With a drive to change the course of talent management and recruiting in India, Nidhi Mittal took her first step in the world of startups. Smaart U is an initiative to let people know, explore and make the best use of personal branding. After doing MBA from Hult International Business School, she worked as an independent management consultant & trainer, and served as leading professionals in IT, Financial sector.
She is also the Co-Founder of Okie Dokie Digital Solutions LLP and Founder of Reality Bites (nonprofit organization). Her unending desire to win and vast exposure encouraged her to never give up despite challenges. Nidhi knows no limits when it comes to attaining knowledge and taking risks. She has lot to impart to budding entrepreneurs. Read more in her interview.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
With Smaart U we would like redefine the personal brand of people and create, connect and change the way worlds sees you. It will probably be for the first time in India, our very own smart web based tool to generate a digital identity. Creating a strong talent pool and helping them stand out of the crowd by creating a strong digital profile in a simple, user-friendly and fast paced manner.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Trying to create awareness on Personal Branding and the importance of it. It has been more challenging to convince and have acceptance from the learned staff and management than the youth themselves. To be honest, we don’t tend to follow things unless those from the West have. We want to prepare and present our students and professional for the best both at the domestic front and international. Smaart U aims at excelling them to discover their own unique talent magnets and excel as an overall individual.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service. *
With Smaart U we would like redefine the personal brand of people and create, connect and change the way worlds sees you.
The three services offered under Smaart U are:
- IdenTeTe – Probably the first time in India, our very own smart web based tool to generate a digital identity. Its simple user friendly interface with easy navigation submits your profile to create a digital portfolio as the chosen template.
- Hiring Lounze – An advanced integrated platform providing a common ground to connect and share information to both recruiters and job seekers, offering global talent. It’s a web-based interface with clean attractive, simple and easy to start with.
- SmaartMe – Simple user-friendly online college community for connecting current students and alumni, globally. A fast and easy mechanism to easily find, connect, follow and interact, serving as a one-stop platform for information sharing, connecting with each other, job search, talent hunt, etc.
What is your life mantra?
My personal mantra is that “life is too short to waste and too too long to wait”. So, I believe in doing things that inspire me and gives utmost satisfaction. I prefer trying out over regretting later.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
We have self funded Smaart U till now and we are looking for investments only from like minded individuals who can patiently live this dream with us and share the same passion towards uplifting the quality of our students and workforce.
How did you overcome those challenges?
I won’t say that I have overcome them yet. Every day we still deal with those challenges while working on field. However, the good part is that our conviction and flexibility in our models does help us to break the barriers and move ahead. We are not only looking at selling a product , what we are driving with Smaart U is a cultural shift.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain? Tell us about your company’s attrition control practices.
We only associate with individuals either full time hire or volunteers who understand our vision. We want them to be equally passionate about bringing about a change in this industry. Being a youth lead company, we bring in a lot of positive energy, fresh outlook and a grand opportunity to lead ideas of your own.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
- Hard Working – It sounds cliche but, after being there and seeing it all, I can say that there is definitely no shortcut to success.
- Patience – With time everything falls in place and for every problem there is a solution, we just have to carry that right amount of patience.
- Knowledge – If you stop learning , you stop earning. Educating yourself is a continuous process and if you fail to adapt with time, you will always “have” the risk of letting people over take you in life.
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
Apart from my utility tools like email services, I am an avid user of platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and News Apps – anythings that helps me connect with the latest happenings around the world in every domain.
I restrict my usage of social and chat platforms that ends up taking away a lot of energy and time, giving nothing useful in return.
I would recommend creating your own bucket of tools and services that allows you to divide your time appropriately to achieve productivity. From entertainment to utility, always keep in mind that these should serve the purpose of your professional end goal, as well as help you stay connected.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
Time Management – I have learnt to balance my time effectively from the very beginning and it has become my strength over time. I never run out of time both at professional
and personal fronts. I can easily say that I live a flexible yet organised schedule.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
I had always been a lot self dependent and I would like to fall back on others at some point in time and take that risk to see what other’s deliver. Trying to achieve perfection and being passionate about my ideas, I often like to give everything touch of my hand.
Answer in less than 50 words
One tip to success:
Never ever give up. Time and people will push you against the wall but if you are strong then you can break that without getting hurt or breaking yourself.
One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Waiting for things to happen. Nothing will happen on it own and depending on time,people or purely on luck is like turning your hair grey in the sun. Get up and do something about your ideas , bring that change you want to see.
One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
If you can’t change people, change your ways and not yourself.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
Life is changing every second and you never know what’s coming your way – especially if you are in the technology industry. So, I like to keep short plans and grow with time and demand. What I definitely see happening in next 3 years is making a dent in the education and recruitment industry. How big or small will the impact be, only time will tell.
We would like to make Smaart U the first Indian brand to give a new language to talent and surpass the supply of Digital Profiles more than the demand for it. Our goal is to give each of Student and Job Seeker their own Digital Identity and Personal Brand, connect them to the world and open new doors of opportunity for them.
What are your top three getaway destinations ?
- Goa – I had been three three times and if time and pocket allows, I would like to spend a month there every year. I would’nt mind opening up a branch there so that I get an excuse to travel there more often.
- Office – I like spending time with like minded people and engaging in conversations on our own ideas and some of the great work others are doing.
- My Car – I enjoy driving and I am in the best company when I am driving alone with my choice of music. It’s like a time travel for me and on some days I go back to the past memories, and sometimes I am enjoying the thought of future success.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
I have spent confused early years and had to work very hard to prove my street smartness and achieve all that I did. But, if I get a chance to go back, I would again do the same because it taught me value of money, time and hard work and shaped up the core of my worth ethics and personal values.
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
Earlier it used to be “You Don’t Need The Biggest Title To Do The Best Job”
Now after Smaart U it has changed “You Have To Risk Going Too Far, To Discover How Far You Can Really Go”.