Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Ravi Bahethi, and I am the president of Terranet, Inc. Since 1991, Terranet has been providing scientific and technical support services for government and industry clients. Before starting this company, I worked in IT and worked as a software engineer, but eventually, I wanted to start my own business. The transition from employee to owner didn’t seem too daunting, and I had many colleagues who had successfully followed the same path.
What has been one insight or lesson that has been most helpful in your career?
One insight or lesson that I find essential is the ability to work cohesively and collaboratively with others. When running a company, you work with people of all different backgrounds, talents, skill sets, and personalities. It takes time to get to know each person, but I find that positive working relationships are critical. I’ve learned that in order to be successful working with a variety of people, I need to work on engaging personally with everyone.
What has been your favorite mistake? A mistake that in retrospect led to a great lesson and progress.
One of my favorite “mistakes”, which I am still working to overcome, is my failure to delegate. I like to know exactly what is going on within my company and often fear the unknown. As the owner of the company, I feel responsible for everything within the company, but it’s impossible to get everything done by myself. Managing clients’ and employees’ needs can be demanding, but relying on others can relieve some of that stress and make things more efficient. have had to learn to take a step back and allow others to use their skills.
Project forward ten years. How will your industry or field be fundamentally different then? What opportunities do you see?
Governmental support services businesses are growing rapidly, and there is always going to be a need and a market for them. The government requires over a trillion dollars of support services, and I feel that companies like mine could easily double their revenue and double their current market share in the next few years, let alone the next ten.
What are some bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
I constantly remind myself and others that happiness and success can’t be measured by one’s accomplishments in the business world. Success seems superficial at times, and this is perpetuated throughout a lot of the business world. However, this is a very negative outlook, and I believe that success and happiness come from doing what you are passionate about and continuously working to improve yourself as an individual.
In the last two years, what have you become better at saying no to?
I’ve become better at saying no to other people’s needs. I’ve realized I can’t do everything myself, and that includes handling the needs of others. As a CEO, I’ve learned to delegate to make the workplace more efficient, and being able to say no is part of streamlining this process and making the best decisions for the company.
What is the one book you recommend most often and why?
I’d highly recommend a biography of John D. Rockefeller that I recently finished; it was very inspiring. Although he seemed to be an ordinary person with very little education, he was able to gain a lot of knowledge of risk and management. He was guided by his faith and excelled at managing and working with people. He was entirely self-made and was committed to giving back to the community, which was very inspirational. I found it admirable that even though he lived the majority of his life as a very rich man, he remained humble and generous.
One of my favorite quotes from the book reads:
I was early taught to work as well as play,
My life has been one long, happy holiday;
Full of work and full of play—
I dropped the worry on the way—
And God was good to me every day.
What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?
1. Finish college and get a degree in a relevant field. Incorporate your desired career into your educational path.
2. If and when you do start your own business, devote yourself entirely to it. Make sure you’re at a point where you can give one hundred percent to your business endeavor; nothing can be accomplished without full effort. Perseverance and dedication are key.
3. Ignore advice that tells you entrepreneurship is easy, or that it’s only appealing because you get to “be your own boss.” It’s a difficult and sometimes stressful process, and a startup CEO must be capable of managing time effectively and mitigating stressful situations.
What is your favorite quote, one you aim to live by?
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving”, Albert Einstein. This quote applies to so many different areas–learning, running a business, and even teaching.
The best way to connect with me is through the contact form on my personal website, www.ravibahethi.com.