Kanav Aggarwal took the driver’s seat of Jaycee, the family-owned group of businesses, only when he had enough global lessons from his studies and work abroad in his kitty.
Amritsar-based Kanav Aggarwal always knew that one day he would have to join his more than six-decade-old family business. However, he chose to do so only after completing his education and gaining some work experience abroad. “I completed my MBA from the University of Wales in Cardiff, UK, in 2008 and worked as a sales consultant for a mobile company for around one-and-a-half years before acceding to my family’s demand of returning to India and eventually joining the business,” he says.
Kanav’s family owns multiple businesses in Amritsar under the name ‘Jaycee’, ranging from dealerships for Maruti Suzuki, Piaggio two-wheelers, and Royal Enfield motorcycles to a manufacturing unit of tractor components.
After returning to India, Kanav decided to take over the affairs of the family’s Royal Enfield dealership. He sensed that his sales experience in the UK could come in handy for increasing the sales numbers. “Before I joined, for years, we used to sell 50-60 bikes per month. When I took over, we started registering a 20-percent growth per month, and within four years, we were selling 250 bikes a month, higher than any other dealer in the country,” he adds. Today, Kanav claims that Jaycee is one of the top dealers of Royal Enfield motorcycles in India.
Even though Kanav admits that he joined the business half-heartedly after realising that his family needed him to further manage other businesses too -- evident from the fact that their tractor component plant was registering losses -- Kanav decided to fully immerse himself in the task. Within a year of taking over the motorcycle dealership, Kanav took over the family’s tractor component plant too.
“I noticed that our plant was not performing to its full capacity. Many decisions on upgrading the machinery were being stalled. On taking over, I made those decisions and put some other processes in place, which ultimately brought the plant to perform to its full capacity,” he says, adding that he worked on easing up the administerial and managerial bottlenecks and weeding out the processes that slowed down production.
Today, with his taking over the plant called Jaycee Strips and Fasteners, the business has registered a continuous growth, and is currently seeing a turnover of Rs 25 crore.
While Kanav listed his achievements with a great sense of pride, he does not shy away from admitting to failures too. “In 2013, I decided to make farm machinery. For two years, we did it successfully, but then, we completely lost the plot, owing to a number of factors. It did not work out; I suffered huge losses and I am still trying to make up for those losses,” he says.
Even though Kanav has embraced the failure and has had his own set of learnings from it, he points out that businessmen in Punjab have to face an additional set of challenges. He says,
"I am sitting at a very wrong place to do the kind of business I'm doing. Businesses in Amritsar have to pay extra for logistics owing to its geographical location. Moreover, there is dearth of manpower here."
Finding salesmen, much less skilled professionals like engineers, has always been an uphill task. According to Kanav, repercussions of militancy in the past, lack of educational institutions and the prevailing drug menace are the prime reasons behind industries either struggling in or fleeing Punjab.
But how, despite it all, did Jaycee become a prominent dealer for Royal Enfield in the country? Kanav believes that not all business lessons can be found in management books and that success in sales involves a dash of luck too.
For motorcycles sales, their facility in Amritsar could allocate a lot more bikes than the sanctioned quota.
“We fought for long with the company to increase our allocation. It was only when their manager visited Amritsar, and took stock of our facility that they increased our quota,” Kanav says.
Therefore, for Kanav, the success mantra in sales is to remain continuously prepared and wait for the right time.
For the future, given Amritsar’s huge tourism potential, Kanav is currently pondering a plan that allows tourists to experience the city on Royal Enfield motorcycles. To do so, he is thinking of collaborating with five-star hotels in the city.