(As originally appeared at EVOMA.com)
Owning a family business is a boon in many ways, and it will surely enhance your chances of being seen as a successful businessman. Everyone from a grocery shop owner’s son to Aditya Birla can attest to that.
But the ones who can give us really useful business tips are those who know how to grow a small family business into a corporate giant.
In this article, let’s learn some small business tips from one such simple and humble human being’s inspiring entrepreneurial journey.
1. Develop an entrepreneurial mindset.
Initially, our hero was left with two career choices – either take over the family business making shampoo, or rear pets. His entrepreneurial mindset and talent showed up early when he earned his own pocket money out of his pet business during childhood.
On the other hand, his father was an agriculturist who had started a small-scale pharmaceutical packaging unit and was the first generation entrepreneur. Now our hero has to make a choice between one of these two and get into business because of his lack of interest in studies.
After a lot of brainstorming, he decided to go into the family business.
Lessons to learn:
- You are unstoppable even if your family business is not a big enterprise passed on to you after generations.
- Practical knowledge and executing skills are vital rather than the degree you hold.
- Always remember that initial efforts are most likely to be criticized.
- Choices we make in life should be properly analyzed and risk should be calculated.
2. Follow in your father’s footsteps.
Pioneer for the “sachet pack” concept in India was our hero’s father. His target was low-income people who are new to shampoo and can’t afford to buy a whole bottle. He rightly foresaw that the small sachet pack was going to be very big in the future. Unfortunately, he initially failed in marketing it and passed away before it could really catch on. His brother then took charge of the family business.
Lessons to learn:
- Never fear to try or implement what you pursue.
- Proper marketing is a must for a concept to be commercialized successfully.
3. Educate yourself and hire qualified employees.
Our hero was neither holding a management degree nor good in English. So he began to read The Hindu newspaper, management books and listened to cassettes on things like human resource management, etc!
Also, he started hiring qualified management professionals to help grow the company. In 1989, he moved to Chennai for better prospects, but had a manufacturing unit in Cuddalore itself. Also, he knocked on a lot of bank doors for a loan for operational expenses. He finally got lucky and got approval for an unsecured loan without any collateral.
Lessons to learn:
- Never stop investing in yourself.
- Work passionately to change your weaknesses into strengths.
- Never fear to go out of your comfort zone if opportunity beckons.
- Never stop till you get what you want.
4. Target new market segments.
The ability to provide liquid in sachets was conceptualized and successfully executed by his father. It was soon a hit and made the product available and affordable to an entirely new market segment that had not been tapped at all by the existing shampoo companies in India. It was the packaging innovation – the sachet pack, which helped the product (shampoo) penetrate the low-income consumer market.
Lessons to Learn:
- Business is not just about the product. The packaging also makes a huge difference.
- Make sure your product will add value to your customers.
- Invest your time in positioning your product and marketing it.
- Quality and customer satisfaction always tops everything else in terms of business priorities.
Who is Our Hero?
The answer is – C.K. Ranganathan, Founder Chairman, Cavinkare Group
Chinni Krishnan Ranganathan is the hero we have been discussing in this entire article. He was born in Cuddalore, a small coastal town in Tamil Nadu. The Cavinkare Group is now into personal care, food, beverages, dairy, snacks, and has a huge chain of salons across India. Under his inspirational leadership, his company is challenging foreign FMCGs.
He started his first brand – Chik shampoo, after his father’s name. Irrespective of what the other top shampoo brands were doing, Chik always maintained its edge with quality, affordable pricing, and unique endorsement strategies. For example, one free sachet of Chik shampoo in exchange for any five empty shampoo sachets. Their brand ambassadors are Actor Arawaindsamy and Actress Amala.
In conclusion – Irrespective of the strategy and tactics you apply, your product will speak for you and ensure its longevity. Best wishes for your success.
“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all” – Michael LeBoeuf