Manish Advani - I Entered The Corporate World In The Year 1994, When I Was 16 Years Old (Founder & CEO Of 'MIMO Potentio', India)

 I joined Mahindra SSG as Consultant Business Development, soon I govt promoted as Head Marketing and Public Relations, after working with Mahindra SSG for almost 12 years in varied roles, I had a short stint with Schindler India. 

1. Tell us more about your company and your journey.

Since the time I started my career, I have worked with Explorers Mindset. I entered the corporate world in the year 1994 when I was only 16 years old, in my first college vacation I worked as an audit assistant which taught me importance of paying attention to details, soon I moved in to retail, I used to attend college in the morning and then after college I used to work as a sales person at a retail store, after working for few months I joined a IT Startup company which was in to web development.

I believe in those days I was one of the first few web developers of India, after working there for good amount of time, In 1998 I moved to United States of America for further studies, there I got an opportunity to develop Decision Support System for National Center for Transportation and Industrial Productivity, after studying and working in United States of America on varied roles, in 2002 after getting disrupted due to 9/11 terrorist attack, I moved back to India to try my luck with my own IT startup.

In 2005 I got an opportunity to migrate to Toronto, Canada where I had the opportunity to work with clients such as Microsoft, Jaguar LandRover. After moving back to India in 2008 I joined Mahindra SSG as Consultant Business Development, soon I got promoted as Head Marketing and Public Relations, after working with Mahindra SSG for almost 12 years in varied roles, I had a short stint with Schindler India. 

During the Pandemic, I launched my venture by the name of MIMO Potentio, MIMO has different connotations - MIMO could be Money In Money Out - When I was working in a full-time job as long as I was able to save, I never paid much attention to how much money was coming in and how was going out, then incorporate world concept of MIMO would be Minimum Input Maximum Output, I felt to achieve that one needs to focus on another MIMO which is Mindful Inside Mindful Outside, if employees are mindful within their respective organization then they will also be Mindful with others outside their organization, I felt by embracing the concept of MIMO companies will be able to achieve their full potential. Potention refers to Potential. 

My company is basically in the business of culture consulting, there is a saying culture eats strategy for breakfast in today's digital age culture has the power to eat strategy for all 3 meals.

2. How did you rise to the highest echelons in your company?

By being a Design Thinker one can rise to the highest possible level. To be a good design thinker one needs to re-ignite the artist and the storyteller which is within each one of us, we leave these two friends behind when we are in 5th or 6th grade to get up in the number-driven world, it begins with grades in schools and colleges, and then in the corporate world, we get stuck in the world of PPTs and Excel.

3. What does your typical day look like?

My day begins at 5:45 am with Meditation, 7:30 am I get on a close group call on Google Meet, purpose of this call is to begin the day with something inspirational, everyone has a task to inspire others present on the call, we go by the saying 1% inspiration leads to 99% perspiration. Then I go for a walk in our garden where I get to spend exclusive time with myself, I brainstorm ideas some get selected some get rejected. 

Then I work for some time on my laptop, around 10 am I have brunch, after brunch I work on client assignments or product development until 5 pm, around 5:30 pm I have early dinner, after dinner goes for one hour walk, at times I watch a movie or read a book, evenings is more of a family time.

4. How do you see the company changing in 5 to 10 years, and how do you see yourself creating that change?

Since I have worked for over 20 years in the corporate world, I am well-versed with the pain areas For Example learning is their development is a question mark, diversity is their inclusion is a question mark, If these pain areas are not addressed then they could lead to a disastrous situation for the corporates, I am on a mission to create different products mainly in the area of learning and development which will help the organization in re-risking its business.

5. What has been your biggest challenge that you faced and how did you overcome that?

Apply no reply is the biggest challenge I have faced, in the initial stages when I was reaching out to people via WhatsApp, Email rarely anyone responded, what kept me going is the lesson from Mary Kom's journey, in the Mary Kom movie her coach tells her if you want to lend 10 good punches then you should be ready to take 100 punches yourself. no Pain No Gain is the mantra I learnt, now when I go through rejections I take it in the right spirit.

6. What are some of the most important factors for running a successful business?

Patience is the key ingredient in running a successful business, without patience one can end up becoming a patient. As per Fulton Sheen, Patience is Power, Patience is not the absence of action, rather it is timing, It waits on the right time to act, based on the right principles and in the right way. As far as patience is concerned I get inspiration from CRANE which lets the small fishes go however as soon as the Crane sees the big fish it grabs it.

7. What are your tips for first time and aspiring entrepreneurs?

Cognitive Flexibility - Business is not about what you love to do, it's about fulfilling the needs of your customers. it's about others, for this it's important the first time and aspiring entrepreneurs learn to be flexible.

8. How can one overcome a hurdle of lack of funds when starting up?

For me cash has been the priority from day one, I re-invest the money I earn from undertaking short term assignments, I even sold one learning program I developed to an ED Tech Company. As soon as I get to a point where I feel I need to rapidly scale up I will reach out to investors.

Manish Advani

Manish Advani Founder & CEO MIMO Potentio is an award-winning Storyteller, 8 Times TEDx Speaker and a Business Leader with over 20 years of experience spanning across diverse functionalities such as Internal Communications, Marketing, Branding, Public Relations, Learning and Development, Change Management, B2B Sales & Business Development, Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability &. Risk Management. 

Manish is the recipient of notable awards such as the Microsoft’s President Award, International Green Apple Award - House of Commons, British Parliament, SKOCH Blue Economy Silver Award, Public Relations Council of India’s Silver Award, NITIE’s on- the-Job Achievers Award and the LIMCA Book of Record.

Manish has served the industry as a member of CII’s CSR and Sustainability committee and as a managing committee member of The India Chapter of the International Advertising Association.

- Website: Mimo Potentio

- Interviewed By Pratibha Sahani

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