This Entrepreneurial Story about Nikhilesh Tiwari and Nitin Sahu who Founded ‘ Helical IT Solutions Private Limited’ located in Hyderabad, India.
Nikhilesh Tiwari MBA from Symbiosis International University and BE from Pune University. Has nearly three years of experience in the telecom domain in account management, sales and operations. Has managed accounts of leading operators such as Vodafone and Aircel for leading VAS companies.
Nitin Sahu MBA from Symbiosis International University and BE from Pune University. Three years of experience in Business Intelligence and has served reputed international clients such as Wipro. He has solid knowledge of Data Warehousing and has worked on a number of BI platforms such as Jaspersoft, Pentaho, Tableau etc.
When Started: 05/November 2012
What motivated you to start your Business?
I had always dreamt of starting my own company, being my own boss, making it large and carving out an identity for myself. I did not find the zest working in the corporate world and rather felt like one of the spokes of a wheel, doing the same work mundanely everyday, with no personal growth or learning. Luckily, I found my old buddy, Nitin, on the same wavelength, and we started off on the journey together.
The key allures that entrepreneurship has for both of us are independence and learning. We were taken in by that feeling that why work for someone else when we are good at what we do? More than monetary benefits, the decision-making, being fully involved in each and every aspect of work, the learning that happens… I feel quite like Indiana Jones… plenty of knowledge and opportunities out there, all that’s left is for me to wade through the unknown risks and dig out the treasure.
Tell us about your Business
Helicaltech, the way we refer to our brainchild as, is involved in Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence (DWBI). We work on open-source BI platforms such as Jaspersoft and Pentaho. In today’s world, companies are generating humongous amount of data but they are not able to make informed decisions out of it.
Today, there is no dearth of management software, each with its specific functions, and companies have implemented a plethora at their organizations such as ones for HRMS for human resource, Tally, office automation (OA), client relationship management (CRM) and BPM (business process management), outsourcing the IT functions to a zillion other companies—enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendors, industry solutions providers, consulting and implementation firms etc. While they help in making specific processes easier, major flip-sides are that they not only expand cost, but it becomes very difficult to get an overall view of what is happening and where the company is headed.
This is where we come into the picture. We help with data-crunching that help companies deduce specific information from the jamboree in a cost-effective manner. Helicaltech connects different data-sources and provides relevant reports, dashboard, charts, graphs etc., to the key decision makers, which will help them make the right choices for growth of their company. We help companies make data driven decisions rather than intuition driven decisions.
We also provide analytics services that a client can use to know what the P&L functions such sales, revenue and expenditure look like in the future, based on historical data that will help them plan better. Data warehousing data mining, mobile and cloud BI, ETL services are other offerings that we have.
What is a Day in a life of you like?
Like I mentioned, Indiana Jones’ is one. Maybe you could mix that with Tenzing Sherpa’s life to refer to the Himalayan hurdles that beginners face. But I am confident of coming out victorious, much like the luminaries.
To be frank, it is arduous and there is almost nil social life, but then, there is no feeling like the feeling of success. I am glad to have supportive family and friends. There is nothing called a ‘typical day’ in the life of an entrepreneur. Every day is a new day with new tasks or same tasks to be done better; every day is a learning experience. So well, my day starts with checking mails on my mobile right from bed.
My partner and I get to work before 10:00hrs. It is often breakfast on-the-go! As beginners, no matter how hard we try to maintain a clean desk policy, it still somehow manages to pile up. So post making space for that day’s papers, we get right down to business. The technical team headed by Nitin work on the current projects while I go exploring new opportunities and clients to crack. Apart from the group lunch, we also take a small group tea break to recharge before our screens start flashing with Skype messages post 19:00hrs. Most of our clients are based overseas. We give demonstrations of the work to clients, update them about status of projects and make suggestions, discuss further opportunities….
We shut shop around 00:30-1:00hrs, and sometimes even later. Often, Nitin and I choose to walk the 3km back to home. The pathway is empty and there is generally a light, cold, breeze. The day is tiring, but the sense of having made some headway or achieved targets is overwhelming. Dinner depends on how tired we are when we open the front door to home sweet home.
One particular skill you got right and gave you best results.
The one skill paramount to my work is knowledge. DWBI is a high growth sector and is in the process of fast evolution. I am glad we caught the in-bound train.
Staying abreast with the changes, we offer innovative products to render customized solutions to clients. According to research, though companies have cut IT spending in concurrence with the economic downturn, demand for BI Services remains. This is a win-win situation for us. The need cut costs has also led to prodigious interest in open source technologies which we cater to. Based on clients’ feedback, our solutions and services help clients with an average 60-80% cost saving.
What have been your biggest challenges in running your Business so far?
Note that we are a bootstrapped startup and really proud of it. But the biggest hurdle indeed is lack of liquidity. We have the basic infrastructure and manpower in place, but business is expanding and hence the situation does not bode well for us. Recruitment of skilled labour after all comes at a price. There is also the issue of such experienced personnel not wanting to join Startups.
How did you overcome these challenges?
We are indeed the momma-bird now! We are managing everything, from foraging to keeping the house clean to feeding the babies. We have hired a few freshers and are training them. However, thanks to our product innovation and focused approach, and of course, the hard work from my team, within just a few months into business, we started gaining some good mileage. We hope to very soon start hiring professionals, but until then, day and night is one for us at Helicaltech.
What have you found the most effective way to get new clients?
Social media is the treasure house from where we all partake. It is important to stay abreast with industry trends and watch out for any opportunity. We have realized via experience that it is imperative to focus on building value for clients than generating revenue. That way, clients will not only provide you with more work but will also refer you to other people, which is equivalent to striking gold for entrepreneurs. We have been fortunate in having our clients approach us themselves, asking us to become their technical partner and oversee all their technical work.
What advice do you give to other business owners?
Never think of money right from day one, build value and money will follow. Documentation is paramount, and so is due diligence when approaching vendors to ensure value for money.
How did you keep motivated through difficult times?
We have thankfully not come across that bad a time, touch-wood But then, in entrepreneurship, you never know what is to happen the next day. I believe passion will keep us afloat. We will get through tough times on the appreciation we have received from clients…. that feeling that once we have acquired a client, it’s a bond for the long-term, and hence we need to push ourselves to make that first cut. Add to that the dollars… the sweet fruits of toiling!
What are your Marketing, Funding and Team Building Strategy?
As for marketing, we are leveraged on social media for now. Social networks have been really helpful in connecting us to clients, getting to know of the opportunities, and in brand building. Our official blog (http://helicaltech.com/blogs) also helps.
Our team building strategy is that we look to create a perfect symphony between skilled professionals and freshers. Irrespective of designation, each person is an asset, a resource for the company. We are trying to involve our resources in building the company so that they have a sense of ownership and belongingness.
Our biggest achievement is that within two months of inception, we had already managed to acquire five overseas clients. And the feedback has been overwhelming and one of the companies has, in fact, made us its technical partner! The icing on the cake is that we have done all this purely through marketing on free social platforms.
Whats your favorite quote?
Entrepreneurship is like being pregnant… at the end of the day, you got to deliver.
Who inspires you?
Richard Branson is my icon. He not only built big brands and companies, but also knew how to live life king size. Though a disciplinarian and workaholic, he always made time for hobbies such as adventure sports.
Do you have a Business Philosophy?
Work Smart and you will definitely get kissed by lady luck
StartupFreak wishes Abheek All the Best!