Interview: Mr. Mihir Shah, Founder and Managing Partner – SMB Catalyst
At Sugermint Media, our aim is to bring to our entrepreneurs community some of the inspiring and motivational stories from the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
As part of this endeavour, we invited yet another passionate entrepreneur Mr. Mihir Shah, Indian entrepreneur, Founder and Managing Partner – SMB Catalyst for an exclusive interview with us.
Tell us a little about yourself
Mihir Shah: I am a Management Consultant with around two decades of experience in partnering with Businesses to scale up and become more efficient and process driven.
I am an engineer by qualification and have always been a problem solver. I started my career at Tata Group that landed me with a very promising and high paying job in US. In a short stint, I realized that my heart & soul will always be in India.
I shifted gears to a Management Consulting firm, which actually helped me realize my true calling and huge untapped consulting & learning within the SME sector of our country.
Today, I work with various SME owners across industries and locations and it’s been such an enriching and fulfilling experience while helping them shape up their growth journey.
At home, I am truly blessed with two lovely kids(boy and a girl) and pillar of my life, my wife. My Parents and my elder brother are a reason I have strong work ethics and strong family values.
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Mihir Shah: A decade back, I was working with a large boutique Consulting firm where we catered only to Large companies.
That intrigued me since SMEs did not have a different set of problems when compared to larger ones. Everyone was looking to scale and grow while making the business profitable.
Founded in 2013, SMB Catalyst started its journey with the intent to service small and medium enterprises. Most of our initial team had worked with large consulting firms and MNCs.
Most of the SMEs hardly have access to consulting firms primarily because of budget constraint and lack of awareness, keeping their accelerated growth plans elusive.
Even though servicing SMEs is not as financially rewarding as to service large organizations, we are able to create larger impact to a business and it is more satisfying to us in terms of impact we are able to deliver.
With this thought in mind we decided to solve this problem by identifying a unique method of reducing the net cost to the end client, thus providing quality management consulting services.
What service(s) or product(s) do you offer?
Mihir Shah: SMB Catalyst believes in helping small and medium-sized businesses create sustainable growth with continual improvements by using innovative techniques and solutions.
The company has implemented a plethora of solutions in Strategy, Operations, Talent Management, and Technical Consulting, and enables SME’s unleash their true market potential.
Few of its turnkey solutions include Growth Strategy, Business process Transformation, Talent & Organization Management, Capability Maturity Assessment, MIRS, and CXO coaching, among others.
What is unique about your business?
Mihir Shah: We offer Management Consulting in areas of Strategy and Operations to Small and Medium businesses.
With “Employee First” and “Treat every client business as your own” as our core operating philosophies we are able to bring a strong level of commitment and result-driven approach in all our engagements
What made you choose this type of business?
Mihir Shah: At SMB Catalyst, we solve problems daily for SME owners and see it translating into a better life for the business owner, improve the economy and most importantly, generate new employment. My way of contributing towards making India Atmanirbhar!
What was your mission at the outset?
Mihir Shah: “To be the leading Change agent (Catalyst) for enabling Small and Medium Businesses (SMB) to grow at an accelerated pace and become more competitive in the world economy”
How many employees in your organization?
Mihir Shah: Headquartered in Mumbai, SMB Catalyst has operations in Mumbai, Delhi, Baroda, Aurangabad, Chennai and Bangalore. The company offers its services PAN India.
The team consists of 5 partners, 18+ management consultants and 4 advisory board members, who help internally to boosting sales, strategy, and technical framework.
What’s your company’s goals?
Mihir Shah: “To successfully improve efficiencies and accelerate the growth journey for 1000+ SMEs directly and influence 1 lakh + SMEs by 2030”
How do you build a successful customer base?
Mihir Shah: We have currently been growing with a strong referral base from the 5 locations. We intend to enhance the base with help of digital marketing and tech platform that is under development.
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
Mihir Shah: Failure is inherent to any business and we are no exception.
It has been increasingly clear to us that setting SMEs on a Digital roadmap is pivotal to their success. With our strong relationship and trust, we do get the owners / top management aligned to the digital journey.
We stumble and fail multiple times with availability of reliable and cost effective IT partners to deliver the results.
As much, we in India pride to be known as the IT hub of the world, the focus to services larger and developed nation makes it difficult to find vendors / partners focusing SMEs. We are on this journey to find right partners to accelerate the digital transformation for our clients but still a long way to go.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Mihir Shah: There is no substitute to extremely strong references and appreciation that we receive for the work we deliver time and again.
Every reference and appreciation constantly inspires us to do more and better. In terms of personalities, my favorites are Steve Jobs and Elon Musk.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
Mihir Shah: At times I feel that I should have ventured out earlier, but not sure if I have any regrets regarding the same. Maybe the prior experience is helping me do things better than I could have had I started earlier.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Mihir Shah: The only way to start a business is to start and loose the back door key. With no alternative you will only succeed, it might not be the same offering you started out with but it will adjust itself to the need of your consumer.
Does your company help the community or society?
Mihir Shah: With growth of SMEs at the core of our philosophy, we feel we do our bit by helping SME owners grow and in turn help the Indian economy and generate employment.
We hope you find the inspiring story of Mr. Mihir Shah, Indian Entrepreneur useful and inspiring through your entrepreneurial journey and will keep you inspired.
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