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Last Update: Tuesday July 27, 2021

Key Idea: Find the Good

The founder sets the tone at INDUS and he expects plenty of laughter.       More...

Key Question:


See the good in people and in situations.

Meena tells us that she always knew that Shiv would be successful because he is such a positive person that he could not fail. Shiv tells us that when he was concerned about the economic risk to his family if he started his own business, Meena told him to go for it. So it seems that we have two positive people here, and they make a great combination.

Q: What’s the benefit of a positive outlook to a business owner? What does it have to do with success?

A: Business is fraught with risk and there’s probably nothing easier to talk yourself out of than starting your own business. If you dwell on everything that might go wrong, you can generate quite a list for yourself. And Murphy’s Law will prevail; some things inevitably will go wrong. You’ll wind up delivering a poor product or service on occasion and you’ll have to make amends, you’ll make some hiring errors and have to deal with a disgruntled and/or inept employee, some customers will make unreasonable demands and some customers won’t pay you, some suppliers will promise delivery and then fail to deliver or deliver a substandard product, your cash flow will be tight on occasion and you’ll wonder how you are going to meet payroll. These are things that happen to virtually all small business owners at one point or another.

What do you do when something goes wrong? You fix it. What do you do when you fail? You pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again. Positive people can do this -- negative people cannot. If you see the glass as half-empty and the sky as partly cloudy, then business ownership is probably not for you.

Think about it

Are you a positive person and have you surrounded yourself with other positive people?

Clip from: INDUS - Diversity & Mentoring

From Just a Job to Being an Owner

Washington, DC: In 1979 Shiv Krishnan arrived here from Madras, India to go to college. He got a job and was doing well.  But in 1991 he risked everything to start his own business.  INDUS would be a technology innovator.  He did well. Today this company has 500+ employees and major clients including the US government.  They do Geographic Information Systems (GIS), database management, data warehousing and  mining, and more.

This story is about an immigrant to America. Like so many, he came with nothing, got a job to save money to start a business. When he put it all at risk,  he knew his safety net was to go get another job.  It wasn't easy... but that's the USA. This country is a beacon and inspiration to the entrepreneurial spirit within all of humanity.  When freedom rings,  new songs are written!

Shiv is a person who is open to learning from everyone. He empowers that  attitude among his employees, his suppliers, and his customers. He mentors people and he is always open to being mentored.  INDUS is part of SAIC's Mentor-Protégé program which has helped this business to grow. 

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INDUS Corporation

Shiv Krishnan, Founder

1951 Kidwell Drive, Eighth Floor
Vienna, VA 22182

Visit our web site:

Office: 7035066700

Business Classification:
Information Services

Year Founded: 1991

Find the Good

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.

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!"
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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