Up & Close with a successful businessman ...and his secret to success.
There’s no denying that it takes a lot of savvy, heightened awareness and good judgement to identify a good business opportunity and figure out how it can be transformed into a high growth business model. One of the people who definitely knows how to do it is Mr. Sanjiv Sawhney. The managing director of T. R Sawhney Motors Pvt Ltd, Sanjiv Sawhney, has carved out a special place in the market. A business that started in 1993 with just a small shop in Laxmi Nagar, is now one of the biggest dealership in central zone. The T.R Sawhney empire isn’t just limited to 16 showrooms in Delhi/ NCR, but also a restaurant in Rajouri Garden named ‘Meleodrama’. Sawhney’s priorities are clear- honesty, customer satisfaction & employee satisfaction. We are grateful for his valuable time as he shared his successes to inspire other entrepreneurs around the world.
How did you get where you are today?
Success never comes in a day. When I opened up this business in 1993, my thought wasn’t so big and my vision wasn’t so strong . But slowly and gradually, I kept working with Maruti Suzuki and learnt a lot about this business. From the beginning, my core focus has been on working every day and selling every day. I kept on working and the more I worked, the stronger I became.
With my father’s hard work, the help of my staff, my bankers and other people, I am where I am today. My parents believed in me and gave up their entire lifetime savings just so I could start my own business.
Have you always wanted to be a business man?
I had three choices. One of them being a Bollywood star. I could have got a ticket to the industry easily, as Devanand is the maternal uncle of my father. However, I dropped the idea as I had no interest in the glamour world. The second choice was going for a job.
The idea of contributing to something whose benefit is enjoyed by someone else, doesn’t interest me. So I picked the third option, being an entrepreneur.
After so many years in business, what have you learnt about leadership, entrepreneurship and mentoring others?
For me, leadership isn’t about giving orders. It’s about listening. My focus isn’t only on selling the most cars and providing the best services to my customers, but keeping my employees happy too. I recently sent my employees a message saying “Inspired by the initiative of Mann Ki Baat started by our prime minister Mr Narendra Modi, I have thought of starting a ‘ Mann Ki Baat Sawhney Ji Ke Saath’ too. In this one hour session which will begin at 1 PM, any employee can call and Whatsapp me. I’ll be very glad if everyone will participate in ‘ Mann Ki Baat Sawhney Ji Ke Saath’.”
According to you, what is the biggest problem a business man faces?
I think the most challenging thing isn’t selling cars or satisfying the customer, it’s saving your employees from adapting the wrong method to achieve the targets. Everyone wants to earn money in a day and become rich. So, some of the employees try to make money by using short cuts. It doesn’t just affect the business, but also becomes a hurdle in achieving the most important goal of a business, customer satisfaction. This is the reason, I train them and make sure that all their genuine wishes are getting fulfilled. I even organise foreign trips for my employees once in a while.
Is there any business owner or entrepreneur do you admire most? Who is your role model?
Every person has a role model, who inspires and motivates them to become better and successful. For me, it’s Mr. Raj Chopra. When I was young, Mr. Chopra used to be the top automobile dealer in the city. I have always wanted to follow his footsteps. When I didn’t have a dealership, I used to go to Mr. Chopra’s to buy a car and get his car serviced. I always look up to him, his way of working and his decisions. I admire him so much.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out a business, what would it be?
Do hard work and focus on your work. Spending just half an hour working and thinking that your work is done isn’t right. You have to work everyday, every moment and every second. The most important thing is, never ever cheat anyone. Be it your customer, employee or vendor. Honesty and integrity are two qualities which need to be at the core of everything you do. If you think you can make money by cheating, maybe you can, but it wouldn’t last forever. If people have trust on you, you can grow infinitely. If people don’t trust you, you’ll stay where you are.
Where do you see this company in 5 years?
In 5 years I want to make this company one of the best in the country in terms of customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and infrastructure. I want my dealership to reach at least 5 states in the coming years. All of it can be achieved through continuous efforts and training my staff in the best possible manner. What do you like doing the most, besides working?
Well, it’s travelling with my family. Some people drink, some smoke, some go to casino for enjoyment. Me? I travel. Till now, I have visited 145 countries. In fact, I just returned from visiting Alaska. Once, when I wanted to see the northern lights, I travelled 5 hours daily for three days.
Mr Sanjiv Sawhney Managing Director at T.R Sawhney Motors Pvt Ltd