Sunil Jagani’s career in the information technology field began with obtaining his Masters in Software Engineering at Pennsylvania State University in 2004. He worked at various companies as a computer programmer and web developer consultant until he landed a senior web developer/lead software architect position which he worked in from 1999 to 2005.
In 2004, Sunil Jagani started his own company, AllianceTek; a software development and information technology consulting company.
Sunil Jagani is very passionate about golf and learning the anatomy of a business. He considers himself to be a social scientist. He is always trying to understand the workings and structure of life. His ideal balance in life is a combination of work, family, intellectual stimulation, creativity, and physical activity. Born in Rajkot, Gujarat, Indian-American Sunil Jagani has been married for 22 years and has a 14-year-old son.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
In the early 2000s, I saw a need for software engineering and development growing at a rapid pace. Most companies weren’t quick to take on this difficult path on their own because it required a lot of different rules and to stay on top in a very fast-moving industry. So I saw a need for a software engineering team that can deliver an end-to-end service to the client while also keeping up with the fast-moving changes in the industry and applying any changes to the project. I thought if I could put a whole team together to create software for companies and make it cost effective for them, they would embrace it. Luckily, I was right and AllianceTek took off.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
We were profitable in the second year. I don’t believe people who think that risk is tightly coupled with entrepreneurship. You can do entrepreneurship with the lowest risk, it just takes you longer but it greatly increases the probability of success. I was very careful about my overhead and monitoring the risks that I was taking.
I believe most companies run their businesses on their gut instincts. They don’t build it as a model. Your sales, production, hiring, all of these have to be relative to each other and most companies don’t do that.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
All of the time, even today. You need that doubt to make sure you’re evaluating your business models. It is important to reflect on who you are, why you are, what you do abd what value you bring to the table, on a monthly if not weekly basis. This is vital to staying true to yourself and what’s happening in your business.
How did you get your first customer?
It was through a referral. A friend a mine referred me to a company and they became my first client.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
I use social media to broadcast AllianceTek’s knowledge and experiences. Marketing is an art of indirect conversation because you’re not selling something to someone, you’re influencing them. And social media is a great way to do this.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
I’m not a fan of tough decisions, so if faced with one, I will split it up into smaller decisions and make progress towards those. So I don’t really have tough decisions.
People make decisions, any decision, by looking at the problem and at some point just making a decision one way or the other. I don’t believe that is the right way to do it. I think instead people should break their decisions into smaller ones and spread out those decisions cycles over some time. You’ll start making smaller, safer decisions and over time you’ll keep progressing towards the original decision.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I strongly believe in the Kaizen way of life so I’ve tried to do the framework for it in my life at all times. With every experience I’ve had in life, I’ve defined it with structure, and I keep tweaking that structure over time. So I’ve designed some rules and principles by which I live.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
When I see a delighted client and an empowered resource and an empowered employee, those are really what make me smile at the end of the day.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
Our business is built on a platform of technology that has been built by the top five leading companies in the world. What we do is we bring those technologies to our clients’ doorsteps and we build on them. Our marketplace is designed to be growing at a rapid pace, so the future of our business and industry is very strong. We have learned how to run a very successful business and that is very exciting for me.
We are on top of this wonderful industry and part of the world’s largest economy, so there is a lot of opportunity for growth in the future.
What business books have inspired you?
7 habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey and The Spirit of Kaizen by Robert Maurer. The art of continuous small improvement in life, it’s a principle that works very well. The Spirit of Kaizen is a must-read for the 21 century.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
We recently hired an outside agency and purchased computer servers, both of which are helping us accelerate our services to our clients. We are able to provide new and innovative services because now we have additional computing power.
What is the best part of your job?
The opportunity to choose the problems I will work on, that is a luxury you get in owning a business. You can pick and choose which problem you wish to work on. I have the freedom to pursue a new line of business or a new idea, and the freedom to grow the company in the way I wish.