An educated MBA working in corporate world US, Pratik Shah accidentally jumped into his family business. Pratik Shah’s determined thinking to get into his family’s retail business caused conflict between father and son. He started enjoying retail along with his equity research. Together with his wife, they planned to give SpecsMakers a shot and raised funding from angel investors. With his chakra style of management, they scaled from one store to 300 plus stores and implemented the idea of franchising. As an entrepreneur, he believes that success should not get into your mind, it should be in your heart. This is his story.
This Episode has a lot of Golden Nuggets that are uncanny.
Pratik became an entrepreneur by accident.
Coming from a Gujarati family where familial ties are strong, he went against the grain and defied his parents and built a successful business. It left his relationship with his father in tatters but did not faze him.
His first expansion – second store was funded by a loan borrowed from his Housemaid
He follows a Chakra Style of Management where it is a circle of people as opposed to a Pyramid that we see in most organizations.
Below are some excerpts in his own words. This Episode is worth its weight in Gold
Being an equity research analyst, you know how to dig information about any industry, you know how to find information. Started studying a lot of case studies about companies around the world, what is happening, how are they expanding? How are they scaling until then I was not even interested in the industry, but I was just researching as a part of my hobby. And it just happened that I started seeing that where am I and where this industry is like miles and miles away you know, the opportunity is like crazy.
It’s like the first guy who understood what email is going to be and bang on he started Hotmail right? So I said, Okay, this is a great opportunity I want to get into but I went and spoke to my Dad, look, you know, I like this industry and I started enjoying attending to customers. So I started enjoying retail, and I was not very bogged down about being at the showroom from morning nine to nine, you know?
When you start attending to different kinds of customers every day, you tend to learn so much from each consumer, right? And consumer research is one of the best things to do in this world because you get to meet different people every day. One is why do people love to travel because they like to see different places. Retail is all about meeting different customers every day. And I really enjoyed that opportunity. And you know, every customer walked into the store had only one question. If you studied so much. Why are you at the store?
I kind of went and spoke to my dad that, you know, I like this business. I want to be a part of it. My dad is like, Look, I didn’t create this for you. So please step out, I’m fine now I’m going to start coming to the store in the next one week. So I said, Okay, fine, you know, doesn’t really matter. I’ll also be at the store. He said, No, it’s not for you.
A lot of buzz started happening around the family around friends and circles where you know, every time I come back home from the office from the showroom, my dad will be like, was this what for I made you study in the US? Was it so? So much of studying in the US, was it for coming and sitting at a shop, you’re not able to find yourself a job that’s why you’re actually sitting at the shop. You are scared, go get to apply for jobs in the open market. So by the time within three to four months, I quit my equity research job because I wanted to come into this full time.
You know, he was more worried about my future. He was more worried about my future like, boss, we don’t have the money to basically let you start our second store also. We put in all our savings into the first store. What are you going to do with it? You know, how are you going to scale up there is so much competition that’s going to come in.
At that point in time, you didn’t have any brands, but there were brands coming in. I’m like, don’t worry about it when things happen, it will happen. But obviously, I did not get the finances and the funding from what I wanted and what I wanted to do. So basically, I kind of try to arrange my own funds. I still remember that my first funding came from my maid servant.
No no no ours was more of a long-distance love so I was in US, she was in India we met through a common friend but first four years have been completely online only thanks to your yahoo messengers and all that stuff then.
Yeah, but yeah, I mean though we kind of had a very great journey of you know, kind of getting to marriage, you know, a lot of backlash again from families, you know, saying that he’s only having one shop, what is this? This is not the kind of person we want for you. But it all happens right in every family that you want to get married. But I said Yeah, fine.
You know, I got her into business in 2010. So we decided at that point in time, look, you know, what is it that you want to do? Do you want to scale this business up large or, we can go a corporate ways very easily, you can still continue being in the corporate world? You can take that Comfort, I can take the risk. She was like, no, we will probably see what we can do together.
The beginning of a success comes with the team. It is not about me. I still don’t call myself successful. I called my people success. Right? You know, it’s true. You have to agree to it that it is not a one man’s job. It is a vision of one man coupled with a lot of hard work from a lot of leadership team into, right? You cannot say that I build the business, I always say we build the business, just because you are in the front end of it, it doesn’t work that way. You know, you need to build a team under you that basically has a vision that matches with your vision. If you can’t build a team under you that matches with your vision, you have the wrong team, accept it.
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Here is a word cloud with some interesting words used through the episode