The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

February - 2011 - issue > In My Opinion

My Entrepreneurial Journey

Kunwer Sachdev
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Kunwer Sachdev
My father was in the railways and he always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Just to realize his dream we shifted to a residential colony full of entrepreneurs. My father had a lot of different businesses but he never did well financially. He was a very hardworking man and that trait is seen in all the three sons of the family. I and my whole family have been through hard times where as a kid on my birthday getting a shoe or a shirt as a gift was a big thing.

I knew from the start that there is no one behind me, so I had to rely on myself. I took my own decisions, I became very independent. This has helped me a lot in life and also cemented me as a successful entrepreneur.
I had joined Hindu College after schooling which I term as a big leap and a personality changing experience for myself. Also, at the same time I had started helping my brother in his pens business. To improve on my English I started reading English books. I did my BA in Mathematical Statistics from Delhi University. I learnt how to talk to people, to take people along, how to make groups and learnt to organize things. I kept on taking challenges in life and I set one or two big goals for myself. The main one being to ‘make it big in business’.

In 1984 I graduated from college and joined my brothers. I coined the name ‘Su-Kam’ for the pens and wanted to make it into a ‘brand’. After sometime I realized I couldn’t work with my brother in his pens business and decided to embark on my own journey by myself. I started pursuing Law from the Delhi University and used to go attend classes in the evening. I studied seriously for the first time and in the meantime I got married. My wife started working soon after marriage since it was not easy supporting the house with only me working. I had the pressure that I have to become something in life. What to become used to keep on changing. Sometimes, I used to think of becoming a lawyer. Sometimes, an entrepreneur. Marriage brought some stability in my life and so I started my cable TV business without having any technical understanding or know-how on how to run the business. I had realized that I have to learn how to do this work be it learning things to actually fixing things. I started reading my class ninth and tenth Physics books to gain a greater understanding. By 1996-97 my cable TV business was flourishing as I had a factory with 50 employees and was making good money.

Whatever I was earning, I was putting in my business because that was my life and in 1998 I made my move into the inverter business. I realized that there was a huge demand for inverters in north India, but everyone was making the same kind of inverter. There was an inverter at my home which would constantly get spoilt. So one day when the mechanic came to repair it, I just had a peek inside the inverter. I realized they were using a sub-standard PCB. I knew about PCB’s because of my cable TV experience. Later on I brought a high quality branded inverter and asked my factory workers to work on it. I had started reading books and articles on this. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge is foolish but it is a way forward.

After much experimentation and testing I launched an inverter but it did not rock the market so we constantly kept improvising hoping to deliver the best product. I was very determined to make my ideas work. Finally we were able to make an efficient inverter and the sales started picking up. I wanted to make a great product and at the same time assure the best service. A great product is a good thing to have, but even great products need marketing. A fact that companies focused on technology often overlook. Su-Kam was no exception. We soon launched an ad campaign and our brand got noticed with a fairly low spend. We switched to advertising which was a first for the inverter category.

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