15 years, 15 lessons: Our Journey
“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.”
― Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin
It’s hard to imagine that STARS Pvt Ltd was started fifteen years ago. No one can fully prepare you for starting a business from the ground up. It is a journey, an adventure and a road towards personal growth like nothing you’ll ever experience. It would be a huge lie to claim that the path is full of rainbows and roses. We cried, we laughed, we scratched our heads, we celebrated, we questioned why we put our self through all this hardship, but at the end of the day we wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world.
STARS Pvt Ltd was initiated because the founder recognized a huge gap in the supply of skilled work in a fast growing market that required dedicated employees to gather into passionate teams; working towards providing unmatched quality to the client. Along this fifteen years and-counting journey, we, at STARS Pvt Ltd, have learned fifteen major lessons (and many others on a daily basis) that we believe can apply to everyone in their lives:
Lesson No. 1: The best way to quiet the doubters is with success!
It’s important to put negative experiences in the rear view mirror and move ahead in a positive manner toward your vision. The first devastating experience faced by STARS Pvt Ltd came from someone on the team. Someone that the company valued and trusted. Unfortunately, this employee’s own agenda trumped the company’s. The company was left feeling dismayed and truly shocked as no one really saw it coming. However, in the end of the day, it taught us a valuable lesson that not everyone’s agenda is in line with that of the company. It allowed the company to recognize that one dreadful experience does not outweigh the numerous positives that are and can be achieved.
“Don’t let the fear of losing trump the excitement of victory.”
– Gary V.
In this tough time, the company decided to fight through and continue to excel in their work. STARS Pvt Ltd made an oath to protect the company from any mode of negativity. Furthermore, the company decided to mold each negative that comes their way and use it as a furnace to burn the fire of motivation, hard work and inspiration. This way the company focused on one ultimate goal no matter the changes that the company faces, and that is growth and success.
Lesson No. 2: Team work is the key to success
STARS Pvt Ltd learned very early on in the company that there is no company without the team. The company has always been centered on their employees and providing a healthy environment to their people. In the early stages, the company faced a lot of hurdles when an employee did not fit in with the company environment. This would create concerns inside the company and ultimately slow down the work. Which is why the company is so invested in creating a great team. STARS Pvt Ltd believes that if you have a team that is united, the work handles itself.
“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”
– Michael Jordan
Lesson No. 3: Ultimately, you have to learn to say “NO”
There is an infamous saying by Toni Morrison that goes like, “If you want to fly, you have to give up the stuff that weighs you down”. Over the years, STARS Pvt Ltd learned this fact way too well. There are times when we have to make a decision that might upset others. However, we must realize that we are not responsible for someone else’s happiness especially when it comes at the cost of quality work. Initially, a lot of people suggested to STARS Pvt Ltd to take up every new client that approached them. These suggestions originated as people believed that a new company cannot be picky and needs to sign every client that they can get. However, STARS Pvt Ltd had a different ideology all together. As a company, the goal was always to put quality above numbers. The company always ensured that they were a good fit for the client’s business plan before signing them up. There was a constant pressure to sign up every task, every project and every company in order to please everyone who asked. Soon, the company recognized that ultimately you have to learn to simply say “no” and that’s okay.
“Whenever you say yes to others, makes sure you are not saying no to yourself”
Whenever a person say yes to their priorities, they must realize that they are ultimately saying no to something else. These golden words have stuck with the company as the team learned to only sign up clients whose mission the company truly believes in. With this approach, the team gets to work with clients that they want to see prosper and assist the client in reaching their ultimate goals. It is due to these practices that STARS Pvt Ltd has been able to build deeper relationships with their customers; these strategies assist in longer client retention which then translates into more returning clients and referral business.
Lesson No. 4: Learning to say “YES”
A very valuable lesson that the company learned early on in its progress was that if you want new results you have to try new things. As a new rising company, STARS Pvt Ltd understood that they must not fear the experience of the unknown. Fear can become a hurdle for any company, old or new, and it can hinder the growth and jolt the company’s progress towards success. Although, saying yes does not always yield fruitful results, it does however, allow the team to learn from the experience and grow each time.
By saying yes when it seems to be the most difficult thing to do, STARS Pvt Ltd has learned to expand themselves and take on new work and new projects that they never could have imagined to be possible. Due to this passion for excellence, the company has always enjoyed the adrenaline rush that they experience when they are faced with a new challenge. It allows the team to think outside the box and come up with innovative ideas. This has helped the team members to learn how to suppress the voice in their heads that whispers that they cannot do it; that they are not well equip to take on a big client or a big challenging project. The team knows not to cave in to these doubts and breaks free from the shackles of double mindedness.
Eventually, the company along with its team members, learned to silence the haters and naysayers, always reminding each other about the fact that the further we are able to push our self, the further we would be on the road to success. Simon Sinek said an insightful thing that one should learn their “why”. A company should build a team around this why; build a team of people smarter than is passionate about the work being done and excels in the said domain. Only such a team will be able to say yes to the clients ideas no matter how tough or bizarre they might sound. Trust the team to produce quality work that resonates with the company and let the team be one solid unit.
One of the first ways to get out of your comfort zone is to change all the processes in the company that do not seem to be working out. If the company is too comfortable in their set ways, there is a high probability that the company is not growing.
Lesson No. 5: Quality is more important than quantity
When STARS Pvt Ltd was a comparatively new company, it felt like all of our competitors were attaining a lot more clients than we were. There was a point in time when this thought made us feel just a tad bit uncomfortable as the thought did cross our mind that maybe we are not doing something right.
However, soon we realized that all of these companies were focused on getting work done, one way or another, and we were more focused on the experience of the client. It is safe to say that as time passed by, we saw a paradigm shift occur in our favor. Clients were more satisfied with our mode of work and we started to receive work from all directions. The company was being referred by previous clients and the work being provided by the company spoke volumes; allowing the company to establish a positive image from the very first day. That is when STARS Pvt Ltd learned that quality is always more valuable than quantity work.
Lesson No. 6: The dream is free, the hustle is sold separately.
Almost every single person that we encounter in our lives has a dream of greatness or a plan that could generate great amounts of capital, however, not everyone is successful nor is everyone rich! This is one lesson that the company learned really early on in their walk towards success. The lesson is simple; anyone can dream a dream but not everyone is passionate enough to convert this dream into a reality. A company must never stop learning, growing, working and absorbing everything that is around them. A team that begins to waste time, slowly moves towards deterioration and starts to become comfortable in the situation that they are currently in. It is necessary for the company and the team to stay motivated and driven to be able to make every day extraordinary. STAR Pvt Ltd believes that if you face criticism from people who doubt you, prove them wrong with the results that you produce.
Lesson No. 7: Keep communication open
STARS Pvt Ltd has always focused on the environment of the company. With fifteen years of experience, the company has very well learned that communication always needs to be open. If the company employees are unable to communicate with each other and the line managers without hesitation, it gives rise to overthinking and feelings of negativity.
“The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place”
-George Bernard Shaw
From the very initial stages, the company has focused on ensuring that everyone feels heard. There are multiple activities and outlets available for the team members to voice their views. This is due to the fact that the company believes that communication can solve a lot of issues from becoming problems.
Lesson No. 8: Understand the power of relationships
STARS Pvt Ltd recognizes the importance of relationships. The relationships that a company builds with the clients will always be more powerful than marketing. It is important to understand that meeting people is not the same thing as forming a network. As a company it is essential that you spend quality time trying to decipher each and every client’s requirements and allow them to connect with your company by understanding where they see their business heading. This allows your clients to be more satisfied, be more prone to recommend you, and lastly, it bring the company a great sense of achievement to be able to share mutual success.
Lesson No. 9: Accept and grow from mistakes
STARS Pvt Ltd learned early on that mistakes are part of the process. You cannot expect to have growth without experiencing some form of short comings in the way. Which is why STARS Pvt Ltd never lets their mistakes get to their heart. Instead, the company prefers to embrace their mistakes as tools to learn from.
“When you find your path, you must not be afraid. You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat, and despair are the tools God uses to show us the way.”
― Paulo Coelho, Brida
Mistakes help a company and an individual employee understand where they went wrong the first time and allows them to avoid these mistakes in the future. This helps the company slowly move towards smoother functioning and assists the company in making better informed decisions by taking more productive routes. STARS Pvt Ltd believes that mistakes are actually blessings in disguise as they correct the company and help the employees be more cautious of how things can go wrong and think of potential loop holes before hand.
Lesson No. 10: Everyone needs to be in-sync with the vision
Over time STARS Pvt Ltd realized that a lot of the employees come and go in an organization. That is when the company started to focus on the ones that stick around to better understand what makes them stay. After talking to the dedicated employees the company realized that these individuals believe deeply in the vision of the company and they are in-sync with what the company stands for.
No company is completely unique. All the benefits offered in a company can be found in one company or another. So why should an employee stay? At STARS Pvt Ltd, the employees tend to stick around because they recognize the value that the company wishes to provide not only to its employees but also to the nation as a whole. This urges the employees to stick around and do better, be more productive and produce better outcomes to enable this vision to turn into reality.
Lesson No. 11: Pressures aren’t there to crush you but to polish you
The challenge driven mindset in STARS Pvt Ltd was not built over night; it was created slowly as time passed away and the company went through a few difficult situations. These testing times helped the employees be armored with a new found confidence in their own abilities. Every time a new challenge would uproot, the employees would not be flustered, rather they would be exhilarated at the opportunity to test their limits once again.
“When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure”.
This also gives rise to a positive competition as the employees challenge each other to see who can do the work, better and quicker. The employees enjoy these healthy challenges while growing as individuals. At STARS Pvt Ltd, we understand that pressures are necessary to polish the employee into their full potential.
Lesson No. 12: It’s better to be late
STARS Pvt Ltd has a repute for always providing work on time to their clients. However, the company strongly believes that if the decision has to be made between mediocre work on time or quality work delivered late, the company would always choose late work.
It is difficult to navigate such a lesson in a company as ultimately, the company does not want to deliver work post the time line. The episteme of this lesson does not grow from delivering work late, rather it takes root in the one lesson that is very precious to STAR Pvt Ltd; never deliver mediocre quality of work to a client. This lesson explains how any action, as long as it is morally correct, is understandable to achieve unmatched quality. To cater to both things, the company ensures that it bites only as much as it can chew. STARS Pvt Ltd never over books and only takes up an amount of work load that they can do justice to, allowing the company to always provide quality work on time.
Lesson No. 13: Display your work
An important lesson learned by the company is the need to display the company’s work. Although most of the clients do not prefer to have their work shared and STARS Pvt Ltd respects their wishes, however, when the clients are comfortable with their work being displayed, the company utilizes this opportunity to show potential clients the standard of work being produced by the company which helps to instill a sense of trust in potential clients.
New clients prefer to see work that the company has done. This allows them to see whether the company is providing the standard of work that the client is looking for and whether the aesthetics of both the company and the individual match. Displaying work is a great way to market trust in the work quality and excellence to potential clients.
Lesson No. 14: Know your worth
STARS Pvt Ltd has always done its best to provide work that would speak to the client’s vision. The company’s previous clients are always happy to testify to these facts. However, the company understands that being able to provide such quality of work comes at a price. The company does not believe in ripping off clients but on the flip side, the company also has very clear and elaborate budget breakdowns. The company understands the worth of their work and prefers to work with clients who can respect their worth just as they respect the clients work.
Lesson No. 15: Play a part in the society
STARS Pvt Ltd understands that we need to think beyond the walls of an office and work towards greater good. The company learned a very strong lesson that the real satisfaction comes from working towards a bigger vision and playing a strong role in the society. Returning to the world ultimately benefits the company as well due to a higher contentment amongst the employees.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
During these fifteen years we’ve cried, we’ve celebrated, there have been times we ended up questioning why we’d allowed ourselves to be put through this but at the end of the day we wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Our business journey is part of our DNA now. We adore each morning more than the last and we can’t wait to see what our next fifteen years will bring.