"Happy Teams Create Happy Customers":
AKSHAY BHATIA, Founder and CEO, Mutterfly
Akshay Bhatia, Founder and CEO, Mutterfly
Entrepreneurship runs in Akshay Bhatia's blood. The founder and CEO of Mutterfly, a rental marketplace for premium products, has always been inspired by his father, who also incidentally happened to be a successful entrepreneur.
The Mutterfly chief admits that his father is very unlike the present-day startup founders, who mostly look for external funding to expand their businesses. But Mr Bhatia points out that his father has always been stressing on making every unit of a business successful and profitable and thus self-sustainable for growth and expansion.
Mr Bhatia gave up his cushy job as a Morgan Stanley banker in London to return to the country and begin his entrepreneurial journey. He began building a food-sharing network and in the process, discovered a larger market that allowed people to experience aspirational products without buying them. That was how Mutterfly was born. The Mumbaibased rental marketplace for premium products offers an easy access to a luxurious lifestyle.
At Mutterfly, Mr Bhatia leads the strategy and products and has been instrumental in scaling the company to over 70,000 users. The investment management certificate-holder has been a guest speaker at multiple Agrade universities and B-schools, like H R College, MISB and the so on. He has completed his BSc (Hons) in ac- counting and finance from Warwick Business School.
Mr Bhatia swears by physical fitness. Apart from playing squash or football at least once a week, the Mutterfly CEO has built strong stamina by running long distance once a week. Like his penchant for running long distance, Mr Bhatia believes in running his business with a long-term perspective by keeping his employees and clients equally happy.
The Mutterfly chief is not the one to discourage his employees. He rightly believes that empowering employees and getting them to deliver on challenging tasks with the right guidance can bring confidence in them. This way, the employees will be happy to own up the company where they are working and help sustain and expand business. He also emphasises the importance of keeping employees happy. This way, happy employees can facilitate in keeping customers happy and contended.
With a plenty advice from his father and sheer rich experience, Mr Bhatia has stuck to a few business management principles to transform Mutterfly into a robust startup.
Sharmila Chand meets and chats up with the Mutterfly chief and returns surprises with his simple yet highly effective management principles and practices.
A game that helps your career
Yes, I play squash or football at least once a week. As a startup, you go through multiple highs and lows during the day, and over time, these can be emotionally exhausting. Sports definitely help me clear my thoughts and help me approach the next day with a renewed energy and fresh perspective.
Turning point in your career life
Leaving Morgan Stanley London and moving back to India to be an entrepreneur was a turning point. It was one of the biggest decisions I have made, and looking back, I am glad that I took the leap of faith.
Secret of your success
It may sound ironical, but failures and bootstrapping have been a secret key in my journey so far. Entrepreneurship is filled with making mistakes and the
"An expert in any field was once a beginner. Learning a new process, function or business might often seem like a daunting task, but as long as you have the confidence and perseverance, you will become experienced with time."
quicker you realise what you should not do, the quicker you head towards the right direction. When you are bootstrapped and can't use money to solve problems, you end up coming up with creative solutions and discovering hidden talents.
Your philosophy of work
I believe that attitude precedes aptitude, and an expert in any field was once a beginner. I am a strong advocator of customer feedback and believe that customers are co-creators for growing companies.
Any particular person you admire
I have been lucky to find inspiration in my family. My dad is an entrepreneur himself, and over the years, I have seen him grow his business from a home office to a company of 100+ employees. While it's easy to get lured with funding to scale business, dad has always challenged my thought process and made me focus on unit economics to build a sustainable business.
Your favourite books
Hooked by Nir Eyal and Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari - both these books give some amazing insights into human behaviour and emotions and support it with some concrete examples of how leading companies use psychological traits to hook users. This has helped me understand people better and aided the decision-making process while running my business.
Your fitness regime
When it comes to fitness, I mix cardio with high-intensity training. I run once approximately 7 km a week, coupled with squash or football
Your five business mantras
An expert in any field was once a beginner: Learning a new process, function or business might often seem like a daunting task, but as long as you have the confidence and perseverance, you will become experienced with time.
Happy teams create happy customers: Companies are usually focused on clients first. While the customer might be the king, he will not be treated like one if your employees are not motivated. Keeping your team members happy will ensure that they take care of your customers.
Praise in public, criticise in private: This builds trust and will create a strong bond between your management and employees. Some managers criticise in public as a way to set benchmarks for all employees. However, this often has negative effects on other employees who start fearing that it may be them being shamed the next time. This causes them to be risk averse and unproductive.
No one knows your business better than you: While it's great to receive advice from seniors, always remember that the business was built by you, and the DNA of the business has to reflect your vision.
If you don't ask, the answer is always no: This is one of the simplest yet effective mantras. If you are ever hesitant to ask or fear a negative outcome, the response will always be negative. If you start asking more, it will inspire confidence, and you will be surprised with the gains along the way.