“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
A mantra that Prakash Rao and Born in Flight identify with...
Once part of the Training and Development team at a bank, Mr Prakash Rao felt the urge to start his own business in the training and development sector. The idea came to him while he was running a marathon in 2013, where he reflected on his future. With support from his colleagues, Mr Rao started Born in Flight, a brand that specializes in executive leadership coaching for senior leaders to help them manage their teams better, achieve peak performance, and self-manage stress or identity issues.
The brand's tagline is "Change. Breakthrough. Transformation." Mr Rao's emotional attachment to his business stems from his humble beginnings. He didn't have a lot of money or a grand business plan, but he wanted to start a business and if it failed, he could go back to his job.
Mr Rao's sense of dutifulness and simplicity has helped him as an employee and entrepreneur. He keeps his work simple and focuses on doing what it takes, without getting into office politics. As a leader, he is approachable and has maintained good relations with people who worked for him, even after they stopped reporting to him.
Mr Rao's business acumen has grown since becoming an entrepreneur, and he can understand any business model quickly. The brand works with a variety of companies, including the Indian Army and Fortune 500 companies. Born in Flight started as a solo entrepreneurship venture, but as projects got bigger, Mr Rao realized he needed to hire more people to handle coordination. In 2017, Born in Flight became a company, and Mr Rao now has a team to handle large projects.
Initially, his family and friends were sceptical of his decision to leave a six-figure salary bank job to start his own business. However, they eventually saw that Mr Rao was paying his bills regularly and maintaining his lifestyle. His mother, while not fully understanding what he does, carries his visiting card to give to people who ask about him. His family supports him in whatever he does, and his driver of eight years, Mr Satish, has become part of his family.
Born in Flight's brand personification is centred around accepting change, keeping things simple, and not overwhelming people with graphs or PowerPoint presentations. They have written over 5000 manual assessment reports on employees in the last ten years and have not prepared more than 300 slides for all their programs and clients. The brand believes in transformational change that people can bring about themselves.
Mr Rao had no business plan when he started the company, but he had a piece of paper where he wrote down all the things he could do. Some of the things he wrote, like NLP open workshops, open assessments, outdoor leadership, and leadership assessment, were implemented, but coaching was something new that they were doing today. He believed in putting the wind beneath the wings of his clients and making their ideas and moments of truth fly.
Born in Flight had worked with over 60-70 companies and had done substantial work with at least 15-20 of them. They had conducted over 200 workshops for one or two companies and had received only good feedback from their clients. They didn't pursue them for more business but rather delivered what they were asked to do. Their clients returned to them for further solid stuff and not going to big-name companies.
Looking back, Mr Rao wished that they had a product to sell ten years ago. He realized that they didn't make their services productive, but now that they were a coaching company, it didn't make any sense. However, he thought that he could write a book and sell it today.
Despite not having a business plan, Mr Rao's passion for transforming leaders into their best selves and his dedication to delivering quality coaching services led to the success of Born in Flight. His brand had become a quiet force of change in India, helping leaders achieve their breakthrough moments and transform their lives and careers forever.
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