In the middle of adversity

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Mr S. Murlidhar
Mr S. Murlidhar

When we set up MeritTrac (

) in 2000 to develop and deliver scientifically designed assessments, the initial excitement was all about the business idea and the dot-com climate in India. Though there were initial successes with MeritTrac bagging orders from some large IT players, what followed was the bursting of the tech bubble and the recession in 2001-02.

Hiring came to a halt with revenues drying up and uncertainty looming large. To make matters worse, our angel investor expressed his inability to support us for the next six months. It was our `moment of truth'.

The alternatives were to survive without doling out salaries for six months, which was how long the cash reserves would have lasted; or sustaining through helping companies with whatever little recruitment happened by sourcing; or taking the final call to wind up the business.

The team, in the middle of adversity, stood tall by refusing to get into sourcing/placements as it meant a conflict of interest with assessments, which would contradict with the aim of being a pioneer in assessments. Now, the answer to the situation largely hinged on what the rest of the team, then at MeritTrac, had to say.

The belief in the dream outlived the scepticism when the employees reposed their faith in the idea and decided to stay on without salaries. The rest, as they say, is history. MeritTrac grew in size and stature to become `India's Largest Skills Assessment Company'.

Today, the management makes it a point to narrate the story to everyone who joins the MeritTrac family. This story has been a major motivator for the entire team and one that drives all of us to greater success. To us, it's not just a story; it's the spirit that propels the organisation.

Co-founder and Director - Service Delivery & Operations, MeritTrac.

S. Murlidhar

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 3, 2006)
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