All those who conduct business are not MBA degree holders. Having impulsed to venture a business they tend to face many problems after initiating it. There is an organization, YES (Young Entrepreneur School) based at Madurai, that guides those who face problems in business, helping them to come over them with a flair of friendliness.
Tamil Nadu Chamber Foundation , functions under the umbrella of Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry , Madurai . There are eight organizations under the Foundation to guide growing entrepreneurs. One among them is YES. V.Neethimohan is the Chairman and Founder of this organization, serving for the past ten years. Being a Civil Engineer, he owns Vaigai Chemicals for the past twenty-five years. He shared about the operations of YES with us.
“Fifteen years ago, there were no such guiding organizations in the second and third level cities in the state. So, we started this organization, YES, in 2004, to guide the first generation entrepreneurs. This was started with a mere fifty members, and now there are more than thousand with us. It is our goal to have ten thousand members by 2025.
At present, there are branches of YES in many cities and towns like Madurai, Chennai, Ramanathapuram, Dindugal, Sivakasi, Salem, Thirunelveli, Trichi, Kovai and Pollachi. There are members who conduct business with a turnover of Rs 1 crore to 1,500 crores. Anyone can become its member whose annual turnover is more than 10 lakhs. But the age limit is below 45 years.
Whatever the business is, we try to teach them how to make their business profitable. We conduct monthly meetings at all our branches clarifying the doubts of our members on quality, human resource, marketing, branding, financial management, trade strategies, by bringing in experts in respective subjects. We also conduct residential workshop to make them aware of the new technologies and conduct practical demonstrations as well.
In each of our branches, there are six teams with eight members in each team. It is called ‘Cube Lab’, where members discuss about various business doubts among themselves. The resolutions made through these discussions will be shared with other members of the teams. These resolutions will certainly help the members in the future, if not immediately.
One would have started his business in a smaller way. But it should not be continued so for long. Therefore, we fix a target to achieve each year and move forward towards reaching it. In our view, an organization should grow 30% annually. The target is big. Only when our target is big our achievement will also be considerably significant.
Entrepreneurs in smaller cities will not be like the entrepreneurs of mega cities. They are still ignorant about many things. For example, most of the entrepreneurs in smaller cities still lack a plan to have a target plan for the next year based on the business growth in the current year.
For example, a person doing hotel business in smaller cities does not know what is his market share. It is ok if it was ten or twenty years ago. But with the advancement of information technology one has to know what he is in his business, who are his competitors and what are their strengths. If one lacks right perspectives and proper understanding it is difficult for him to continue his business otherwise. We teach them the strategies to tide over those problems and difficulties.
In order to create broader perspectives about business among the entrepreneurs we arrange industrial visits in other parts of our country. More important than that, we arrange similar visits abroad not only to learn different types of business, methodologies of running their business, various technologies used for the business, but also to adopt those strategies based on our needs and improve our business. Till recently we have visited Japan, America, China, Srilanka, and Malaysia on industrial visitation. It is not a compulsion for the members to attend these visits but it is up to their choice.
What we insist to our members is to bring changes in their minds rather than the changes in the exterior. We might desire that it is better this government takes action to supply electricity power 24 hours a day, without any interruption. But to fulfil this the government should plan for it, allocate fund to it and the project should be implemented properly. But we should not think only on that aspect. We should find out the time and duration of power cut in a day and plan an alternative arrangement to solve the problem so that we can escape from the problem of power cut easily”. Thus he concluded.
Though conducting small business at present, those entrepreneurs who aspire to grow big may approach this organization.
New Business Opportunities through Snippets
There is an important section called ‘Snippet’ during the monthly meetings of the organization. The objective of Snippet is to find out new business opportunities by gleaning through business related information published in newspapers. For example, there is a news that a new port is coming up in Kulachal. If we consider this news and investigate further into it there will be so many opportunities emerging from it to start a new venture. Anyone can take up those opportunities. We will be able to appreciate that there is a business opportunity in every news we come across.
(This article written in Tamil by A R Kumar for Naanayam Vikatan magazine dt 20/5/18 has been transcreated in English by V Amalan Stanley)