“Traditional organisations use ‘startups’ as proxy to build an agile organisation,” Rahul Garg, founder, Moglix

After working with early startups and some big organisations in different markets for 15 years, Rahul Garg, founder, Moglix—an e-commerce company which caters to the B2B market in India —shares some of the important elements of the Moglix culture with HRKatha.

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Moglix offers a variety of products from safety and electronics to office tools. The Company aims to make an impact worth $100 billion dollars on the Indian economy, by 2025. Moglix is also one of the fastest- growing B2B e-commerce platforms in India. An IIT alumnus, Garg reveals some of the great lessons he learnt as an employee before turning into an entrepreneur—lessons that also helped him become a successful businessman.

What do you think you are better positioned as – a tech wizard, a great manager or an entrepreneur?

From my past experiences as an employee, I have learned to conceive and execute plans and strategies. But now I see myself more as an entrepreneur. For a long time I have been primarily playing the role of an entrepreneur. Though there are a lot of things that I have learned from my past experiences, as an entrepreneur I am more focused on problem solving and operations.

Many of your fellow IITians turned entrepreneurs immediately after college. You, on the contrary, spent a few years working before becoming an entrepreneur. What was the learning for you as an employee and how has it helped?

You see, times are different today than they were when I passed out in 2001. There were less or limited opportunities for me to do business at that time. It was quite a challenge to start a business of your own back then. When I first started working, I was serving a company which was very young — just about six months old. Therefore, it felt almost like a startup.

From the very beginning I was able to experience the culture of a startup. I was able to understand the nuances of business in a startup and what it takes to overcome the challenges faced. After that, I got the opportunity to work with bigger organisations, such as Google. There, I worked in multiple roles and in different geographical areas, which helped me understand the market in various other nations as well.

“As an entrepreneur, I learned a couple of important things, such as strategic hiring for the business, building an appropriate culture and retaining employees”

Do you think you understand your people or your team better because you worked for someone else?

No, in my case it was a bit different. I think I was able to understand the people more closely when I became an entrepreneur. If you talk about other experiences in business, I was able to learn a lot from working as an employee under someone. But as an entrepreneur, I learned a couple of important things, such as correct / strategic hiring for the business, building an appropriate culture and retaining employees.

Many of the Indian SMEs seem to be stuck inside their own world after having achieved success. How can they overcome this?

In India, the SME market has great potential, as the SMEs have been largely contributing to the growing economy of the country. Not only is their presence significant to many industries, such as manufacturing or e-commerce, but they also play a big role in improving the economic scenario in various regions. I believe that they truly have the potential to be the engine of growth in India. In my opinion, they have been living in silos for a very long period of time, which is their biggest problem. To achieve success, they need to come out of silos, that is, they need to leverage technology. They should look to automate various processes in business, from operations to procurement. Technology has been disrupting businesses lately and if they don’t leverage it, they may cease to exist.

Was Moglix the idea that turned you into an entrepreneur or was it that you wanted to become an entrepreneur and were shopping for ideas, when Moglix happened?

We started Moglix in 2015, and from the start of my career I was very passionate about the B2B space in India. Apart from that, I have worked in the B2B space while I was working in other companies, such as Google, in product management, sales and technology. Before starting Moglix, I just had to narrow it down a bit more and one of the most important things here was to get out of my employee version / mode as fast as I could. I always knew that there will be a change in the B2B market, and hence, decided to start Moglix.

“Indian SMEs may cease to exist if they do not leverage technology in today’s time”

When you were building Moglix, how did you want to shape it up as a company? How will you define the over-arching culture of Moglix? Have you managed to build the organisation of your dreams?

You can only achieve a desired organisation when you keep working towards it, and remember that organisational goals and culture are forever evolving, and organisations are continuously growing.

Now if we talk about the culture of Moglix, we can break it down into three elements. The first is the culture of continuous innovation. We at Moglix always like to explore new things in various forms —from new business processes to technology to enhanced customer experience. We keep challenging ourselves at all times to grow infinitely.

The second important element is the strong culture of execution. At Moglix, we believe perfection is everything and we strive to achieve perfection in each and every aspect of business through our efforts.

Third, we are creating a culture where people are working towards a larger purpose. After all, people are the most important aspect of any business. If they believe that whatever they do has some significance in their life as well, you will see enormous results.

Do you think ‘idea’ is more important than ‘formal education’? Is this why we are seeing more successful entrepreneurs being born across sectors in India?

This is a bit out of context. We should not mix things. As an individual, you acquire formal education in colleges and institutes to gain skills which can provide success and help you execute plans. On the other hand, you need an idea to start anything big. I think ‘Idea’ and ‘education’ go hand in hand. You need education to acquire the relevant skills needed to execute your plans or ideas. And of course you will need to have a unique idea to further proceed in life.

“Ninety to 95 per cent of companies fail to understand the real essence of a start-up culture. To achieve such a culture, you need to go after problem solving, innovation and technology”

Nowadays, we see large traditional companies feeling the need to adopt the startup work culture. Do you think ‘startup’ is more than a term? Is it actually associated with a different style of working and functioning? Does a start-up culture have the ability to change mindsets?

This is a very interesting question. To be very frank and honest, all the large traditional organisations which I have seen very closely in my life, use the phrase ‘adopting a start-up culture’ as a proxy for achieving agility in their culture. Ninety to 95 per cent of companies fail to understand the real essence of a start-up culture. To achieve such a culture, you need to go after problem solving, innovation and technology.

The problems in large traditional companies lie at the top. The senior and middle managements fail to understand the real essence and meaning of a start-up culture. They are still running their businesses the same old way, without any innovation and by adopting new ways of business.

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