Connecting the dots backwards

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Connecting the dots backwards

 

Anand Bagaria studied Industrial Engineering, found passion for animal nutrition and agro-business, and started his entrepreneurial journey during the period of acute political chaos: the Maoist insurgency and the Civil War. Theoretically, such unrelated or negatively co-related conditions combined do not result in a favourable environment to build a business. However, with his solution driven mind-set, his entrepreneurial spirit and passion, Bagaria marched through the upheaval and created a thriving business of around Rs.6 billion in just about 18 years. “I am happy I didn’t think too much about it. While others were lying low, the field was empty for me to create whatever I wanted,” says Bagaria.  

 



Born in 1972 in Nepal, Bagaria studied in different places of India and Nepal. While he was studying engineering in Bangalore, he had started exploring possibilities of exporting Nepali handicrafts. After finishing his engineering, he came back to Nepal to start his entrepreneurial adventure.

 

Starting as an Entrepreneur vs. Doing MBA 

Bagaria was not influenced by what his friends did. As he was completing his engineering, people around him were applying for MBA (Master’s in Business Administration) in different universities of America. But he didn’t want to do it or get a job. Instead, he aspired to create something of his own. He heard people saying an effective MBA needs some years of work experience. And that became his escape plan. 

 

But he had to learn the trades. Everything he has learnt about business so far has been derived organically from his experiences. Attending seminars and programs related to business, listening to successful people and reading biographies are subjects that inspired Bagaria. And they still do. He attended ‘Entrepreneurs Management Program’, organised by ‘Entrepreneurs’ Organisation’ in MIT Boston. The program added a dynamic dimension to his perspective about business and it happened to be one of the most enriching experiences for him. By then, Nimbus was already on a growth trajectory. But it aided him to drive higher growth. Currently, he is looking forward to attending more of such programs that allows him to explore his potentials.

 

“The expensive experience”

Bagaria’s father roped in few other people to start a ballpoint (pen) manufacturing company. It started out with great potential, but later sustained a great loss. “It made me go through ‘Wow! Such a big company’ to ‘I don’t have money to pay these guys’,” he recalls the experience. This business gave him, what he calls, “an expensive good experience”. The business plan was made with certain assumptions and when the real production started, he forgot the business plan; it went in two different directions. This experience taught him to keep plans and reality in check while correcting them as he proceeds. He still learns and derives a lot from this experience. 

 

The 1:10 rule 

He lives by what he calls the “1:10 rule”. “If you are successful on the first try, you are very very lucky. If you are successful on the ninth, you are still lucky. If you are successful on tenth, you break even. If you still don’t succeed, then I don’t have an answer to it. And, I don’t consider myself so unlucky that I wouldn’t be successful in ten sincere attempts.” Bagaria’s positive attitude towards failure keeps him thriving, despite of all chaos and hurdles through those ten attempts. Failure to him is like a trampoline; he bounces back instead of falling flat. “Your ego hurts, heart aches, you feel defeated, humiliated and you want to take revenge. That revenge pulls you back”, he says. “I think, I have failed many more times than I have succeeded.” He believes, “Struggle is everywhere and just  the magnitude and ability to leverage it is at a different scale. However, the moment your ability to take risk and fight through struggle reduces, you cease to be an entrepreneur.”

  

Finding “vacuum”

Finding, what he calls, ‘a vacuum’ (an unexploited or unexplored business opportunity or market) gave Bagaria a direction to his entrepreneurial journey. Thriving on his hunger to make ends meet after closing the ballpoint manufacturing company, ‘Nimbus Marketing’ was founded as a partnership in 1998. It originally focused on import and export of various consumer products. But that went “just okay”. During the phase, however, he met an agent of one of the largest enzyme manufacturing companies in the world. He made him a proposal that was too good to be true but also too good to be avoided. According to the agent, the enzyme sold about five tons a month in the poultry sector of Nepal and  Bagaria got himself involved into this business of enzyme. The agent, who knew the product technically and was supposed to sell it, vanished when the product arrived. 

Out of his own desperation, Bagaria went to the potential customers to sell the enzyme. During this, he explored through Chitwan and learnt that animal nutrition in Nepal is not only a huge sector, but also highly disorganised and technically demanding. “If I put these three things together: huge, highly disorganised and technically demanding, I have my business model.” This, he believes, is the biggest breakthrough in his life; he got a sector where there was vacuum which he could tap into. Thus, Nimbus Marketing shifted to trading animal nutrition products all over Nepal and Nimbus International Company P. Ltd was established in 2000. 

 

 

Leap of faith

After Bagaria entered the animal nutrition sector, the business kept growing along with his passion for it. Nimbus  started manufacturing feed supplement for local market.  Then came the crucial decision of investing in a new technology to increase production of poultry feed.  Bagaria was unsure and experienced a lot of internal and external resistance. “People were investing around Rs.5 million, where I was investing a 100 million; that was the technology gap,” he roughly estimated.  In 2004, ProBiotech Industries Pvt. Ltd was set up. For the first one and a half years, he thought that he had lost it all, but he remembers how the company slowly progressed then after. He calls himself an impulsive decision maker. But had he not taken this risk, he would have already been out of business. The same industry went on to becoming first ISO 9001: 2008 certified feed industry of Nepal and its product Shakti is the largest animal feed brand in Nepal with a total of 25% market share. 

Beyond animal nutrition and agro-business, Nimbus has diversified into poly-woven fabric production, chemicals, trading and distributions. The company is also on the verge of becoming a Public Limited Company (PLC) in some years. 

 

Anand Bagaria’s life is all about his constant desire to create. He believes that anyone who can persevere through the challenges and discomfort of the creation process can become an entrepreneur. When asked what advice he would give to his younger self, he said, “Keep your threshold low and enjoy the journey.”

 

Comments

  • Guest
    Guest Thursday, 05 May 2016

    How do you get the money to do this?

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