Friday, August 1, 2014

Bye Bye Employment! Hello Entrepreneurship…

July. 31, 2014 will be a big day in my life, personally and professionally since I called it a day at my full time employment and chose to tread a more difficult path that is Entrepreneurship. I have had a keenness to do something on my own since my college days. But I was very clear that I would get into something on my own only after learning substantially in the professional world. Not that I have learned much in the past 15 years, but I think I am now ready to drive things my way.

I started my career 17 years back, as a scoop boy at Baskin Robbins’ first store in Chennai, way back in 1997. It was a part time job and I earned Rs. 400 a month for working 5 hours a day, 6 days a week. I quite enjoyed my work. It was one of the first modern retailers in India who inculcated a habit of removing the cups (of ice cream) after eating the same. Ever since then, I’ve had a liking for consumer businesses. My first full time job was with RPG Retail, initially at Musicworld Calcutta (as it was then known) followed by Foodworld Chennai. Standing on the shop floor, observing how consumers touched, felt and bought products, I realised that Retailing was my first love. And there has been no looking behind ever since.

Shri Goa

I moved to Bangalore on 14 Jan. 2004 with just four bags and a big dream at heart – to excel in the field of Retailing and to build a career that I can be proud of. I was part of the core team that set-up the first seamless Mall in India, Bangalore Central at Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune. I was inclined towards the Fashion Industry and that pushed me towards finding the role of Area Manager for South India at United Colors of Benetton. Then, I got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join a team that was building an airport! Joined BIAL and contributed towards setting up the first ever Organised Travel Retail Business in India.

The urge to see the country at large and learn from its diversity drove me to join Cafe Coffee Day as General Manager – Business Development. While I travelled across the metros and mini-metros extensively, I also drank lots of coffee, which has been one of my favourite beverages all my life and made a number of friends in the Retail world all over the country. The E-Commerce bug bit me too and I joined Indiaplaza.com where I set-up the Lifestyle vertical ground-up in a very short period of time. In 2012, I moved back to Chennai to join Royal Enfield where I was responsible for various roles, most importantly building a robust Dealer Network all across the country. I travelled 3 days a week, four times a month for over 100 weeks and visited some of the most far-off places in the country from Bettiah to Baruch, Kapurthala to Karur.

And now, I am on a sojourn which I have dreamt off all my life. In my new role, I would be spearheading my own Retail Venture named Smiling Baby which is a store that caters to young parents and would sell products for newborn kids up to 6 years of age. I have a vision to take this concept across the state and spread modern retailing in this category; let’s see how far I am able to reach. I have also been teaching at B-Schools for the past 8 years and I plan to take this more seriously now. And lastly, I intend to play a role of a Retail Consultant and share my skills and knowledge to help small and medium Retailers.

I have reached this far with the blessings of my parents and elders, support of friends and extended family, encouragement of my Bosses and colleagues, a bit of hard work and of course abundant grace of God. I don’t consider having achieved considerably yet and the journey has just begun. And I have Miles to Go before I sleep.

Been there, Seen that...