Entrepreneurs: Viraj Kalra & Luv Jasuja
Business Name: White Ladder Consulting
Welcome to Entrepreneurs of India #startupstories episode 84
Like the name suggests, White Ladder’s mission is to help your organization and people climb up and step into the next orbit. Founded in 2011, Led by Luv Jasuja and Viraj Kalra, White Ladder was recognized as one of the Top-20 workforce development service providers of 2018 by Silicon India.
The Director & Cofounder of White Ladder Consulting, Viraj Kalra is a man who adorns many hats. He is a corporate trainer by passion, a brand consultant by profession, a writer, motivator, entrepreneur and more.
He comes with an extensive experience of 20 years in management consulting, higher education and media. Viraj has handled training for a mosaic of reputed clients across the globe and he delivers sessions on on leadership, organizational culture, personal effectiveness, motivation, team-building, communication & presentation skills, selling & personal branding among others.
Luv Jasuja, co-founder, White Ladder Consulting, has an experience of over two decades in leadership roles . With an on-the-ground experience in Asia, Middle East and Europe, he led business consulting, management consulting, market entry strategy, research, operations and training and coaching for a mosaic of companies worldwide.
White Ladder does not simply focus on upgradation of people but also on transformation of services, processes, culture, communication systems and strategic management of the organization, thus providing for a holistic development of their clients.
Over the years they have been consistent at producing remarkable results and satisfied clients, who keep looking forward to more. What sets White Ladder’s methodology apart is the deep-dive insight they garner w.r.t. the client environment and accordingly the high degree of customization and contextualization they bring into their solutions.
1) How did you get your idea for this business?
Viraj : We often see start-ups, entrepreneurs, SMEs and even large organizations challenged with their in-house capability &/or capacity to scale the size of their operations in terms of people, organization, brand and business.
We are highly-skilled and experienced in helping ventures scale-up. While Luv is a specialist in spearheading ‘Business & Organizational Capacity’ oriented projects, I have experience in building & strengthening brand, communication, culture and people. As a combination, the both of us and our teams integrate a service offering that is wholesome and unique.
2) Why is “now” a good time for this idea to exist?
Luv: While 60% of our clients are global giants, partnering the ‘Great Indian Dream’ through supporting entrepreneurs, ventures, start-ups and indigenous brands scale-up, go global, sustain and flourish is at the heart of who we are. Given the healthy action in the Indian start-up environment and zeal of Indian ventures to be globally relevant, makes NOW more exciting and fulfilling to be White Ladder than ever before.
3) What was the reaction from your family when you first decided to become an entrepreneur?
Viraj: I came back home one day and said I want to launch White Ladder tomorrow, my wife said ‘bad idea, you should launch as of yesterday’. That’s all the support I needed.
4) What was your biggest mistake in business and what did you learn from it?
Luv: On hindsight, choosing to bootstrap and grow organically has been our biggest mistake. We structured the business and grew without the vision of being relevant / appealing to a professional investor. Along with great vision, people, product and experience – building a scalable structure is just as important. We are making sure that we don’t let our start-up clients make the same mistakes we made.
5) What is your biggest obstacle in the next 12 months and how will you overcome it?
Viraj: Not so much an obstacle but a challenge for us this year is to successfully launch our digital ‘micro-learning’ solution to address the B2C market as successfully as we have been able to address our B2B and B2B2C markets. Also, that we need to do all of this without depleting our H2H (Human2Human) soul that we are so proud of.
6) What habits contribute to your success?
Viraj: I believe that habits are less of a constant and more of a constant strive. Following three have been our strive in recent years at White Ladder:
Empathy – Add as much value and happiness (their definition of happiness) as possible in every interaction we have with all our stakeholders – customer, employees, vendors and partners alike.
Challenge the norm – Confirming to the norm, going with the flow and following the herd are phrases that according to me define mediocrity. My biggest fear is falling into this risk averse comfort zone and so I consciously remind myself and my team to question if not challenge the norm as often as possible.
Discipline: Finally, all aspects of professional, personal and organizational growth boil down to discipline. Passion is the ultimate driver but discipline is the true captain.
7) If you had the opportunity to start this business again what would you do differently?
Luv: We would infuse external professional capital from Day 1 to scale inorganically.
8) What is your favourite inspirational quote?
Viraj: There are two quotes that drive me:
The first one is my own – Check-out life before life checks you out!
The second one is from Batman – It is not who I am underneath. But what I do that defines me.
9) Where do you find inspiration?
Viraj: Inspiration is everywhere today – books, start-up stories, clients, employees, sports, entertainment and the list goes on. But what inspires me the most are the millennials that are creating success stories out of social ventures – what better than projects that simultaneously contribute to your wallet as well as to the community at large. We need more of this happening today. In fact future of all ventures relies on finding this balance.
10) What is your favourite book?
Viraj: I read a book a fortnight, so it is tough to name one as my all-time favourite; it will be easier to name my current favourite – Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. Ability of brands and leaders to tell engaging stories about their journeys and learnings is a critical part of what I practice and coach; this book is an example of brilliant storytelling as well as brilliantly clarifies the importance of stories in the success of our species.
11) What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Luv: Strive from day-zero to build a brand and organization that stands for more than just profit. Fight and strive to not just be another brick in the wall!
White Ladder specializes in soft skills & behavioral skills training & coaching, strategic organizational and brand solutions for global clients in varied industries, including students pursuing or aspiring for higher education.
The work that is undertaken by White Ladder does not simply contribute to efficient work spaces but also to creating individuals who are more sensitive to their surroundings and the space they occupy.
They promote mindful growth and infuse it into the organic scheme of things making it part of their everyday practices. It is organizations such as these that restore faith in the elements of happiness and goodness amidst the chaos of the rat race.