Lalit BhagiaFounder: MyRefers Published On: Saturday, November 01, 2014 Views 2004
"Learning is everywhere in whatever you do and whomever you meet, keep your eyes and ears open."
Lalit Bhagia created a referral-based recruiting platform with his keen desire to make use of his learning & experience to create something new. He made his unique idea work with constant sweat and strong belief. He worked for top brands like STAR TV (NewsCorp) before starting his own business. As the head of digital division, he launched various entertainment & sports based products for startv.in & starsports.com.
At the beginning it seemed a little difficult to take the first step but with his wife’s support and conviction he put his best foot forward. How MyRefers got shaped into reality and what convinced Lalit Bhagia to stick to his business idea despite of risk & uncertainties; we questioned all & collected few stirring stories in this interview.
What inspired you to start your Business?
I don’t have a typical ‘garage’ story. Does it sound disappointing? But I may have a rather righteous one. My concept was germinating since few years in its incubation. It was a gradual process, something that was evolving and a rub off of what I was doing at Star TV already. It was in May, 2012, when I was spearheading the digital strategy and execution of ‘Satyamev Jayate’, a show we all know, soon after going on air created endearing social effects. It was amazing to see the spark it had created on social networks; it was only spreading like fire. I realized people were more than willing to help, it was part of the intrinsic nature, and they only needed a platform. With my team, I was creating and rolling out as many digital platforms for Satyamev Jayate to help broaden the belief of its concept creators – Aamir Khan and my own STAR TV team. It was a butterfly moment for me, not only in terms of transformation but an awakening, a reinstatement of my own self.
Parallel to this, my professional interactions were significantly increasing as per my role and title, consultants would call me for referrals and I was personally also getting more and more involved in the ‘right’ hiring maze. I was realizing the power of referrals as possibly the best and most effective source of hiring suitable candidates. One day, after office hours, back at home I got into an interesting spiritual talk with my wife, we were pondering upon the course ‘Karma kiya jao, phal ki chinta mat karo’ (keep doing good karma and do not worry about the fruits) and she had her contentions about how practical the ‘Bhagvadgita’ learnings are in today’s world! How all wives would usually like, I told her she sounds right! Doing ‘good’ for others is an intrinsic motivation and honestly doing it without an extrinsic motivation arguably ‘money’ may limit incentivization of sharing the goodness. ‘Voila!’ we had what looked like a ‘plan’; she was convinced and then pushed me like mad to get things started. Finally she was the one to take the plunge first; she left her job and started building the alpha product. Soon we had started to check the product and seek assertions with industry experts.
So began our series of meetings and discussions to test the idea with HR heads, friends, users, CFOs, startup entrepreneurs, HR consultants, top referees across industries, industry experts , investment bankers etc. Some amazing inputs from the ecosystem really helped us evolve. Referring is an action word, and here I was seeing my thoughts crystallizing, not remaining ephemeral anymore.
And cliché it may sound but true, I finally left my own cushiony job and fat pay cheque. Well, media related jobs can hardly be termed as ‘cushiony’, but I did forgo my plush office cabin and started working from a not so ‘garage’ looking room in the house.
What is your life mantra?
No good done to others will ever be worthless, it will always have a positive bearing. Life comes full circle, what you sow so shall you reap, these may sound very run of the mill to you but I believe in ‘doing’ good karma, good karma brings lot of positivity around and that what travels like a wave.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Most challenging was to convince myself at starting my own, and I will say I got a lot of push and kick (thankfully not literally!) from my wife for getting the idea to its actual running.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
First of all conviction to do it, taking a certain amount of risk that a startup of your own brings along with it. Honesty, diligence and intelligence are also a necessity. You can’t just create and stop, you have to keep developing the product and bring more innovations and service offerings.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
Brain Drain is not a big problem I see, at least not right now. I have a small yet a close team, I give them full freedom to work as a partner rather than an employee of MyRefers. There is a lot of trust and goodness I have in my team and as Karma Officers, the culture of the organisation encourages them to keep doing good. We have a lateral structure, no hierarchy, so its a rather flat structure and all work as co-workers striving to a young company’s success.
As an entrepreneur, what advice would you like to share with emerging startups?
I will want them to first get rid of all negative thoughts that may be acting as obstacles in their decision making, they need to demonstrate grit and courage first. I assume the concept they are thinking of running as a business has been well thought and backed by fundings, in a way fundings is a proof that the concept may actually work. In later stages of product development, no matter how disillusioned you feel, you need to be also problem solving, getting in right resources at right time to manage the product development requirement. Nothing should stop us all, and after a roadblock is crossed, one only sees light across the tunnel.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
Maybe I will do something related online education, but I haven’t really thought of another startup as of now, for me MyRefers is my current big focus.
Which online tools and services do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
- We use Google Analytics to measure the site usage and understand our users better
- We have been using screaming frog to run some tests on SEO
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
My habit of thinking positive. I am a trained Reiki practitioner, that probably helps too
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
I am not flowery in my writing, I write basic trying to be closer to reality as much and I may be brutally honest at times!
Answer in less than 50 words
a) One tip to success
Be a good listener, listen to inner-self first! Gather the courage to take the plunge.
b) One tip to be a good learner
Learning is everywhere in whatever you do and whomever you meet, keep your eyes and ears open. Try learning what positively affects you and others and most importantly believe in ‘good karma’
c) One mistake you believe every individual must avoid
Not being sincere and honest in the work they do.
If you get an opportunity to start a new venture what will it be?
Nothing really , I will not change anything , except continue to be in touch with coding through my career ( I did learn it for 2 years) , I personally believe a coders have the power to change the world ..
What are your plans for next 3 years?
I would like to see MyRefers become a default skill based rating platform for our partners.Our SAAS based offerings for companies to use for their internal employee communications should also win confidence just like our original product.