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Why Not?

Dr Chandra strikes a relaxed pose
Dr Chandra strikes a relaxed pose

"Would you like to buy a radiology center? "Why?" came the response from the Indian and American trained radiologist who felt quite comfortable with the services he was then offering.

"Why not?" was the retort. Not much of a conversation by any measure, is it? Yet enough was there to impel Bangalore born, Dr. Satish Chandra out of his then comfort zone and into the world of entrepreneurship. Today this boyish, charming young man with a disarming smile is owner of the highly successful, Madison Avenue Radiology Center, located in the heart of Harlem, New York City.

Like any typical immigrant, Dr. Chandra moved from India to the US in search of new opportunities. However, unlike the typical immigrant, his success in business has resulted from an attitude expressed as ‘going with the flow.’ For this energetic, zealous businessman, going with the flow translates into being open to new opportunities while reserving the right to say ‘no’, staying the course through whatever challenges arise and working long hours without losing focus or drive.

No wonder that in the eighteen months that Madison Avenue Radiology Center has been in existence, it survived the initial lack of adequate financing during the height of the recession and grew from a four employee concern to a sixteen employee entity that has seen customers and income increase by over 300%. And if all goes according to plan Dr. Chandra expects to expand his New York City business into six centers by 2011.

frontal shot of the New Jersey Business - AIMS Diagnostic
frontal shot of the New Jersey Business - AIMS Diagnostic

One significant factor that has pushed this level of success is the paramount focus on customer satisfaction. In fact on entering the reception area one is pleasantly greeted with a variety of hot and cold beverages offered to customers as they relax amidst a soothing ambience. Then there is the stand out professionalism and courtesy of the staff drawn almost entirely from the community. This staffing strategy has allowed Madison Avenue Radiology Center to thrive without any social or cultural disconnect.

a technician at Madison Avenue Radiology in Manhattan

Also impactful in this equation is the down to earth quality of the owner who has taken success in stride without losing his spiritual grounding as an Indian. "I travel to India twice a year," disclosed Dr. Chandra. This allows him to reconnect with his spiritualism so that he is able to deal with the stresses of being an entrepreneur without losing equilibrium. This reconnection also enables him to retain two essential qualities that suffuse his business: honesty and ethics. Additionally, these visits to India help Dr. Chandra to maintain perspective. "Here in America I have come to appreciate the things people take for granted," he said. Then there is his almost contagious enthusiasm that animates his entire being when he talks about being involved in business, an enthusiasm that inevitably would have rubbed off on his employees.

The homely reception area at Madison Avenue Radiology in Manhattan

For Dr. Chandra, India visit means more than just scope to renew his spiritualism. His two siblings – a sister and a brother - reside there. Both are quite successful back home with the sister helping to manage a couple of businesses Dr. Chandra has also started in India. And so proud of his family as currently constituted, Dr. Chandra has no immediate plans to start a family of his own, choosing, instead to nurture and grow his business.

What about a family of his own? Although quite conscious of the premium that is placed on family among Indians worldwide, Dr. Chandra shrugs his shoulder in a non-committal manner. "I’m quite satisfied with my life right now," he asserts. However, he does not rule out marriage and a family once the challenges of business begin to diminish.

Outside radiology Dr. Chandra indulges in one of his pet peeves – travel. He visits Europe every year to soak up culture and history and cools down in Miami, while reveling in the sea and the sun, a favorite past time. Yet he is still able to stay connected to his business because ‘everything is digital.’ This connection is critical for someone who experiences a continual high from the risks inherent in running a complex business. "I get a rush," confessed Dr. Chandra.

Risk taking is what underlined Dr. Chandra’s foray into business; the challenges of taking run down, money losing entities and turning them around. Not surprisingly, he is part of a consortium – AIMS Diagnostic Imaging Services - that owns six such centers in New Jersey. And naturally they are on lookout for more such opportunities.

So what is life outside of business for someone who is ‘addicted’ to what he does? Besides Travel he seems to like the good life – hanging out in lounges, sipping a drink while chatting up colleagues and friends. Although he does not find time to be intimately involved in the Indo-American community, he does enjoy two Indian staples – Bollywood music and movies. However, one can be certain that whatever else may be the preoccupation of the moment, business always lurks near the front burner of Dr. Satish Chandra’s mind, who admits being easily bored otherwise. And if questioned about this he would probably answer, ‘why not?’ For here indeed is a man who has been able to strike a fine balance between who he is and what he does.

[ By AnnAn BoodrAm ]