SUCCESS STORY: Dr Tejinder launched the first domestic call centre in India.
So far all Dr Tejinder Singh’s business ideas have gone on to become very well placed
brands, often at the top and exclusive in their own domains, writes Umer Nangiana
He has a keen eye for startup ideas and he finds them mostly from publicly frequented avenues. Where others might only experience and see problems, he sees opportunities. Once he has seized the idea, he quickly complements it with a practical business model. Soon, Dr Tejinder Singh has a company up and running.
He owns three businesses and has another two in the offing. All five have been startups with humble beginnings and all of them have brought him success so far.
BPO Plus, his business processes outsourcing company — the first to be established here — is the largest such entity of call centres and back offices in the region from Dubai to Jordan. Employing more than 1,100 people and with operations in two countries, they service all brands. As of today, it is a zero liability company.
Singh has created more than 3,000 jobs during the last eight years through BPO Plus alone. He is also the founder of Q-ticket, one of the most popular and largest online portals to book tickets for movies, events and sports.
The fast growing entrepreneur trusts the strength of ideas and believes in innovation.
“My mantra of business is that your problem is my opportunity. If you are standing outside a cinema in a long queue to book tickets, or you do not get your choice of tickets; that is a problem and therein, lies an opportunity for me,” Singh tells Community to exemplify how he comes up with ideas, converts them into successful businesses and what problems the entrepreneurs here face in general.
He arrived in Qatar nine years ago only to find there was no BPO operational here. Initially, he started with back office work and talent outsourcing, but that was not true business. “The first thing that I picked up was setting up a Vodafone call centre in this country. It went on very well and after that I think there was no looking back. Many other companies like LG, American Express, most of the banks, insurance companies, retails like Papa John’s, Nando’s and others followed,” says the entrepreneur.
As of today, BPO Plus handles roughly about 50,000 calls a day with about 1200 people running operations.
Singh, an Indian expatriate from New Delhi, began his love affair with startups back home where in 2003, he set up the first domestic call centre. It was the first call centre to ever get listed on the stock market.
He came to the Middle East on the back of a success story involving the establishment of four BPOs in India. He chose Middle East because it never had BPOs.
“We are couple of promoters, who invested ourselves in the BPO and started out small. Slowly, we gained pace and scaled up our profits and, today, BPO Plus is a company which has its own cash reserves,” says Singh.
Sometime back, he also initiated one of the most frequented social media platforms in the country, Qatar Day. It gets about 85,000 unique visitors every day as per Google analytics, says the founder of Qatar Day. How did he come up with this idea?
“When I was managing all these BPO clients I could see a lot of information which was missing. I got to know from people’s calls that they do not know about banks, insurance, beauty salons and spas, discounts on products and stuff like that,” explains the businessman, adding that he realised there was something missing as people were not talking to each other.
“I felt there was a need for a social media platform where people could come and express and get more information, and that too without a commitment to spend money. So we created Qatar Day,” says the entrepreneur.
So far all his business ideas have gone on to become very well placed brands, often at the top and exclusive in their own domains.
Singh believes that pear-to-pear learning among entrepreneurs is an essential for growth in local businesses and startups, and that is missing here. People want to be entrepreneurs, but they fail to learn.
“You have to learn all along, you are never a complete entrepreneur throughout your life,” says the businessman who is also a member of the local chapter of Entrepreneurs Organisation Qatar, and actively takes part in pear-to-pear learning.
“People do not share their failures. You are learning from others’ mistakes only through observations and that makes it all the more difficult. People are very reluctant, very shy to share their failures,” observes the businessman.
“Problems,” he says, “are all around you and these keep coming up. As entrepreneurs we live in a very dynamic world. The biggest problem that every entrepreneur faces — and it is very common — is to manage people. It appears to be the most simple of problems, but is more complex to solve,” he elaborates.
Human being, he says, is the most complex machine on earth and one cannot solve all different problems with just one format.
The most important thing that a business leader needs to address his problems is energy, he believes. “You need energy along with all the solutions that you may offer to your human resource. So when they see that their boss is so confident, they know there is nothing to worry about,” says Singh.
Taking clues from his sharp observations, he has come up with other business ideas involving social media platforms.
One is called penalty kick dot com. It is about soccer and it too has picked up well since its establishment two months ago and is already getting about 5,000 visitors a day. A lot of traffic is coming from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and other countries.
The platform is completely about soccer where people get all they want to know about success and their favourite players besides live streaming of matches, including results and scores from the local club matches.
Giving some details about his upcoming venture, Singh says he is planning to launch a service, @Pik. It is more like an online e-commerce portal where people can go online, pick a product, whether it is groceries or stationery; add it to their cart, pay and check out and then, have it delivered at home.
“It will be the first of its kind in Qatar. Delivery is a challenge in this country and we are managing that completely. We are hopeful that by the end of this year, we should be able to launch the beta version and next year, we should be in a kind of ‘toddler’ stage,” says Singh.
Here too, he saw this business opportunity in a problem. “Traffic here is bad. You get only two days off and you would want to spend them having fun, not worrying about doing groceries or going to malls again and again. So @Pik will do it for you,” he says. Gradually, they are going to add restaurants and food delivery on it as well.
He is also planning to put up an online solution for booking dinner tables in five-stars through the convenience of booking them online, just like you book a cinema seat. At Booktable.com, you would be able to select your location, theme and concierge service before going to the restaurant.