An Enterprise is an undertaking or new project, especially when bold or dangerous; readiness, initiative and daring in undertaking; a business concern. Enterprises encompass of; criminal and corporate entrepreneurs, owner-managers, and micro-business, self-employed, in all their contexts. Today the word Entrepreneur has many more definitions than its literal meaning. This is because of the new breed of enterprising individuals we have in our competitive global village. For me, an enterprising individual means a person who has the power, ability and will to accomplish his economic desires by any ways and means possible, or by doing the impossible.
"Destiny shapes lives of entire humanity, but there are few who shape their own destiny. These few create their own path rather than choosing a path, they believe in leading rather than being led. They love challenging the status-quo rather than going with the flow. These avant-garde individuals are archangels of change, emerging a new era of success and progress." (Somani and Somani, 2012)
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Dr. Gaurav Somani is among those few, and has created his very own path of success.
A son, a brother, a friend, an entrepreneur, and newly added to his list of roles is as a husband. In his every role of life mentioned above, he has given his complete dedication, and has always outdone the best examples in class.
A bird eye view of his life gives you a glance at the wide spread of his business empire and list of achievements. But being a very close friend of him for almost 6 years, I have been lucky enough to have worm eye view of the jungle, where he has laboured tremendously hard to plant every tree of the jungle, which as a result has given him the sweetest fruits.
"He completed his formal education and then his graduation in commerce. He also added Post Graduate degree in Management to his academic credentials. Currently he has completed the prestigious Doctorate in Operational Management. At merely an age of 25, he has put upon towering achievements. He holds the Executive director portfolio heading the organization's Operation & Business Development with sights on expanding horizons of Calyx Pvt Ltd. with clockwork precision. He also has the finance department in his kitty and executes all its functions with judicious dispositions of financial wizards. Dr. Gaurav is a live-wire, always on the go, full of energy with starry ambitions. But in spite of towering achievements, he remains grounded on his deals and this along with his keen business sense and legendary foresights has helped him build a vibrant empire out of virtual emptiness. Today Dr. Gaurav is at the forefront of change, wishing to change the face of developing India. Yet as a person, he has always respected relations and has always been there for the near and dear ones."(Somani and Somani, 2012)
Business activities of entrepreneurs are greatly influenced by three important factors i.e. the enterprising individual himself, the organisation and the task environment.
I chose to interview Dr. Gaurav Somani as to understand the nature of these three factors that influenced his business decisions.
"It is said that entrepreneurs look at the world through different eyes, see the future better than others do, see opportunities that others do not see, do not see the risks that others do see, and so on. But maybe it is not their eyes that make entrepreneurs different but the lenses through which they look."(Carsrud and Brännback, 2009) From an early age Gaurav was enamoured by the charms of construction industry. He believes that at the heart of any architectural marvel, is nothing but an elusive balance of prudent engineering and practical design.
"The success saga has been scripted largely through single minded efforts. With immense respect for his ancestral textile business, he always had burning desire to chart his own course, and finally he found his calling in the field of construction thus leading to the Queen of Deccan (Pune). After his breakthrough in construction of 6lac sq. ft. he never looked back and went on to craft array of landmark creations dotting the- city. A vision to make contribution to developing India by creating housing solutions from niche homes & townships to affordable or budget homes which caters across various cross sections of the society. His vision is to be a symbol of excellence in real estate arena and enhance the lifestyle quotient of customers by providing them premium spaces and also partnering India's growth story. He wished to be devoted to deliver outstanding quality of work and to bring in course-changing concepts with innovative solutions for efficient and speedy execution of all the undertakings as well."(Somani and Somani, 2012)
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This clearly shows the risk taking ability of Dr. Gaurav, which is one of the most important characteristics of entrepreneurs. The decision of not going on with the well settled ancestral business and deciding to chart his path in the competitive field of real estate was a highly risk bearing initiative. And this quality of his is also reflected his current and upcoming ventures. "Greater knowledge and experience in any context affects ones perception of risk in that context. Those with more entrepreneurial knowledge and greater entrepreneurial experience might regard a specific new venture opportunity as relatively low risk, while those with little knowledge and relevant experience might regard the same opportunity as relatively high risk."(Shane and Venkataraman, 2000; Shepherd et al., 2000; Carsrud and Brännback, 2009)
It is the influence of Dr. Gaurav's decisions that has been a key factor in shaping the success story of himself and his organisation. His ability to understand the market, estimate its demand and going by his instincts to fulfil those demands has been one of the major drivers of his organization. "This confidence may be based on the possession of superior knowledge about the entrepreneurial opportunity, due to his superior knowledge of market needs and/or technological potential for serving those needs." (Gimeno, 1997; Shane and Venkataraman, 2000; Gifford, 2003; Carsrud and Brännback, 2009) Today, along with Dr. Gaurav, his father and younger brother; together manage their vast empire.
" Organizational culture is a set of values, beliefs, and assumptions that influence the practices and behaviours of organization members."(Schein, 1992; Hisrich, 2010) The key player in on which the culture of an organization builds is the things that have proven successful for the organization in the past. "The concept of culture is particularly useful in the context of family firms because these tend to exhibit strong cultures and a form of cultural blur." (Dyer, 1986)This leads to almost no differentiation in decision making, whether it's a family or business issue. Thus family rules and values may influence management of the business or business values and rules may reflect in the behaviour in regard to family.(Hisrich, 2010)
But, Dr. Gaurav took every palladium in not mixing his family and professional life. His approach towards to business management; be it operations or finance, marketing or even business expansion, has been very different from what a typical Marwadi (Hindu sub-caste) family would advocate and endorse. Nor has he given any opportunity to his business phraseology to dominate his personal memoir. He has adopted the best out of each in other at his will and to the level he wished. This was one of the most enthralling fingerprints of him which I haven't witnessed in many entrepreneurs.
Dr. Gaurav Somani shares a thought on Success and Failures - There are two sides to every coin, the good times and the bad times, you absorb sourness and sweetness. Success stories never on leaders never cover the bitter part of the struggle. Major discussions focus on what leaders 'should do' rather than on what they 'should not'. And as a result, people talk only about success, but seldom talk about failure.
It clearly teaches that you must learn from your failures. A thousand failures won't work for you until you start learning from them. You must learn why you have failed and make sure that same mistakes do not happen again. To fail again and again is not a problem, unless we learn with each repetition so that we don't repeat the same mistakes and that is the way to success. Nothing builds success like more success! According to him, considering your goals is very beneficial. It will make you feel accomplished if you succeed. You must have an intermediate goal that you will achieve even if you fall short of your big goal. In this case, you will have succeeded and learned from the experience, where you would have learnt nothing but simply failed. Learner learns from everything as his hunger for success increases after every success and failure.
External environments are the factors that give an organisation the context or a convenient surrounding to begin entrepreneurial ventures. Environment conditions provide the necessary information about the existing and future entrepreneurial opportunities to organisations. The task environment is identified as one of the important influencer on the strategic planning of an organisation, its development and growth.
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Questioning him about his new ventures was a marvellous experience as it provided me an insight about his task environment and its influence on him. He articulates, "Entering into any different industries is a thrill. It is indeed a marvel of nature that one drop of water is transformed into an all-encompassing ocean; likewise, I began the journey from an unknown entity to a premier real estate construction organization today. As all the flowing rivers on the land converge together to form an endless ocean, similarly, they have branches of diverse businesses which merge in the vast ocean."
I would enunciate it with regard to an iceberg. An iceberg is nature's enigmatic creation; its body of ice floating on water which only reveals the trivial part of its massive body below the water belying actual size. Known better through its flagship domain of real estate development, however there are scores of other spheres of business on his horizons, like from automobiles, they emerged into movie production as producers and also into daily soaps. Also he seeks to embark into frontiers of infrastructure tendering and contracting. They are coming up with a company i.e. Non-conventional Energies India Ltd. (NEIL) which is to set up Solar Parks to contribute initially 500MW of solar power which is biggest in India till date. They are also in terms to come up in Telecommunication industry hugely collaborating with an international brand with mobiles, tabs, dongles and all mobile gadgets on pan India level.
The scale of real estate ventures that he plays upon, include all or one of these traits; huge amount of investments, elaborate and abysmal research, intellectual protection, skilful and intelligent staff/work force, highly effective and efficient networking, economical marketing and above all, assuring juicy returns. And procurement or fulfilment of all these costs loads of brain storming, physical strain, dedication and patience. Thus, according to me, his task environment has been very challenging and has had a profound and impressive influence on him. He has learnt immensely from his ventures and grown mentally with each of them. Today, you can find a unique insignia of his in all of his new and upcoming ventures. It teaches to an aspiring entrepreneur, the key points that should be taken into consideration - the product future that should be invested upon, the sectors in which it should reach, the detailed cash flows, legalities of the venture and majorly its future growth. There are certain mistakes he suggests that an entrepreneur should keep a watch on before he does it. They are Lack of Research, Negative Publicity and Cost Cutting.
Listening to his views on Indian economy was spectacularly interesting. It helped me a lot in understanding him, his visionary approach, and factors influencing his entrepreneurial qualities.
Today, India is the fifth best country in the world for dynamic growing businesses. "India has been increasingly looked at as an engine that will drive global growth in future. His forecasts indicate that the likelihood of India sustaining 9.0% growth during the current decade is very high. Growth of urban population will be one of the most important demographic shifts that we will witness during the current decade. Infrastructure will be both a cause and a consequence of economic growth during the current decade. The rising incomes and urbanization will boost demand for infrastructure investment in sectors such as electricity, roads, telecom etc. Massive infrastructure investment by the Government along with increased investment activity by the private sector will accelerate overall investment during the current decade. The current decade will be rich with profound changes that will present us with both challenges and opportunities. Our forecasts for the current decade can help us to prepare for future challenges and seize opportunities. Economic growth during the current decade will bring with it challenges in terms of meeting rising energy needs in ways that are cost-efficient, sustainable and environmentally compatible. Pressures on natural resources will exacerbate during the current decade. Increased demand and environmental concerns will make innovation imperative. The solution will need to lie in technology that meets rising energy demand that is cost-efficient, sustainable and environmentally compatible and reduces reliance on natural resources."(CSO, 2011)
Thus, the major opportunities and challenges for the Indian economy in the current decade would be Infrastructure, Telecommunication and Energy. And so are the sectors of interest of Dr.Gaurav's future business plans (Page 3, 3rd paragraph, line 5). This clearly shows his visionary approach and his enterprising skills that are; more than the organizational structure, influenced by the individual he is and the task environment.