On 3rd December this year Karma Royal Group celebrated 20 years of business and I was there to see the boss describe his journey to this day.
It started with an instant love affair of the owner for a small place in Goa, as he sat on a beach there after attending a conference at which he had been invited to speak. At the time he was the VP for another company in the holiday business in Europe.
Sitting on that beach in Goa he felt then that his future lay there – that this was perhaps his karma. So, giving up his high-earning role in Europe and taking all his savings he moved to India and set up shop with the help of a few close and dedicated friends who he managed to convince to come with him.
Starting with one one computer, four apartments on plan and a strong dedication to creating a successful business in Asia, he recruited sales and marketing staff who worked hard promoting the holiday membership product, and where they required a computer they used it during the day-time. At night the admin staff would then take over the record-keeping and all other required computer work, using same said computer.
The business paid out when it was paid. They could not afford to employ slackers therefore. – If you had a good week you earned a good wage. – If you had a bad week you may not earn at all! This was the way it worked (and still does as far as sales and marketing staff are concerned). It was like a co-operative and the employees felt part of the family. They worked hard, played hard and then worked harder.
Moving from strength to strength the company grew new branches which mostly blossomed. Now there are a myriad of blooms within this family tree which all share a common seed although many differing strains have developed. .
At the time, did he even think that 20 years later he would be the head of a huge operation? – Doubtful. Did he think he would make a success of his venture? – Surely!
After all he not only had vision but also a strong team of forward-thinking entrepreneurial types supporting and working with him. More people seeking opportunity joined as time passed. Starting with his core group they were able to build a vertically-integrated company that TO THIS DAY relies on no-one else for funding – a fact that all the Yale university students who attend his talks find astounding!
And THIS is what I find astounding! – The fact that people now rely so heavily on other peoples money that they rarely can start something for themselves. They lack the vision often yes but even with entrepreneurial ideas and a few savings, many are hard put to survive in business more then 3 – 6 months nowadays. Why? Is it purely fear or should it be put down to today’s work ethics?
Yes, you have to know what ideas or products will sell and you will often need back-up of people who can help you. This applies particularly to areas that you are possibly not as strong so you have to be able to identify your weaknesses as well as your strengths of course!
However, the crux of the matter in my mind is putting in the hard work, taking the opportunities that present themselves, networking like crazy and having the foresight to know when to cut back if needed and sometimes to change direction.
Over it all though you have to KNOW and BELIEVE in YOURSELF and have no fear of the unknown, in fact you need to challenge and even welcome it!
Some people persevere too long in the wrong business, unable to see (or admit) they are wrong for it. Others do not persevere enough, giving up at the first signs of failure and never achieving their dreams as a result.
The important thing though surely is to cherish your dreams, take your ideas and listen to the friends and family who will give you worthy advise and indications of whether the road you are travelling is the right one. Then go out and do what you feel is right with a very strong sense of self-worth – combined with a little piece of stubbornness perhaps! And have no fear of failure – it also can teach you great lessons!
Looking back twenty years – how many of you could have forecast or even guessed where you would be now? Going strong in whatever we choose to do is maybe all that really matters after all.