Thanks for showing so much love to my book – The Anexas Story. Based on many requests to publish chapters of the book on LinkedIn, I continue to write a series of articles based on these chapters. Please read on and keep believing that there is an entrepreneur in you…and everyone! 


Playing it safe in today’s world is the biggest risk. Coming from a middle-class family, I have always believed in taking small risks, with an adequate safety net. My risk-taking capabilities were zero when I started out as an employee in my first job. I never even spoke to women earnestly, I was that kind of risk averse person. Yes, it’s true. My spouse will tell you that too!

Based on the initial successes as a consultant and trainer, I started getting ideas of becoming a freelance trainer. Giving up a well-paying job to try out something new was risky. But some of my earlier calculated risks had paid off well. Like the move to India from Thailand. Or taking up that Rs. 7000 job at the Indian Statistical Institute. In one of the NASSCOM conferences sometime in 2004, after I had finished speaking about how Lean Six Sigma had profited my clients, one engineer Sudhakar came to me and quietly said, “Sir I would like to become a consultant like you.”

And I simply commented, “What are you waiting for? Just go ahead. Complete the training and certification with a project, and you would be like me!”

“But sir, it costs a lot! Somewhere around Rs. 1.5 Lakh ($2500), which most of the renowned consulting companies charge. It’s too much for me, you know.” He replied with a hint of desperation.

I could see the zeal in his eyes to complete the certification. But what was stopping him?

His inability to pay the high fee. I started wondering, “Why do we charge Rs. 1.5 lakhs for a knowledge transfer?” After giving it a thought for a minute, I assured him, “Don’t worry, Sudhakar. You can come to my home and I can prepare you for the exam.” But Sudhakar clarified, “Sir, there is no such institute which just conducts the exam.”

That triggered series of thoughts which sowed the first seed of business in my mind. Why can’t I help people like Sudhakar? To help him, I had to have an organization which could certify at a very low cost. There were none out there. I could also sense that there were many people like Sudhakar who sought knowledge and wished to make a career in process excellence consulting. They could not take leaves from their offices too.

Within two weeks Sudhakar was at my house for knowledge transfer sessions on weekends and I got him certified through my friend’s registered HR company. Probably he was the first person to get certified by ‘Anexas’, a company which was yet to take any name, shape and form. The seed sown would sprout in one year and Sudhakar would receive an official Anexas certificate only then, when Anexas was incorporated.

This I did it with some risk. Let me describe this process a bit more. I was then staying in Chennai working for a BPO during 2004-06. In response to Sudhakar’s need, I experimented with conducting a Six Sigma training program at my home with three attendees. Those days Six Sigma training was only for the elite, who could afford the high fee to become a Black Belt. I did it for less than 10% of the market rate for Sudhakar and two other interested persons. Looking at Sudhakar, who used to travel from Vishakhapatnam to Chennai by train on weekends to attend sessions, I could guess the potential market.

The word spread fast. I had to hold on to the job and so I turned down more such requests from prospective trainees. But the success gave me tremendous confidence. I suggested one quality training company based in Delhi to launch a Black Belt program. The CEO of that organization used to conduct ISO 9000 trainings and when I assured him of my assistance to successfully launch Black Belt training, he agreed. Lonnie Sapp, the COO of the organization where I worked, gave me permission to conduct only two programs. So, I did two programs for that Delhi based benchmarking company, after which its CEO himself started conducting the training, and I saw him prosper not only in fame but financially too.

After the Chennai BPO, I got a job in one of the world’s largest investment bank as Head of a business unit’s Transformation team. When I came to Bangalore at its shared services center, I had more reasons to take the experiment further. I informed Amandeep Singh, one of my colleagues in the bank that I was interested in conducting a training and asked if he knew any people interested in such a program. In just two days, he got hold of five people, including Pradeep, who joined Anexas team later. With three other people joining in for the training to make a batch of eight, I launched the first Bangalore batch.

News of the success of this program spread fast within Bangalore and we started getting lot of requests for training and project guidance. It was time to start something new. In the third batch Pradeep and one more Black Belt, Kaustub expressed their interest to run the workshops. I was happy to see their keenness and as I welcomed them, I knew that the programs could continue even if I was not in Bangalore.

And I continued to take the risk of running the company while working, till I got another opportunity, which we will come to later. It was now time to take another risk by taking our experiment to a larger platform.

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In fact, isn’t life itself a risk? And we didn’t even have WhatsApp back then to increase the risk through fake rumors. So, it was prudent to just play the game as it happened. You know, like Tom Cruise in that plane film, what was the name?

Top Gun. Yes.




For subsequent articles, please watch this space.

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Amitabh Saxena is founder of Anexas, a well-known lean six sigma and project management consulting organisation. He has trained over 50,000 participants and has 30 years of experience in consulting more than 300 organisations around the world including Fortune 100 companies across industry domains. With a strong team of 25 Master Black Belts, his organisation Anexas has been helping individuals and organisations achieve eminence through excellence since 2006. They can be reached on