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Name: Mansi Khanna
Business: The Friday Code
Location: New Delhi, India
Industry: Technology & Telecommunications
Reason for starting? The entrepreneurial bug bit me while I was heading the mobile advertising business for India’s largest telco. I was interacting with several brands, and devising the product and sales strategy for a team of 25 sales people. It was during this time, that I realized that there were several gaps and potential opportunities that existed in the ad ecosystem. Coupled with that, at a personal level, I craved to do something more challenging. So I decided to take the leap. I figured that what I stood to gain and contribute by running my own business was far more appealing to me than having to move mountains for every little thing. Along side that, encouragement from close friends and family gave me the confidence to start up. Essentially, I wanted to do what I loved — for which there was a huge market opportunity. I wanted to do it my way, so I started my business.
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How do you define success? To me success is an amalgamation of the following three elements. First, knowing that what I am doing on a daily basis is adding value in some way — to the clients, to the team, to the ecosystem, to a larger scheme of things. Second, having a well balanced life — with the time, energy and resources to pursue whatever I may desire. And lastly, being free — as Rabindranath Tagore puts it, “Where the mind is without fear, and the head is held high.”
Biggest success: The first major success for The Friday Code was the launch of our in-house audience tracking platform called Clock. We managed to not only build the complete platform on time, but also through ingenious ways offer an extremely competitive pricing to cash in on the opportunity. The product has generated great interest and has been very well received by the market. It is truly solving a need for brands and advertisers. Being bootstrapped, there is always a resource crunch. Despite that, we have successfully managed the client needs and delivered consistently. Essentially, Clock is a classic example of a product that offers great value and has been developed and delivered in an efficient and affordable manner. We feel proud to give each other a pat on the back for that! At a personal level, seeing the team’s commitment to push themselves to deliver because they believed in what they were doing was a great feeling for me!
What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? Finding the right resources and managing attrition is the top challenge. It’s taken us awhile to find a competent and stable team. Our platform, Clock, is competing with international companies in the B2B space, so while we made some ingenious modifications to the technology to be able to offer competitive pricing in the market, building a sales team to match that proved to be a daunting task. We addressed the issue by having a more stringent hiring process. Each of our employees is interviewed by me and my co-founders individually. We have included a probation/training period as a part of our hiring policy, and at an overall level we encourage everyone to take up cross functional responsibilities to help them grow and to break the monotony.
I recently got married and moved base to Mumbai. Coupled with all the changes on the personal front, since The Friday Code is based out of Delhi, it became very challenging to manage the growing business and team remotely. However, I sought it as an opportunity and decided to open a branch office for The Friday Code in Mumbai so that we could expand the team here. Scaling up in a new place, meant taking some tough business decisions, such as letting go of a few “non-so-profitable” clients and “below average” resources. After a few initial speed bumps, taking these hard calls have actually helped us. We now have an active presence and client base in Mumbai, and all the communication channels for efficient management and delivery are well set up.
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Who is your most important role model? My Grandfather, Late Prof. M L Khanna is my most important role model. He wrote books for mathematics for IIT engineering entrance examination. He was a self-made man who experienced fame yet stayed humble. He achieved that success and made a name for himself through sheer hard work despite all odds. Most importantly he led a fulfilling life where he made it a point to enjoy the fruit of his labour with his family. He was well versed in all subjects — right from politics to literature — and always kept himself updated. He travelled extensively, had an active social life and worked like there was no tomorrow. He never allowed any external circumstances to deter him from what he had set out to achieve. He also involved himself in a lot of charity work. I try to imbibe all of these qualities from him, in everything I do — hard work, dedication, humility, compassion and having a well-balanced life.
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Edited by The Story Exchange