Persistence is key: Meet entrepreneurs who survived hardships and losses to run successful businesses
Challenges and hardships can often cripple us into submission. But these entrepreneurs survived and persisted, going on to lead successful businesses.
We often hear stories of entrepreneurs who started small and made a big business. But today, SMBStory, has brought for you a dose of motivation from those who faced fears, risked themselves, and fought through them like a warrior.
These entrepreneurs went through unique challenges and hardships and built successful businesses.
Stories about people moving to big cities to chase their dreams are a plenty but few have the grit to nurture their roots and find success in their home cities. Founders ofare on a mission to put their city — Amreli — on the map.
“Iss shehar ne hume bahot diya hai (this city has given us a lot); now it is time to give it back,” says Yash Bhuva, Executive Head of SCPL, which is based out of Amreli in Gujarat.
Beginning its journey from a paan shop in a street to building a publicly-listed food manufacturing company that aims to make Rs 300 crore turnover by the next fiscal year, SCPL has come a long way. The company is now eyeing to capture a pan-India market from Gujarat's Saurashtra region.
SCPL was born when Jagdish Bhuva took a new step in his life, leaving the family’s agriculture occupation and starting a paan and cold drink counter shop by the name Sheetal Pan & Cold Drinks in a street in Amreli in 1987. His younger brothers, Bhupat, Dinesh, and Sanjay soon joined him.
The family had only just begun the business, and before the venture could establish itself, the local municipality demolished the shop in 1989.
For the Bhuva brothers, this small shop was their only source of livelihood. After struggling for two years, they were able to arrange money and buy another small shop in front of Amreli bus stand in 1991. Since then there has been no looking back.
Today, SCPL makes ice cream, dairy products, and namkeens apart from other food items. The state of Gujarat has now given the company a go-ahead to set up 50 ice cream parlours in the region, the largest so far after Amul.
Tulja Sukhdayalsing Sharma
While the business community and media were celebrating, and rightly so, the rise of women entrepreneurship in India on the occasion of Women Entrepreneurship Day, a 34-year-old frail woman stood resolutely under her dripping umbrella awaiting a bus.
A business owner herself, she was on her way to meet a potential customer. Tulja Sukhdayalsing Sharma aka Rani Tulja has a small workshop in Aurangabad under the name of Tulja Tooling in the machine tools business. For nearly two years now, she has been out on the road, come rain or shine, meeting industrialists and manufacturers to sell her products.
Being one of the few women who chose to set up her own tooling workshop rather than work in another establishment, soft-spoken Rani Tulja stands out in this macho landscape of machines and tools.
After completing her diploma in Draftman Mechanical from the town, Rani not only battled the prejudice that her gender attracts, but had to undergo severe personal challenges to the point where she even contemplated ending her life.
Yet, today, she stands tall.
She has not only found a firm footing in her area of expertise but has expanded the market of her products to neighbouring Kolhapur, Nagpur, and other states like Gujarat and Punjab. Today, she has five machines, including a milling machine, lathe machine, and drill machine, and employs two workers. She does the design, technical work, and marketing herself, and made a modest sum of Rs 24 lakh last year.
Rahul Goel was still studying at Amity University, Noida, when he was helping his father in his car accessories business located in Karol Bagh, New Delhi. The company was dealing in the manufacturing of car mats, speakers, and other accessories. One day, while working at their office, he found that his father had a registered trademark for a brand ‘Woodman’, but had never used it.
“Living in times when internet penetration is so deep, I asked my father if he wanted to make use of the trademark and if we should sell our products online. My father was very supportive but he guided me towards starting up my brand, a separate entity rather than scaling up the existing business,” Rahul tells SMBStory.
As Rahul already had a knack for entrepreneurship, initiating a new business wasn’t hard for him. In 2015, he approached ecommerce platforms like Flipkart and Amazon to list his Android car stereo system on the marketplace.
“had newly launched the car accessory category then in 2015,” Rahul says, adding that just after he listed his products, demand poured in. Within seven months, he had done business of around Rs 60 lakh.
However, his venture saw several ups and downs. Rahul bore a huge loss of Rs 1 crore and was in heavy debt in just two years of starting Woodman.
So, what helped Rahul recover losses and restart the business that holds such a good position today that he is aiming for ambitious expansion in 2022? Rahul says, “Focus”.
Today,makes a revenue of Rs 5 crore, and Rahul expects the company to close FY22 at Rs 7.5 crore.
Twenty-seven-year-old Keshav Rai was an average student in school but his keen interest in repairing things made him pursue engineering. However, he soon got bored and decided to try his hands at entrepreneurship.
Keshav was so serious about starting his own company that he requested his father to fund one of his app-based businesses in 2015. But as they say, timing is everything. Keshav’s first two startups were failures, but he never gave up on innovating and learning.
Having failed in the first two business attempts, Keshav left home, and spent tough days before encountering the idea of starting a semi-automatic bike cover business.
Keshav started in late 2016. It offers two-wheeler parking covers that are water-resistant and protects vehicles from dust. The handy device can be fixed on the vehicle and the overall operational time of the cover is below 30 seconds, says Keshav.
Today, Bike Blazer is seeing an annual turnover of Rs 1.3 crore.
Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta