"It is very important to know what to speak, but it is equally important to know what not to speak!"
Q. Tell us about yourself and your business ventures.
A. After I finished my management studies I was asked to help with the family business. I was just 23 years old and was expected to run the show on my own. It was a challenging but exciting opportunity for me. I learnt all the tricks of the trade on the job. Today my company Rupani Footwear is doing very well. I have now ventured into the food business and have opened a restaurant by the name of Mother India in Connaught Place, Delhi.
Though these days the footwear business takes up most of my time but my aim is to streamline things here and put systems in place so that I get some free time to concentrate more on my restaurant. I have already made plans to open up a cafe too. This was a field I always wanted to get into. It’s my passion. I am glad I have finally got the opportunity to work on my passion and turn my dreams into reality.
Q. What are the changes you are planning to or have already implemented in your business ?
A. When I was given the reigns of the company we were manufacturing only one type of footwear. I have slowly and steadily increased it to six varieties. In the future I want to explore the ‘non-leather’ segment and start manufacturing those types of footwear too.
This is as far as the product part of the business is concerned. I have also realised that as my production capacity keeps increasing so does the need to be more organised. So I am working on putting in systems and processes in place to handle the increased production and distribution of my products. I am also working towards finding innovative ways to keep my costs down and the prices competitive. The right price is crucial to succeed in this market.
Q. What is the best advice you ever got? From whom?
A. My mistakes and my failures have been my biggest teachers and I have learnt the most from them. The most important thing I have learnt is ‘Consumer is King’. If you make him win then you will succeed too. So be calm and always listen carefully to your buyer.
Secondly just as it’s importune to know what to speak it is equally important to know what ‘not’ to speak. Never share your trade secrets with anyone.
Q. What are the key elements to running a successful business?
A. 1. Be strong (most important) Don’t quit. Times will be tough, just hang on. Remember winners don’t quit and quitters never win.
2. Be calculative. Don’t let emotions influence your decision making.
3. Be aware of what exactly your consumer wants and give him just that.
Q. Marketing is the most important aspect of business. How do you market your business ?
A. Today everybody is using social media for marketing their goods, however most of my customers are from the rural market and this is the least effective medium for me. What works best is the print media. So newspaper advertisements, banners, hoardings are very effective in marketing my products.
The dynamics of my business is different from many others. Even though mine is a low priced product that is not enough to guarantee sales. The consumer is all the time looking for new designs. So I need to be on my toes constantly and keep offering them designs that are the latest trends. I have a team of salesmen in each state who keep updating me about the designs in vogue and I keep modifying my designs accordingly.
Finally nothing will work till the dealer of my products is not excited about my product. So we keep working constantly on new schemes for our dealers. We also ensure that the salesmen at the outlets in the various states are people who are well versed with the customs and traditions of that place and speak in the language the customers can understand and relate with.
So marketing starts with advertisements and ends with a well trained sales staff at the retail outlet who is the key person to finally make the sale happen.
Q. What is your favourite quote ?
A. "Your thoughts become things” by Rhonda Byrnes from the book, The Secret.
Q. What makes you happy ?
A. A good day at work.
Q. Which other company apart from yours do you admire the most ?
A. I admire every company that is doing better than mine, as I can learn from each of them.
Q. Your favourite book ?
A. I like reading mythological books.