Can’t make cash without cash? Won't be able to make cash with cash: Suxus founder

In the first episode of SMBStory’s ‘Small Businesses, Big Opportunity: Lessons from MSME trenches’, Faizal Ahamed of Suxus menswear brand talks about post-lockdown strategy for the offline retail industry.

Can’t make cash without cash? Won't be able to make cash with cash: Suxus founder

Thursday May 21, 2020,

4 min Read

"Those who can’t make cash without cash, won't be able to make cash with cash." Wise words from an entrepreneur who has seen the depths of failure and then risen to tell the tale.

Faizal Ahamed, Founder of Suxus Menswear, is as tough an entrepreneur as can get. In these gloomy times of the global coronavirus crisis, he is biding his time like a sports car revving up its engine waiting for the race to be flagged off.

Suxus Faizal Ahamed

Faizal Ahamed

In the first episode, titled: ‘Offline Retail: Show me the money,’ of SMBStory’s ‘Small Businesses, Big Opportunity: Lessons from MSME trenches’, Faizal detailed his plans to spring back in action as soon as the lockdown ends. He also stressed upon the need to preserve cash and to use the lockdown to strengthen marketing and other operational strategies.

Offline retail has seen a slump following the first lockdown since March 24 when all non-essential services were shut down. Now with lockdown 4.0, green zone areas in the country have slowly started to open their doors.

Reportedly, the retail industry expects to lose at least 40 percent of business this year, and about 20 to 25 percent of businesses will have to shut shop.

Faizal is bang on when he says that in such circumstances, businesses that innovate will be the ones that survive and gain. "We are optimising and strategising our spend in a way that whatever we invest today, should bounce back post the lockdown," he says.

Maintaining that this crisis has driven home his long-held belief that it is imperative to have cash reserves for at least three months, Faizal says,

“I always believe businesses do not fail because they are short of cash. Businesses fail because of financial mismanagement.”

[Watch the full interview here]

He sees the lockdown period as an opportunity to take stock of his business. “We are taking this time to scrutinise our payables, are focused on our receivables, and have shrunk our expenses by trying to make our fixed expenses into variables,” he adds.

Faizal, who almost went bankrupt in 2011, says the biggest learning for him from this global pandemic has been to appreciate the small things in life like spending time with family, friends, your team, and the community at large.

He founded Suxus, a men’s apparel brand, with a borrowed capital of Rs 5 lakh in 2006. Today, he has nine showrooms across Tamil Nadu and plans to have 420 more by 2030.

Thirty-three-year-old Faizal is a third-generation entrepreneur from Madurai, Tamil Nadu. While he was studying BCom, he was pushed into starting a business to recover a debt that his father had taken for his business.

The company does both B2B as well as B2C business, and sticks to a price point between Rs 50 and Rs 500. It deals in only men’s wear, which includes shirts, trousers, T-shirts, and denims.

Such has been the response to Suxus that whenever they open a new store, they clock walk-ins of 3,000 on the opening day.

In fact, in the state where only movie stars and politicians hold the distinction of being crowd pullers, Suxus has mastered the art as well. The police have to be called in to manage the crowds, and roads are closed for traffic -- such is the crowd that Suxus draws.

Read about his full journey here.

After the first lockdown was announced, Faizal and a few others from his entrepreneur network huddled together to make sense of the path ahead.

“My mentor told me, ‘You will surely live to tell the tale, but make sure you love to tell that tale.”

Clearly, Faizal seems to have started giving shape to his story already.

Edited by Teja Lele