When Tarun and I arrived at JFK in a previous century, if someone had said to us that we will start a company and years later it will be acquired by a one of the most valued brands in the world, I would have said, "You are certifiably mad!"
This country turned madness into reality with a smorgasbord of opportunities. Even though, it is hard to distill our professional journey, I bring you five lessons that I believe helped us navigate our way to an M&A.
1: Life-long learning is non-negotiable. In college we found out that US academia does not care what you’ve studied before, only where you want to go next. College taught me the secret for coping with the seismic shifts that frequently alter the way we live, work, consume, process, choose, entertain, interact, and think - keep learning and adjusting.
2: Results matter, effort does not. I’ve held these wise words from a mentor close to my heart. As an entrepreneur, mother, and elder caregiver, I contextualized result for my specific personal situation and then calibrated effort. Even though the bar seemed impossibly high at times, ethical result has consistently trumped everything else.
3. It is better to fail spectacularly than not to try. Mistakes are inevitable. Although, few places are easier to do business than in America, we collected our share of mistakes. Some were unforced due to my shortsightedness as a leader and others were due to external factors. What mattered is getting up quickly after each fall, readjusting, and making the spectacular happen. This skill made taking risks less scary.
4: Know your limits when you negotiate. This is tricky business. When we ask and we are denied, we lose a bit of luster. Then again, we don't get what we deserve without asking for it. It is a conundrum. When we ask, how we ask, how much we ask drive many of our decisions. At its core, this is an optimizing challenge and requires awareness and tact.
5: To know your limits you have to first know what you are worth. This is a hard lesson and the work is never done. As new arrivals, we often lacked context and didn't fit in. Despite these negative forces, we assimilated, created confidence in the value we offer, and frequently refined our worth. This enabled us to articulate our professional value and clarify the DNA of our company, Entigence.
These lessons helped us juggle opposing forces during Entigence's acquisition. We knew little about the M&A process but we had to know what resources to tap into. We accepted that we were attempting a high-risk endeavor and failure was a possibility. At the same time, we had to focus on a successful outcome and will it with steadfastness. Most certainly, we had to know our worth and our limits.
You may think that being immigrants put a professional hunger in our bellies, the kind that whispers, "You only have one chance to do this right, do not mess it up!" The truth is, plenty of my colleagues have a similar fire, hear the same voice, and don't have an immigrant's context.
Regardless of your background and your place in the corporate journey, I hope you create and follow your clarion call, the one that delivers you to your goals.
(Article reposted from LinkedIn)