From comfort zones to building business empires, these entrepreneurs show the way: top SMBStories of the week
Quitting a well-established family business to start something new from scratch can never be easy. For any aspiring entrepreneur, taking the plunge into a fiercely competitive world does not come without challenges. But, with grit and determination, one can turn the tide in one’s favour.
Here are some inspiring stories of entrepreneurs who left their family businesses, their comfort zones, and scripted extraordinary success stories, for others to emulate.
Chirag Kabra’s business journey started as a credit analyst in an investment firm run by his father in Mumbai. His life altered considerably when he decided to get into the business of exporting bedsheets and pillow covers in 2011.
Nikshe MultiProducts Pvt. Ltd. was founded in 2014 when Chirag and his wife, Sheena, decided to enter the manufacturing sector after receiving an order to manufacture laundry bags for Marriott Hotel in Ahmedabad. He says,
From setting up a manufacturing unit in Ahmedabad to getting clients onboard, Chirag says his firm has come a long way.
The stitching, printing, and delivery was done by Chirag and his family. While the husband-wife duo procured materials from different parts of Gujarat, Chirag’s mother and grandmother helped them in assembling the product, for which they sometimes worked through the night.
The company incurred losses in the beginning. “Our first order was worth Rs 6,000 for which we incurred a loss of Rs 9,000,” says Chirag.
Chirag’s sister, Chanchal Soni, and brother-in-law, Karan Soni, joined the business. They saw a vacuum in the slipper industry. Karan says, “Room slippers are a very distinctive product used extensively in the hotel industry. They were supplied mainly by unorganised players in India.”
The couple decided to take the plunge and launched a disposable slipper manufacturing brand - The Slipper Factory LLP - under the existing business.
The business today employs over 350 people and has diversified into manufacturing 85 products, including face masks, laundry bags, bathrobes, room slippers, sherwani covers, and many more..
Today, the company clocks an annual turnover of Rs 22 crore.
Kanhai Porecha, Founder, Zissto sauces
In today’s fast-paced world, our food habits are also changing fast. There was a time when we used to buy vegetables from the market, bring them home, chop them, cook them, and then have a freshly prepared meal. But who has so much time now?
We now have an instant food solution for almost all kinds of meals which has made life easier for all those who don’t wish to spend extra hours in the kitchen after a long tiring day at work.
sauces, a ready-to-eat gravy sauce brand, was launched in Mumbai in 2017. Kanhai Porecha, Founder, Zissto sauces says,
“The idea of Zissto popped up in my mind when I came back to India from London after completing by BBA. I always wanted to do my own business but couldn’t think of an idea. In London, I observed that I had good ready-to-cook sauces in which I used to saute veggies. However, I couldn’t find anything of that sort in India.”
Zissto brand now sells 50,000 sauce bottles across Mumbai and Chennai, and through online portals like Amazon and Flipkart.
Srishti Banka, Founder of Banka and Banka CFO
Lack of financial resources is seen as one of the main reasons for businesses to fail within the first few years of operation. While India has a thriving startup and SME culture, due to limited resources, small businesses often fail to keep a check on their financial statements and maintaining budgets.
In the initial years of working, Shristi Banka realised that most companies, especially small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), do not have proper guidance regarding their compliances when they start up.
This gave her the idea to set up a professional services firm dedicated to meet the end-to-end requirements of businesses in relation to their statutory as well as regulatory compliances.
The 24-year-old entrepreneur started Banka &Services LLP in September 2019.
Starting with an initial investment of less than Rs 1 lakh, the company, which has three members and two expert advisors, now claims to have clocked a turnover of Rs 8 lakh since its inception.
Other top stories of the week:
Ramesh Kalyanaraman (Left), TS Kalyanaraman (Centre), and Rajesh Kalyanaraman (Right)
TS Kalyanaraman, Founder of Kalyan Jewellers, has not only built a successful business empire but is also a high-flyer who has contributed immensely to the jewellery industry.
Coming from a background of textiles, Kalyanaraman (72) used to help his father in their decades-old textile business in Thrissur, Kerala. However, soon he realised that there was a lot more potential in the jewellery segment and that it needs to be organised. His son, Ramesh Kalyanaraman, Executive Director, Kalyan Jewellers says,
“My father always thought of entering the jewellery industry and some of our regular customers too encouraged him. This led him to start Kalyan Jewellers.”
The company today has grown into one of India’s largest and most trusted jewellery retailer with approximately 8,000 employees and 140 showrooms across India and West Asia. Kalyan Jewellers now clocks a turnover of Rs 10,000 crore.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought the world to a standstill. The worst affected segment in this crisis is the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Amid the uncertainty looming around this segment, SMBStory spoke to Ravi Venkatesan, Founder and Chairman of the Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship (), over what measures such as lockdowns due to COVID-19 are going to have on MSMEs, and how it is in the process of creating a $100 million SME Stabilisation Fund.
(Edited by Javed Gaihlot)