Most successful people are somehow inspired to do things differently. For some it is an innovative idea, and for others it is identifying a need and filling it. For Ajit Prabhu, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Quest Global, it was a car.
At a time when few in Ajit’s home town in India could afford an automobile, Ajit’s uncle drove one to and from his incense shop. Ajit wanted a car too. So in eighth grade, when his friends invited him to play, Ajit said no. He decided instead to work on his new business selling incense sticks, just like his uncle.
This was one of the first unconventional choices that Ajit made in his life. His entrepreneur spirit was strong and so was his desire to make a living. The value of aspirations cannot be ignored, and Ajit says that it is one of the three fundamental requirements for building a successful business.
“To build something and create some value, you have to have aspirations – that’s absolutely important,” says Ajit.
It was Ajit’s early aspirations that led him to reject the traditional path repeatedly, choosing incense over play, opportunity over predictability, throughout his entire life.
Ajit’s willingness to pursue uncommon options led him to co-found Quest Global, an engineering consultancy and outsourcing firm, in 1997 with one partner and one client. As of 2009, his company is approaching $100 million in revenue, employs 1,600 people across 17 countries, and services many of the world’s largest firms.
Quest Global is a leading provider of diversified engineering services and manufacturing. The company helps customers in the aerospace, consumer electronics, healthcare, industrial products, marine, nuclear engineering, oil & gas, power generation, and transportation industries. Quest helps cut product development costs, shorten lead times, extend capacity and maximize engineering resources availability by providing support across the complete product life cycle.
By dissecting Ajit’s uncommon ability to open up new market space, we see a clear and consistent playbook of proven strategic moves. These are options that his competitors did not see, and by employing these approaches, Quest Global is leading its industry.
Over the next few days, I will share just a couple of the strategies that the company used to outthink its competition. Quest Global’s dominance might come from a mere aspiration, but it was the planning and forethought of its management that has made it so strong.