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    Atul Dhakappa, Founder and CEO of Xenia Consulting, Discusses His Entrepreneurial Journey

    In business, two things are very important – Stay relevant and close to your core competencies – do not venture into unrelated areas to create undue risk.’’ Atul Dhakappa advises young and budding entrepreneurs.

    Atul Dhakappa is the founder and CEO of Xenia Consulting, which helps small and mid-sized companies drive their business growth. Most small and mid-sized businesses do not have the required budgets and resources to invest in top-notch full-time resources and are often lost in business growth. Most entrepreneurs convert themselves to salespeople and lead all the sales pursuits to drive growth. It blocks their growth and increases their stress levels.   To solve this issue, Xenia Consulting provides a scalable and proven marketing system to them to ensure its growth.

    In this interview with Business Upside, Atul Dhakappa discusses his entrepreneurship journey with Xenia Consulting. He also shares his mission, job role, methodology, lessons he learned, business strategies, recruitments, his most satisfying moment, accomplishments, management style, and next goals, etc.

    Edited Excerpts from the Interview

    Business Upside [BU]: What was your mission at the outset?

    Atul Dhakappa [AD]: The mission of Xenia Consulting is to help small and mid-sized companies consistently drive business growth. Small and mid-sized businesses do not have the resources and the budgets to invest in top-notch full-time resources and are often lost in terms of what needs to be done to support their growth plan. Most entrepreneurs convert themselves to salespeople and lead all the sales pursuits to drive growth. This is counterproductive for the consistent growth of the organization and increases stress levels. Suppose they can access a proper marketing system that systematically engages with the target audience, influences them, and converts them to prospects ready to do business with them. In that case, they will be far better placed. My mission is to provide this scalable and proven marketing system to them.

    [BU]: What is unique about your job role?

    [AD]: I have to constantly manage two sides, one on the client side and the other on the employee side. On the client side, I need to make sure that we are setting the right expectations and making sure that they are committing to the plan. I need to motivate them to keep improving performance and learn and master new skills on the employee side.

    [BU]: How would your co-workers describe you?

    [AD]: Always reachable and ever helping. At the same time, a person who will not tolerate nonsense. I believe in giving 100% to everything that we commit to.

    [BU]: What have been some of the most important lessons that have influenced how you work?

    [AD]: Never take your clients for granted. We have worked with clients who have stayed with us for several years, sometimes even 7-8 years. I always communicate with my teams and tell them they are clients first and friends later. We have to keep delivering the value for which they are engaging with us, and if that happens, they will continue to be our best friends for us.

    The same is true on the employees’ side as well. Never take any employee for granted. And treat them with due respect and be humane. Understand that personal problems hamper productivity, and in times of difficulties, you need to do everything you can to help your employees.

    [BU]: What do you look for in an employee? 

    [AD]: 2 significant ingredients, energy, and enthusiasm. You may have all the skills and experience, but you will pull down the team if you lack these two ingredients. And if you have no skills but are open to learning, these two ingredients will always make you want in the team. The effervescence and the energy in employees are always contagious and positively affect employees around you. Even if you have a few highly energetic and enthusiastic employees, who will take the initiative, go the extra mile, you will be blessed as an organization

    [BU]: If you had one piece of advice for someone just starting, what would it be?

    [AD]: In business, two things are very important – Stay relevant and close to your core competencies – do not venture into unrelated areas to create undue risk. On the financial side, always remember that current cash flows are more important than future cash flows. Do not close business purely on a future promise. You need to run the ship today, and for that, your current cashflows are extremely important.

    [BU]: What were the biggest roadblocks or challenges you had when you first started in the profession, and how did you overcome them?

    [AD]: Getting customers to trust us with their business was initially challenging, but having delivered great value to several customers over the years, this does not worry most customers now. Sometimes customers worry about whether we will be able to scale to meet their requirements. We have been able to do that successfully over the last 2-to 3 years with both internal resources and capable partners in several service areas.

    [BU]: What has been your most satisfying moment in business? 

    [AD]: To drive consistent business growth for clients is very satisfying. This is even truer, when we realize that before they engaged with us, they were on a flat growth trajectory for several years, and they were lost in how to drive business growth. A systematic marketing plan helped them turn the corner in terms of their growth, and now they are on a steady growth trajectory with the entire main marketing parameters well taken care of. This is very satisfying.

    [BU]: How did you plan to provide better results in a crisis?

    [AD]: 2020 was when we went through quite a crisis. Several of our clients lost their clients and scaled down their business with us. At such a wrong time, we did not fire anyone either because that person would not have got any other job. It was a crisis, and we had to survive. It was great that several employees contributed to the solution. Some seniors also volunteered for pay cuts that helped us stay afloat.

    [BU]: Describe your management style. 

    [AD]: If things are working fine, then at a very minimalistic level, just making sure that we are doing everything right for the client and the important parameters are being taken care of.

    If things are not working well, I tend to deep dive and work with the team solve their problems. That becomes more of a hands-on approach.

    [BU]: What kind of knowledge have you experienced in this career field? 

    [AD]: Digital marketing has been evolving over the past few years. Several elements of digital marketing are now evolving into specialized areas, and it needs significant commitment to master each area. Today, we have people who have specialized in SEO tactics, social media strategyemail marketing strategy, content plans, website engagement plans, etc.. Each of these areas is growing steadily, and being master in each area. You need a significant commitment

    [BU]: What is the next goal you wish to accomplish?

    [AD]: We have put together a marketing system and deployed it for use in client engagements. However, we do feel that in many instances, the experience level of the team lead can play a pivotal role in the success or failure of the project. We want to bring in more detailed checklists, and templates into the engagement, so that the whole thing becomes more process-centric and less people-centric. We would like to improve our success ratios by enhancing our processes and systems and thereby also upskilling the team leads and team members.

    More Information

    1. Company URL- www.xenia-consulting.com
    2. My LinkedIn URL- https://www.linkedin.com/in/atuldhakappa/
    3. My Designation – Founder & CEO

    Also Read: Vaibhav Jain, Founder, and Director of Tynimo, Talks about His Entrepreneurial Journey

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    Josie Patra
    Josie Patra
    Josie Patra is a veteran writer with 21 years of experience. She comes with multiple degrees in literature, computer applications, multimedia design, and management. She delves into a plethora of niches and offers expert guidance on finances, stock market, budgeting, marketing strategies, and such other domains. Josie has also authored books on management, productivity, and digital marketing strategies.

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