Early-bird Nikhil Dhand runs on Diljit Dosanjh's music and his baba's special butter chicken
Running in paddy fields, climbing on top of buffaloes, and playing cricket - these are some of the things that sum up Nikhil Dhand's childhood. "The naughtiness in the air of Punjab is something else. I really enjoyed my childhood and I wish the current generation could do too," he says.
When he was 12, he dreamt of working as an engineer in the US and living it large. But life had other plans for him. Nikhil had a burning desire to do something for India. "The government is playing its part and I thought to myself - why can't we uplift ourselves and live a fulfilled life here in India as well." Although he completed his Engineering in an elective that had nothing to do with his current career, it developed in him the attitude to solve any challenge that came his way.
He truly believes that the early bird gets the worm. His day begins at 7 am every day (including Sunday) with a vision to create an impact. Every six months, he takes a break to go trekking to rejuvenate himself. According to Nikhil, success is to build an ecosystem where everyone is successful. "Clear the roadblocks in someone's vision and guide them to success. Start with your city, country and then move to a global level."
His role model is Dr. Vivek Bindra, a motivational speaker in India. When asked if he could choose to have dinner with any four famous people in the world, he chose Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Ratan Tata and Mukesh Ambani. "Elon thinks in a way nobody else does. I want to learn from Bill how he created surplus wealth and helps those in dire need. Ratan, on the other hand, is the gem of India and I want to know how he earns this much respect. And Mukesh, he isn't appreciated enough for what he's done to enable digital transformation," he says.
If he could teach one subject in school, it’s Maths as he believes children should learn financial management from a young age. "Give them Rs 100 and through roleplay, ask how they can save Rs 50. This is a small step towards Aatmanirbhar India."
Although he's not much of a tea-person, he'll have a cup if it is paired with good conversation. Also, he can't stop singing praises about his baba's mouth-watering butter chicken and recommends everyone who visits Punjab to try it out.
Nikhil started Dhand Steel Traders because of his passion to win and his ‘never say never’ attitude. His advice to future entrepreneurs is to keep pace with the digital transformation and train the previous generation as well. "Don't leave your parents behind, they are the ones who held your hand when you were little."
Nikhil has visited China and the scale of production, he says, is more organised than India. Xcelerator Ludhiana is a dynamic program and can be a game-changer for India to beat China. "This has to be led by upper channels and translated to lower levels so that they understand the value and work towards the big picture."
If given a chance, he would travel to the US — the land of opportunities and challenges. "I love working in challenging environments. I don't like places where growth easily comes to you." Nikhil is currently reading The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt and How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. In his free time, he loves to spend time with his family and playing his favourite Diljit Dosanjh track on the side gives his mind the much-needed refreshment.