Anand Narayan

Anand Narayan – Founder & CEO Kenobi Capital

Anand Narayan uses his entrepreneurial experience to benefit others, particularly focusing on exit strategies.

What’s your story?

I’m Anand, a Navy veteran (Nuclear Propulsion Officer and Sharp Shooter), Cornell MBA, Investor, Board Member, and Serial Entrepreneur with a flair for adventure. My entrepreneurial journey started with scaling and exiting a $65 million IT staffing company. I then started ITTDigital, an IT Services Company, and exited in 2023.

Today, I spearhead Kenobi Capital, which is dedicated to maximizing founder value through strategic exits while solving problems for capital markets. I’m also active on multiple boards, leveraging my diverse skills to solve business challenges.

My life’s adventures include hiking Kilimanjaro, traveling to 50+ countries, and being a private pilot.

What excites you most about your industry?

I’m passionate about helping founders capitalize on their lifetime’s work. Many spend decades building their businesses but struggle with the exit process. I guide them to successful exits using financial engineering, automation, and cost optimization, ensuring they get their deserved value. I also work to make small businesses attractive to capital markets, unlocking additional value.

What excites me most is interacting with diverse, inspiring entrepreneurs, learning their stories, and aiding them on their journey. It’s fulfilling to assist these hardworking individuals in enjoying the fruits of their labour, creating a beneficial outcome for both them and capital markets.

Anand in NYC

What drives you in your career to push beyond what other people consider normal?

My motivation comes from my parents’ remarkable story. They immigrated from India, starting in a cramped one-bedroom apartment shared by nine. My father, earning $20 an hour, supported us while completing his MS. Meanwhile, my mother pursued her MBA at Wharton, balancing her studies with raising two kids.

Their relentless effort culminated in my father’s business achieving a multi-million dollar exit. This legacy of resilience and triumph over adversity drives me. Recognizing the substantial head start their struggles provided; I am inspired to build upon their success and honor their journey through my own achievements.

What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?

The most crucial skills I’ve honed in my journey are working with, managing, and influencing people. Mastering these interpersonal dynamics has been pivotal. I’ve learned that successful deals hinge on creating win-win scenarios where all parties involved see clear value and trust is established. This approach has been a cornerstone of my success, enabling me to foster effective collaborations, build strong networks, and lead teams toward shared goals. These skills have facilitated successful business transactions and have been instrumental in shaping lasting relationships and partnerships, crucial for sustained success in the dynamic landscape of entrepreneurship and capital markets.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?

“Focus on building relationships, not just transactions.” This wisdom has been a guiding principle in my career. It taught me that the true value in business lies not merely in the deals we make, but in the relationships we cultivate along the way. Whether it’s with clients, partners, or team members, nurturing trust and understanding forms the bedrock of lasting success. This approach has not only led to more meaningful and successful business interactions but has also enriched my professional journey with genuine connections and collaborations, making every transaction part of a larger, more rewarding narrative.

Who inspires you?

I’m inspired by entrepreneurs who turned their visions into impactful realities, especially those who started with little and achieved monumental success. Figures like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, who revolutionized entire industries, demonstrate what can be achieved. Their journeys, marked by both remarkable triumphs and significant setbacks, remind me that perseverance and creativity are key to transformative success.

Locally, I draw inspiration from everyday entrepreneurs I meet – their passion, grit, and determination in overcoming challenges and creating value are a constant source of motivation, reinforcing my commitment to empowering and guiding founders in their entrepreneurial journeys.

What have you learnt recently that blew you away?

I was captivated by a concept in “The 4-Hour Work Week” and “Key Person of Influence”: that 10% of your actions contribute to 90% of your success. This revelation has profoundly influenced my approach to work. It underscores the importance of pinpointing and focusing on those critical actions that yield significant results. This principle highlights that success isn’t solely about hard work; it’s about strategically directing your efforts. Emphasizing efficiency and effectiveness and seeking the right guidance can vastly amplify the impact of your endeavors. This insight has reshaped my strategy, concentrating on what truly matters for achieving impactful outcomes.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?

If I had another chance, I would seek insights from founders who’ve successfully sold their businesses, learning from their experiences and challenges. This would’ve better prepared me for potential issues and the broader implications of such deals. Dedicating more time to reading and expanding my knowledge would have been beneficial. I would also have delved deeper into understanding buyers’ true motives and negotiated more strategically, ensuring stronger safety nets rather than taking things at face value. Being more informed and cautious is crucial, especially when experts are on the opposite side. This approach would have enhanced my preparedness and decision-making.

How do you unwind?

I immerse myself in travel, exploring new countries and cultures to unwind. Adventurous at heart, I’ve climbed challenging peaks and even learned to fly a plane, embracing the thrill and freedom it offers.

Closer to home, spending quality time with my family is my go-to way to relax. Additionally, I love Star Wars; watching the latest shows and movies is my perfect escape. These activities provide a break from my busy life and enrich me with new experiences and perspectives, allowing me to return to my work refreshed and inspired.

What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your career?

A significant mindset shift in my career was realizing the importance of autonomy. I decided that working on my own terms, prioritizing what matters to me, and having the flexibility to work from anywhere far outweighed the traditional office environment. This led to my decision to avoid a conventional office setting. Additionally, I had an ‘ah ha’ moment when I grasped the nuances of the IT Services and Staffing industry, specifically the potential to merge companies to create value strategically. This approach piqued my interest and seemed more effective in benefiting all stakeholders, reshaping my business strategies and career trajectory.

Everyone in business should read this book:

Everyone in business should read “Psychology of Money” by Morgan Housel, “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki, and “The 4-Hour Work Week” by Timothy Ferriss. These books offer an understanding of personal finance, wealth-building, and innovative work principles. “Psychology of Money” delves into how our behaviors and emotions influence financial decisions, “Rich Dad Poor Dad” provides fundamental insights into managing and investing money effectively, and “The 4-Hour Work Week” challenges conventional work norms, advocating for efficiency and flexibility. Together, they equip professionals with knowledge and strategies for financial success and a more balanced, productive approach to work and life.

Anand in Kili

Shameless plug for your business or career:

At Kenobi Capital, we champion a partnership approach to maximize founder value. We align our success with yours – we only gain when you gain. Our financial engineering, automation, and cost optimization expertise is tailored to maximize your business value. We specialize in de-risking small businesses and making them attractive for capital markets, creating a win-win for founders and investors. Our commitment is to work alongside you, ensuring that your journey to exit is strategically planned and executed. With Kenobi Capital, you’re working with owners and operators who are invested in your success. Let’s achieve great things together!

How can people connect with you?

People can easily connect with me through LinkedIn and email. For professional networking, insights into my ventures, and industry discussions, visit my LinkedIn profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/anandnarayan-kenobicapital/. Feel free to connect, follow, or reach out to me there. Email is the best route for more direct and specific inquiries, collaboration proposals, or consultations. Contact me at Anand@KenobiCapital.com. I welcome discussions about entrepreneurship, strategic business exits, or any other opportunities where my expertise could be valuable. Don’t hesitate to connect; I’m always open to new ideas and partnerships.

Social Media Links?

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anandnarayan-kenobicapital/

This interview is part of the CallumConnects series.

About The EnterpriseZone Writing Team

Shining A Light on the Small Business World and highlighting Entrepreneurial Investing Opportunities.

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