Happiness Matters at Farmington Hills Business on Inc.'s Fastest-Growing List
Kyyba owner Tel Ganesan considers happy employees a significant key to his business landing on the Inc. magazine of fastest-growing U.S. businesses.
Tel Ganesan is a happy man.
The owner of Farmington Hills-based Kyyba, a consulting and product development firm, enjoys the success of his business, which recently made Inc. magazine's list of the nation's fastest growing companies for the fifth consecutive year.
This year, Kyyba jumped more than 600 spots on the list. The company's revenue has nearly quadrupled since 2008, to just under $20 million.
But Ganesan is clear that those accomplishments aren't the source of his happiness.
"It's in the genes," Ganesan said. "I'm a happy person ... I got exposed to Eastern philosophies and meditation, and as I got more into meditation, I learned more about happiness."
In fact, happiness has become a company value at Kyyba, which Ganesan has been building since he left Chrysler in 2005. "The ultimate goal in life is to be happy, it's the mother of all goals," he said. "If that is important for a human being, it's important for a family, for a company, for the whole nation."
Ganesan said he believes in taking more risk to reap a greater reward, an attitude he has carried since he came to the U.S. from India as a young man, carrying all of his belongings in two suitcases.
"We try to make bold moves in very difficult times, when other people hunker down," he said. "I want (employees) to be excited coming to Kyyba. I want them to feel that they can accomplish something more than they could do individually."
Marketing and PR manager Angeline D'Balentine said the office culture is what attracted her to the company.
"I have the same mentality," she said. "It puts kind of an air of excitement to life. Maybe it's your last day, so you live it up." Others appear to share that view; D'Balentine said the turnover rate at Kyyba is extremely low, and employees think of the company as a family.
Today, Kyyba employs 300 people, more than 250 of them in the U.S. The company hires professionals to work in various industries, from health care and retail to insurance and engineering. Kyyba also develops its own products, Ganesan said.
While the U.S. economy may still be struggling, Ganesan sees nothing but growth ahead, buying companies that are not doing well and intregrating them.
"History tells us 30 to 40 percent of Dow Jones companies were created during recession or depression," he said. "That's when the real companies emerge, out of necessity."
No matter how big Kyyba gets, Ganesan anticipates staying at the company's headquarters on Orchard Lake Rd. in Farmington Hills, a community he has called home for more than 20 years – longer than he lived in India.
"I came here for higher education and better opportunities," Ganesan said. "America, as you know, is a land of dreams."