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. 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 . 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