[quote style=”boxed”]Idea generation is not a solo process. My ideas come from talking with my team. Then, we bring them to our customers to get feedback.[/quote]
Asha Saxena is the president and CEO of Future Technologies Inc., an international data management solutions firm. FTI’s Center for Analytics Services (CAS) provides data management and analytic solutions through business strategy and technology development. Through a pre-built data model, FTI CAS takes complex information and helps crystallize KPIs into user-friendly dashboards. FTI CAS also specializes in healthcare, analytics, and higher education consulting.
Asha founded FTI in 1996 and grew the company by 100 percent within its first five years. FTI has completed projects with companies such as The New York Times, Forbes, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase.
Asha is an expert in helping individuals and companies understand how to create value from their data and use data to help formulate and communicate well-informed business decisions.
In addition to her work with FTI, Asha has served as an adjunct professor and entrepreneur in residence at Columbia University. Asha was also invited to be a member of the World Economic Forum, where FTI was named “Global Growth Company 2007.” Asha currently resides in New Jersey.
Where did the idea for Future Technologies Inc. come from?
I graduated as a computer science engineer. At my first job, I saw the need for application and system implementations. There was a need in the industry for companies that could do that, and I thought I could build a business around that.
What does your typical day look like, and how do you make it productive?
My typical day is all about problem solving and building the company, so I spend most of my time strategizing. I also try to devote time to mentoring my leadership teams and spending time with my customers.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Idea generation is not a solo process. My ideas come from talking with my team. Then, we bring them to our customers to get feedback.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The possibilities with Big Data and analytics are truly endless. I’m anxious to see how technology develops in the next several years. It’s going to help us understand data more effectively to make better business decisions.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
One of my most productive habits is always seeking new innovations. I’m always discovering new ways to do things more effectively. These new discoveries make me really excited to share what I learn with others.
What was the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?
When I was a programmer, I knew I couldn’t just sit and code all day. I enjoy spreading the benefits of technology more than writing the code. I like knowing what it can do and implementing it, but I prefer to focus on adoption rather than development, so I surround myself with people who are strong in that area.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
If I were to start again, I would take all the knowledge and experience I have today and use that to make better decisions from day one.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
As an entrepreneur, I take risks every time I innovate and launch new services, products, or ideas. It can be scary, but this is how progress happens. I strongly recommend everyone to jump in and “just do it” when they have an idea that’s just crazy enough to work.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One strategy that helped me grow my business was to constantly innovate and improve what we do. We’re always looking at new trends and technology and talking to our customers about what we can improve.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I’ve had many failures, but one big one was thinking we would always stay on top and taking success for granted. That made us complacent. Complacency is the enemy of growth, and it’s dangerous to assume that all is well and you’ll never experience a downturn.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
With Big Data, our government has made data public on Data.gov. There are so many opportunities to provide services and products and go to market with something new based on that data.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
Something very few people know about me is that I do get scared of failure, but I keep a strong face and a super optimistic approach to everything and never let anyone see my fears.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
We’re a big technology firm and believe in technology wholeheartedly. Our office is completely automated, from our CRM to our workforce management system to all operations systems.
I’m a huge fan of technology because the right tools can help your team work together more effectively. You can do a lot more with your time and track a lot more. If your business is not completely automated, it’s hard to be successful.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Good to Great” by Jim Collins is my all-time favorite because it reminds me how easy it is to get stuck in good and the importance of being great.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
I find myself influenced by unexpected people each and every day, from my kids to my employees to my customers and vendors. But among famous leaders, I greatly admire the work of John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie, who revolutionized our country during the Industrial Age and set a strong example of innovation and leadership for the entrepreneurs who followed them.
On the personal side, there were two people who influenced me the most: My mentor and my first and only boss, Steve Fleischner, who inspired me to be an entrepreneur, was one. He pushed me hard to excel and encouraged me to start a business. He taught me resilience and perseverance. And, most importantly, I have been influenced by my mother, who has been a living example of hard work, dedication, and tireless energy. At the age of 76, I still see her work hard and dedicate herself to her profession. Her passion for her work inspires me to continue as long as I can.
Asha Saxena on Twitter: @asha_saxena
Asha Saxena on LinkedIn:
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.