This Third-Gen Entrepreneur Advises Others To Never Sell Their Company
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As a teenager, Mehul Shah, Managing Director of Anchor Group always knew he would spearhead the company in future and hence, took up a diploma course in engineering only to realize it was a bad decision. At the age of 19, Shah joined his father’s company – Anchor Group to learn everything about the switch making business.
The group Lalji Bapa was started with INR 8000 as capital, which was later taken over by his sons Damji L. Shah and Jadavji L. Shah. The company was the first one to introduce India to so-called piano switches.
In a conversation with Entrepreneur India, Shah says his father would take care of most of the company’s operation. Apart from being a father, he was also his mentor.
“I learned everything from marketing to engineering and financial management from him. More importantly, my father taught me the two most important rules of doing business – money saved is money earned and how being visionary with a human touch,” he shared.
Under Shah’s leadership, the company had realized the value it had created for the brand in the market. And therefore, he decided to broaden his firm’s wings and entered unchartered territory such manufacturing of wires, lights, paints, and fan.
In 2007, Anchor’s electrical division received about USD 500mn buy out option from Panasonic Electrical. The company accepted the Japanese firm’s offer purely on valuation, Shah disclosed.
Months later, workers from Anchor’s electrical factories and the company distributor came back to Shah to restart the business. But Shah had no choice as his hands were tied with the three-year noncompetency law and hence, the third generation entrepreneur started investing in an IPL team (Kochi Tuskers Kerala) and some real-estate projects.
Around 2014, he re-launched in Anchor’s electrical division as ‘Great White’ with a tagline that read – Passion Reborn. “I haven’t faced any challenges which couldn’t be tackled in the nick of the time. We stuck to the brand’s virtue – quality, and innovation,” he adds.
After this episode, his only advice to upcoming entrepreneurs is - "never sell your business or passion."
Most of the second generation entrepreneurs are under pressure to perform, if not outperform their predecessor and so was Shah. “I am in as much pressure as Superstar Amitabh Bachchan’s son Abhishek. But the only difference between us is – he is taller than me,” he said jokingly.
Shah is also an angel investor in startups like Sportobuddy, Miracle and a Mumbai Anchor (Indian Poker League).
About his investor instincts, he said, "I am an active investor which is a lot like being an entrepreneur. I like to interact a lot with the founder as I believe in investing in people and not in a company,” he shared.