Some people thrive on challenge. Even so, it takes a clear vision and plenty of courage to leave a secure job to go out on your own. Despite the pressures facing Blockhouse Bay local Prateek Malhotra the year he launched his business, he knew that the only way was forward.
Prateek and wife Sheetal had a young son. They had just bought their first home in June, and he was a month away from launching his business in August when they found out they were expecting again.
“I don’t know what I was thinking!” he laughs as he recalls those months in 2012. “18 months on one income!”
“Are you sure you don’t want another month?” says his boss at the ANZ, handing him a lifeline.
But there was never going to be a ‘perfect time’ and his mind was made up, so with the enthusiasm born of a long-held dream of being in business and several years of planning, Prateek began Everest Financial Services in August 2012. He chose the name because of the aspirational image Mt Everest conjures. It’s the epitome of challenge, aligning with his own determination to keep pushing to the next level.
Theres's never a 'right time' and the only way is forward
Prateek was no stranger to challenge. He left his home in Delhi as a 21-year-old with a BSc in Maths (Hons). His idea was to finish his MBA and go back to India, but the market was a bit slow. He worked in the BNZ for eight years, then the ANZ for another four, meanwhile studying part time at AUT.
In January 2005 he went back to India for a visit and came back married. Fortunately, he was given a couple of extra weeks off work for the occasion.
Their son was born in August 2009. Prateek finished his MBA in October and they took the baby to his graduation in December in a baby capsule.
The decision in 2012 to launch his business was a good one. Prateek worked from home for two years then as his business grew, he moved into premises in the Blockhouse Bay village. “I went in to get some business cards printed and Brom [Breetvelt] had a spare office going at the back of his premises, so I took it.” Five years later he now occupies a large office with its own street frontage, and is planning to take on a couple more brokers, preferably local people.
No-one from Prateek’s family had been in business or self-employed, and they couldn’t understand why he would want to do that. But he had always wanted to be in business on his own terms, and he’s happy with his decision which has provided him with freedom, choices, flexibility and time. He understands his customers’ needs, and gets tremendous satisfaction helping clients into their first home.
“Of course, there have been ups and downs; some years good and some not so much”, he says. “A lot depends on the economy, and banks changing lending policies and LVRs (loan to value ratios) affects business. But you just hang in there”.
“When I started out, my biggest fear was ‘how do I survive?’ My next was ‘how do I grow?’ But my biggest challenge is getting too comfortable”, he muses. “I constantly have to stay focused and remind myself what is important, especially my family – you don’t get the time back that you spend”.