Having spent the maximum time of her career at Telebu, Nisha Parikh has seen the company growing from bulk SMS Solutions provider to a one-stop-shop for everything to do with enterprise communication. Now, Nisha is the VP of HR and Marketing at Telebu. She says, “Over my career spanning about 16 years, I have spent about over 12 years with Telebu. During my stint with Telebu, there have been some significant accolades that I have achieved.” Nisha has helped the company to scale from 80+ people to a team of about 400+ people. She has led negotiations and on-boarding the largest political clients for Telebu, namely TDP & BJP. Nisha’s leadership also helped Telebu break through a challenging market like UAE with its B2C product offerings – Wanasa Time & TABIIB.
The Genesis of Telebu
The inception of Telebu dates back to 2003 when the Founder, Mr Satya Yerramsetti, came back from Australia with a degree and a dream to start an online business that would take India into the dotcom age. With this vision in mind and with a seven-member team’s support, SMSCountry Networks was born at a tiny office in Ameerpet in Hyderabad. The aim behind Telebu was to make bulk SMS the marketing tool for Indian enterprises. Riding on this wave of success, the firm soon opened new branches across the country and in Dubai, followed by the launch of 160by2.com, an entirely new solution enabling the display of SMS ads. After that, the team at Telebu also began offering custom-built APIs and SDKs to customers, enabling them to integrate SMS capabilities into their native applications.
“After receiving a warm response from the customers, we began thinking of ways to make conference calls easy. After months of research and innovation, we were successful in developing a unified system called the PBFTS (Public Broadcast Feedback & Telephony System) that allowed the users to send SMS, schedule voice broadcasts, and even initiate calls easily,” says Nisha. This was when the firm came up with the idea of developing the dial-out conference calling method, where the server could trigger a call to all the conference participants simultaneously.
However, amidst the launch of its applications, the team soon realized that the name SMSCountry was leading to some confusion about its capabilities. Hence, they rebranded themselves as Telebu, borrowing from the words Telecommunication and Business. Since then, Telebu has been a one-stop-shop for all enterprise communication needs with a bouquet of products including Grptalk, TelebuHub, TelebuJoin, TelebuPing, TelebuPop, SMS and TelebuBlocks.
Being a Leader
“I believe that I am a leader. As a leader, the most important behavioural attribute I must possess is not my ability to make critical decisions, risk analysis, problem-solving, or my skill as a marketer. However, what sets a good leader apart is the ability to listen, understand, observe, comprehend the ability to be self-aware, ability to dissociate oneself from a situation and look at it,” shares Nisha. Nisha’s mantra as a leader is simple – “People drive numbers. Numbers drive Businesses. In conclusion, People drive businesses.”
According to Nisha, the most significant responsibility as a leader is to identify the team’s strengths and weaknesses. Next up is assigning roles, clear goals, and laying down the team’s vision. As a leader, she believes that one needs to get them to work together collaboratively. “To build and nurture an ecosystem which is more collaborative and wholesome, the key is to ensure that each member of the team respects the other. If the team respects each other and understands that each team member comes in with a specific set of skills, your job is done,” pinpoints Nisha.
Shedding light on the same with an example of her own, Nisha explains, “one of the most effective ways I have found to get people to respect each other is by giving two individuals the same task and make them work on it. Get both the team members to share what they have worked on with each other. I usually ask them to come up with a final product that has the best of both worlds. It may build a healthy competitive rivalry between them. However, it will make them realize that the other person has a different perspective, which needs to be respected.”
However, Nisha opines that the ratio between men and women is still discrepant in leadership roles. She states, “If we go by the statistics, as of 2019-2020, women accounted for 8 per cent of management roles, 9 per cent of business management roles, and were only 2 per cent of CEOs in India.” However, many organizations are now building an ecosystem that fosters inclusivity, coming up with flexible work programs for women to get back to work to improve the gender ratio spread across the organizations. Though considering the changing situations, it would not take long for the tables to turn. “What is required from us as business leaders is to organize proper training sessions for the employees to nurture their skills, provide equal exposure to both men and women and facilitate a more transparent/ non-biased system in place to judge performance and more. At Telebu too, we strongly promote equality, about 35 per cent workforce comprises women, and about 25 per cent of women are in leadership positions,” adds Nisha.
Sailing through the Pandemic
The last 12 months have been crazy for every organization on the planet, and Telebu Communications was no exception. Nisha says, “No doubt, we all had to undergo a lot of planning and alterations in our approach to sail through this phase. However, the way we handled the rapid change, tackled each problem, and categorized them – controllable and containable vs uncontrollable; involving a ton of variables helped us channel our energies better and power through these challenges without losing sleep.”
It is no hidden truth that building a business in India always brings a specific set of challenges. Be it market maturity, adoption, paperwork, finding the right talent, raising funds, scaling operations or selling, challenges are everywhere. All these challenges multiply when a self-funded organization is looking for growth amidst a worldwide pandemic outbreak. “When an organization grapples through these challenges all at once, priority changes. We leveraged referrals to reach new prospects and made interesting payment plans to convert our active monthly buyers into annual paying customers. Additionally, we ensured that we deliver on our service, ensuring minimal friction and optimal customer satisfaction for all our users,” adds Nisha.
Currently, Nisha is working on multiple projects at Telebu, and her top priority is to take the organization’s popular products like Grptalk, TelebuHub, and APIs to newer markets. The sectors that she is focusing on are BFSI, Agriculture, Education and Government Verticals. “From a territory & growth perspective, I have been driving our expansion plans to markets like – Srilanka, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia & Indonesia in South East Asia,” says Nisha. The plan is to set up Telebu’s operations in untapped markets like – Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan, and Morocco in Eastern Africa.