Suraj Naik has had a diverse career, which took him on a journey from running Bollywood events to doing media sales. He’s now found his place as Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Director of the Genius Group. Suraj is motivated by the energy and passion of the global entrepreneur community that the group has established.
Joining us on the Future of Work, Now podcast, Suraj discusses the growth of this community and how it’s evolving in the digital world. He also shines a light on how communities like Genius Group give back to society.
Here are the key takeaways:
The compelling nature of entrepreneurship
Suraj was exposed to the world of entrepreneurship while running an event. He listened to many entrepreneurs and was captivated by the transformation they’d undergone to get to where they wanted to be.
“Entrepreneurs go through different phases of transformation. There is the self-awareness phase of getting to know who you really are, the self-expression phase where you’re able to connect with other people and express who you are, and then you get to self-mastery,” said Suraj.
Genius Group supports entrepreneurs in their transformations with its technology solutions. These include its online education platform and entrepreneurial assessment tool. The group also runs events and spaces like Genius Central Singapore where entrepreneurs can co-work and make new connections.
“We are a 1.7 million strong global community today, which presents opportunities for entrepreneurs to learn from one another,” said Suraj.
Tapping the power of trust
During the pandemic, Genius Group’s physical spaces had to close. It came up with the idea of the Trusted Buyer’s Club to help members sustain business. The premise of the club was for members to buy from one another and many used the opportunity to transform digitally.
Small businesses, which had largely operated offline, brought in consultants to rollout customer relationship management (CRM) software and deploy chatbots. Others engaged consultants to help them with digital marketing and social media.
“Trust has always played a role in our community and so we created this club where everyone made a pact to buy from one another. It helped entrepreneurs to keep their businesses running and they received feedback from the community on how to improve their products,” said Suraj.
Suraj acknowledged that business was still difficult for some entrepreneurs and many had to adopt a better approach to selling.
“When COVID-19 hit, there was panic and people were not buying. It became clearer that you could not sell with the mindset of ‘here’s my product, now buy it’,” said Suraj. “Instead, you need to go to market with the idea of solving someone’s problem and that has been our approach from early on.”
Staying true to culture
Genius Group has navigated the pandemic by staying true to its culture. Everything the group does is aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Part of goal number eight is to promote full and productive employment and decent work for all.
Genius Group’s commitment to this goal influenced its decision to not let anyone go during the pandemic. Instead, everyone rallied together and created a 100-day plan to help the organisation pivot. Focusing on just 100 days made goals easier to achieve and brought the finish line closer.
Many parts of the organisation are now back to operating as normal and Suraj said Genius Central Singapore is buzzing.
“There are often queues outside the cafe at lunchtime, but it’s a good problem to have. With recent acquisitions, we now have an opportunity to bring more people together and transform more lives,” said Suraj.
Listen to the full podcast to learn more about Genius Group and its community of purpose-driven entrepreneurs.
Tune in at 1:00 p.m. SGT Friday, May 7 for a wrap-up of this season and a look back at the podcast highlights.
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