“My military career has been full of action and plenty of satisfaction. Honestly, I did things as per a plan after leaving Indian Army. I went back full time to our Business venture. My partners and I chalked out a roadmap for our growth profile and set timelines : We bought ourselves new machines, developed our distributor network and Franchises. We thought Strategic but worked Operational. We all were multi-tasking and dealing with the lowest and the highest in the hierarchies”. Says Col (Retd.) Amit Mathur CFO and Director, Woodbuzz , which is a complete design and build solution company manufacturing modular-home and office furniture, kitchens, wardrobes and a range of essential furniture under their EQuad series of #wfh furniture.
Born in Kolkata, alumnus of schools like Walsingham and Cathedral Mumbai, Scindia School Gwalior and DPS, Ghaziabad , Col Amit was always a bright scholar. When the time came to make choices that define life, National Defence Academy(NDA), IMA (Indian Military Academy) and CME ( College of Military Engineering) shaped him into a thoroughbred soldier and an Engineer.
“Being result oriented, self-disciplined, integrity and righteousness were what I was enthused by.I was happy that I would be in such a sphere wherein a value system will always be working in my favour. Looking back, none less than the Corps of Engineers , The Bengal Sappers , could have provided me with a rich balance of exposure to Combat Engineering, Construction, Property Management as well as strategic planning”, Col Mathur contemplates about his life in the Indian Army.
The motto of the Sappers being “Sarvatra” very aptly puts in the context – The last bastion when you feel there is none. And I used this ambiguity to the hilt. Flexed my mind and skills in getting things done. My work ranged from construction of the Border Fencing, rescue operations in a gruesome train accident, humanitarian assistance in Flood operations to negotiating in an International environment as part of a UN Peace Keeping Force. I took decisions without fear or remorse with careful detail and knowledge. Army needs to be run by conviction brought about by open mindedness, teamwork and professional excellence with courage as the foundation.
“I have also been a crazy adventurer…..a biker by heart, a nature lover . I have completed more than 1.5 lakh km of biking on road and tracks. Travelled far and wide. Led IMA Cadets to Mana Pass ( 18,192 feet above sea level, Himalayas, Indo-Tibet border) on motorbikes with Harley Davidson sponsorship.
My Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) tenure was also a great revelation from the professional point of view. An entirely different environment, but with strategic imperatives. I was launched with very specific targets and very ambiguous data. I learnt that a positive and consistent Go-Getting approach finds favour with any person. It is a contagion that spreads as culture within the team or establishment. The accolades that followed did infuse a great deal of pride and satisfaction.
I realised that one needs to have the vision to commit resources, time and invest in relationships towards these. I increased my interaction with my mentors, I started looking out for personalities that I could imagine dealing with in the long run, without a cultural or ideological conflict. Narrowing down, an entrepreneurial spirit was taking over.
My role as a combat engineer in the Indian Army, for 22 years was a rich mix. Facing challenges of anti-terrorist operations , protecting lives , building roads, schools and bridges under severe weather and terrain conditions and long deployments on the border areas. I found myself supporting people from the weaker sections of the society by helping them in finding job opportunities, aiding their education and making them self –reliant. Real and long-lasting change can only be brought in when one gives back more than receiving. The “Joy of Giving” is a deeply embedded ideology that I have imbibed from my grandparents, who left no stone unturned to help and support any person coming their way.
These experiences combined with my love for creating novel structures and an adventurous drive inspired me to venture out on as an entrepreneur. I set up a Company and constituted a small Team in Fit-Outs and Furniture (Woodbuzz). Our operational ground rules were clear: work on advances, close your accounts weekly, have a pipeline for next 2 months. It was a small set-up but soon we had established a name .We focussed on our client’s needs, anticipating them well before. We believe that it’s not about what you want to sell, but what people want to buy.
Meanwhile I completed IIM-Ahmedabad, Armed Forces Personnel (AFP) course and landed up with a job in an MNC in a Business Development role. I took it up as a challenge as I felt I would be into this role finally in my establishment. I shifted to another leadership role after one year. Learned a few tricks of the trade and invested a lot in relationship building. Networks work only if you do.Much has changed, except relationships and our approach towards them – take everyone along and don’t look back to do something that looks good. This is one place that you can’t go wrong.
An individual transforms from a corporate mindset to an entrepreneur when one starts converting his dreams into reality . Mostly everyone who seriously considers starting a business has the drive, the technical experience and vision to do so. All these attributes can help a company during its growth phase, but planning a financial future has a major impact on the success story.
Today we have an online E-Commerce presence in Woodbuzz and have an established reputation as a quality provider. A few of my tenets that I follow to the hilt :
1. Do what excites you. Don’t enter into a mundane and uninspiring domain. Pick up a challenge and don’t lose sight.
2. Work out the potential and long term scalability as well as the Technology paradigm.
3. Customer is king.
4. At the end quality is what matters the most.
5. Be organic in your growth. Have patience and understand from case studies.
6. Keep safety at the topmost – Physical, Intellectual or Financial. Carry out regular risk assessments.
7. Keep learning by being a good listener.
8. Don’t stereotype – Each day is a brand new day.
9. Learn from others’ mistakes, not your own.