Home > Goal-Setting, Ideas, Leadership > Who should he serve …. Conclusion!

Who should he serve …. Conclusion!

Summary of the case presented earlier this week:

Vikram starts his own Computer Hardware Service business after 20 years of employment. This business had been a long-cherished dream – but after 3 years he found himself at the crossroads:

–          “Find a job or let me do one till your business stabilises.” said his wife.

–          “Make a last-ditch effort to revive the business” he told himself.

–          “Join my business as a partner!” said a friend, Ashok, who was in the same line.

Vikram’s head was in a whirl; he could not decide which way to go! I asked my readers to provide some answers.

Here is what they said:

Tijo Philip (an MBA student)

I bet doing a merger / acquisition with Vikram’s technically proficient organisation (Vs hiring Vikram) would help both Ashok’s need and Vikram’s dream stay true. After which it all melts down to ownership % and titles.

Tijo, a young MBA student who intends to be an entrepreneur, later went on to add this comment:

Brand name seems to be a sure concern. Maybe they can go a level higher and have a totally new brand name, satisfying both their egos, Ashok even though have an upper hand as you rightly said could agree to this if the new branding includes and caters to their newly added target market – Smart phones.

Estimating current value of both their brands may help to answer who gets what percentage and titles.
Ashok may be easily able to talk Vikram into giving him greater % and titles because of his brands obvious upper hand and also his superior negotiation skills.

Kutti Krishnan (Teaches at a B-School)

Three PLUS years is a good time to test yourself in a highly disruptive High tech industry. I think Vikram should go ahead with Ashok as this is a last mile chance for him to re-enter to his lost growth trajectory. He has a lot of bills to pay!! Bonus being that Ashok trusts Vikram’s execution capabilities having worked together.

Lesson is that entrepreneurship demands “simultaneous convergence of many different activities” to take off. Vikram might be technically competent, but he clearly shall get convinced about this fact.

Kailash Acharya (Worked as Project Head at a Telecom Company)

J, I believe he should have some overlap time while setting up business. He should have stayed working part-time like as a consultant or on freelancer. Then, he should have got into a partnership with a person with Sales / Marketing background and he co0lud have taken dealership of some IT products that would have added different flavour / track to his business.

Vishak (a young professional)

Everyone has a dream and to follow it, needs a lot of guts! Quitting a stable job, plunging into full time business was a risk that Vikram had to take to find out if he can do justice to his long cherished dream of running his own company. Now that he did and in the process found out what he lacked running his own company. I think with not much hope left, he should seriously consider Ashok’s offer, as it’s the best chance he would get to revive his career and life along with keeping a part of his dreams alive – by being an equity partner taking care of the technical side of the business.

Jamy Lateef (Service Head in the Hospitality Business / Regular Contributor)

Vikram should take up the offer to get the balance right between his family’s financial needs, but in order to pursue his dreams utilise the opportunity to have constructive and crucial discussions about how to capture the market, find some time to fine-tune his marketing and communication skills and then go after his long-cherished dream fully equipped. The wife would not complain because she would be secure and feel comfortable about the children’s future as well. He should have a short-term and a long-term plan and stick to his guns.

Umashankar Pandey (Banker and writer)

Looks like Vikram took a jump in the raging sea without much of a lifeguard to fall back on. I’d say Ashok’s offer is just the much needed saviour in the circumstances.

Sourav Das (A young management professional)

This is a brain teaser. A scenario I often faced in those interviews I have been into for the last month and a half.

Difficult answers to the question you had put up. If he wishes to go slow with his organisation for a while and accepts Ashok’s offer how will he able to maintain a sound operation of his own? Sticking to his own business for some more years would be the right way forward but then joining Ashok means he would be getting a lot more exposure in terms of contacts if nothing else. The biggest issue is that discontinuing would make the stakeholders vulnerable and insecure. He might be at a risk of not receiving adequate funds should he makes another attempt to start it in the future. So if then chooses to join Ashok he will have hardly any chance of reviving his own in the future. He should stick to his own project a little longer and think about a job if things don’t revive in that period.

Ronee Nath (A young professional)

Vikram should accept Ashok’s offer because networking is very important in the business world – without networking and communication skill ”a business will be a body without a soul”

Nommy Paul (A Business Manager)

If Vikram stick to the basics, he can make his venture successful. He should apply the ‘Ps’ & ‘Cs’ of marketing via consulting. He can always raise funds from Bank Loans or look out for Angel Investments.

Arvindh Shyam Sundar (A young professional)

He should work with Ashok in managing the unit and learn the marketing and networking techniques and then a few years down the line, start again.


While responding to readers who sent in suggestions and analyses I had mentioned that there is no right answer – to each his own way of expression and livelihood. But there are a few factors we need to take into account while offering a solution.

–          What would truly make Vikram happy?

–          How important is his dream and it success?

–          Does Vikram’s have the confidence to go through with his project?

–          What is his priority – his family’s well-being or his own vision?

The answer to these questions would tell us which way Vikram would sway?

If he believes in his dream and won’t be happy without seeing it through then its best for him to stick on; or else he would join Ashok, put in a less than 100% effort and damage that relationship. Many would say that such a decision may be foolhardy and they would well be right in thinking so given his track record, but then the world is not made of people with one mindset.

It also pays to remember that the so called foolish people were the ones who changed the world – they simply could not accept the status quo.

So I wish to say this – I would accept the decision to push ahead with his own project with a few conditions.

  1. It would make sense for Vikram to join his friend for a while and learn those aspects of business that he is currently not good at. He can create a time-bound program with his friend and even help to develop a replacement. He would offer his technical expertise and in return gain marketing and sales skills. Maybe in the meantime his organisation can run on simmer and service the existing set of clients.
  2. The other option would be for him to go for external help to create a game-plan. He can get a consultant to help him put the house in order. Since, his pockets are not deep he can offer the consultant a small upfront fee and then a profit-share from the fresh business brought in. He can consider searching for external funding and new partners when the business reaches stability.

If he willing to give up his dream with the intent of providing stability and security to his family the second option would make more sense. Accept Ashok’s offer and go for it 100%. He has a lot to offer as a Technical Expert and Ashok could pay him handsomely for the support. He just has to make sure that the terms are clearly inked to avoid hiccups and disappointments.

There is also the option of returning to a fulltime job.

There is one other thing, as suggested by one respondent (Kutti Krishnan) there is a huge need for Vikram to take a reality check – he needs to assess his own strengths and weaknesses, accept the gaps in his skill portfolio and find ways to plug them. It would be foolish to put on a brave face and soldier on – he will reach nowhere.

Which way he would go and whom he would serve strongly depends on his vision, sagacity, self-belief and risking-taking ability.

What do you think?

Note: There is one other aspect of this discussion that fascinated me – among the respondents there are those who gave safe options and some who recommended riskier options. I wish to analyse this in detail in another article.

  1. Jamy
    October 6, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Nicely laid out Jay! Options definitely look viable!!

    • JayadevM
      October 6, 2012 at 5:18 pm

      Thank you, Jamy.

  2. Biju Krishnan
    October 6, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Either different Personal priorities or Achievement Motivation scarcity will be the decider here.

    • JayadevM
      October 6, 2012 at 5:17 pm

      Absolutely, Biju!

  3. October 7, 2012 at 3:06 am

    I am glad I am still in the rolls! You’ve got a great thing going here! I AM GLUED! 😀

    • JayadevM
      October 10, 2012 at 9:45 am

      Hi Umashankar

      Not letting you go! Thank you for all the kind words and support.

  4. Nommy Paul
    October 7, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Excellent thought! keep us posted

    • JayadevM
      October 10, 2012 at 9:45 am

      Thank you, Nommy!

  5. October 7, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    What a wonderful idea!

    • JayadevM
      October 10, 2012 at 9:43 am

      Am glad you liked the message. Thank you for the appreciation.

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