Hi All, welcome to another interview session with me. Today with us we have Mr Sushil Mehta. Welcome, sir.
Let me introduce him to you. He changed the myth of doing business in the Marwari community. Not only was he growing the family business but also by the entire family support, he grew a new brand identity at a very young age. He has various businesses such as credit card shopping, used car showroom, luxury used cars showroom, and multiple car care workshops – Jain workshop in multiple parts of Tamil Nadu creating employment opportunities for 700+ members. He was awarded many times for his career and social life. He is passionate about singing and lives his life with values.
He is happily married to his wife Mrs Lalitha with two children and is living a happy life with them and his mother. Welcome to the talk show, sir. It is an honour to have you here.
Thank you Gulshan! I am delighted to be here today and share my experiences and thoughts with you.
Sir, in this talk show, we will be having a question-answer session with around five to six questions post which we will have a rapid-fire round. Hope you are excited!
Yes! Very much.
Coming from a typical Marwari joint family, what made you think out of the box?
Well, that’s a very wonderful question. Like any other typical Marwari family, I was also expected to join our family business, which was an automobile hire purchase business. We were marketing from a very well known area in Chennai – Sowcarpet. We live there and we were operating a small business in a 200 sq ft area with two employees. It was a multi-story building wherein we lived in the first and the second floors and the ground floor was converted to an office space. I really enjoyed that life as there was nothing much to do in terms of work. But life changed when I joined an organization by the name Alma Marketer. It was a leadership organization. The organization kindles your inner self. We used to have discussions around topics like “I am proud of myself. Why?”. And when I looked inside me to introspect on it, there wasn’t anything like that and it got me thinking. Also, they believe in values like it does not matter, what matters is what you do with what you have. I was an ordinary person and these thoughts churned me downside-up and that seeded the idea of doing new business. It was in 2000 when I started Jains Car Shoppe. It was against my family’s will as we had no money to invest and it was a very big deal to start something fresh. It took quite some time to convince them and of course, now it is all history.
It’s fascinating to know and it is indeed a great opportunity to have been in an organization as such that helped you find your niche. My next question is, I believe that to have a successful career, you need to have a peaceful life. What is your advice or ideas on it that you would like to give the younger generation?
Yes, of course. My philosophy is both profit and peace go hand-in-hand. You have to be peacefully successful. If you are not peaceful at home, then the aggression or the best of you cannot come to work. I would say one has to be an all-role wonder. Every individual has various roles to play in his life- as a family person, a spiritual person, a social person and so on. One has to balance all those roles. Only then can she or he become successful. Basically, I divide my day into three parts. Mornings are for my personal things – I work on my health and for my connection with the spiritual. After 10 am, it is my work hours. I do business like no other. It’s completely professional and I do not encourage any personal time during those hours. Post 7 pm, it’s only family time and I make sure to even not bring up any business talks. This I believe has helped me and since I am peaceful, I am able to perform better in my business. I would like to tell all the youngsters only one thing. They all have passion. But they aim at going behind money. Yes, that is important but that alone is not the primary motive and it should definitely not be at the cost of family time or personal health. One has to be healthy, blissful and be able to have had a healthy family and social life to be able to work better.
You have very good time management, sir. Yes, it is necessary to have proper time management to lead a successful life.
Sure. And there is no rocket science. All you have to do is, set aside time for each thing. Divide your day and work accordingly and it should be completely easy.
Wonderful sir. My next question to you is, how do you manage your day to day business life sitting in Chennai, as you have multiple businesses across Tamil Nadu?
That’s a bull’s eye question. Most people ask me this as my business is spread over Chennai that I set personally. My concept is very simple. I am aware that if I sit at one place and do my business, I can do 110%. Whereas when I have someone else managing on my behalf at a different location, my expectation from him is only 70%. Because I know I can be only in one place at one time. I cannot be omnipresent. If I have to outperform, then I have to have people who can manage it. I am glad if they deliver even 70%. Today I have my business in over 25 locations. So if I multiple the average potential of all those managing people, it is far more than what I do in one location for my business. I am glad and content with this thought process and it does seem to work well and that’s the reason why I have close to 700 direct employees as of now working with me. This again is possible only when the person is given enough liberty but is also bound by certain disciplinary rules. When you have all of your set systems in place, the person sitting there should know what to do and how to do and that is possible only when you provide some leisure on decision making. They should be allowed to make decisions to make things happen. At the same time, there are times when certain decisions require my approval and I make sure they are brought to me.
I understand. And coming from a Marwari family it is a big deal to lose even a single penny in a day’s work. If you have earned 1000 rupees and lost one rupee, you would still be affected by the loss. And this thought of yours in managing the workforce does sound extremely effective.
Yes, and that’s the reason why I stressed upon the fact that you need to set your mind that the person sitting there in your place will be able to deliver only 70% and that you should be okay with it. This will save you from heartburns. Most times, people expect their workforce to deliver 100% just like them and in that we lose manpower and tend to struggle more. If you prepare your mind for the minimum, then you would be happier when you see results delivered more than that. So I set my expectations to a reasonable level to stay away from unwanted mental stress.
That is a very wonderful tip for all the businessmen. My next question is, have you ever faced any setbacks? If yes, how did you overcome it?
Of course yes. When you do business, you should be prepared for any setbacks or shortcomings. Sometimes, things might not go as planned and I don’t say that all decisions are right. You have to make mistakes to learn from them. You just have to keep trying to get them right. Having said that, there were many setbacks like the choice of location did not work out well or so on. There were several setbacks. And I work on a very simple policy and I would like to give all the credits to my guru Mahatria. I learnt through his preachings that whatever happens, happens for good and for a reason. If you are a person with the right consciousness, and that your intentions are good, nothing wrong will happen to you. We might not know why things happen and keep brooding on them. But whatever happens, there’s a reason and we at a later part of time realize as things unfold. With this, I believe that anything that happens, there’s a reason and it is needed so that you learn from it. Believing in this will help you move forward with making other decisions.
Yes, you are right. Making decisions will help us to move forward and pull us out of our setbacks. So my next question is if I have a new business idea, what should I do about it?
If you have a business idea, you should definitely think of executing it. But before that, there’s something called a SWOT analysis. It stands for strength, weakness, opportunities and threats. You have to do this especially if you think your business requires a good amount of investment. Even when I ventured in my business, it was a very huge amount of money to invest. I never had second thoughts about talking to veterans in the industry, bankers who were serving this industry and so on. I took advice and feedback. But if you see you will also come across people who will give negative ideas and advice. You still have to collect them and then sit down to do SWOT analysis on your own. There’s a saying that goes like this ‘Suno Sab ki Karo Mann ki’. This means you listen and get everyone’s advice and ideas but gauge what is right or wrong through self-analysis and then take a decision.
So, when we have any new idea it is advisable to talk to experts then analyse the pros and cans and do a self-analysis before arriving at a decision. Is that right?
Yes! Absolutely. You must speak to someone who is well-versed in that domain. The young blood today has passion but seldom spends quality time in analysing the background of things. Also, they don’t want to speak to others about it. Of so many that I’ve come across, they will just say ‘I will do it’. I’d say, never hesitate to talk to people in the industry. They know better because they are experienced.
What are the top three tips that younger business owners should bear in mind when they start?
Well, there’s no rocket since in learning the business and also at the same time, there is no shortcut to business. Whoever does it, there is one formula- TVS – Trust, Value and Service. This is the golden rule that I believe in. Trust, you should create the trust factor amongst the customers. They should believe that they’ve come to the right place. You have to create that feeling for them. Once you do that, you will eventually not require to spend money on marketing or advertising. Building trust will give way to word-of-mouth and that way, you will earn more customers. Secondly, Indians are very smart people. You cannot sell a product to them saying it’s cheap but you can sell anything by telling them the value for that product. You need to make them feel that you are giving them some value that is equal to or more than the money that they are willing to spend on it. When you create that kind of value, then your sale is immediate. And of course, being qualified for it alone lets you go on a long run. Personalized services to customers can make you stand apart from your fellow businessmen.
Absolutely, they say India is a price market. But if you have a valuable product, then price becomes a by-product. Dealing with customers in the right way brings about a great difference and I can very well say that these strong values of the business have made you what you are today!
Yes. And all that I have told is from my personal journey. In a business like mine, it is very important to have your customers trust you. For the value that we create, they have trust to only call me and give some basic requirements and leave the decision to me, to choose the right car for them. They are happier to do this. And this way, I too feel more responsible to take the right decision on behalf of them.
That was very insightful sir. Let us dive into the rapid-fire section. What is the one most important motivation in life?
My guru Mahatria is my motivation. I see him and get motivated and incorporate his teachings in my daily life.
What are the top three experiences that you cherish from your career life?
They would be me joining Alma Matter which is now called Infenethiesm, starting my own venture in 2000 and finally, holding on to the path of Infinitheism and clinging on to that since the past 25 years.
What is your tip to the youth in selecting their career life?
The youth these days prefer going to a job. I would say, they must consider doing business, be an entrepreneur and be a job-giver.
What do you love about yourself?
Well, I am an honest, god-loving and people-loving person. I try to find positivity from surroundings and never think for any bad to happen to anyone. I think from others’ perspective and mean good to others. These are the qualities that I like.
What is your secret to success in life?
What next, what more and what can I do with what I have with me. These thoughts give me energy and positivity to keep moving forward in life.
That is great sir. With this, we come to the end of our interview and I must say it was very thought-provoking to have had this discussion with you. Thank you for all your valuable time and for having provided great insights to our younger generation.
Thank you, Gulshan. I would like to wish all young people a bright future and advise them to target their passion.