Kindly share a few words about your journey?
My journey started 25 years ago. After I passed out of college in Mumbai, I came to Bangalore. At that point of time, there were not many jobs available. So then I thought why not start my own venture and that’s how I am in this field.
What is the turning point in your life?
The turning point of my life I would be this year when we partnered with Apollo Clinics to open around 30 centers across India. We grew from 6 to 36 clinics in a span of six months and we are thankful to the Apollo Clinics for giving us an opportunity to scale up our operations.
Which is that one lesson you have learned as a student?
Life has been a great teacher but how I remember one of my teachers? I was weak in Hindi. When I used to go for Hindi tuition, there was one teacher who came and asked me do I know something, at that point of time I was worried about facing the class and said yeah, I do know. Suddenly, that teacher walked away from there and then my class teacher entered the classroom. She told me you didn’t know Hindi but still, you said you know it and that is the reason why your teacher walked out if you had told that you don’t know then that teacher would have taught you a lot of things. Then I realized I should say no or I don’t know if I actually do not know. That is one thing I would say I learned as a student.
To succeed as an entrepreneur in this age and time, what qualities do you think is required?
I would say that you must have all the qualities bond into one. You must be a boss, you must be willing to roll up your sleeves and do the work., you need to lead a team, you need to do out of box thinking, you need to be on your toes all the time. It can not mean that you are an entrepreneur and you can sit in your office. You need to be on the field, you need to be with the team, you need to be supportive and you need to be there for your clients as well.
Give an example when you thought outside the box, how it benefited your company?
I would say every day is a challenge for me and it does require out of box thinking, especially the last six months when we have scaled out from 6 centers to 36 centers with Apollo. It requires lot of out of box thinking, strategic relationships and a lot of homework to do so. I would say every day is a challenge for me.
Tell us more about the hearing aids?
About 10% of the world population has a hearing loss of different ranges. But hearing loss is something which is very much neglected. Probably because of the social stigma which is associated with it. People lose almost seven years of their time in approaching us for help. At HearFon, we run a lot of awareness programs, we go to the rural areas to do a lot of camps to encourage people to come forward and we help them in identifying and rehabilitation of hearing problems. We also try to create awareness among the school children through painting competitions, infographics, writing blogs and Facebook posts to create awareness about the hearing problem.
How HearFon has shaped patients’ lives for better?
Listen to life! At HearFon whatever actions or whatever rehabilitative process that we are providing will enable the patient to listen to life once more. Patients usually lose around seven years of their time in accepting and acknowledging that they have a hearing loss and for coming to us for help. So in these seven years of time they would have lost connection with their family members, social life and they are more in isolation therefore at HearFon we would enable them to listen to life again.
Can you tell us something about your team?
We have a large team spread across different centers in India. As we are growing, we have a lot of engagement programs. Some of the team members have been with me for the last several years.
Tell me an incident where you were persistent in the face of obstacles?
As I said earlier every day is a challenge. Every day I have to be facing obstacles but I never allowed obstacles to come in the way of my dreams so I persistently worked for it. And I have always seen that if the intentions are good all the forces in the world will try to help me and support me.
Have you ever caught up in a scenario where work-life has more influence over your personal life?
I would like to confess that it has always been the case. I would like to thank my family, my wife and my children for all the support and encouragement that they had given me all these years. Probably, I had not spent much time with my family as I do with the clinic.
What is the most rewarding thing for you? Any particular incident you want to share?
There has been a lot of incidents where we have seen patients been helped by our hearing aids and rehabilitation processes. But one incident that I cannot forget is, several years back a young couple came for a consultation with a baby who was around three months old. They suspected a hearing loss and when we did a hearing test , there was an interior hearing loss. We prescribed them a hearing aid and at that point of time, the baby was only three months but in spite of an early age. The parents went ahead with the recommendations, fitted a hearing aid for the baby, came for regular therapy classes and we were able to see a remarkable change in the way baby went on to speak. We were able to see the entire process, the baby growing up into a child, into an adult and now he is 18 years old. We have seen the remarkable transformation the hearing aids and technologies got into his life. So when we look back at his life and think of the entire journey from being a baby to an adult it gives us a lot of encouragement and happiness.
Do you think parents enforce their ideologies on children to choose their careers?
Nowadays yes, but I would say that parents are also realizing that they would need not or no longer enforce their views on their children. As far as my kids are concerned I allowed them to go the way they want to or choose the profession they want to. I did not force them to get into the same field.
What is your advice to the younger generation and to those who are pursuing audiology?
My advice to the younger audiologists would be to embrace change, to be more patient, to look forward to more challenges and to think long term.