Career summary on retirement (an article in businessweek)
My journey into the corporate world began expectedly by joining the business set-up of my family. Soon after graduating from an overseas business school, I was given the responsibility of carving an overseas market for the electrical products sourced from local manufacturers. Soon, I realized that I had great inclination towards financial management and budgeting rather than marketing. I soon realized that homework needs to be much stronger than the flair of the marketing. Marketing comes at a later stage when the product is to be exhibited to the potential consumers. Advertisements and publicity campaigns may fail; but if the quality standards of the product are good and built on solid financial planning, it will capture the market anyways.
Throughout my career, the focus has been simple: attack costs, build market share and find new revenue bands. To build the low-cost model, I consistently found new outsourcing options- be it looking for better audits or forecasting. To drive up market share, I suggested investment in distribution network. Even as our business connected new customers through us improved the revenues and created one of the largest value electrical goods company.
Financial management requires out of the box thinking, after all if a company can manage the costs, the distributions and the dealer margins of a product as complex as electrical goods it can replicate it to any scale. Typically, using technology for trade, we saved on dealer commissions. Somehow, it seemed highly improbable to bring major changes from the financial perspective in the existing business practices of the electrical goods trade or manufacture. So I contemplated a change and decided to start my own enterprise.
In the first phase of setting up my portfolio management company, I purchased an existing enterprise and restructured it. Then I had deconstructed the old group and reconstructed it around the economic models. The idea was to tune into the latent demand at the bottom of the investment pyramid. My associates called the process as “to a garden being landscaped anew without uprooting old plants” where value was being unlocked by repositioning the existing operations. I got working machinery and tested tools to implement my business plans.
Some of the main points that I captured throughout my business career relate to innovation and the challenges in the path of implementing the innovative ideas. The architect of any business must recognize the paradigm change that the changing technology brings into the sector of banking and finance. In many ways, the technology utilization is a mirror image of any company’s future prospects. Hence, I brought technology into the business environment to make it far more dynamic and my management team was groomed to be open to newer ideas. I also think the time has come for banking institutions to be bold must look at the future. If one keeps concentrating on small increments of the present, then the business may be out of date before we reach our goals.
My entire career has been a vastly fruitful chapter of business and functions of financial institutions. At the onset, banks were simply a place to deposit or withdraw money, avail loans or repay them; now, huge financial institutions provide an array of investment options, comfort of online trading or sale-purchase of anything and everything. It’s been a great ride on the waves of technology. And I am sure, that these tides will keep rising.