head in to ask what needs to be done next.

She said the team is 22 strong and classes were scheduled for all seven days of the week. She has a family to run too and could be present only between 9 and 6; however the institute started functioning at 7:30 a.m. and closed only after 8:30 p.m. – her team managed the show while she was away.

I asked for details on her journey as an entrepreneur.  Roshni had moved to Cochin immediately after the marriage and decided to work as a teacher (she has a Masters degree in Computer Applications) at a computer centre not far from where she lived. Less than two years into the job the market crashed when the dotcom bubble burst and the centre ran into bad times. The partners who owned the business decided to sell out. Roshni pursued them to hang on and personally took on the task of marketing – with her in-depth knowledge of the computer software industry she went on a selling spree – all the schools, colleges and institutions in the catchment area were visited and  presentation made on the latest trends in computing and the job opportunities available in the industry.

Business did not pick up immediately and the owners were getting impatient – some of them had moved on to other businesses. Roshni took a bold step – she decided to buy a stake in the venture. One by one she bought the shares from the partners. At the same time she worked day and night to promote the business. Roshni said her husband was extremely cooperative and gave her courage to handle the stressful early phase.

Such efforts cannot go waste and soon business started looking up – Roshni wanted more support from the franchise owners – and when that did not come she took the lead to organize the other franchise owners in the state to push for more promotional campaigns and innovative training packages.

I soon realized that this lady would not work at anything less than 110% capacity – because now her institute was also conducting classes in fashion designing and beauty treatment –when the computer software business stabilized she had to do something in the spare time. The new courses run by her institute even have IGNOU accreditation.

She had not finished – there is a unit in her team for web designing and portal development work for clients and she would soon be adding courses in mobile applications too.

Roshni’s progress is an inspiration to me and the energy and enthusiasm she displays all the time must be rubbing off on her team too – they all seemed eager to work. She took me around  to see the labs and classrooms and I encountered beaming faces everywhere.

When I started out for the visit my plan was to say hello and make a speedy departure after the courtesies. But checking the watch while saying goodbye I realized that a full two hours had passed and I had left only because her work was being held up by my presence.

Roshni means light and energy and I could see ample amounts of that in the owner and the institution she is building.

Kerala needs a lot more of such bright spots.

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  1. May 29, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Truly an inspiration!Lead kindly light(roshini)amid the encircling gloom….we need people like her….this article endorses the fact that with determination and hardwork and positive energy even failures can turn into success….

    • JayadevM
      May 29, 2012 at 6:24 pm

      Hi Catherine.

      That is the truth … take charge of your own life and craft your own destiny. She is a smart person … I hinted to her that I may write about our meeting, but she wouldn’t have imagined that it would happen within a few hours.

      Must send her a note about it tomorrow. 🙂

    • May 31, 2012 at 9:13 am

      Many Thanks Catherine. This article and your words are kinda recognitions for small enterpreners like us..:)

  2. Clifford
    May 29, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Nice JM. Well articulated and well potrayed. While you are appreciating the bright spot and the persistent attitude of the person in running her show and the positive energy she is creating all around her, there is a subtle message during your lows, how you need to dust yourself, pick up the pieces and make things work in your favour. Ah!! some call it luck. It aint no luck, its about creating your own luck:))

    • JayadevM
      May 29, 2012 at 6:25 pm

      Hi Clifford

      Well said! The very messages I wished to convey – perseverance, determination, courage .. she showed it all with her work in the last 10 years.

    • May 31, 2012 at 9:14 am

      I truly agree with you Clifford

  3. Jamy
    May 30, 2012 at 1:51 am

    Superb article and I wish Roshni continued success!

    • May 31, 2012 at 9:15 am

      Thanks much Jamy for the blessings!

  4. May 30, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Bravo roshni chechi 🙂 Wish you all the success and prosperity in business. Tempting me to join your venture soon ;))

  5. May 30, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Inspiring story jayadev, enthusiasm coupled with entrepreneur zeal is a potent combination, you rarely see it today’s GenX…sort of they all run to the closest lowly paying job….it is endearing to see somebody bitten by the startup bug. My money on the entrepreneur any day mate.

    • JayadevM
      May 30, 2012 at 4:49 pm

      Hi Srikanth,

      Good to see your comment here .. thank you for stopping by.

      Yes, we need more young entrepreneurs to take the hint from brave-hearts like Roshni and strike out in a new direction instead of sticking to the tried and tested.

      • May 31, 2012 at 1:40 am

        Not a lot of brave hearts to tread the path less taken jayadev, everybody wants to get on to the bandwagon which was found reasonably successful. Copycat entrepreneurs and arm chair philosophers we have plenty. Business plans only go to the extent of aping the last money spinner minus the service. Have you read about the Flipkart story, pretty interesting stuff, you may find it online….

      • JayadevM
        May 31, 2012 at 6:58 am

        Hi Srikanth

        That’s true! Bulk of the stuff we see in India are me-too stories … real entrepreneurship is a rare commodity. Isn’t flipkart a me-too story? There are successful online retail models such as Amazon, eBay, Dell and others to learn from. Flipkart just localised it to suit Indian conditions.

      • May 31, 2012 at 9:33 am

        Thanks Srikanth.. And I guess its high time Jayadev start compiling all his sponteneous flow of thoughts into Books.

  6. rani
    May 30, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    trully inspirational message Jayadev.. and s its true – even i cud feel that positive energy roshini carries with her….when i talk to her

    • JayadevM
      May 30, 2012 at 4:54 pm

      Hi Rani

      Thank you for reading and adding your words in support of the sentiments I have presented.

      Let’s wish the bright spark, Roshni, more success and glory!

    • May 31, 2012 at 9:18 am

      Thanks Aneesh and Rani for all the support extended and Bro Aneesh you are always welcome..:)

  7. Sanil Dharman
    June 6, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Very well written, Jayadev. You have sized up a decade of Roshni’s toil in 2 hours. What Roshni has achieved in the last decade is tremendous, taking into consideration the dot com bubble burst and, 2008/09 global recession that had seen many great players bowing their head out of the IT training space. Persistence along with hard work has paid rich dividends. If we do a parity check on the male dominated business community, Roshni’s achievement is outstanding. And all this was achieved by maintaining the right balance in life and carrying her people along. Add to these, her humbleness – a mark of great individual. Keep going Roshni……
    Jayadev keep discovering great people and enlighten us with the same…..

    – Sanil

    • JayadevM
      June 6, 2012 at 6:00 pm

      Hi Sanil,

      I think you know Roshni much more than I do. My job was more like that of a journalist whose job is to find newsworthy elements in a story based on a short interaction.

      Am glad that my assessment resonated well with reality – hence the outpouring of support and appreciation for it.

      Your friend’s achievement is indeed commendable and I wish her more success.

      Regards.

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