Bringing down the greenhouse
You build your own luck. And in case of Anil Jain, it was through hard work and vision to spot the business of the future- refrigerant gases. He tells Your Story why his company Refex Refrigerants will grow only northwards in coming years.
I was always cut out to be an entrepreneur. My father had started a company in the name of Bombay Metals and I used to take an active interest in the business. One thing that was instilled deep in me was the need to be accountable for all my actions. I did not ever mind carrying out even menial jobs, if the situation warranted it. The point was simple - I had to learn every aspect of the business. I used to get paid a princely Rs15 for counting the collections of the firm at the end of the day. I slowly started learning the trade.
This made me independent from an early age. I traded in the stock market and also sold jeans and T-shirts while in college. I wanted to earn my own money to fund my standard of living.
The turning point came after a chance meeting with one of my customers, when I was exposed to a new product - refrigerant gas. A bit of research and I knew my big chance was at hand. I was able to foresee an exponential growth in the business of HFC gases as by 2010, the use of HFC gases would be mandatory as per the Montreal Protocol.
There has been no looking back since then.
The challenge now is to establish a global footprint. To achieve this, we will have to improvise constantly and rely on our ability to identify opportunities, anticipate tomorrow, innovate and invest strategically. As a first step in this direction, we have taken majority stake in a Singapore-based company called Kaltech. It is one of the biggest refrigerant re-fillers catering to markets in Southeast Asia, Middle East and Europe.
I am convinced that the refrigerant gas market will keep going north. In India as well as outside, the buying power of people is on the rise and the retail boom is for all to see. All this only cements the prospects of my line of business. And these are just early days.
What drives me is an intense desire to succeed and redefine the parameters of success. I may not win all the time, but the more intense a challenge, the greater the spoils I could take home. It's not about a 100-metre dash, as much as about a marathon. No milestone is reason enough to stop.
My biggest strength is the people working for me. I have always tried to enthuse them, make them comfortable, create a zone of comfort where they can work without feeling the stress, come out with ideas, take decisions with having to look up to me all the time. This has created a culture of independence and strengthened their loyalty towards the company. I am always there for them, personally and professionally.
My advice to budding entrepreneurs: Be practical and pragmatic about whatever you do. Once you see the worth of something, take it forward, no matter what.