"Do Not Ignore Your Gut": Harsh Dhand, Founder & CEO, RentSher
Harsh Dhand, the founder and CEO of RentSher has had an illustrious career before setting up his tech start-up. Bengalurubased RentSher is a leading online product rental marketplace and aggregator for event service providers, electronics and medical equipment.
After completing his BTech and MTech in Computer Science from IIT Delhi, Harsh joined Philips as a researcher in 2005. After two years, he decided to pursue an MBA in technology innovation and strategy from Said Business School, University of Oxford. He returned to India to rejoin Philips in 2008, where he held the post of venture manager.
From Philips, Mr Dhand moved to IBM Research India as a senior business development manager. At IBM, he handled several multi-million-dollar business contracts in the Asia-pacific region along with IP licensing and new technology sales. Simultaneously, he took up a correspondence course in financial management from Cornell University, thanks to which he learnt more about making major capital investment decisions, identifying, measuring and incorporating capital budgeting decisions and more.
For around five years, he handled business development activities for new technology initiatives in both B2B and B2C spaces with hands-on experience in managing complete sales cycle from pre-sales, marketing, negotiations, contracting to execution and delivery of projects. However, the business leader with over 12 years of experience was keen to test new waters. After learning about a lack of organised, online, renting platforms in India and evaluating the underlying potential in the rental marketplace model, Mr Dhand, along with his Oxford University batchmates, built the next-gen rental platform, RentSher in October 2015.
Today, RentSher is present in two countries (India and the UAE) and six cities. Besides entrepreneurship, Mr Dhand is an avid Badminton player, who enjoys spending his leisure time playing the racquet sport with his friends in Bengaluru. In an engaging conversation with
Sharmila Chand, the RentSher chief explains his management principles and practices that have helped boost his business.
Your five management mantras
Treat each employee with respect: I believe that that is the key for people to work for you, more than salary and perks!
Trust is a two-way street: Unless
you start with the element of trust, you cannot expect other the party to trust, and business happens more on trust than on financial terms.
Each person is different: Categorisations and generalisation of people based on role, gender and nationality are a big mistake and should be avoided.
Delegate wherever possible: As they say, every bottleneck is on top of the bottle. But if you have to grow business, you need to delegate and trust your team to deliver.
Praise in public, criticise in private: A strong and powerful mantra, this is the key to motivation of employees. A game that helps your career I am a regular and avid Badminton and Cricket player. I believe that any sport basically helps you keep physically fit, but more importantly, those one to two hours of sporting activity keep your mind away from normal business distractions.
Turning point in your career life While I was always successful in corporate life under set rules and definitions, starting RentSher.com from scratch taught me several lessons from accounting to legal, regulatory to HR, technology development to customer interaction and more. It has been the most interesting, three-year learning and implementing experience.
Secret of your success I do not know how to define success. But for me, being happy and motivated everyday for what I do is personal success, and that is achieved by taking bold decisions related to work and personal lives. Happiness is also derived when you truly help someone. Thankfully, my current role as head of a company allows me to interact with and provide benefit to thousands of customers.
Your philosophy of work At work or any other sphere of life, what works long term is only intrinsic motivation, since external motivation is only short lived. Hence, personally and for my employees, I make sure
"It is easy to get swayed by quick wins, especially in a start-up-like environment, but that can backfire. This holds true for everything from technology development to business deals,
people management, marketing and more."
HARSH DHAND, Founder & CEO, RentSher
that there is a reason for the work that we do. All the people at RentSher are inspired to help customers fulfil their requirements, and that has helped us grow as a company.
A person you admire As a student and also during early years of my career, I was quite inspired by A P J Abdul Kalam (eminent scientist and former President of India) for his dedication and hard work. Even today, when I read his books, they indicate the selfless nature and slow but powerful impact he had on millions of people through his scientific contributions. Your favourite books Currently, I am reading Gita for Children by Rupa Pai with my seven-yearold son. It reminds us in a very simple but impactful manner the importance of doing Karma, even if it means choosing the longer path. Also, it teaches that it is right to question and spend time evaluating several options in front of you, but once chosen, stick to your choice. Your fitness regime Running after my kids every day, long walks with my wife when we can and intense Badminton games with friends thrice a week! Your five business mantras
Business can be run as a win-win situation: Especially over a long term, only those businesses survive which create value for all. We are enabling the same with RentSher Online Rentals today. Our value proposition around rentals for short-term events and electronics is beneficial for customers, corporate entities, suppliers and for us as a marketplace.
Patience: For the first two years in our start-up, we struggled against competition and some of our internal lack of clarity. But there was always some part of positive customer feedback and fulfilling their requests that kept us going. Today, we are well positioned as a unique supplier for short term and event rental across several geographies.
Customers' delight helps grow business: We have always placed customers' delight as our first priority and have helped over 100 start-ups and SMEs with their requirements around laptops, desktops, projectors and more rental requirement. That has helped us grow our business significantly.
Do not ignore your gut: Basically, the sub-conscious mind is more powerful than the conscious mind, as it
silently processes more data. Though rationally, it might not compete, it does sense the right versus wrong better.
Decide judiciously between quick
wins and long-term gains: It is easy to get swayed by quick wins, especially in a start-up-like environment, but that can backfire. This holds true for everything from technology development to business deals, people management, marketing and more.
Your parting shot Cherish and enjoy each success that comes your way, as it helps in motivation for the long term.