Two Entrepreneurs on a Journey: From Good to Great

Entrepreneurs follow an exceptional path and sometimes the life advice we gather from family, friends and Google don’t necessarily apply to our situation or quite what we need. We seek advice that aligns with our professional & crazy lifestyle goals and such advice often comes from unique experiences. On the 14th of April 2019, Manish Mehta and I reached our 18th year in business. The last 18 years undeniably saw the best and worst of us as we navigated our two businesses;CnetG Asia and Propay Partners, through three recessions, disruptions in business models and operations. Fast forward to today, these companies are already recognized as global players.

Manish Mehta and Raj Kumar Paramanathan, Founders of CnetG Asia

We have recruited more than 2000 candidates, worked withover 100 firms and hired for 30+ start-ups during the course of 18 years. As a diversity recruitment firm, we have uncovered and placed top senior talents in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia in some of the biggest organizations to drive their agendas. Our sense of sheer fulfillment stems from the opportunity to deliver added-value to our clients and breakthrough performances of their teams. Through our global footprint, IRC Global Executive Search Partners, we are presently the world’s largest alliance of independently owned executive search firms. Despite all that, we’d be untruthful if we said we’ve mastered the entrepreneurial lifestyle. So, here’s a summary of what we’ve learnt along the way; 5 fundamental lessons that made our unique path more attainable.


Have a Clear Purpose and Never Back Down.
We have always believed that work is a means for us to achieve a higher purpose in life. Having a sense of higher purpose beyond financial incentives keeps us motivated to stretch our boundaries. Our purpose is to create an impact on the lives of people we work with. When it comes to impacting our clients and candidates, our key differentiation lies in the non-transactional partnership beyond the search process. Our focus on ensuring a constructive experience led us to coaching our candidates throughout their career journey to help them lead better and accomplish their career goals. Our insights have also helped expatriate leaders learn local cultural nuances to drive better collaboration and performance. It is through all that time invested in continuous engagements with our clients and candidates to truly understand their challenges and expectations that we recognized the magnitude of biases and stereotyping involved in the recruitment process. From thereon, it became a conscious mission of ours to build a sustainable pipeline of female executives by championing gender diversity.

Choose happiness over profit.
With a clear purpose, you will choose to make decisions that are bound to bring you happiness than reluctance, regret or fear. We work with clients who support our purpose in developing human potential and also corporate values that are similar. We keep a long-term perspective with our clients which means we go the extra mile just to find the diamond from the dusts, and have the courage to advice clients if we have a different opinion than theirs. We have to make bold decisions including saying No when the opportunity is not something that is aligned with our purpose and values. 

Lifelong learning.
Lifelong learning is now a pre-requisite in the world’s rapid changing environment. It is through which the maximum potential of an individual is unlocked. The stimulation and empowerment it brings enables one to connect all the dots in one’s life and combine them into something great. I personally start my days attending “Traffic” University by listening to Ted-Talks, meaningful podcasts and anything in the likes of that. I wind down my days by constantly reading on business and leadership. Above and beyond, we cannot sustain our personal growth if we don’t learn from others. We learn from others more effectively by gathering thought leaders in roundtable discussions around best practices in Leadership, Diversity & Inclusion and of course current trends. Joining industry associations and networks outside our comfort zones have also enabled us to continuously evolve.

Build powerful, loyal and growing tribes.
Loyalty manifests itself amongst people who share common goals, ambitions and values. Similarly, people feel more compelled to contribute to a cause when they share common goals with their peers. However, contribution alone without loyalty will cause you to lose sight of your goals and loyalty alone without equal contribution is just complacency in disguise. Never should one be in a position without equal loyalty and contribution. I therefore focus my energy on thriving and building my legacy alongside various tribes i.e. family members & relatives, lifelong friends with similar aspirations, my fitness buddies, CEOs and HR Directors, networks supporting our diversity mission and of course; equally passionate partners in IRC Global Executive Search Partners. As Helen Keller accurately puts it, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

This Too Shall Pass.
No storm can last forever. Staying true to our purpose whilst leading spiritual lives, helped us navigate through turbulent storms over the last 18 years. We believe in regularly reactivating our drives by reflecting on what we truly want out of life; to create value in people’s lives. Upon recalibrating our settings, we begin to experience less resistance and are in no way willing to acknowledge any barriers until we accomplish our mission. In the words of Henry Ford, “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.”

At the end of the day, every difficulty always presents an opportunity within. The rapid changes and disruptions in the recruitment business have made us evolve into a global executive search firm; focused on C-Suite & Board appointments and delivering development programs around Diversity & Inclusion and Leadership in partnership with local & international experts.

An article by Raj Kumar Paramanathan (IRC Malaysia and Thailand).