Entrepreneur to Enterprise

Everyone at least once must be thinking of being their own boss. But this may or may not be possible due to various reasons. And the most obvious question that would come to a curious mind is whether the saying that "great entrepreneurs as great leaders and great men are born and are not build" is correct. I am yet to discover any black and white answer for this and I am still waiting….. Richard Branson (Owner of Virgin group)as in his best seller "Screw It Lets Do It", would always say that start things on a smaller scale and then expand it.

Know let us understand the traits that an entrepreneur has which help us to distinguish him from the rest. Like Kishore Biyani (MD, Pantaloon Retail India Limited and CEO, Future Group) in the book "It Happened in India" would say, that he didn't find any resonance with his family run fabric business, which till that time was reasonably steady. He would always find some changes to improve the overall business, but people don't like changes and hence would not understand him. In his college going days like any other teenager, he would also enjoy eating out and watching movies but what he loved the most was discussing with his close friends on varied topics. This might have kept him well versed with what was happening around the world.

While in college, he joined his family business but soon lost interest by the inability of the business to expand. By that time he had interacted with most of the parties involved in the trade and had learned tricks of the trade. He started buying and selling different fabrics on a smaller scale. This gave him small amount of profit and a smaller increase in capital to invest again in further. Seeing Bollywood movies helped him to understand the trend. This ability to see in future helped him to do many things which others felt were a misfit at that time and Kishore Biyani is taking a huge risk by doing this. But that's Kishore Biyani , and his personal interaction with all the members involved in the business armed him with the most important firsthand information starting from manufacturers to customers. As he always says that decisions are not to be taken by having meetings in Air-conditioned cabins but rather should be along with your customers (people).

At the early days of his business he had manufactured readymade trousers which were made of some shiny material to fit the upcoming trend. But shopkeepers refused to keep his readymade garments for sale as at those days readymade cloths were unknown to people. This triggered another idea of setting a shop himself. Kishore Biyani shortly faced another issue of expanding his business. Hence he decided of giving franchisees to people to run shops under his brand name to sell only their branded clothing. At those early stages he had also understood the power of Brands and took all possible efforts to invest and grow his own brands as well to strike a deal with other brands to bring them under his control.

Till recent years he had never visited any foreign country for understanding their mall culture. As he knew that those formats would not suit the Indian customer who still need to touch and feel the product that he is buying to understand its quality at the same time have the joy of bargaining. That is the reason his malls are designed accordingly and even street dogs are allowed in the compound to give it a local feeling. At time of choosing any particular property for constructing mall, Kishore Biyani never went with a huge team of consultants and didn’t take to long for taking his decision. He would usually go alone and strike the deal on the first formal visit itself, as he would have visited the property earlier and had made his mind before having the formal meeting.

Kishore Biyani never started any business with the intension to wipe out local players. And there are cases where the local retailers have bought goods from his stores for selling to his customers and earned some extra profit. He also encourages the local vendors to supply goods to his local malls. Kishore Biyani also invested in his affiliates businesses so as to help them grow along with him. This helped him to concentrate on his core business and not focus his resources on supply chain management which according to him was not the central point of his business. Having the first mover advantage, Kishore Biyani always had the liberty to experiment and use to learn and relearn things for betterment of his business,

Hence just to try and capture his success mantra in few words would be, be in constant touch directly with end customers and expansion of business with diversity and gut feeling.





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Chaitanya Damle

I am the free bird in a cage with a dream to expand the cage to fit the entire world in or to shrink the entire world to fit in it.

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