This week's top SMBStory picks show perseverance is key for consistent growth in business
Rome wasn't built in a day. The same goes for a business too. While passion and inspiration can get an entrepreneur excited it is perseverance and a lot of patience that can actually make them succeed.
This week SMBStory interacted with entrepreneurs who built up their businesses with sheer hard work and much patience.
Here are our top three SMBStory picks for this week.
Varun Jain, Director, Marketing and BD, NV Group
In the early 1990s, Ashok Jain was a liquor salesman in a small wine shop in Haryana. Though he was just selling liquor, he had big visions to be a retailer of alcoholic beverages.
Going confidently in the direction of his dreams, over the years, he and his friend saved up some money to buy the same shop he worked in. And, as the demand for alcoholic beverages rose, their sales grew and they made enough money to buy a few more stores. Later, Ashok also became a partner at Gurgaon Liquor Syndicate.
Over time, Ashok became a wholesaler of alcoholic beverages, then a bottler, and then a distiller. By 1996, Ashok was at the helm of his own liquor business: NV Group.
In an interaction with SMBStory, Ashok's son Varun Jain, who joined the family business and is now Director for marketing and business development, says,
"Everyone has their own dream. My father's dream was to have his own liquor warehouse. Once he had a warehouse, his dream grew to having his own bottling unit for alcohol made by other companies. From there, the dream grew again, and this time, it was about making alcohol and bottling it."
He recounts how the domestic market for alcohol was growing when NV Group was first started. "At that time, Black Label was a big deal. It was a whiskey market. As it started to grow, white spirits and Bacardi entered the picture," he adds.
Ashok had a solid business plan in place when he started bottling, Varun says, adding:
"The plan mattered the most because State policies and import-export taxes were different everywhere. Further, getting good people on board was a challenge. Just because the founder is good at what he/she does, success is not guaranteed and cannot be achieved alone."
Today, 23 years down the line, NV Group claims a turnover of Rs 1,360 crores for the last financial year, and sales of approximately Rs 120 crore per month. It has around 500 employees on payroll.
NV Group's success is telling of the rising demand for alcoholic beverages in the country. India's large young population base, rising disposable income, and urbanisation of Tier II and III cities are fuelling the demand and contributing to the growth. Changes in attitude and lifestyle have also made alcohol consumption more acceptable.
Ashok J, Co-founder, Hosachiguru
After working in the IT sector for over a decade, Ashok J and Sriram Chitlur were planning for their retirement goals in their mid-30s. They were on a lookout for an opportunity to make a difference while remaining connected to nature.
In 2008, they were curious about starting sandalwood cultivation after the government's move to liberalise it.
They began searching for land and travelled to rural communities on weekends to procure it. After two years of toil, they acquired land and began cultivation of sandalwood in Rayadurg, Andhra Pradesh.
In an interaction with SMBStory, Srinath Setty (37), who joined the duo in 2014 to direct their sales and customer support, says,
“Ashok and Sriram love nature. Earlier, when they were thinking about their retirement plans, they realised farming held a great opportunity. They not only wanted to grow more trees but also help those who wanted to enter into farming.”
Ashok (55) and Sriram (44) began their journey by investing a total of Rs 1 crore from their savings. The seeds were sown in Ashok’s ancestral property in 30-acre land and they began with the plantation of sandalwood.
“Both of them were working full-time jobs and they didn’t have time to make frequent visits to the farmland. So they decided to grow sandalwood, which has a gestation period of about 15 years.”
Longer gestation also has higher returns, Srinath says. Besides, there are many other challenges involved with plantation of other crops like the suitability of the soil, fertilizers, and more. The duo wanted to play safe because they had a sustainable plan, he adds.
After around five years, they chanced upon an idea. They thought of setting up a farmland management company that acquires large land parcels and converts them into flourishing farms. Timber trees and other sub-tropical crops of the landowners’ choice are cultivated thereby achieving long-term wealth creation or passive income in the most sustainable way.
In 2013, after they learnt about farming techniques, they formalised the company Hosachiguru, which means new sprout in Kannada. This was the time when Srinath joined the team.
Hosachiguru believes in focusing on agro-forestry, and there are two ways individuals can engage with them. First, people who want to purchase farmland can buy from Hosachiguru with the options of developing on their own or with the help of the company. Secondly, individuals can also go for development and management of existing farmland (provided it has a scale of 50+ acres and the landowner is willing to bring in the resources to set up a commercially viable agro-forestry project.)
The idea became prominent among the people and in just five years, Hosachiguru captured 18 projects spread across 800 acres of farmlands of sandalwood, mahogany, and melia dubia. The company clocks a turnover of Rs 20 crore annually.