Work(ing) Better with executives
From Goa-centric travel portal to executive training, Swapnil has the drive to push the limits even further
Suezelle D’Costa / The Goan 23 February 2013
He was born in Canada, raised in Goa and later moved to Mumbai to start his own company that trains executives from across India.
Swapnil Kamat, CEO and Chief Trainer at Work Better kick-started his entrepreneurial career when he was 23 years young. But prior to that, he worked as a Brand Manager at L’Oreal India after pursuing MBA from Symbiosis, Pune. Kamat lived with his family in Goa until he completed his graduation from Dempo College.
“I always wanted to start something on my own,” says Kamat, before adding, “Business runs in my blood. My dad’s family run a business in Goa.”
Kamat has been in Mumbai for the last seven years, but he finds no other city as fascinating as Panjim, the capital of Goa. Also, Konkani is still his language. “I definitely speak Konkani,” he says. “I’ve been in Panjim all my life. I love no other city more than Panjim. Not even Mumbai. I’m here because this is the only city from where I can run a company,” Kamat adds.
Before venturing into Work Better, Kamat and his wife Ruchira Karnik started Trip2Goa.com, a portal that focused on the travelling scene in Goa. “When I moved to Mumbai, a lot of people came to me for advice on travelling in Goa. It then occurred to me that I could start a business which made travelling a lot simpler in Goa. I was giving advice and earning a buck as well,” Kamat says. Though Kamat started his company with his savings, his family stood as his financial backbone.
After some time, Kamat and his wife weren’t very happy with what they were doing. “With Trip2Goa, we were doing fairly well. However, we couldn’t see ourselves doing travel business in the long run. There was no potential for growth beyond a point, and there was a lot of competition to sustain in the market,” Kamat recalls.
Soon, Trip2Goa changed owners and Work Better followed. The new training company was inspired by two ideas – Past experiences and family background. “With Trip2Goa, I used to attend training sessions organized by my clients, and I knew I could do better,” he says, before narrating, “My maternal grandfather and author Sadguru Pai’s philosophy centered around the words, ‘You are the architect of your destiny’. Here’s where I got the idea to start Work Better. And as mentioned earlier, my paternal family is into business, I just merged both.” He adds.
Work Better has a strength of eight full-time employees and a network of 25 to 30 trainees across India. The main hub is in Mumbai, but Kamat also has an office in Goa. An office in Delhi is in the pipeline.
Commenting on the challenges Kamat faces as an entrepreneur, he says it’s about getting the right people. “Anyone who wants to represent Work Better needs to have the right attitude, a passion to do something big, needs to be brave and fearless and should have an appetite for knowledge. Anyone who updates their Facebook status every half an hour should not even consider applying to Work Better.”
Today, Work Better is strictly into executive training. “It’s more about getting people to share their experiences with us,” Kamat says. “We train on Leadership, communication, customer service and other areas which are related to executives,” he adds. “My job is to make people better in what they’re already good at,” Kamat says.
When asked what he would be doing when not at work, Kamat says, “I am never ‘not at work’. I have no other hobbies. Even if I’m reading, it’s related to work. I try to spend time with my family in Goa and considering that I’m a party animal, night clubs is what I love next after my work, but this is only reduced to free time,” concludes the 30-year-old CEO.