Antal’s 8 years journey in India… and the man behind it
This Independence weekend, we bring to you an interview with the man who brought Antal to India. On the eve of his 8th anniversary with Antal International (which coincides with India’s Independence Day) Joseph Devasia, Managing Director Antal International Network – India, shares his success story with us.
Antal has around 35 offices in India and Joe has played a key role in building the Antal brand here. Joe is a perfect example of a business person who can persevere any kind of challenge. Under his leadership, his office won the ‘Antal Office of the Year’ for 2 consecutive years, he himself has won the ‘Newcomer of the Year’ and ‘Chairman’s Award for Excellence – 2012, clearly placing him amongst the top leaders in the Antal Network globally and within the sector. His energy, passion and commitment to his work is an inspiration to many across Antal’s wide network.
With Bachelors in Electrical Engineering and 18 years’ experience in manufacturing, IT consulting and human resources in India and the UK, Joe’s business has grown from strength to strength. Joe is known for his discipline, passion for recruitment, his business acumen, industry knowledge, witty humor, his down to earth and “always ready to help” attitude and of course his quintessential sense of dressing.
Read on to know more about one of Antal’s most successful owners as he gives us a sneak peek into his life
How has your journey with Antal been so far – Absolutely exciting journey every year that I have been here, I’d say I have had challenges every year that have kept me on toes and made me look forward to surpassing them.
What did you do before taking up a franchise? – I started my career in Production on the Shop floor before moving into IT consulting and then setting up my own recruitment business.
How did you hear about Antal International? And what made you pick Antal of all the choices you had? – I had been to a Franchise Business Exhibition in London’s Olympia where I had dropped my card at the Antal booth. Next day, I got a call from Kevin Cox then MD at Antal and the rest as they say is history
How were your initial days in the business? What are the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them – Very tough I’d say. Being new to the city and India (coming back after 6 yrs in the UK), both setting up the business and settling life were not easy. Being so far from HQ had its fair share of frustrations, setting up a new brand in the country meant customers thought they could take you for a ride by giving business in the initial days. Saying no to low fee business was a task however I continued to sell aggressively for that fruit on the tree than the low hanging ones.
Do you find that your franchisor is helpful with the running of your franchise operation? – Without a shadow of doubt. It’s now 8 yrs of being in operation and I am pleased with the support I received and continue to receive from the franchisor. We have a go-to person within the network for everything from day-to-day business matters, hiring and training for the team, shared business, peer-to-peer talk, joint client meetings, role-plays, latest technology in recruitment to high level strategic conversations – literally anything that one would seek in a large corporate
What are your plans for the next 5 years? – It is a strategic plan to take the business to a 100 cr+ valuation over the next 5 yrs.
What is the key advice you would give to other prospective franchisees that are considering this kind of self-employment? – Take the risk, enjoy the rewards. If one has had a great professional background and enjoys talking professionally to people then this kind of business can help them make money as well while letting them be their own boss. Self employment gives one the opportunity to take up every aspect of a business and strive for success
What have you learnt here that would help you in the future? – There is magic in the madness of the mundane. Repeating small activities on a daily basis accumulates to a larger good that contributes to your professional and personal growth. Eventually the sense of achievement that drives this pursuit will lead to satisfaction and happiness.
Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur? – I am not sure of this one, but being an entrepreneur is not for the weak hearted. Being a successful entrepreneur is only for those who are self-disciplined and not fazed by the small struggles of everyday business.
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur? – Being one’s own boss. You can set your own targets and aim to achieve them. However this profession has many more ‘not-so-favourites’ too that one enjoys in an employment.
What book do you think everyone on the team should read? – ‘Steve Jobs’
Has becoming an entrepreneur/ recruiter changed your life, if so how? – Absolutely, it has given me the freedom of choice, the access to data that helps you decide and execute anything that you wish for yourself
Which 3 adjectives describe you? Independent, determined, patient, zealous, and jovial. In private you could call me ‘nutty’, caring and thoughtful.
One misconception people have about the recruitment business? – That this business is about matching keywords and making money. This is a business of transferring emotions, of changing people’s lives and the future of organisations.
Tell us why is the Antal Franchise model the best for Recruitment Entrepreneurs – What else but Antal. There is no other franchise opportunity outside of the US that is growing as fast as Antal, within 8 yrs of being in India we have presence in 13 cities and 30+ offices
What qualities should an aspiring entrepreneur possess – Resilience, patience and ambition
Did you ever regret any decision you made in the last 5 years – not a single one, infact I stand by every decision I have made. If I were asked what I wished to have changed from my 8 yrs at Antal experience, it would probably be strategizing for a more aggressive growth.
- What’s you fitness mantra? – An hour at the gym every morning, eat reasonably well and play field games. Most of all, remain positive and keep smiling.
- Tell us something about your family –Nisha, mysoulmate for nearly 20 yrs now. We got married 14 yrs ago and have two lovely kids. Chloe, 10 yrs now was born in London, loves music and dance that she is learning professionally. Aaron, 7 yrs now was born in Mumbai and loves to play football and is as nutty as me.
- Favourite Destination: Of the holidays I have had thus far, it has to be Antarctica. Calm, serene, nature, waters, ice, sea creatures – name it and Antarctica has it all.
- How do you balance your professional & personal life? – I wish I had a magic wand to manage this, all I can say is having an office near home helps to balance work and life to quite an extent.
- Hobbies – Biking, I love to go around biking trails and wish to soon set off on Route 66.
- Proud Antal Moment – Consecutively winning Best Office of The Year award in 2012 & 2013 as well as the Chairman’s Award for Excellence in 2012.
What keeps you motivated to do the same job every day? – The hope of creating an organisation that produces capital valuation returning to both investors and colleagues much beyond what they ever anticipated to achieve
To end the interview we have a small note from Mr. Doug Bugie President Antal International Network who would like to give us some insights on Joe
“Joseph Devasia is my idea of ‘renaissance businessman’, meaning, he can do it all: He’s a great Executive Recruitment Consultant, he can hire and develop very fine people and teach this business at the desk or managerial level. He understands technology and what it can do, he understand public relations, he understand markets, he is effective with economics, he can talk world issues, he is multicultural, he ‘get it’ completely about franchisee -franchisor relations, he is trusted friend, counsellor to myself, he’s a man with a big heart, deep soul, I simply cannot say enough good things about him…but I am going to!
He is also a tireless advocate of Antal globally and understands that there is no substitute for hard work.
He has been recognized for this leadership by Antal at past AGC”S. I have seen Joe in action, up close and personal ever more than 14 trips to India since I started with Antal. He’s been the straw that stripped the drink! It is good, though, to see other owners and the business growing and moving ahead, that Antal India is strengthening.. and some owners are nipping at Joe’s heels now!
Antal is getting great, faster now, and will get better and greater because Joseph Devasia just gets on with leadership, with strength and equally with caring about the people in the Antal family. He continues to learn and that culture he has embedded(with little help from his friends)has become part of the overall culture of Antal India.
Joe and I don’t always agree, but that’s good. There is mutual respect and understanding. We all want to win and with Joe leading not only India, but influencing all of Antal, we will find ways to win.
Finally, and most tellingly, nothing is more important to Joe than his family and his religion; this is what counts most to him. He lives it.
It has to be recognized Joe has excellent support from his management team (Ferzyn, Roger, Shivi, Trina who are supported in the network by Shinu & Gina) his family as well as his partners, (Mr. Joyas John and Mr. Purvin Patel). He derives great strength and advice from them.
I hope and trust Joe will be part of our lives and businesses for many years to come.”