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Ask Vineet Gupta for Advice
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Vineet Gupta
Vineet Gupta

Vineet Gupta

Managing Partner

22feet Communications

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Brief about company, offerings and foundation of the company
22feet is an independent digital marketing solutions provider, where the people, the culture, the work, and the possibilities are as interesting as the ’22feet story’. We didn’t measure the human gut. However, wikipedia tells us it’s 22feet long. We’re a digital solutions provider whose engines run on ‘gut fuel’. We go by instinct, in everything we do: the work we create, the people we hire, the clients we choose, for everything, we trust the 22feet in us to tell us which box to tick.At 22feet we believe in leveraging the potential of the digital medium with an intelligent combination of creativity and technology. We believe that creativity and technology should not sit in different cubicles and meet only at the point of execution, instead our work culture encourages continuous conversations between these two pillars on which any successful digital solutions is built.Founded in 2009, we now have in house capabilities to strategise and execute end to end digital solutions for some of the most iconinc brands in the country across all digital platforms.
Motivation and Drives factor
Winning. And by winning I do not  just mean winning business. As an organization we need to win in everything we do, even if it means competing with yourself. Its important to set milestones / challenges in each function within the organization and then do what it takes to win.
Most critical decision
There were many. However, there was one that stood out from the rest and that was to define what is that 22feet would not do. So before we set out the rules for what we could do, we actually went about laying down rules on what is it that we would not do.The way we went about doing it is to identify points / processes that we felt would not add value to 22feet, if we actually went ahead and did it. The fact that today, 22feet does not outsource any of the work it does and has all of its revenue coming directly from clients is just an outcome of those decisions.
Some of the difficulties faced while building product/ solution
Setting up a services business without a previous track record is never going to be easy. Its pretty much like trying to sell a product without users.
Three big lessons/ mistakes encountered while building company
1)Its all about the people: every business is a peoples business and what you are is because of the people you have.2)Sustenance is key: Its easier to win business than to sustain it. Winning it is just half the job. For you to build a business its important that you deliver on a consistent basis.3)Culture is critical: An organization without a culture means nothing, It is therefore critical to ensure that you define the culture upfront and then do what it takes to build that culture across, with every hire.
Best company I admire globally
While I have heard a lot of first hand stories from friends about Apple, Google and GE, for me it will always be Microsoft. Having been a part of the system I truly believe that it is one of the best employers in the world. The biggest reason for this is the amount of faith they place in their employees and the passion that they build in you for the work you do. Its absolutely amazing.
Unique about my way of motivating troops
Not sure if its unique enough but we truly believe in empowerment. We believe in empowering our troops well enough for them to go out there and take their decisions, without the burden of consequence.
Way of choosing my people
In most cases, we stay true to our name ie we go by gut. So far we have been blessed with a team that believes in what we do. We do not necessarily hire on the basis of experience, but attitude instead. In fact, a vast majority of our hires have been through internal referrals. We encourage our people to refer talent to us as we believe they will do complete justice when they refer us an employer to someone they know. So far, it has worked wonderfully well for us.At 22feet, we also believe in the concept of natural leadership, wherein leaders are not defined by designations but by natural respect. You have to earn the respect of your team members. In simple words we cultivate a culture of respecting individuals and not designations. This in turn motivates people to inspire each other and fosters a culture of cross learning.
My role at different dimensions as the company evolved
Within a growing organization it is important that you create an environment where every individual is able to contribute and feel a part of the success story. The biggest challenge therefore is to ensure that we mentor individuals to take ownnership of their actions.
As a leader how I make sure that I am connecting the right dots
Making mistakes are a part of the evolution. In fact if you are not making mistakes you probably are not doing enough. It is therefore important to build an environment where people ask for forgiveness and not permission. As an individual, the only way to make sure you are connecting the dots is to keep all communication channels open at all times, across functions, in a way that people feel encouraged to give feedback without the fear of consequence. Most importantly, you need to build trust within your co-workers. Without trust, its all very short term.
Risks involved in business and way of addressing
The biggest risk for any new business is the fear of the unknown. The only way to get over that fear is to go out and do what you can do best.Some of the other risks associated with the business include striking a balance between growth and profitability, defining and building a culture that is respected and sustainable, and, winning client confidence amongst established competition.While there is no prescribed way of overcoming these challenges, we did focus on a few things that we collectively felt would help us define what we stand for – Innovation was one of them. However, clichéd this may sound we did innovate in operations, pricing and even hiring. Nothing that we did was truly conventional. We set the norms for ourselves and that to date has made all the difference.
My thoughts related to entrepreneurship/ leadership and management
Leadership is nothing without followers. Do not under estimate the importance of followers.
The challenges and lessons learnt to get first customer
Pitch with sincerity. At a time when you do not have the backing of credentials, your first customer will only buy into your sincerity and your conviction. The biggest lesson learnt at that point was to not try and be what you are not. It was important for us to build a reputation for ourselves with every client, especially the first one and therefore its better to under commit and over deliver and not the other way around.
Advice for fellow entrepreneurs
Be what you are. Follow your GUT.
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