Take the Plunge with Karthik Sheshagiri

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The Editorial Board at 'Perennials'
The Editorial Board of "Perennials" (the e-magazine of Perennial Publication LLP) comprises a group of distinguished professionals and academicians from diverse fields and areas of interest who continually contribute their ideas through this column, engaging readers in current topics of interest.
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Eight years on from embarking upon a journey that saw Mr. Karthik Sheshagiri switch gears from his corporate life as a software engineer to managing his family business, he shares his story of life as a businessman with Perennials. He is the CEO of Visesh Transmissions Pvt. Ltd. and Executive Director at Gears and Gear Drives India Private Limited.

Often many of us are sceptical to take the plunge of following our hearts or trying something new. Here is a realistic journey of learning, highs and lows that we all can learn and draw inspiration from. As has been famously said,

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.”

–John D. Rockefeller

In the pursuit of a new challenge, after 12 years of being a software engineer, Mr. Karthik looked at taking on his father’s business as an adventure. The change for him came at the right time for the business, as his father, growing old, wanted to ease the reins a little. Making the change was the easy part however; it was sustaining it that proved to be the harder mountain to overcome. Coming from a very structured environment of the corporate sector, it was a challenge to find the correct balance in his role given the dynamic nature of running a business. Starting from gaining the trust of the employees, who did not take him seriously owing to the differing nature of his background, to handling labour issues, it was the “softer” side of running the business that he grappled with more. On this front, another hurdle was managing and learning how to effectively deal with vendors, who often sent in threats. Intriguingly, understanding the product came very easily to him and managing the technical aspects was a seamless effort.

Mr. Karthik’s motto is hard work. Raised on middle-class values despite hailing from a business family in Bangalore, he worked his way through engineering and undertook a Masters degree, excelling in it. For him, smart work is the key to working effectively and efficiently, but to attain that, one has to work hard at first.

In the eight years since he has been at the helm, the business has been consistently showing growing numbers and he envisions introducing disruptive technology to further expand. The journey has proved to have been a rollercoaster with valuable lessons peppered along the way. Most of the challenges he faced were personal in nature, teaching him to be more grounded, mature and aware of how things can go awry. His role at the firm has evolved to be more of a people manager, facilitating open communication to generate ideas and drive discussions than being a driver of projects, as he was when in the software development world. However, his previous experience did help him pave the way to give the firm more structure and organise it into verticals, creating leaders along the way to enhance motivation and accountability. A peeve that emerged however, was managing the finances, a skill he had to cultivate to ensure the business is in order.

Learning along the way is natural. He believes that anyone can learn to be a businessperson or an entrepreneur as long as they have an idea that they can eat, breathe and sleep with! Patience, with a focus on self-growth rather than the competition, is key to the journey, as brooding does not help. Everyone’s unique knowledge and experience shapes their journey. So a message to all the adventure seekers out there, even after an almost decade-long journey, Mr. Karthik is still learning. He believes that the idea needs to be grabbed by the horns, kickstarted, dealt with humility and honesty and taken as not a job, but a challenge!

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