Constantly Learning And Evolving Her Craft
Coming from a household with an enterprising family business, Nisha was raised around entrepreneurs. It is never a doubt that one day she will be one herself as she constantly has various ideas for new business plans and ventures.
Nisha’s journey first took her to work at IBM to learn from the Fortune 500 giant. With that experience under her belt, she realised that a new perspective is definitely needed to innovate her family business – and she found it at the MSc TIP in NTU. The programme allowed her to see opportunities for new verticals and disruptions, and she never looked back.
What Nisha learnt about being an entrepreneur is to always keep a keen eye on new developments, and that the road to success is never straightforward, and hence ‘To err is virtue’ – a mantra she lives by.
Was there a particular moment or instance in your life that piqued your interest in entrepreneurship and innovation?
NN: Well, I wouldn’t say there was a particular moment, but it was more of a gradual process. I was raised in an entrepreneurial family – so we spoke about different ventures all the time. But after graduation, I made the decision to take up a desk job.
Working at IBM was a great experience which taught me a lot, but I kept drifting back to think about our family venture and how I was able to contribute. So finally after a couple of years working for a Fortune 500 organisation, I decided to take up the MSc TIP.
How is it like in the day of a multi-generational entrepreneur’s life?
NN: You’ll notice that my job title says I work in the capacity of an assistant manager – but truth be told, I do just about everything! From commercial activities to business development, principal management to sales and marketing. See, that’s the thing about being an entrepreneur – one doesn’t have the liberty of picking a vertical. It’s truly the need of the hour, and what needs your attention the most at the moment.
But that being said – for most parts I strictly plan my week in advance to properly accommodate my monthly goals. Goal setting is essential and key for every entrepreneur. Like what Steve Jobs said, one can only connect the dots if you look at them backwards.
Can you give us some examples of this constant learning at work?
NN: VKA PowerMaster was primarily a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) company, but we realised if we do not move along with the market’s changes and needs, we would become obsolete sooner or later. It was with this mindset that we adopted services and products outside of these verticals, thus enhancing our outreach efforts.
We also implemented the same mindset of learning and evolving for our current suite of lighting products. We understand that LED lights are increasingly popular these days, but we have to see further than that. In a couple of years, the industry would be all about controls – and we’ve already started to look at different options to incorporate these findings.
What are some tips you’d give to other multi-generational entrepreneurs out there?
NN: Go all in. You have the benefit of having an already established base. Just take with you your individuality and soar higher!
You may also go in with a lot of pressure – being judged or assumed that you had it easy. But, hold your own. Learn. Prove yourself. Be humble. Soon you’ll be leading a good team who shares the same value as yours.
Did you consider starting up your own venture, prior to joining the family venture VKA PowerMaster?
NN: I was born into a family of entrepreneurs, so there was no doubt I would be doing the same. There were a few exciting ideas I had while working on the various business plans throughout the MSc TIP course. These ranged from waste management systems for the hospitality industry to 3D retail stores with personalised products – ideas I had toyed with, and still go back to from time to time.
However, I made the decision to come back to my family venture, VKA PowerMaster, after discussions with my father. The company is primarily an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), as well as partners for brands such as Schneider Electric India, Armstrong Pumps and Philips. My father and I discussed about the possibilities and potential of entering new verticals, tapping on the vast potential in India, and the need for succession planning. All these ultimately affected my decision to return to my family venture.
If you were to pick just one aspect of an enterprising mindset that is important to you, which one would it be? Why do you relate most closely to this aspect?
NN: To me the key aspect of an enterprising mindset is to constantly learn and evolve. This is extremely important, especially in the current wave of disruptive technologies.
It is extremely important to have a keen eye – on trending technologies, on opportunities and just a little fire in the belly to keep learning in order not to be left behind.
How has a formal education in technopreneurship given you an edge over fellow peers?
NN: After working with IBM, I was toying with the idea of doing an MBA. In the end, I chose a course in Technopreneurship & Innovation, as it seemed more relevant to me, especially with my technical background and entrepreneurial aspirations.
Entrepreneurship for me was something I imbibed while growing up, but it was not until the MSc TIP course that I truly discovered the true sense of entrepreneurship. I met amazing people every day, and they helped inspire me and water the seed already planted.
Firstly, the course helped me break out of my comfort zone and to analyse things in a systematic approach – to always look at the data from the larger picture before moving towards the minute details.
The exposure I had throughout the course was also something I really hold dear. Working with my peers and professors was a great amalgamation of ideas, cultures, views and advice, which helped me lay a good foundation in the areas such as finance, strategy and marketing. This subsequently led me to understand the need to churn out a solid business plan, and the importance of having a minimal viable product (MVP) and being able to pivot.