Genesis of Honeycomb: A Journey from a Pink slip to 50 Cr.
I have been reading the news of Pink slips, Salary reductions, and employees complaining about the salary cut, etc. Lots of frustrations and depressions around. So thought of sharing my journey from a pink slip to the achievement of 50 Cr. business till now.
It was in April 2008. I received an email from my company HR around 1 PM, and it says to go to the conference room by 3 PM. I very eagerly went, then the senior management team concluded, the next day onwards the company don't need my service. They will pay one month salary as compensation. Henceforth I am not allowed to meet anyone at that office. I literally cried, took my bag, and left the office.
Reached home with a gloomy face. Discussed with wife, decided to look for another job. Within 2 days got another offer from Delhi. Went there with lots of hope and could not stay there for more than 2 days. Flew back to Bangalore and the question remained! What's next?
I called a few of my friends in Dubai, requesting them for arranging a visit visa and try my luck there. But they discouraged. Two of them suggested me to start something related to Image Editing and Graphic design which was the industry we were working for the last 14 years. With a low pitched voice, I told them I am having only around 17K as my bank balance. And my monthly loan EMI itself was around 20K!. Their reply was, "Four of us will pay you 50K each once we get the salary next month. You don't need to necessarily return it"
I started searching for an office around Indira Nagar in Bangalore, could not afford the high rent. Finally one of my well-wisher helped to get a 100 sft place 5 km away in a crowded residential area called Kaggadasapura. Rs. 5000/- was the rent.
Got into my first office as an entrepreneur. I started meeting a few of my connections. Many discouraged as there was some recession happening. Job cuts and salary cuts in many IT-related companies. But luckily amid the troubles, I got my first job. Reproduction of a few printed posters, from Ogilvy& Mather. Bangalore's known photographer, Sugathan Nalini Photographed it free of cost for me. We did some post-production work at the office and delivered the job. The client was happy and got my first payment of 17500/- One of the most exciting moment for me:) Life picked up from there.
Slowly made a website, started meeting more people, joined BNI...things started working out for me. As the client's payment was coming late, I wanted a good cash flow for managing the salaries and other expenses. Approached a bank nearby. The bank manager spoke to me rudely and said to bring collateral!! I could not accept what he said, so I started questioning him about a scheme that is meant for entrepreneurs without collateral. He was not much aware of it. I fought for it and got my first CGTMSE loan for 2 Lakhs.
Slowly started growing. By then we were around 10 people. Then moved to a bigger office in Koramangala, the Start-up hub of Bangalore by 2010. Grown to 30 people within 2 years and then moved to another bigger office in Koramangala. Won two big national awards for the Image and Design related works. Now by 2020, we are around 70 people having offices in Mumbai and Hyderabad. Due to COVID-19, business is slow. But I could give salaries in time. we reduced a bit for reserve in case any contingencies arise
From an Image editing and graphic studio, we have grown to complete 360-degree communication agency. We do Graphic Design, Video Production, Digital Marketing, Adhoc creative studio etc..Other than hard work, enthusiasm, and positive thinking, there is no secret in my success.
Few experiences wanted to share with people who are in their career crisis.
- Don't scare or worried about a job loss or failure. It's good for you. God has kept something better than you were doing yesterday. Just smile and move on.
- After 12 years of journey, still am not in my comfort zone. That makes me strong day by day.
- Always expect rejection and face it with a smile. Learn, correct it, and try again. I tried 4 years to get a contract from Infosys. Finally, I got it. Now I am their regular service provider for the last 5 years.
- There are days I used to ride my bike in heavy rain with barefoot from office to home around 30 km without any raincoat. There was no money to purchase a raincoat. I never lost confidence during those struggling times.
- There may be little conflicts with your colleagues during work. Keep your Ego to zero levels. Keep employees at a high level and spirit. They are the people make you grow.
- Pay high respect for your clients and your network. They bring more clients and you will grow. Pay your vendors also in time. They are also your lifeblood.
- Don't be much strict about the cost of your services. I rejected a job from a leading lifestyle company for a small difference in my proposed rate. One of the senior manager called me personally and told not to reject and advised me to look at long term business relationships. Today they give nearly 2 Cr every year for the services I give them. Always be flexible. Don't work for money. Give great service. Money is only a byproduct.
- People may leave your company and join the competitors. Don't talk negatively about your ex-colleagues. What goes around, comes around!
- Learn. Unlearn. Relearn. That's the only thing will keep you move ahead. I am a printing Technologist. Don't know about HTML, Web Design, Video Production, Digital or Marketing. But I learned and took courage to start new services. It pays off well. Beyond everything, your "Guts" will make your journey better.
- Online learning opportunities are enormous. Keep at least 2 hours every day for learning. You can earn the money you want!
- Be kind to everyone. Keep helping people. Don't expect anything in return.
I am not a coach or an expert! Still, if you want to reach out to me, I am just a phone call away. Be inspired.
Thank you !
Regards Noufel 9845128760
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