31 Jul

Idea to IPO 2.0

This article is second in the series, Idea To IPO (to read previous article click here).

4. Positivity-

Words have power. If you keep saying you are tired you will feel tired. If you say you can’t remember the routes, you will never be able to remember them. If you come home and tell your wife and children that you had a fabulous day, they will feel great and welcome you with a smile and you will feel great too. Negativity is like cancer, it pulls you down from inside. If someone asks you how you are, he doesn’t want to know that you are having a bad day, or you have health issues. They are not interested. You must always reply with great positivity. Most of the people will say “I am ok” or “pulling along”. The habit of using positive words helps you manage your stress (and there will be plenty of stressful situations during your journey) and you can find creative solutions to tough situations.

In 2005, I went to Paris to attend a fair “Pret A Porter” to exhibit. We got a great response. Buyers paid us a lot of advances to get their Christmas goods. We came back loaded with money and orders. Our factory was running day and night. Around October when 90% of the goods were ready we had a major fire in our factory. Few workers got minor burns (thank god no one died). It was all over on the TV and print news. Same night at home, I and my wife cried and hugged each other. Next day the factory was inspected by the fire brigade, local police and crime branch who came to file their reports. It had burned down to ashes. We informed the insurance company, they came and took pictures. I called my whole team and told them “we will fight back, let’s clean up the place and let’s come back in action in 3 days”. One or two team members broke down. As a leader, I had to show my positive side. A leader can never look weak in front of his team no matter what happens. We hired 10 cleaning laborers and by evening they cleaned up the whole place. Surprisingly we could still procure 40% goods. We called the electrician and his team rewired and put the new fittings in 24 hours and painters whitewashed the place in next 24 hours. After 4 or 5 days there was no trace of any black spots. Nobody could guess there was massive fire.  We took stock of the complete situation and informed all our buyers that, what can be shipped and which orders we needed more time to remake. Thankfully most of the clients agreed and in very few cases we had to give refunds. Within the next 60 days, the insurance company processed our full claim and we came out with zero loss. If I had lost my positivity at that point in time, it would have been depressing. Being positive worked.

I remember when I used to travel by public transport. The buses used to be very overcrowded. Once I was hanging by the window with my one foot on the last stair of the bus. There was not an inch to get in. One policeman was standing by and started lashing out at the people who were hanging like that. I got two lashes and forced to step out of the bus. I was very angry. But instead of taking out the anger negatively I promised myself that in the next 365 days I must buy a bike of my own and after that, I will never travel by bus in my life. And within the next one year, I bought my own bike and never traveled on an overcrowded bus, metro or train ever in my life anywhere in the world. I sometimes use cabs or public transport if its comfortable, not overcrowded. I just don’t like it. You always have the choice to REACT to a situation, but I suggest you must RESPOND and that too positively.

5. Hard-work-

“I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”- Thomas Jefferson

Enough had already been said about Hard Work. But I can prove it with my own stories. One of my friends who is a very successful architect and featured in every newspaper and TV channel once told me his story. When he was studying Architecture from a premier college, all his classmates belonged to big and famous architect’s family so they didn’t have to worry about their future as they already had a set business going on. His father was a scientist in a Government research institute and was from a middle-class family. He told me that the only way he could make his mark was to score more than everybody else in the exams so he studied very hard and always stood first in college. He is more successful today than any other architect in the country. The harder you work the luckier you get.

Hard work always pays you in the long term. There is no substitute for hard work. So never run from it.

Way back in 1980, in my factory, I had a tailor master who was 80 years old. We used to call him CHACHA (UNCLE). I asked him why he is working so hard at this age, It’s time to retire. He replied I didn’t work hard in my younger days so now I am paying for it. In my first year of a job with a garment exporter, once my boss told me that our production capacity is 25,000 shirts every month and it’s not growing. He told me “If you can achieve the target of 50,000 shirts I will buy me a Raymond Suit”. It was a big deal; I never had a suit in my life. I called up a meeting of tailors of the factory and told them about the target. I was only 20 years old at that time and I motivated everyone and asked them to work double shift till 2 am every day. It was the cold winter of December and the temperature used to be around 1 degree at 2 am. I stayed with the tailors till 2 am and used to go back home around 40km at 2 am every day, we achieved the target in 15 days. My boss bought me a Raymond Suit and I felt like a Hero. My self-esteem and confidence were boosted. Hard work pays you even if you are doing a job or whatever level you are at. You get noticed.

In 1986 during my first trip to the USA, I met a big apparels importer. When I met him he was talking about big numbers. His minimum order was 1,000 dozen items each. I told him very honestly that our capacity was only 5000 garments a month. He seemed surprised by my honesty because most of the Indian exporters he met said No Problem, we can handle and he was quite hurt by delayed shipments; he hated this word NO PROBLEM. He said he will see me in Delhi after a few weeks. One Sunday morning he called me from his five-star hotel in Delhi saying that he wants to visit our factory and asked if it was open the same day. I told him I have the keys and will open it. He requested me to come to his hotel and pick him up (He thought I had a car). I went to his hotel on my bike and asked him to take a taxi and follow me. To my utter surprise, he told me he had never ridden on a bike and would love to ride with me. After reaching our factory, he gave us a sampling program of around 300 samples and fixed a meeting in the coming days as he was going to meet a few of his vendors from South India. The whole sampling program required around 20-30 days. My wife and I, motivated my sample tailors and master that this is a big opportunity and we must complete the whole program before his return. We both worked day and night, I slept in the factory for 7-8 days and went home in the morning for taking shower and breakfast, while Uma used to leave late at night to take care of the children and send them to school early in the morning. We completed all the samples before his return and he was surprised. He didn’t expect it. All his other vendors asked for 20-30 days for similar samplings. He went back happy with samples and one day he called me and told that he wants to place an order of 30,000 garments. I told him our capacity is only 5000 garments a month. He asked me what we need to fulfill these orders. I told him we need money to buy the cloth and accessories and we don’t have any bank facility. He transferred a big advance the very next day and opened the Letter Of Credit for the whole order. Our success story began with that order. Our first-year sales were 8 Lacs and after meeting him next year we did 80 Lacs and the following year we did around 8 Crore. This is how you get lucky if you work hard.

6. Goal Setting-

There are hundreds of books written on the subject of Goal Setting. Only 3% of people in the world population have written goals. The 1979 Harvard Business School MBA study on goal setting, the graduating class was asked a single question about their goals in life. The question was this: Have you set written goals and created a plan for their attainment? Prior to graduation, it was determined that:

  • 84% of the entire class had set no goals at all
  • 13% of the class had set written goals but had no concrete plans
  • 3% of the class had both written goals and concrete plans

The results?

10 years later, the 13% of the class that had set written goals but had not created plans, were making twice as much money as the 84% of the class that had set no goals at all.However, the apparent kicker is that the 3% of the class that had both written goals and a plan were making ten times as much as the rest of the 97% of the class.

We all know what Smart Goals are-






The goals should be written and specific, should be measurable (management guru Peter Ducker said, what gets measured gets done), attainable, relevant and time-bound. So for example if you have a weight loss target, your goal statement will be-My target is to lose 15kg weight by 25th December 2018. And you measure the progress every week and month. Break this goal into smaller goals like 500grams a week and 2kg a month. Write down your goals in your daily journal or on your smartphone notepad or make a board in your bedroom. Read these goals first thing in the morning and before sleeping. Celebrate every achievement. The law of attraction will come into play. If you have written goals, you attract situations, people, and circumstances which help you achieve your goals.  One can also create a vision board and place it in the bedroom. You collect or draw the pictures of your dream car, dream home, a stack of money etc and make a collage. You can do this on a vision board app also. I have achieved all my major goals through this vision board technique.

Goals have no meaning if not followed by an action plan. Every goal should have an action plan that these are the actions you are going to take on a daily basis to achieve these goals. Also, I have an issue with the attainable part of it. Most people will write goals which are either easily attainable or not practical. They remain in their comfort zone or fail again and again. In my opinion, you must set at least 5 times more than you think you can achieve. I have mentioned the story of me achieving 50,000 shirts goal. If my boss had given me 125,000 shirts goal I could have easily achieved 10,0000 shirts which were 4 times the average production in the last 2 years. If your goal is 5 times the normal goal, In that case, you go out of your comfort zone and take massive action.

Write down your 3 major goals which will be a game changer. Those 3 goals if achieved can change your life. Those 3 goals can take care of all the other goals. I believe there is a science behind goal setting. A key quality which separates winners from the losers is Grit. Grit is literally living day and night with your future.

Angela Duckworth in her research found out that kids with more grit were far more likely to graduate high school than others. In other words, those students with the stamina to be in it for the long haul were the ones who fared best overall. The best way is to have an accountability partner. Discuss with your best friend or your spouse and make him or her accountability partner. Each time you mess up you take him/her for a coffee or dinner and talk, it will surely help.

Last year I was doing a coaching in a group of eight people. We became an accountability partner for each other and each time anyone defaulted, he/she would have to deposit a fine in the common pool. We collected a lot of money in the common pool which was later spent on offsite social for the group. When we take ownership of a goal, we are more committed to it. Throughout that journey of working towards your goal, keep visualizing how you would feel if you achieved your goal! If your goal is to lose 20kg visualize how it will feel to be lean and smart. Visualize that your friends and relatives are complimenting you. Identify distractions and try to eliminate or at least avoid them.

Whenever I have a presentation to do I go to the venue at least an hour early, familiarize myself with the venue and see the laptop audio & video set up and ensure that everything is working fine. Then I visualize from the stage that the audience is well engaged in my talk, laughing at my jokes. If your goal is to stop smoking you can’t be in the company of smokers. It’s absolutely essential to keep away from them at least for 90days so that you transform yourself completely. In fact, surround yourself with people what you want to be. Remember you are the average sum of five people you hang out with all the time.

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Edited by- Rajat Babbar Connect

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