Leading With Passion And Knowledge

Lalit Agarwal (CMD, V-Mart Retail PVT. LTD.) on how learning, passion and humility help in constructing one’s path for growth

Q. Tell us about the journey of building a leading retail store chain in India?

A. We started the organisation in 2002 and opened the first store in 2003 in Ahmedabad. Since then, we have not looked back, and it has been a momentous journey so far.

Back then, it was an 8,000 sq ft store, and today, we have 5 lakh sq ft to our credit in the form of 62 stores. From a small entrepreneurial venture, today, we stand tall as a listed organisation in the retail fraternity.

It was inevitable not to gain attention with the boom in the market, and the world looking towards the country’s growth. For us, discovering tier-II and tier-III cities and understanding their consumption behaviour has been a major landmark. We adhere to our vision statement, which states that we create value for our stakeholders, making our ecosystem proud. This is our motto, and this is what we do

 

Q. It has been a conscious decision on your part to work in tier-II and III cities. What is the reason behind this strategy?

A. Nearly 90 per cent of India’s population lives in these parts of the country. If these markets are tapped, it gives us an opportunity to strengthen our customer base. With such a customer base, we have access to a huge density of people. It also increases our reach and access to the deepest and farthest part of the country.

 

Q. Tell us about your organisation’s CSR initiatives?

A. The company indulges in CSR activities by providing employment opportunities to the deprived and less educated in its areas of operations. We employ people who have few job opportunities. We also recruit people for cash counters who are physically challenged. It is not possible every time but whenever we get an opportunity we harness it. This is an integral part of our HR policies.

 

Q. What, as per you, is the best style of leadership?

A. The best leadership style is to be humble. It is nothing but understanding basic things and working accordingly. Leadership is also about not letting achievements go to your head, and being firmly grounded. Be approachable, listen to everybody, and take their views. You should have a robust decision-making process supported by an efficient team.

 

Q. Being a first-generation entrepreneur, what advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs of our country?

A. Youngsters who want to start their own business should identify their passion first. They should know what they want to do in life and match it aptly with their aspiration and liking. This step is vital to do justice with their passion and conquer milestones.

 

It is never too late to follow your dreams. Everyday is a new day and everyday is a right day. Any day, you can kick-start your dream but be well prepared and have a clear thought process. You should not be demotivated by others’ failures.

I feel, people have the capability to build a new horizon if they bring a slight change in their thought process. Only the youth has the power and capability to do that. The young generation has access to resources which the older generation did not have. They are supported by their knowledge of technology and stand a better chance of succeeding. There are huge opportunities available for them to tap as India is one of the leading revenue generators. Anything that is logical and scientific in approach will definitely work.

 

Q. Who inspires you the most?

A. Leaders like Richard Branson are an epitome of inspiration for many young entrepreneurs. Being clear and casual about exploring new avenues and ways to accomplish them is the most motivating factor for me. In addition, I keep updating myself by meeting new people and reading books.

 

Q. How do you maintain your work-life balance?

A. I strive to be with my family members as I am unable to devote much time to them. Being with my family and spending quality time with them is my passion. Once I reach home, I avoid phone calls and my laptop.