This month, Nextenture turned six years old. Heading into the second half of the year, our CEO, Nikhil Kinikar, had time to reflect upon his journey. His strongest memories of the last six years are of the events that caused him to break barriers; psychological, financial, and personal.
Some people are born entrepreneurs, naturally flowing into what’s meant to be theirs. For Nikhil, entrepreneurship was never part of the plan.
“When I was in school, my goals were simple: graduate, get a job, and stick to it,” said Nikhil. But starting in 1996, he earned the job of a lifetime at a then small company whose uncompromising commitment to its craft and customers immediately inspired him and hundreds of other employees over the next decade. At the time, Nikhil and his coworkers had no idea just how formative these years would be.
CEO Nikhil Kinikar back in his days with @ReflexisSystems. How about that mustache on the left? #ThrowbackThursday pic.twitter.com/p2YRaDe4pG
— Nextenture (@nextenture) April 27, 2017
Eventually coming together under the name Reflexis Systems, the team refined and revolutionized store operations and workforce management within retail. By the end of the 2000s, great men and women had turned what was once a startup into a global empire, one that could withstand any challenge thrown at it and overcome any obstacle. To date, Nikhil looks back fondly on this period of time. It laid the groundwork for his own journey to entrepreneurship.
In 2012, Nikhil started thinking of applying the lessons he had learned over the last decade for starting his own company. With the experience of the team’s collective successes and triumphant resolve in mind, Nikhil had a vision of building another team that would also help others break barriers in other areas, while also delivering solutions and services that could benefit both software developers and clients.
He had been working in developing workforce management software for 17 years, and in 2013, he finally left his old company. Nikhil was only 40 years old, and leaving what he had known for nearly all of his adult life was probably the toughest personal barrier yet.
But, Nikhil’s old workplace had given him double-digit years of learning retail strategy, managing software deployments, and building products. There was immense potential within the market for delivering solutions and services that augment workforce management products and improve labor performance. As it became important to clearly define what those solutions and services entailed, it also became critical to digest the biggest bit of advice that his former bosses offered at the start of the journey: that communication would make or break his success.
“Unlike before, where my job was fairly straightforward, being the sole company representative and its leader made it critical for me to push myself to express my vision for the business openly and fearlessly,” said Nikhil, adding that it was critical the company remain flexible to the needs of the industry and prospective clients. This made a world of difference when it came to reaching out to his professional network for business. No longer was there any awkward discomfort of explaining to former clients that he was now “on his own” – Nikhil had a mission to carry out. As an independent business owner, he looked upon this new phase of his life and came up with a name for the new company to reflect this next adventure: Nextenture.
Six years later, Nextenture is now a small, still-growing, but ambitious 50-person company of industry experts, product consultants, and former retail executives. Unlike before, when Nikhil hesitated to call himself a “chief executive” of a one-person consultancy, he now had a team of distinguished subject matter experts, with a duty to their mission, themselves, and their customers.
The list of small, large, harmless, and serious barriers Nextenture faced was endless. For Nikhil, challenges ranged from hiring his first employee, knowing that their ability to support their family and other commitments depended on the team’s success, to learning how to demo to a room full of hundreds of executives. As he puts it, learning how to overcome these barriers was never an active choice – it was out of duty.
“Nextenture is still a business in its nascent stages with a mountain of challenges and a thousand more barriers to break,” said Nikhil. “But our muscles are now stronger, wings broader, and the sky is just opening up. We will break every barrier, because that’s our job.”
Today, Nextenture simplifies the journey to operational excellence for over 40 global retail brands. To learn more about Nextenture, schedule a meeting with one of our representatives or book time with a Nextenture consultant at one of our upcoming events.