Tuesday, 19 December 2017


It is said that one can accurately place a face and personality to a voice.Well,well this I could certainly do when I connected telephonically to Harjappun Singh Gulati.A genteel, extremely courteous and sophisticated voice returned my greeting and my conversation with the Icon was underway! The first thing that struck me about Harjappun was his clarity of thought and uncanny ability to draw word portraits, as he took me through his chequered professional and personal journey.He certainly is gifted with a veritable talent of lucid communication skills. It is my belief that this is a quality which is catalyzing his sustainable success and has certainly put him ahead of his peers.

Harjappun’s story begins with his absolutely benign requirement to top up his graduation with an MBA.However, Destiny was adding an unpredictable twist to the tale! His joint family vetoed that he first do his bit from the lower most rung of the ladder. This, for the Gulati family, was an attachment to the family run Petrol Pump, under the auspices of Harjappun’s beloved Grandfather. Typical of his finesse oriented temperament and well brought up ways; he concurred unreservedly and devoted his fledging days to putting a single minded effort into turning a seemingly predictable enterprise into an innovative and forward looking platform. A sad turn of events in the passing away of his Grandfather brought Harjappun to the helm of affairs. As fate would have it, 21 year old Harjappun had to keep aside his dreams of a Management sojourn and found himself managing singlehandedly this Petrol Pump from its running methodology to sales to accounting…it was as if he was not learning Management in a Class bound Environment but in fact living its chapters in the Real World. These are lessons of life which he freely admits are always going to remain part of his conformation and made him wise beyond his years. Interestingly his extramural occupation in those days was also taking active part in his family’s hardcore business, that of Engineering anxillaries under the auspices of Power Lux. Harjappun spells out the sublime Mantra that to observe is to learn and Experience IS  the best teacher.He hardly presented his opinion in those days at family meetings, rather he enriched his already analytical mind by imbibing what the elders thought and did and how they tackled recurrent problems in their professional space.

Around that time,Harjappun face a dilemma which he solved in his characteristically calm and serene manner.He took stock that though his Bhopal based upbringing and work exposure had numerous advantages, he lacked two things in his profile.The first, was structured tutelage in the aspects of theory of Management skills and second a taste of a World outside his sheltered plethora. He decided at that point that the ambitious,relevant and very applicable program of Family Run Business Management by the Prestigious SP Jain School of Management was tailormade for him. Today Harjappun, who is tremendously proud of his Almamater, freely admits that this decision and the tenure he spent in Mumbai for his MBA are the Game changers of his life. He was delighted to discover innate aspects of his personality which were till now latent. He honed his already razor sharp skills and he came back to his homestead truly “World Ready”.His family was now very happy to present him, his rightful seat in the family fold.He was sought after for his wise and mature counseling and was lauded for his astute assessment……the “Son” had come Home!

Harjappun is today instrumental in all the diversification efforts of the Gulati family.Whether it is the innovative generation of the Canopy for extremely valuable Engineering machinery,whether it is expanding their business interests to overseas shores like Indonesia or whether it is roping in big names like Tata in their client list…..Harjappun has achieved it all.Like a true team leader, he is very enthusiastic in his adventure and hunger for newer pastures and in the days to come Power Lux would certainly scale new heights of success…..he has roped in the veritable talent of his younger brother and other family members and the story is moving towards a truly Happy ending…..or is it Happy beginning???

Take home messages from the man whose name is so beautiful that on one side it means….”Pray to Hari(the Supreme God”) and on the other side it means “Pray all the time”!!!!Well, he says treat people kindly….human resources are the most precious part of any enterprise.Second, never lose an opportunity to learn and third, always be grounded and modest.Yes….the Man with the Magic Canopy certainly has it all in place.God bless him.


Dr. Jyoti D. Vora ,



Wednesday, 19 July 2017

‘If you think big , you will make it big’-The Journey of Rahul Sanghavi

‘If you think big , you will make it big’-The Journey of Rahul Sanghavi
Here is some food for thought for everyone – ‘If you think big , you will make it big’

Rahul Sanghvi, the  lead of Sanghvi Foods smilingly narrated that his father started it with a small plant of capacity 60 tonnes per day which has now swollen to a capacity of 2300 tonnes per day.

Sanghvi foods Pvt. Ltd. was established in 1990 by Mr. Dinesh Sanghvi and is currently recognised as one of the leaders in wheat flour milling in India. Sanghvi Group owes to its credit India's highest wheat grinding capacity.  Sanghvi Group started its operations under the brand name Silver Coin. The brand has now extended its product range from wheat range to Rawa, Daliya, Besan, Suji, Maida and so forth. Rahul joined his family business in 2006 after completing his studies in the U.S. Family business had caught his fascination since childhood and he dreamt of taking it to the next level. After graduation, he worked in companies to gain practical knowledge and experience. He found that the working style in US was very different from that of India’s and initially had difficulty in adapting himself to the work culture of Indian companies.

In the beginning, the company focused on wholesale market but gradually shifted their focus from wholesale to retail realizing the huge potential that a retail market entailed. The biggest challenge he faced was the shift over from wholesale to retail. He started Sales and Marketing team with small pockets like Indore, Bhopal, Ujjain and the nearby areas. It was the time when Retail Sector was at its boom and there was no major player in the market. This boosted his confidence to venture further in it.  Now the major chunk of the company’s revenue comes from retail market.

Right policies and pricing of the products helped him to cover majority of the market and command an extra price .

He strongly feels that there are humungous opportunities for expansion in this sector as a lot of  potential lies untapped. He highly recommends family owned business as he feels that there are better chances to grow in traditional business in comparison to other businesses. His astute advice to everyone ,”Take on the family legacy and make a difference”

Yash Maheshwari

Acropolis South Campus

Indore (M.P)

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Stay Humble,Hustle Hard:The Journey of Simarpreet H Singh

As college students, most of us belong to the breed who have least clarity about their future goals / ambitions, and tend to take a lot of things for granted. I can relate to this fact as even though it has been more than a decade since I graduated, I still remember how I knew nothing about what my professional life is going to be like. The same holds true for another gentleman, a proud entrepreneur by the name Simarpreet , who belongs to the family managed business of HARTEK group. He has enjoyed good success over the years and is highly driven by his passion to make a difference to the society we live in.

However, Simarpreet is the first person to admit he was not always like that. Till the last year of his engineering, he was not sure about his future goals. And his parents didn’t discuss about his career, as they wanted to give him the freedom of choice.

Wake Up Call

He didn’t have much idea about the kind of activities that his father was involved with at Amtek (which later on became Hartek). Still, being a family business, he assumed that he would straight-away walk into his father’s business one fine day. However, Simarpreet soon realized that he was day-dreaming when his father placed three stiff challenges in front of him if he intended to join him at Amtek. These were:

-To get a job offer through campus placement

-To undergo training at a company and place, as per his father’s choosing.

-To work in his father’s company at the ground level without expecting any special privilege

It was probably these challenges that woke up the ‘entrepreneur’ in Simarpreet and he decided to take them head on. He soon realized that the road ahead was going to be a tough one when he faced back to back rejections from no less than four companies. Finally, Simarpreet made the cut with a job offer from I Gate Patni Computers and he was a relieved man. At the back of his mind, he knew that the first challenge was just a trailer of hardships that lay ahead of him.

Turning Point

He set out to complete the second challenge put forward by his father which was to undergo training for 8 months for Schneider Electric at Vadodara, Gujarat, with just a couple of thousand rupees and an ATM card with an unknown pin.  Upon arrival in Vadodara, he got a shocker – there was no stay arrangement done for him. The training was going to start after four days and he had to manage his stay from the limited money he had in his pockets.

That was when he learnt the first entrepreneurial lesson – getting work done at the lowest possible budget. He stayed at the railway station for a night, and then, got hold of a cheap room to suit his budget, with the help of locals.

As per Simarpreet, he was ready for the surprise challenges being thrown at him one after the other. However, his determination got a major boost when he had a talk to his father over phone. His father spoke about ‘lack of electricity’ being the major problem plaguing Indians and wanted to focus on ‘why’ to get relevant answers. He advised Simarpreet to never look back and shared his vision of seeing a developed and sustainable India. The manner in which his father spoke and conveyed the message, Simarpreet was totally convinced that his father’s purpose is now going to be the purpose of his life – such was the impact! 

 He learnt the value of money and facing hardships in life while undergoing the gruelling training at Schneider Electric, where he was inducted as a shop-floor engineer, working almost 13 hours every day. Thus, Simarpreet managed to complete the major challenges in front of him and got selected as an engineer for the BD (Business Development) team at his father’s firm, Amtek. This learning experience made him quite stronger and ready to face the world. Simarpreet felt a great sense of achievement as he had proved himself worthy of inheriting his father’s legacy and carrying it forward.

And he was thankful to his father for throwing those challenges, especially the training one, along with the inspiring talk over phone from Vadodara. As per Simarpreet, this period was the major turning point of his life, and he was well prepared to achieve bigger things for his family business.

The Hard Yards and Bold Decisions

Under his father’s guidance, Simarpreet was exposed to a variety of sites and was made to interact with a lot of customers. He continued to work hard and take as much learnings as possible from his father, who was a real taskmaster (as per Simarpreet). After joining Amtek, Simarpreet made his first major strategic contribution by convincing his father to change the name from Amtek to Hartek (his father’s name). The reason being there was already a company with the name Amtek, and that made Simarpreet feel uncomfortable.

And Simparpreet managed to get the brand name change from ‘Amtek’ to ‘Hartek’ even though his father was sceptical about such a big change for a company that had done business under the name ‘Amtek’ for more than two decades. He managed to do so by convincing his father that the North Indian public relate more to the entrepreneur than the company. And even several big companies like Tata, Dell, HP, Schneider, etc. have been named after their founders. Thus, Simarpreet managed to get the first decisive move towards formation of Hartek India Pvt. Ltd, under the Hartek group. And this lead to the flagship company of the group changing its name from Amtek Energy & Power Pvt. Ltd. to Hartek Power Pvt. Ltd.

Major Accomplishments

To achieve his father’s dream of a sustainable India, Simarpreet focused on sustainable energy sources and strongly believes that they are the future. In 2014, his business came up with the rooftop solar division of Hartek Group, and later founded Hartek Solar Pvt. Ltd. in 2015. Natural energy sources like solar, especially rooftop solar panels were the stuff with which Simarpreet and his team started getting involved in (for residential space).

As part of Hartek Solar, he travelled to more than 11 states in around 18 months for the purpose of solar panel installation. And all of this realizing that it is completely futuristic work. He tasted success with his first commercial project for Hartek in the city of Chandigarh.

That’s when his resolve and determination received a major boost. Thanks to the preachings of his father, Simarpreet has always been focused on nation building. Everything that he and Hartek does is from the point of view of growth – rising from the belief that when the nation grows, you grow and so does your business!

Incidents that have Contributed to His Entrepreneurial Growth

Simarpreet believes that every experience in life teaches you something invaluable and there have been many such experiences in his life that have helped him grow as an entrepreneur. He had never seen any employee of Hartek India ever leaving the company.

So, when one such employee came to him and cried, he was taken aback. He dug deep to realize that the reason was an injury to his mother and lack of money for her treatment. This was when he pitched in, on behalf of the business feeling a sense of being a social entrepreneur.

The employee started working with double enthusiasm and Simarpreet could feel the difference his help had created during trying circumstances for him. It was the first time it struck him that Hartek was not just his own family business, but, was in turn taking care of a large number of families and their livelihood.   

Role of Family Managed Business Course

One of the most important experiences for Simarpreet has been his tenure at SP Jain for the Family Managed Business program.  As per him, the biggest takeaway from this rendezvous was the mentoring he got.

Their ‘Guru-Shishya’ model has nurtured thousands of entrepreneurs by helping them to not only to become better businessmen, but, also better human beings. He is still grateful to the program for giving him mentors with whom he is still in touch and seeks valuable advice from time to time.

He realized that to become a great leader, you have to be a great follower. And SP Jain imbibed good reading habits in him. In fact, Simarpreet claims that he has become a voracious reader only because of his student experience..

One of the key learnings from  SP Jain was the difference between ‘blood equity’ and ‘sweat equity’ – to earn your rights through the hard grind and sweat, rather than just being lucky to get them.

The story of Simarpreet is quite inspiring as he has matured quickly to become a responsible entrepreneur who is driven by his larger than life ‘purpose’ which is to clean and build a sustainable India. He has stayed grounded and is a live example of the phrase “Stay Humble, Hustle Hard!” He has never shied away from challenges thrown by life or his father, enjoyed the learning experience on the job as well as at college, and feels responsible towards the needs of his employees.

Clearly, he has all the makings of a successful entrepreneur and Hartek group is definitely in safe hands!

Written by Mr Tejas Savla

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Kabir Bhasin: Still a long way to go

At 21, Kabir Bhasin was working at CITI Bank in Delhi when a phone call from his father changed his life. The family business in Bangalore was in trouble, the factory was facing a lockout it was time for Kabir to take his place in the family business.

East Distributions, a furniture manufacturing and export company, was conceived by Kabir’s parents Kamini and Devinder Bhasin in 1996 in Bangalore, after having shifted their base from Kolkata on account of the state policies not being very business friendly.

Stepping in by his parents’ side, the decision to take on the role that always seemed like a natural eventuality proved to be anything but smooth. At the tender age of 21, Kabir still had a lot to learn and familiarize himself with. Kabir graduated from Delhi University with B. Com honors. Managing the business with his traditional education, he was putting more than 12-14 hours a day at the factory, dealing with labor issues, finances, handling irate clients and striving to improve sales. 

“I have inherited the vibrant spirit of entrepreneurship from my father who always encouraged me to join the business and do things on my own” says Kabir looking back at his decision to join father’s business.

After a year of tireless work, the factory was back on its feet securely. Kabir had grown volumes under his father’s guidance, absorbing every bit of knowledge that was imparted to him. But hungry for more and knowing the potential for growth, Kabir felt a change was needed.

Kabir reached out to Prof. Merchant of S.P.Jain  who advised him to join a course specifically designed to cater to the intricacies involved in managing family businesses. Though initially skeptical, Kabir had faith in Prof. Merchant’s words.

Kabir soon came to realize that his family business set up was a small and traditional one and it restricted its own growth. After completing the course, Kabir joined the department of business development at Titan watches, a decision that seemed atypical at the time.

“What makes Titan a great brand is that not only do they have great products but also a strong network of loyal dealers across the world helping them retain their market leadership” observes Kabir.

After working with Titan for 18 months, Kabir once again joined East Distribution. Kabir’s main aim was to observe how he could help expansion through business development, operations efficiencies and various other aspects. Kabir still remembers Dr Srikant’s statement by heart “By the end of this course, instead of blood there will be business flowing in our veins.”

During his initial days back then, one of the unique challenges Kabir faced was the transition from weekly cash payouts to the laborers onto monthly payroll. However, moving all the factory workers onto a monthly salary basis comes with several statutory obligations. Kabir began to persuade his workers to open bank accounts. The initially approach resulted in another lockout, taxation being the primary concern. During this lockout, Kabir had to individually explain the benefits. To further communicate his empathy for their apprehension and also explain to them the importance of paying tax, Kabir took the entire workforce to watch ‘Lagaan’.

Kabir took over the reins of the business entirely after his parents retired in 2010. He has since started 9 ventures in his career.

www.furlenco.com is one of the first furniture renting platforms in Bangalore. It operates in the space of affordable luxury furniture and has received a very positive response since in launch. Kabir exited the company and moved on to launch a few other . the most recent is one which is in a  completely different segment, entertainment ,with a site called www.fanagig.com .

www.fanagig.com is designed for live entertainment driven by fans. It unites fans with performers, revitalizing and revolutionizing the live industry in India.

Talking about the important influence on his career, Kabir credits his parents, especially his father and the exposure received at SP Jain. He recommends it to all the second-generation entrepreneurs. The course has made him understand the business world in depth and helped him understand the essence of money and how money works in the real world.

From inheriting business to starting and running companies on his own, Kabir has indeed come a long way but he insists that he still has a long way to go.

By Mr Ajinkya Arjun Swadekar

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Focus and Success: The story of Akash Khetan 

Focused minds reach the optimum level of success. Akash Khetan, a focused and successful businessman is one of the biggest examples of intelligence and discipline. He is a post graduate from S.P Jain, Mumbai, with a specialization in Family Managed Businesses. Prior to this, he pursued his B.Sc. in Business Administration from Cardiff University, Cardiff, U.K. in 2005-2006 with specialization in Marketing Management. A strong interest in the business systems led to Akash being profiled in the March 2010 issue of the ‘INC India’ business magazine. Being strongly inclined towards achieving his business vision, Akash has a firm belief that his mission will be accomplished through the potential of his team. His father Mr. Anand Khetan laid the foundation stone of Narayan Group in the year 1994 in Surat, India. Akash was a brilliant student, excelling in his studies, ranking 1st in the 2008-10 batch.

Narayan Texfab Private Limited is for women’s fabrics. And its unique selling point is its quality and innovation according to the trend.  The recent recognition of Narayan Group as a leading name in “Dyed Synthetic Woman’s Fabrics” category by ET Now in the Leaders of Tomorrow Program (in association with India Mart) has been the talk of the town in the textile industry. Akash believes in positivity and considers his father as his biggest inspiration. “The discipline in me today, is because of my father,” he says. With a strict schedule that starts at 6 am in the morning and ends by10 pm, he still finds time for himself and says time management is not an issue for him – since his days start early. Narayan Texfab is today a famous brand which guarantees the quality of the fabric. Texfab has collaborated with pre-eminent designers such as Manish Malhotra and Rohit Verma. In the 2016 New York Fashion Show, Narayan Texfab collaborated with Archana Kochar. The company is NIS certified and has SAP installed which wins the trust of the customers and clients.
The team is excellent and hard-working which helps the company to prosper more. When being asked about the challenges faced, Akash replies, “Yes, I did face challenges and the biggest one was to change the mindset of the workers since they lacked professionalism in the early days.” To change mindsets was required a lot of skill and time, since it was really difficult to get workers who have been imbibed with the traditional approach of thinking to see new perspectives. Now workers readily move out of their comfort zone and work with more innovative ideas and approach. His passion and willingness were the main reasons for him to choose his family managed business. He was focused right from the beginning. When asked for his favourite book, he said, “The Goal is my favourite book.”  He listens to Brahmakumaris thrice a week and he is inclined towards spirituality. His vision and goals are pretty clear and his aspirations are practical. He believes in ‘Do what you love!’  

When asked about how he deals the pressure and stress of competition, he says, “I don’t get stressed because of the competitors, I will do what I am supposed to do – focus on work rather than panicking and/or reacting” He also believes in Law of Karma and hard work.

The new generation tries to go away from family managed business and tries something new and somewhere doesn’t understand the value of family managed business and when being asked about his views on the same, Akash replies, “Yes, Youngsters these days try new aspects and like to explore opportunities themselves. They consider their Family business as something they think can run and manage right from day one depending on the scale of work. So, after exploring their choices if they succeed it's a jackpot for them , or else they come back with so much of confidence and start to consult their fathers and uncles without knowing the practical after effects of their own decisions. Somewhere youngsters think they don't need any qualification to join their own business, and subconsciously it becomes their last choice! In my opinion Family run organizations should be managed the way corporates are managed in order to sustain in today's competitive market.”

He advises the budding entrepreneur generation to be focused and to not lose hope at any point. His aura is very positive and can charge anyone with optimism. When being asked as to where does he see his company five years down the line, he says, “The brand should be globally recognized!” 

He is a true face of the next generation of family managed business with clear vision, goals and  intentions.

Written by Ms Amrata Joshi

Monday, 22 May 2017

Once an Entrepreneur always an Entrepreneur! The story of Supriya Pahwa Batra

I come from a 3 generation family business of handicraft and textile export. I began my career in my family business right after college where I pursued Mathematics honours. My family business did not involve technical knowledge and was not really glamorous. It involved working with artisans and factories in remote corners of the country on one hand and international companies located abroad on the other. My friends who chose to work with MNC's seemed to be enjoying more. But Since I was always told that work for what is yours vs work for someone- I decided to stop comparing. I knew it wasn't apples to apples.
The good part was that my business was creative and ever evolving as trend changed every 6 -8 months. The need to reinvent was challenging yet exciting. I worked for about 5 years in the export business -initially assisting my father and eventually developing and handling all aspects of my own accounts.  I was given independence and space to do things my way for the accounts I worked for. . The learning and personal growth was immense. All through, I felt passionate about my work. Other than on the job experience, in my quest to be able to give more to my work, I pursued a Diploma in Textile export merchandise management and also MBA in Family Business at SP Jain.While I was in SP Jain I got married into a business family working in the space of electronic component manufacturing and e-design.
I decided to start contributing to my husband's business and spent the next 2 years working in a totally different set up. .I am not going to say it was a completely thought through decision nor am I going to say it was easy for me. But I had been oriented into business with my father always telling me someday post marriage, if I got married into a different business family, I should be open to adapting myself to the different business environment. Unfortunately, I had to withdraw 2 years after I joined the business as my role was taking more time than I could give at that time-taking care of the two beautiful girls I brought into the world.
With less time on my hands I thought of teaching for a brief period again thinking ‘maybe a school someday’!

Even though I was an employee, I viewed the set up from the owner point of view. The entrepreneur in me could not stay shackled in a job for long but while I was there, I sensed many other opportunities that could be tapped as an entrepreneur given the huge potential in education space. Today, I am working on a new project, with more time on my hands as my girls have grown up. The project is in the education space supported by my family.
The spirit of entrepreneurship inducted by my father when I was young has accompanied me all through my career. . I know it brought in me passion, determination, confidence to make decisions and make things happen and a sense of ownership and pride to be a part of the family work , adaptability to my constantly changing environment, ability to take risks and accept possibility of failure ,bounce back post any set back and keep going forward , ability to spot opportunities in my environment and most importantly ability to constantly learn and grow.
Today, I can't measure my success with numbers as for me the spirit of contributing to the family business/ portfolio is way more satisfying and meaningful and I know I have contributed significantly to both businesses I have been a part of - as a daughter and as a daughter in law.  The experience I gathered, in turn, gives me the confidence to work on my own business plan. 
In a world of fancy jobs with global corporations seeming to promise the life which looks easier and more glamorous - I still come from the school of thought where I feel what synergy families can bring into work by working together in complementary roles can't be replicated; provided the members are inducted to work in complementary roles and go forward to achieve the family goal over their own personal goals. There needs to be that sense of pride and satisfaction in being part of a whole. Induction and handling of relationships is key.
I would like to urge you to spend your energies to identify your vision for the next 5 years, 10 years, 15 years and so on to formulate goals - short term and long term. Work out action plans and timelines to achieve the same. You will need to keep learning, updating knowledge and skills. You may also need to adapt and change the outline and that’s okay.
Choose wisely and choose well. But choose where you want to go and start! Cuz even if you feel you chose wrong somewhere down the line, you can begin again! Making a decision gives you a 50% higher chance of getting it right than no decision at all. Before I conclude I will just say today, given changes in the global scenario, family businesses don't look easy. But Easy may not always as satisfying and rewarding as challenging.. so consider the challenging path as well before you move toward what looks easy !






Monday, 17 April 2017

Balancing Objectivity with Subjectivity: Naveed Shaikh of ACS Lead Tech

Naveed Shaikh, the young and dynamic partner at ACS Lead Tech, fondly recalls his childhood conversations with elder brother Assad and says, “All we discussed was dad’s chemical business and how both of us would grow it together. In fact, while we were still at middle school, we had jointly decided that we would become engineers!”  Assad went on to qualify as a mechanical engineer while Naveed graduated as an electronics engineer. Looking back, Naveed feels that the most defining influence on him has been the easy camaraderie and trust the brothers repose in each other. “Assad always wants the very best for me and I feel the same for him. In fact, we are always fighting so that the other gets it a little easy or a little better, be it a car or a holiday.” It is this willingness to sacrifice and this readiness to put the other before oneself which has ensured that the business controlled by their strict father, has grown and diversified ever since the two brothers joined the business.

ACS Lead Tech was established by Shakir Razak Shaikh in 1983-84 and is currently recognized as a leading manufacturer, supplier and exporter of environmentally sound technologies for battery recycling, litharge red lead furnaces, red lead furnaces, lead oxide ball mills and pollution control equipment. A first generation entrepreneur, Shakir Razak Sheikh, started his career as a chemical engineer and spent eight years as an expert in lead oxide and allied products, working for various organisations. It was during his stint in Germany, while working for Napro industries, when he first decided to take up full time consultancy. Soon he found the mismatch between his precise advice and the actual implementation by his clients. He asked himself the question, “Why tell others how to make and see them create the mess? Why not make and give a perfect product to the clients?” This was the turning point in the trajectory of the Shaikh family. Shakir Razak Shaikh soon set up the one man company and took on the different roles ranging from soliciting quotations to acquiring raw material to manufacturing parts to arranging transport and labour for commissioning plants. He had re-invented himself from a consultant to a manufacturer. As the business grew, so did his responsibilities and he became almost an absentee father in the Shaikh household. Naveed, here recognizes the stellar role played by his mother in ensuring that both Naveed and Assad appreciated the hard work of their father and aspired to join him soon. Assad joined the family business immediately on his graduation while Naveed decided to accept the campus placement offer from Siemens.

Looking back, Naveed feels that his decision of not going to the USA to get a master degree was the most profound decision he had taken. Citing the examples of his cousins and friends, he says that none of them came back to India and gave up on their entrepreneurial dreams. He feels that the Family Managed Business course both he and Assad did at SP Jain, has had a defining influence on them as it set their expectations right. They understood the value of sustaining their family managed business and also understood the critical role their emotional maturity and relationship handling would play. So when Naveed decided to resign from his job and join his father and brother in the business, he knew well that he would need to create a role for himself. He knew that since ACS Lead Tech is in the core business of manufacturing machines for the chemical industry, his father and brother would always a pivotal role on account of their domain expertise in chemical and mechanical engineering. Accordingly, Naveed added a new wing to their business and started trading in chemicals and metals. He took on the role of market expansion and diversification and strengthened the core team of his father and brother by pitching in as an expert in business management.

Asked to explain the key component of a successful family managed business, Naveed is forthright in talking about the importance of communication. “It is not that we do not have disagreements, but we never push them under the carpet. We discuss everything out and always take the solution oriented approach. This helps to balance subjectivity with objectivity”, he said. As an explanation of this open communication channel, Naveed spoke of the support of their father on all issues, be it starting a new business vertical, or to invest in additional space for the growing family..  Even between the brothers, the discussions are always marked with candor. “All our finances are controlled by dad. He pays for all household expenses ranging from groceries to school fee. He ensures we never feel short of money but the control remains with him. Sometimes, it gets overwhelming but then Assad and I hear each other out and counsel each other. We understand, it is in the best interest of our business and the case rests there. For me Assad has been a father figure. He is my anchor who keeps me grounded and ensures that we always have a positive work environment”, he said. Coming to his own family, Naveed takes pride in his wife’s technical aptitude and hopes that she would soon set up her own business of technical writing. When asked about the possibility of her joining him in their family business, Naveed feels that the core team of his father, brother and himself are best suited to run ACS Lead Tech. “This is an objective decision and we intend to keep it that way”, he says signing off.
Dr Minu Mehta in collaboration with Naveed Shaikh

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

In the Business of Movies:the journey of Akshaye Rathi

Being in the entertainment industry is one thing, and doing business for this glamorous industry is another. Ask Akshaye Rathi, who is a film exhibitor and distributor. This young and dynamic director of family-run business, Vidarbha Exhibitors (Rathi Group of Cinemas), has enjoyed a highly successful entrepreneurial journey.

It is not easy to taste success in the world of films, where the fate is decided every Friday based on the Box Office reports. And this is where the foundation of the business plays a big part. Akshaye’s company has been involved in the business of film exhibition and distribution for more than 3 decades now.  He may have become an integral part of this business in August 2010, but the company has already been running a chain of cinemas across Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh under the banner of Rathi Group of Cinemas.

Reasons for Joining Rathi Group of Cinemas

A family business acts like a double-edged sword for the kids in the family. With most family members involved in the same business, the kids hear about the same stuff regularly. They are either going to get excited about the opportunities that the family business provides, or get irritated with having to deal with the same business concept that they have heard all through their childhood.

In case of Akshaye, he was always in awe of the family business. It helped that he had a considerable amount of interest in movies, which went a long way in him developing a significant taste for cinema and understanding the need of the masses.

As per Akshaye, Indian movies are meant for the masses and multiplex cinema halls do not seem viable for them. He believes that while the multiplexes do provide an enhanced cinematic experience, they are not meant for the average Indians who love to clap and whistle while watching their favourite stars or movies in the cinema halls. It is the single screens that can provide such an entertaining experience for the masses at pretty affordable rates, and hence Vidarbha Exhibitors has been catering to this audience, which forms majority of the movie-viewing public in India.

According to Akshaye, he understood it pretty early that his family was in the right business, and his long term goal was always to take this business to the next level. With such clarity he mind, he first completed his BMS from HR College of Commerce & Economics, Mumbai in 2009, and then gained valuable experience as a Consultant for media and entertainment advisory services, E & Y.

Even while he was studying, Akshaye did work for Rajshri Media Pvt. Ltd. on content acquisition / management and for INX Media Pvt. Ltd. on production of TV reality shows as well as events.

Challenges Faced and Related Solutions

Akshaye was having a wonderful time at E&Y for about a year. However, the challenge for him was that his goal was to go back to his family business some day. And he didn’t wish to delay his official entry in to their family business. So, he took the plunge in 2010.

However, it wasn’t just a random move. Akshaye knew what he was doing and joined Vidarbha Exhibitors at that time, with the purpose of implementing the  family business management techniques & skills that he was going to learn from his FMB course at SP Jain, which he enrolled for during the same year.

Akshaye mentions that the design of the course helped him to take the plunge as it allowed him to learn for a while and practise the learning in real-time (for his family business) during the tenure of the course itself.   

And Akshaye came across one of the biggest challenges of a family business- the generation gap. He realized there were differences in the thinking of his father, uncle and his own. Importantly, he required to stay patient and not come across as someone who just enters the business and starts dictating terms.

Akshaye found out that being a good observer and listener during the early days proved to be a masterstroke. He gave himself enough time to not only understand the nitty-gritty of the business, but also to come to terms with the thinking of others who were associated with the business for a long period of time.

He realized that to be a successful business owner, he will first have to work at the ground level and understand the end-to-end workflow in real-time. He took his own time to prove his work and develop a sound understanding of the overall business.

Role of FMB and Value Addition to Business

In an attempt to bridge the generation gap in most family businesses, the SP Jain FMB course played a big part in helping Akshaye and his classmates realize the importance of effective communication. Communication (or lack of it) between new entrants and old timers can make or break a business. And Akshaye was able to practise this learning in real-time for Vidarbha Exhibitors.

The family business dedicated course did help Akshaye to mingle around and align his thought processes with people belonging to different industries (all family businesses). SP Jain proved to be a platform where most relevant real-time family business problems got discussed and solutions for the same were being suggested / implemented as well. Such level of networking and on-the-job learning proved highly effective in Akshaye’s journey from being a novice at Vidarbha Exhibitors, to becoming a responsible decision-maker.

As per Akshaye, his most important learning from the course was the importance of branding and brand connect for any family business. He realized that for Rathi Group of Cinemas, a strategic alliance with a known brand could make a huge difference in increasing the footfall for their single screen theatres across India. This led him to take the strategic decision of collaborating with India’s first international exhibitor, Cinepolis, in 2016.

According to this alliance, Cinepolis started operating 10 single screen theatres spread across eight cities. Akshaye termed this as a win-win partnership for both the companies, especially for Rathi Group of Cinemas, as it allowed them to look at a broader picture of the industry. This association helped his screens to be rebranded as Fun Cinemas, which is a known cinema brand in India, encouraging a shift in the context of renovation and adding amenities to properties that would eventually help in increasing footfall.

Akshaye credits this move to the learnings from course that allowed him to see the bigger picture behind associating with a brand name, and was able to get positive results almost immediately. 

Akshaye has come a long way ever since he first joined Rathi Group of Cinemas, and owes his success to the guidance he has received from his elders as well as to the enriching learning experience at SP Jain’s program for Family Business.. It goes to show that an established family business has plenty of scope to improve and expand, provided the upcoming generation is willing to learn, listen, and implement smart business strategies.

Written by Mr Tejas Savla in association with Akshaye Rathi

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Bkind:The story of Vidhi Shah


It’s well said that when a woman decides to bring a change, she definitely does. Vidhi Shah, an entrepreneur and creative director at b:Kind not just brought a change but a cult and wave in style and fashion. b:Kind is a brand which is quite well known for womenswear, got introduced in India through M-square Clothing(India) Pvt. Ltd. The brand focuses on the quality and keeps the range quite reasonable and affordable. It launched in 2010 and Vidhi Shah joined in the later phase. She did face few struggles when she joined the company as she was very new to product development. But she eventually got familiar with the various working areas. The competitive vibe turned out to be good and challenging. She did her FMB course from SP Jain, Mumbai, which was an add on to her skills and helped her in business. She has a great sense of fashion and style with the maturity of handling the business and progressing Vidhi Shah succeeded in breaking the stereotype of a male dominant business. Her parents are her biggest inspiration and they were her main supporters during her highs and lows. She was pretty much sure of getting into the business world right from the beginning and she is happy with her decision.She happily says,”I was inclined towards business since the very beginning.”

The biggest unique selling point is the use of Indigo yarn which is not available in most of the brands. Also, the cost and quality is something that a customer would love! ”Our major focus is the quality,” Vidhi says with the confirmation in her voice. Her dedication and focus is noteworthy. Family business has its plus points and one of them is the level of understanding and that’s purely reflected by b:Kind. Vidhi Shah aims to progress more and more by bringing more to b:Kind and helping the customers and clients. Creativity has its own energy and aura.

She takes each day as an experience and learns something new. Her growth as an entrepreneur is relevant and she thinks each day helps her in this growth.  The innovation and creativity keeps on growing and blooming with great ideas. She loves the fact as to how friendly and comfortable it is to work with the team and the amount of love and support she gets is commendable. She says with an exciting tone, “We work as a happy team.” Her father played a key role in her personal and professional life. “My father is my mentor,” she says. The environment of the workplace does matter a lot and which is quite vibrant and positive around the family and that usually happens in a family managed business. She also finds herself fortunate enough to have supportive in laws. Being an Indian woman and a mother of a 14 months old kid finds a balance between personal and professional life easily. Her advice for Indian women is to set the goals and  pursue their dreams and to have faith and confidence in oneself. Vidhi Shah is truly an inspiration for the youth.


Written by Amrata Joshi in collaboration with Vidhi Shah