Over the horizon

It was a near-perfect opportunity, Abbas Sadriwalla says. India was a developing country with a booming economy but a minimal and
largely outdated communications infrastructure. Wireless Logix Group — the $10 million wireless solutions company that Sadriwalla has
headed since 2001 — had the services that could bring modern communications technology to India without having to erect thousands
of utility poles and pull miles and miles of cable.

Wireless Logix and India were a hand-in-glove fit. But that doesn’t mean going into the market has been simple. Sadriwalla had to establish a regional office in India, find the right managers to head that office, and figure out a way to bridge the physical and cultural distance
between Fort Lauderdale-based Wireless Logix and its employees and customers in India. Smart Business with Sadriwalla about the
right way to approach international growth.

Q: What are the keys to communicating effectively when your company covers such a large distance?

Over the years, having success and making mistakes, I would conclude that when you want to have offices overseas and run them successfully, there are several key components. It’s the type of people at the heart of these things.

The one important step leaders should make sure of is … if they have [field] offices, those offices are manned by people that share the passion, that identify with the product or services of the company. It’s not just a job or a paycheck, but that they are innately driven by that position.

It’s going to be impossible to sit at long distances and constantly motivate people. So in that type of role, you need to have motivating
leaders.

Q: How do you find leaders who can motivate?

It calls for a bit of luck, because every time you interview somebody, that person is the best actor you’ll ever find. Right then, they want
to secure the job.

I think a way to find good people is that you have to start by being a good person yourself. We are all capable of reading each other. So
one of the keys to finding good people is to provide them with good leadership. You have to give back what you expect.

Q: How do you take a wide view when branching into new markets?

I’m always thinking of solutions, and how does one solve the problem in an elegant way. Any problem can have 10 solutions, but the
solution that is going to be most effective is the solution that is going to be easiest to use and the least expensive to implement.

The important thing is that one has to be somewhat of a visionary, one has to look further down the road and ask, “What is going to happen, what does the marketplace need, how can life be better?” For that type of attitude, one has to be more than a salesperson; one has to
be passionate.

Q: How do you develop a passion for seeking out new opportunities?

Passion can be developed during success and during failure. Failure can be more of a teacher than success. Success tends to breed
complacency, but when people fail, they tend to become more passionate.

Normally, an entrepreneur is someone who likes challenges in life. When they fail, they blame themselves. They go out and ask how they
can do it better, where did they go wrong, how can they improve. For an entrepreneur, the challenge is within themselves, not in the outside world.

Q: How have you used failure to make yourself better?

In the early ’90s, when paging became very popular, I got into that field and used to manufacture a pager component called a pager
crystal. I was enormously successful in doing that. But success bred complacency, and I rode that down, not seeing that pagers would
evolve into cell phones.

After that failure, I decided that there had to be more to one’s planning about how one grows in the technology sector, because that is such
an evolving sector.

Q: How do you deal with cultural differences in a new market?

One of the things culture will dictate is how easily a particular technology is going to be accepted and adopted. You have to be pretty committed to these types of things because it might not necessarily happen in the time frame you want it to happen, or with the budget you want
it to happen.

You maintain patience by studying the market, and you make sure that the step you are about to take is something that is needed, will benefit you and give you a feeling of purpose. Also, I think that if you can partner with a local individual or company, that will certainly make
the process easier, less cost-expensive and sometimes quicker.

HOW TO REACH: Wireless Logix Group, (954) 566-0992 or www.wirelesslogixgroup.com

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