Serial entrepreneur shares his secret sauce for managing multiple businesses

Serial entrepreneur shares his secret sauce for managing multiple businesses

SME Inspirations

GlobalLinker Staff

GlobalLinker Staff

18 May 2021, 11:55 — 10 min read

Enterprise: Array Innovative Services Pvt Ltd
CEO-Founder: Arnab Ray
Industry: Business Services & Consultancy
Year it was founded: 2008
Location: Kolkata

A year shy of 40, and Arnab Ray has already launched more than 6 businesses, his latest being Xprez.io that creates cutting edge presentations. Entrepreneurship has always been Arnab’s calling. After completing his engineering and MBA, he worked for several global companies like American Express, TCS, Infosys, Wachovia and ICICI Prudential, but then was eager to branch out on his own and give concrete shape to his ideas.

Each of his businesses offers a unique solution, be it creating business plans, visual communication, a platform for startups or a social network for alumni to connect.

Apart from work, Arnab is a music enthusiast, avid traveler, competitive gamer and foodie, but overriding it all is his thirst for knowledge and craze for startups!

GlobalLinker (GL) spoke to the serial entrepreneur and he tells us about his multiple business ventures and what drives him to excel.

 

GL: What was your motivation to be an entrepreneur?

AR: Personally, I was always inclined towards the world of entrepreneurship. Coming from a middle-class Bengali family the word entrepreneurship wasn’t really popular in our society. But my upbringing was non-traditional, especially as my parents were highly educated and working professionals. The support system, learnings and values given by my parents gave me the audacity to have a dream and pursue it.

I did work for some of the largest global brands pre and post my MBA for SPJIMR, Mumbai which includes Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys Consulting, American Express, Wachovia and ICICI Group. But I could never fit into the corporate groove. I knew I could do more with my time and talent which led me to start Array in the year 2008.

GL: Tell us more about your businesses.

AR: Array Innovative Services is an innovative company which promotes, invests and implements innovative products and services. Some of the ventures under Array Innovative Services are:

BPlan Experts - Startup consulting firm that helps startups with business planning, consulting support, and funding assistance. Have helped over 1800+ startups till now across 80 countries.

PresentationGFX  - A new age visual communications firm that works with some of the largest global brands, helping them with presentations, infographics, digital design, web, and digital initiatives. Over 26k+ projects and over 1600 clients. Some of the clients have engaged with - Microsoft, Samsung, Oracle, Airbus, PnG, Pfizer, EY, Siemens, DHL, Cigna, Airtel, Reckitt Benckiser, Maruti Suzuki, HT, Reliance, Schnieder, LnT, Dominos, BNP Paribas, TATA, ICICI, etc.

Crazy About Startups - One of India's leading startup platforms created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. 360,000+ Monthly Visits, 1.8 million monthly pageviews, Mobile - 106k+ Downloads, 4.3 average ratings, Top 5 Startups App on Google Play store.

Vezume – An AI enabled tool to create stunning visual resumes to showcase one's potential beyond a regular CV. Array Consultancy Services (SME Consulting) - Business Transformation, Change Management, Automation, Cost Reduction, Process Re-engineering, IT Strategy focused on SMEs in India, Bangladesh, and the Middle East.

Alumnyx.com - A social platform for Alumni / students to connect.

Xprez.io - Platform and device-independent presentations solutions.

GL: Could you list 3 things that have been instrumental to your success?

AR: Relentlessness - I do not give up. In fact, I like challenges, bigger they are, stronger we get. I don’t like stagnancy, if we have settled one venture, let’s get on to the new one.

Challenging the status quo - "Experience is often overhyped, what might work today might not work tomorrow" - Og Mandino.
We always look at any industry, venture, offering from a new perspective.

 

Keep yourself updated, knowledgeable and well informed. Keep an eye across your competition and any new entrants. Never ever be complacent.

 

Hunger for knowledge - I love acquiring knowledge, about anything and everything. Right from psychology to python programming, digital marketing to art history. A varied field of knowledge can be brought together to form a new perspective. "We can only connect the dots looking backwards. So, we have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future." - Steve Jobs

GL: How has COVID been a gamechanger for you? What steps did you take to stay relevant?

AR: From a business perspective, we switched to working from home a month before the lockdown. Our team is our asset and their safety and wellbeing meant everything for us. We provided people with computing devices, invested in software and introduced delivery processes to ensure seamless operations. We were prepared.

In terms of business, since we have a diversified portfolio, we were able to sail through without much concerns. We did hold on to our research and development for a year to ensure the cash reserves. While demand from some of the industries went down, some went up and overall it was balanced. We are fortunate to be a part of an industry which didn't get affected by Covid as much as other industries. But we are not sure how the future will behave but we have taken adequate measures to be prepared.

GL: How has GlobalLinker helped your business?

AR: GlobalLinker is a great tool especially in today's scenario. Creating a platform for knowledge exchange, network and much more. I have contributed some articles on the platform primarily to help people through our thought leadership.

GL: What is the next big thing on your business agenda?

AR: We have spent 13 years to create the foundation with an excellent team, amazing clientele and industry reputation. Now we want to take a leap forward by investing in innovative projects and taking on audacious challenges. We never raised funding, we never had to. We consciously chose creative freedom over funding fame. Now we are in a position to fund our own projects so that's the focus for the next decade.

GL: What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?

AR: Personal Advice

  • Do not go into a comparison mode with others. Be competitive, understand how your competitors are doing it, make it better but do not put additional pressure by comparing your journey to others.

  • Learn to love and nurture your non entrepreneurial self. There is more to life than just work. It is essential to maintain your sanity and protect yourself from being burnt out. Give yourself some time, spend time with family and friends, take vacations, follow a hobby and do not feel guilty about it.

  • Measure your success and achievements from the perspective of your clients and customers only. Rest all is just for vanity.

  • Nothing is bigger than the company or the brand. Company comes first. Even before you or anybody else in the company. It is the flag under which we fight the war, it is brand we dedicate our lives to.

 

Professional Advice

  •  Keep yourself updated, knowledgeable and well informed. Keep an eye across your competition and any new entrants. Never ever be complacent.

  • Plan, plan, plan. Plan everything, document your plans. Even if it doesn’t work out. Modify your plan. Budget for everything, understand expected returns. Keep an eye on all the business metrics. Entrepreneurship is not a gamble if you play it properly.

  • Focus on cash flow. Cash is king. You can only get cash through profits or funding. Ensure your pipelines are maintained. Keep a watch on the burn rate. Be in position to predict and prevent before any issues happen.

  • Treat each and every customer as your first and last. But maintain your brand value. Do not let anyone bully you to undervalue your work or your brand. Be professional, deliver what you promise.

GL: We would love to know the person behind the entrepreneur.

  • Every day you wake up at - Between 7 AM to 9 AM (in case late night works).

  • The first thing you do when you wake up? - Look at my calendar, plan for the day and read something positive.

  • Three things you do to unwind - Playing music, gaming, reading.

  • When you face a big challenge, you - Love it. Challenges are like pulse, heart beats. I would not feel alive if the beat stops.

  • The best piece of advice you've ever been given - Entrepreneurship is not a statement of fashion, it is a statement of passion.

  • The one book everyone should read - Fiction - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Non-Fiction - The Fifth Discipline

 

Also read: Hyderabad-based woman entrepreneur curates sustainable alternatives to daily use products

 

Network with Arnab Ray by clicking on the 'Connect' button on his GlobalLinker profile.

Disclaimer: This article is based solely on the inputs shared by the featured member. GlobalLinker does not necessarily endorse the views, opinions & facts stated by the member.

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