This Second Generation Entrepreneur is an Advocate of Humility in Workplace
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He was pretty sure from his teenage days about joining the family business and assisting the venture with new business ideas. Gaurav Aggarwal, son of Pravin Aggarwal, founder, a leading producer of Vitamin B3 (Niacin & Niacinamide) from India since 1979, decided to be a part of Lasons when the export sales were zero.
Founded in with just 2 staff employees, Lasons started the production of Niacin and Niacinamide in 1984. Under Pravin Aggarwal’s leadership, the company has grown to become one of the leading manufacturers of Niacin and Niacinamide in India, today. Under Lasons, a brand of Nutritional supplements called, One Life, Nutrition-Wellness-Beauty has recently been launched.
Gaurav has been with the company since 1998. He has extensive experience in the area of International marketing and has been very instrumental in the development of exports of the company. He has also spent time in the United States of America marketing Niacin and Niacinamide produced by the company.
Journey for second generation entrepreneurs is full of learning
According to Gaurav, the second generation entrepreneurs must enter their workspace with humility and the desire to learn. “It’s important to remember that the space they enter is already functional and things operate a certain way. Certain ways may be right and certain have a scope for improvement. Take time in learning from the existing ways and then find better ways to do them if possible. Also, never put forward your point of view without a background research and a complete view of the industry,” he suggested.
Like most family businesses, when the second generation joins the company, the biggest challenge is to find his/her space within an organisation which is already functional. Gaurav too had to create work for himself and prove his worth with the existing assignments.
“Our exports in the late 90's were non-existent. I focused on developing the international market for our products and that has worked very well for us as a company and me professionally. Along the way, we focused on structuring the company and defining the functions between us as management and also within the company itself,” shared the scion.
Learning that began early
Manufacturing being a hands-on activity, the time required for the management is very extensive. From early childhood years, Gaurav has seen his father working long hours and through the weekends.
“The biggest challenge is finding the right talent at executive levels with the extremely tight budgets. Hence, this requires constant attention in various aspects of the business. The same was the case with my father and this occupied most of his time,” he shared.
"Product is king" is the thumb rule for brand building
Over the years manufacturing has emerged as one of the high-value sectors in India. Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ program has placed India on the world map as a manufacturing hub. It is also expected to become the fifth largest manufacturing country in the world by the end of the year 2020.
Manufacturing companies all over the country are strategising their brand-building exercises to stay relevant and beat the market competition. Today the digital world has changed too much too fast.
Gaurav feels, for any brand to be established, the golden rule is "product is king". “Compromising quality or not being able to deliver to the consumer his/her expectation from the product is not an option. You have to be confident about what you are making and selling to be able to make a brand of it,” he elaborated.
The market is extremely competitive and quick. Entrepreneurs need to consider every idea that crosses their mind and work on it or decide to let it go. “Each day counts because your competitor is right behind you in most of the cases. Make sure you know the product and have identified the target customer very carefully. The packaging needs to be extremely attractive and yet informative without losing the customer’s attention,” prescribed the budding leader in India’s manufacturing space.
Exploring the uncharted territories
Director with Lasons India Pvt Ltd. since 2001, Gaurav is now responsible for all export/import planning, banking and other administrative functions. However, a die-hard sports aficionado, Gaurav entered sports business with the team of BCL in 2015. He bought an existing team which was owned by his friend Nandish Sandhu (actor of the celebrated TV serial Uttaran). The duo has been friends for over a decade and decided to get into business together. The partnership, as Gaurav puts it, has turned out to be a lot of fun while helping him uncover his creative side.
A year and a half after buying the team, the friends decided to start a production house together which they named Weaving Entertainment LLP. The first short film under this production house was, "The girl in red". The film did well and they produced the second film, "The gift" which was bought over by Sony Liv for their digital platforms during the making of the film.
Gaurav loves being crazy busy as he finds his element of fun in it. “I enjoy every vertical that I decide to take ahead. There are many proposals that come our way from various industries but we pick and choose very carefully, which is definitely a joint decision of the family. It’s also very important to limit your functions to ensure enough required time is given to each part of the business as required,” straight talked the leading next-gen entrepreneur.
The future roadmap
In the coming years, the company plans to increase the market share and footprint with API and speciality chemicals business. “Under One Life we currently have 11 products in the market and another 45 coming in Q1 2018 (calendar). We plan to introduce another 100 more in the 1st half of 2018 and would like to increase our reach in India from 500 to 2000+ offline counters,” informed Gaurav. One Life will also start its first flagship retail outlet in Mumbai followed by Pune and Delhi in the 1st half of 2018, and aspires to cover from API to B2C in the pharma space.
On the other front, Gaurav and Sandhu have narrowed on their next production, are working on timelines and will start working on casting soon.
Wind beneath your wings!