My Library and Courses
Last Update: Tuesday July 27, 2021

Key Idea: Find and Depend Upon Mentors

INDUS has a formal mentor-protege relationship with SAIC.

Key Question:


Arrogant leaders don't ask for help or advice. 

Shiv’s grandfather had an enormous influence on him. For 60 years, he worked with the children of mothers who had lost their husbands. The children came and lived with him and he educated them. Shiv witnessed first hand, at a young and impressionable age, the enormous influence his grandfather had on his students and the respect those students had for his grandfather.

Q: We’re business owners, not teachers. Is education really that important?

A: You bet! Education positions us for success by broadening our minds, empowering us to be creative and innovative. Education goes way beyond the reading, writing and arithmetic skills we first acquire, and past the formal education we receive, regardless of the level. If we don’t keep learning, we get ripe and rot! All business owners need mentors. It may be a relative, a trusted friend, even a customer or supplier. Mentors force us to think strategically long range, not just operationally in the day-to-day running of the business.

How much do I want to grow my business and how quickly? Is the business I have the business I want to have five years from now? What additional products and services can I add to my arsenal to expand my offerings to my customers? These are just a few of the questions that might be topics for discussion between you and your mentor. Some business owners formalize their mentoring process through the establishment of a Board of Advisors. A Board of Advisors is very different from a Board of Directors, which has authorities, such as the firing and hiring of the CEO, which most small business owners are not prepared to relinquish. A Board of Advisors is a Board of Mentors, where a collective body of intellectual capital nurtures the spirit and creativity of the owner in periodic meetings.

Think about it

Do you have a mentor? Do you meet with him or her often? Are you thinking strategically in your discussions with your mentor?

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. 

Go to all the key ideas and video of this episode...
Go to the homepage of this episode...

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 and Depend Upon 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: 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.

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.


Not a member yet? Learn!  Be empowered! Join us!