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We all Start Small... and some grow
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Profoundly grateful to be an American and to serve the ideals of freedom and democracy.
Profoundly proud to be serve their country.
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Transcript Segments
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1. Small Business School Go for the Impossible
2. Be Willing to Start Small
3. Take Advantage of Opportunities
4. Find the Good in People
5. Find and Depend Upon Mentors
6. Mentor Others
7. Make Sure Someone Is a People Person
8. Demonstrate That You Are Bankable
9. Create a Worry-Free Workplace
10. Make Sure Your Spouse is Cheering
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The Opening of this Show Small Business School


Go for What May Seem Impossible

In the Studio

HATTIE: Hi, I'm Hattie Bryant. What happens when we genuinely celebrate the success of others and we open ourselves to learn from them? What is our path to wisdom? To a fulfilled life? In this week's episode you meet a person who is open to learning from everyone and he encourages that same attitude among his employees, his suppliers, and his customers. He mentors people and he is always open to being mentored by others.

Monuments to great thinkers are Washington, DC trademarks. We discovered a few miles a way in Vienna, Virginia great thinking in the work of this man and his award winning information technology company, INDUS Corporation.

Shiv Krishnan came to this country in 1979 with virtually nothing, and today he has 500 employees and 80 million in annual sales.

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SHIV: (Voiceover) You do not build a business to be a small business. You don't build a business to be this or that. You build a business to be a sustainable business entity that can keep going on and on and on. That doesn't happen automatically.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Shiv Krishnan, a soulful person from India became a classic American entrepreneur. He launched INDUS in 1993, quickly focused on web enabling static information, then grew and grew and grew - over 1,000% in three years.

Over 500 employees and growing through acquisitions
There is a special joy of life in this business.
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His customers now include SAIC, the General Services Administration, the Departments of Commerce, Justice, Transportation (and) his first homerun, MapQuest.

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Be Willing to Start Small to Prove Yourself


SHIV: We were a $20,000 a year business, then a $75,000 a year business and then we've grown steadily. The one key advice that I can give other business owners out there is focus, focus, focus. Do not try to be everything to everybody.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Shiv and his wife Meena have two daughters. The family lives just a few minutes away from the office in a new 10,000 square foot home they designed themselves for maximum family fun.

SHIV: I count my blessings every day for what I have been able to do. I do honestly think that it has been given to me through the good things that my grandfather, my grandparents and my parents -- others before me did.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Shiv earned a masters degree in chemical engineering in the US and that led him in 1980 to a job working for the state of Virginia.

SHIV: My job was to figure out, what kind of chemicals are they going to be using? What are they manufacturing? How much is it going to go into the air? How much into the water? How much is going to be hazardous, and I figured that with my education, I can probably build a model and model this whole thing and wrote a computer program and using punch cards -- type it up and then it'll punch all those holes in those cards.

Discussing the early days of keypunch cards, Shiv and the industry have come a long way.We'll get a stack of cards and literally take it to a card reader machine and put it in there. It'll go flap, flap, flap, the cards will be read and the program can be printed at the time. And then a company named Versar hired me and they were in the business of working with the government on the other side as a contractor.

HATTIE: As a supplier.

SHIV: As a consultant. So, when I went there I kept up with my computer skills. In the meantime I took some additional computer courses and all of that and moved on to generating computer graphics, showcasing how all these chemicals and the hazardous waste and all of that moved through the environment using computer graphics.

So, I got really challenged in understanding how to do all of this and got really fascinated by the material. And that's the time when probably my internal desire to, 'Hey, I can do this by starting a business on my own.'

The opportunities here are for you to take.

So as an opportunity, where a very small company (Versar) in Hampton Rhodes, Virginia they approached me. I'd known the principles over the years.

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Take Advantage of Leadership Opportunities


HATTIE: Okay, let me understand this. They wanted you to sell and service their products out of the Washington office and it would be your office and if you made money, great, and if you didn't you'd fall on your face.

SHIV: Absolutely. I did that from the second bedroom of my apartment.

HATTIE: And what year was that?

SHIV: This was 1987.

HATTIE: In 1987, how old were you in 1987?

SHIV: I was, maybe 14. (Big smile.) No, I was 31 years old.

HATTIE: Okay, you're 31.

SHIV: Thirty-one years old. We are in the business of selling our intellectual -- deploying our intellectual capital. You don't need a fancy office. You don't need a fancy anything. But you need the tools, a computer and maybe a printer or other storage. Then you need to have your brain. The ideas. I mean this is where it all evolves from. And the ones that have their feet on the ground, and continue to focus on the fundamentals of what do you need to develop and grow a business, they will be successful whether they have the money or not. The money is just a byproduct of success. If you don't have this, money cannot just buy that success.

I had a $10,000 contract within a month of starting. We delivered a system and a report which evolved into a half million dollar contract and then in a matter of about 3 or 4 years, I had about 100 people and several contracts.

HATTIE: And that was that other business.

SHIV: That was the other business.

HATTIE: That's not INDUS.

SHIV: That's not INDUS yet. But those were building blocks of that, and I parted company with them on very good terms and then said I'm going to start on my own. That's when I started INDUS.

Indus is a hotbed of ideation of every possible flavor.  We need to re-export Shiv's flavor's to make the enitre area productive!HATTIE: (Voiceover) Shiv chose the name INDUS in honor of his heritage. The INDUS Valley civilization flourished around 2500 BC in what today is Pakistan and Western India. As Shiv points out the name combines his homeland of India with his new land, the US. Mike Mullen was an INDUS first hire and today he is VP of Strategic Development.

MIKE MULLEN: So when I found out that Shiv wanted to build a real business, I asked him what I could do to help, and since then back in 1992, '93 timeframe, he just continued to give me the challenges in the learning environment for me to continue to work with a growing company.

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Find the Good in People and in Situations


SHIV: The challenge was, how do I completely leave all those trappings behind and then start from scratch all over again. You start thinking ... am I doing the right thing? You know, that was a very, very difficult time. And my dear wife, Meena, she said, "If you don't do it now you will never do it."

MEENA: I know that he always had a passion of starting his own business and we were young at the time. A very important quality that I've come to learn about my husband is that he's very, very positive about anything and everything in life. He does not let little things bother him. He does not read between lines. He just takes as it is and no matter how many times he falls he has the energy and strength to get up and run again. And I think that is the single most quality, single most attribute that have enabled him to come up this far. So even though it was a bit scary initially, we just got in there.

HATTIE: What are some of the specific secrets that you use to help people use their potential -- find their potential and use it, because one of your goals you said is to find the good strengths of the people.

Attitude to each other and about life is a key.SHIV: The strengths of the people.

It's having your workforce being very friendly. You know they smile. You walk around and people are not always tensed up and working on deadlines. They are working on deadlines.

HATTIE: Do you have to smile?

SHIV: Absolutely, all the time.

HATTIE: So does he smile at you guys a lot? Does he smile at you?

Unidentified Employee #1: All the time. Oh my gosh, he loves to smile.

SHIV: I look at the strengths in people. I do not dwell on negatives or failures. If I do fail, I just, you know, get up and continue to go work hard; and fine, try again. Technology is an enabler for us. The big break came in with a company called GeoSystems which was a company owned by R. R. Donnelley. They had maps of 2,000 cities all around the world in intricate detail.

HATTIE: We're talking about street maps.

SHIV: Street maps. Our job was, they said this is the whole project with 2,000 maps. We want you to convert these maps into a digital format, put it on a computer and it is available for us to see on a PC.

HATTIE: I want to ask, did you know how right then how to do it?

SHIV: Oh absolutely.

Unidentified Employee #2: I'm basically a spatial database manager.

HATTIE: What does that mean?

Unidentified Employee #2: Spatial data means what you would see on a map has to be contained somewhere. It has to come from something and that is the data. So you would think of data in a tabular format, but if you want to display something that would be spatial data. Roads, something that exits in our geography around us.

SHIV: (Voiceover) It was a fascinating project. The idea behind it was they wanted to use the products of this into a very large airline's travel, a reservation system. That did not go any further but R. R. Donnelley GeoSystems essentially used some of that information and a lot of additional information and they deployed a new product that became MapQuest.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) That mapping success established INDUS.

SHIV: Here's the team that keeps our Department of Education customers happy, they provide help.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) With happy customers in the private sector, Shiv went after government contracts.

SHIV: You need to figure out what are the government agencies, organizations, departments that will buy some of the technology services that you have to offer because ultimately you need a customer that is willing to buy what you have to sell.

A Word from Uncle Sam: "The Government Wants You to Participate, Too!"

Tina Burnette is with the US General Services Administration.HATTIE: (Voiceover) Tina Burnette is with the US General Services Administration.

TINA BURNETTE: Well $9 billion in fiscal year '03 was provided to the small business community, 8.5 billion was awarded through the Federal supply schedule and a half billion was awarded through the government wide acquisition contracting program. We're trying to provide our small business industry partners an opportunity to provide supplies and services to the Federal government and at the same time, the Federal government customers and the taxpayers ultimately get good service from our small businesses. And we save money.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Mike Sade is with the Department of Commerce.

MIKE SADE: And I think what we've been able to demonstrate is that small businesses can bring quality to the public sector and solve a lot of the problems.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) There's more help for small business at

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Find and Depend Upon Mentors
Meet just one of Shiv's Key Mentors


(Voiceover) George Otchere is responsible for the small business program at SAIC, a large information technology company.

SHIV: George, how are you? Good seeing you, welcome.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) INDUS has won many SAIC top performance awards for government projects.

GEORGE OTCHERE: Traditionally companies have looked at small business as a compliance program. I think what SAIC did a decade ago was to really make it part of the mainstream business development too. Meaning that we really need a small business's capabilities to complement our own, to be competitive. So we see this as a competitive advantage. And it's not because the law says you've got to work with small business, we do it because we see it as a competitive advantage. And, that's where we're different. We, as a company that's committed to small business development, would like to in effect duplicate this success with other small businesses we work with.

HATTIE: Is the program that you have in place for the small business owners formal or informal?

George Otchere, SAICGEORGE: Well that's an interesting question -- really we have two flavors. One is a formal mentor-protégé relationship and then the other is informal. And I suppose we have more informal relationships in the company and that is really taking a small business and helping them with the lessons learned. Over the years you learn how to do business, how to do proposals better, how to do customer satisfaction.

HATTIE: How do you measure INDUS' success with you?

GEORGE: Well, we look at INDUS actually I would say a flagship, or a yardstick, in the sense that we'd like for a lot of our small businesses to emulate what they've done.

The heart of a Mentor

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Shiv's grandfather dedicated his life to helping poor children.

SHIV: The powerful influence of that (learning about mentoring) was when I was growing up was. I was maybe 10 years old. A white car pulls right in front of the house. It was a very, very modest house that we lived in. And, the gentleman in white traditional Indian garb -- he's maybe about six feet tall and he comes into the house and goes in front of my grandfather and -- falls at his feet.

And prostrating in front of elders in India is a tradition of showing their respect.

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India was mentored by Shiv's grandfather.This gentleman had received a call at six o'clock in the morning from the President and the Prime Minister of India appointing him the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India. And he was one of those young people that was educated by my grandfather, and the very first thing that he did after he received the news was get in the car and come to my grandfather's house and show him his respects.

That was very, very powerful. That showed that when you do good things to people, it always comes back to you and you have to give back to the community.

That was one strong message. The other message is if you study hard and work hard, you can achieve almost anything in your life.

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Mentor Others
Shiv as Mentor

HATTIE: (Voiceover) And achieving for Shiv means helping others.

SHIV: Good morning. Everybody's here.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) He not only mentors the hundreds on his payroll. He is a mentor to graduate students and the leadership at George Mason University.

SHIV: How can we help?

Richard Klimoski, Dean of the School of Management, George Mason UniversityHATTIE: (Voiceover) Here he discusses curriculum with the Dean of the School of Management, Richard Klimoski.

RICHARD KLIMOSKI: We want to reduce the knowing/doing gap. So we're very interested in both theory and practice. Practice and theory.

SHIV: Can you give me an update on what's going on?

HATTIE: (Voiceover) On a busy day, Shiv is caught in the hallway by J. Richard Knop, founder, Chairman and co-CEO of Windsor Group Investment Banking.

J. RICHARD KNOP: They need to make over some infrastructure, need to add some business development capability.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Shiv serves on his board, invests and they call on him to mentor new entrepreneurs.

SHIV: Make it into a win, win, win. We all make money and doing great stuff.

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Make Sure Someone on Your Team Is a People Person
The Mentors' Circle: Mentor-to-Protégé to Protégé-as-Mentor

7 - The Lightblub

HATTIE: We're witnessing what could be called the 'mentor's circle'. To mentor means to tutor or coach. This is different from teaching. While teaching is most often done in a classroom, mentoring and tutoring are done one on one and all coaching includes personal attention. Shiv is such a natural at finding good people and mentoring them that we think he has a little trouble describing how he does it. George said that Shiv is able to identify and cultivate the right people. Meena says Shiv sees the good in people and doesn't dwell on the bad. We think he must see right into the minds and hearts of people. While his grandfather mentored poor children in India and watched some of them go to the top of their chosen field, Shiv grasped the concept that every person has tremendous potential. He believes his number one task as a leader is to find the strengths of a person and mentor that person to achieve his or her potential and then have that person mentor others. As everyone succeeds, the business grows.

Are you part of a mentoring circle? If not, why not? It is the best way to grow your business.

(Voiceover) At, there is self-help study for people who want to start a business and for those who want to grow the business they have. To learn more about this episode, choose the overview. You can read every word you're hearing today when you choose the transcript and go deeper with the case study. There's streaming video and access to interactive study guides throughout the site.

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Demonstrate That You Are Bankable


SHIV: Basically this is a war room. We're in the second and final stage of a proposal.

HATTIE: If you win this contract, what's going to be the dollar volume?

SHIV: It'll add another $25 to $30 million in business to INDUS for five to seven years potentially seven years. The contract that we got from the Department of Justice Civil Rights, that was a $15 million, five year contract, (and that) gave you the potential of up to $3 million a year in revenues. That can be the death knell for some of the companies too because it all comes down to cashflow. The bank took a look at our numbers, our business plan and then felt comfortable about "I can trust Shiv. He's got a good solid plan", and initially that's where it starts.

The relationship is between the bank and the entrepreneur. So they gave me a loan. They asked me to sign up my house, my wife, my firstborn, everything. Meena and I, we still remember the look on our faces and we had to go there and mortgage our house and everything that we owned. Internally we knew we were confident that yes we will pay it back, but, when it really hits you and then you sign it, the enormity of the burden, you know. If it doesn't work, yes you can come to the street.

MEENA: It was difficult initial years to run with him and share the worries of running a business and having to meet the payroll on time and sign away everything that you own, including the house and all that, the properties. It was a tough choice, but we did it.

We did it together and I held on tight.

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Create a Worry-Free Workplace for Employees


SHIV: This is a people business that we are in. So Bob is a key guy at INDUS. Al has been a mentor and a friend. Jeff Rosolio is our Vice President of Human Resources. The moment that you have the first employee the challenges start. We are hopefully well positioned on the contract and if and when we win the contract that'll be the next milestone for INDUS. We are in the business of deploying the intellectual capital of our people to help our customers. So one of the basic tenants of INDUS is total employee satisfaction.

Everybody has the corporate vision and spirit of the company in mind.Unidentified Employee #3: He wants everybody to do a good job, he doesn't want to just win the contract to get the revenue. I mean this company -- everybody here pretty much cares about their job, cares about doing a good job, cares about making the customer happy and we don't over obligate ourselves.

MIKE: Because with us if you don't satisfy the customer, we don't have customers. If you don't keep the employees happy, you can't satisfy your customer. So really the company is at the bottom of the pyramid when it comes to who you have to make sure you take care of.

SHIV: They should not be worried about where my benefits are going to come from, are my benefits being cut back? Am I going to have a good working environment where I can continue to prosper? I'm going to say erase those routine day to day concerns from their minds. I'm not going to be able to create an environment where they feel that they can use their fullest potential to provide the support that our customers need.

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Make Sure Your Spouse is Your Cheerleader


MEENA: He was always passionate about going on his own and that's one thing that I always believed that we all -- we needed to do what we really believe in.

SHIV: But my desire to continue to learn and achieve and grow and help people and provide solutions to our customers, that is a constant burning desire.

MEENA: If you have dreams, go for it. If you believe in your dreams you should definitely try it and hang tight, believe in yourself. You will be able to do it.

SHIV: When that burning desire comes to an end, that's when I will stop doing what I'm doing.

In the studio.

HATTIE: Are you part of a mentoring circle? If not, why not? It's the best way to grow your business. We'll see you next time.

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The Closing of the Show.

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