It is exciting at times when people venture out on their own. Same was with this trio as they set out to build a full service professional advisory firm in a sentimental market like Chennai. Little did they know that the roads ahead were bumpy and uneasy. It has been a tough journey; but yet one filled events of compassion, perseverance, humility and hope.
Sony and Alex joined Soy in building SAS Partners Corporate Advisors. They share nothing in common other than one core value that has built this thirty member company. And that core value is in believing to be honest, true and professional to clients. Inside the world of consultants, seldom do you find people who come across as being professional. In such an environment, it isn’t easy to keep this value rooted. However, for this founding team it’s been an investment into their dream even if some may come around and pull them for keeping this value alive. SAS Partners became one of those few companies who invested in building a brand rather than on individual superheroes.
Over the years, this young company started building its niche across corporate legal services. SAS Partners had by then transformed clients from filing documents to being compliant. This was of tremendous value add to lot of foreign companies who were clueless to deal with the Indian authorities and the law web here. It was at this time that Soy began developing a team under him with a special focus on Company Law and FEMA. As the start-up boom happened and billions of dollars started to flow into Indian companies, compliance was becoming a major challenge for many entrepreneurs. “With the introduction of The Companies Act, 2013, more heads started to turn at us”, recalls Soy with a sense of purpose. “We believed in delivering to our clients at their interest; this started to pay off in some time”, adds Soy. Today, SAS Partners’ advisory practice around Company Law and FEMA helps hundreds of MNCs and startups alike.
As things moved, the team slowly took courage to add more value to customers by developing new service offerings. The founders always believed in sharing intellectual expertise that will ensure growth for their clients in all aspects. Their league started to shift gears as Alex started to focus on building a growth consulting division. This division would go on to hire engineers and MBAs, partner with fellow industry experts, and offer a wide range of services that would empower client companies and their founders in realizing better value.
Today, SAS works in a highly competitive market. At certain junctures, it is head on with the Big 4 in business. Besides competition, technology is transforming the environment and industry like never before. There have been unprecedented changes in the market, legal framework, thought process, and outlook in the scheme of things that are around. SAS offers a variety of corporate advisory services right from inception to divestiture of a company. This gives them the tag of being corporate lifecycle consultants.
The industry as such has undergone a lot of changes from 2008. Alex says with a cautious smile, “You find more consultants than the number of companies out there whenever you step into an industry event”. At the top, you have the Big 4 accounting firms now offering similar services to the same target pool. Outside, you also have a lot of senior dropouts who’ve decided to walk around on their own. Then, at last, the Chennai sentiment – the logic of giving business only “if my dad knows your dad”.
Amidst this mayhem, they’ve managed to hold on and grow. And how have they done this is as interesting as a fairy tale. At the leadership, there is deep respect that the trio exchange between themselves. This is no ordinary founding team that goes out to weekend parties. But instead, here is a team that respects the other person, gives their space, and believes in the other’s dream. For many outside, the relationship between the founders here continues to be an unsolved puzzle. This culture is indeed rooted down to all employees as well. The founders believe in giving every employee the recognition they deserve and the space they would want to have. Ideas are always welcome and appreciated. Some front runners have been associated with the company for many years now. Hari, an employee, recollects his own experience “I’ve never had the liberty to work so freely before”.
Trying new things has always been in their genes. Alex alone would’ve attempted at least three new ideas in the last two years, including one about starting a new Venture Capital fund. While the future continues to be as challenging and uncertain as much as it is exciting, there is a long way to go for this team. The future is going to be driven by faster decisions and new technologies, but all built on the culture that is being inherited from the very beginning. There is new hope and dream around every corner of this young and dynamic company as they embrace the future with the same level of integrity and humility.