- Vision, risk-taking, and putting ideas into practice – these are the three things that R. N. Ratnam, business and financial consultant in Hong Kong and Chennai, underlines as the most important for wannabe entrepreneurs.Vision – Whether you are a small businessman, small entrepreneur, medium, or big, you need to have vision. That’s very important.
- Risk-taking – You need a spirit of adventure. You must have the ability to take risks, calculated risks.
- Putting ideas into practice – You must be able to put your ideas into practice, by having good management, good organisation to build up your ideas.
It is easy to criticise the Chinese, but there is one thing you must learn from them. They have that spirit to take calculated risks. Today, they will be going around prosperous, and later they will be walking in the street. But they will wait for the wheel of fortune to turn, work hard, and then come up again. If you compare Indian businessmen in Hong Kong with Indian businessmen in India, it is invariably seen that a businessman in Hong Kong, born and brought up there, has an uncanny ability to take risks, and they mostly succeed.
I come from a village called Unjalur near Erode, which is on the way from Erode to Trichy. There is a more famous village called Kodumudi from where the renowned singer K. B. Sundarambal came. These are all Akanda Cauvery (wide Cauvery) and fertile.
We had a lot of land. But, when I decided to go to Hong Kong, I sold my lands, because I found it increasingly difficult to deal with land. You deal with one farmer, then with his three sons, and with his eight grandsons. It goes on like that. So it’s very difficult.
Agriculture entrepreneurship is very difficult. Of course, you can say how a corporate runs plantations. That is a different kettle of fish, even in broad terms of agriculture. I am talking about agriculture in a traditional sense, that is, tilling land for paddy, sugarcane etc.
(Ratnam was part of EID Parry for 22 years, and 3 years under Murugappa Group's tutelage.)