Gary Vaynerchuck’s view is that every business, every individual, should consider themselves a ‘media company’. I certainly think there is a lot of truth in that and your ability to clearly articulate the value you can create for others will be a key to success. Prerna, who spends much of her life in front of the camera, is perfectly positioned to help the rest of us hone our skills.
What’s your story?
Since I was a child, I loved talking to people and asking questions. So, journalism came naturally to me and I spent more than a decade working for broadcasters like Al Jazeera English, BBC & Reuters as a foreign correspondent. But entrepreneurship was always in my blood (my father owns a company) and I wanted to help companies and individuals communicate better. Thats how ‘Inspired Productions’ was born in Singapore almost 2 years ago. We help industries, entrepreneurs and individuals communicate better to their stakeholders through trainings & workshops. We also have a fantastic team of videographers who produce brilliant videos.
What excites you most about your industry?
That everyday brings a new challenge. With social media on the rise and new forms of communications replacing older models, we need to be able to think on our feet while engaging with our stakeholders. Its no longer just about holding a press conference or announcing a launch, its about presenting your ideas to the largest audience in the best possible manner.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m a second generation Indian who was raised in Dubai and worked in Bangkok, New Delhi, London, Kathmandu, Columbo and Khartoum. I moved to Singapore almost 2.5 years ago as I loved the fact its a gateway to the rest of the region & has a great business environment.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore is fantastic as its very easy to do business here. People are very professional and unlike other Asian countries, there’s no red tape or bureaucracy which rattles you off. Mumbai, Bangkok & Dubai always have an exciting buzz and I get to catch up with old friends which is an added advantage!
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
‘If you never ask, you’ll never get’- This is literally a (not so poetic!) translation of an old Punjabi proverb my father always quotes when I think the going gets too tough. He’s always taught me and my older brother the importance of believing in one’s self and as long as what we offer is innovative and useful to clients, the sky is literally the limit!
Who inspires you?
My parents. They came to Dubai in the early 80’s with nothing but an engineering degree & a few dollars, back in the days when no one knew where Dubai was on the map! Within a few years, they set up a successful business, sent us to the best schools and encouraged us to follow our dreams. Without them, I’m certain I wouldn’t be where I am today.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
That businesses fail in the first three years of their life! Its the make-or-break period and much like a marriage, if there’s not enough passion or compassion in it, there’s no way its going to last.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have begun my entrepreneurship journey much earlier. Inspired Productions is what I breathe, eat and think almost every hour in the day and now that I think about all the wonderful clients and experiences I’m exposed to, I’m asking myself, ‘why didnt you start this earlier!’
How do you unwind?
My husband and I both love biking so on that rare weekend when we have no plans, we take our bikes out and explore Singapore. We also love traveling and try and get away every few weeks. It helps freshen up the creative juices and makes me more mindful of the business and where it stands.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Oh, so many! Thailand for its great food & hospitality. India, for everything really- family, friends & food. Vietnam for its culture and you guessed it- food!
Everyone in business should read this book:
‘Bhagvat Gita’- a classic Indian scripture dating back to 5000 years ago. Most know it as a religious book but if you study its undertones, its the classic strategy manual combining lessons on work/life balance. The scenes where the protagonist is asking his mentor deep questions about life & work, and their subsequent conversations in the middle of a battlefield is rivetting. The message is clear- be focused, know your allies and the rest will follow through.
Shameless plug for your business:
We’ve got the experience and credibility behind us to propel your communications strategy forward! Yes, really. Our clients speak for themselves- The Reserve Bank of India, United Nations Staff College, Save the Children, Reuters & innumerable start-ups have trusted us with their communications needs- and we’ve delivered.
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing has started, built, bought and sold half a dozen businesses in a range of industries across two continents. He is the owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 11 countries and he is also the CEO of Entrevo Asia, a company that runs 40 week Growth Accelerator programs.
Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>