Let’s Talk Business. 09-06-2010.
As a service technician, I am good at my work. Later I was promoted to sales cum service engineer! After the ‘liberalization’ (A pet name given for globalization by then our union finance minister Mr. ManMohan Singh, our present P.M) we technician became service engineer. However, the remuneration remains same.
When I started working as sales cum service engineer, I found it difficult to sell office automation products like Panasonic fax, laser printer etc.we Indians are used to buy onion and brinjol. We never buy it at seller’s prize. We make bargain and buy it at rock bottom prize. I do not make bargain .if I fancy anything I just buy it. If you are a sales man then you know about ‘end user’s prize’ for every item. That will fetch you minimum profit. We sales man always start with maximum retail prize and negotiate. However, most of the purchase manager knows about end user’s prize. Then how can you make extra profit?
I had target to achieve for each products before the month end. That means minimum ten pieces of each product I had to sell it in a month. Panasonic cordless phone, dot and laser printers, monitors etc. in those days japans Panasonic products were costlier than any other products sold in India. As a sales man, I made very little incentive on sales.
In my new avatar, I work here as lodge manager. We all know lodging is a seasonal business. On off seasons we offer discount, which is a normal surviving procedure for lodging business.
Our lodge is a family lodge with forty-six years of service. Here we have only thirty-six spacious rooms. We have more than ninety percent of regular guests. In Chennai city, there are more than three and half thousand lodges. Our lodge is unique. We close main gate between 11 P.M to 4 A.M. we gave room only to those who are satisfied with our rules. Drunkard person is not allowed inside our lodge premises. Drinking inside the room is strictly prohibited. We gave rooms only to legally married couples. ‘Couplings’ are not given rooms. Above all, when you stay in our lodge, you can experience my hospitality.
Now the business part. I had always worked for reputed organization and within system. Here there is no system at work. Only opportunity works. We have different tariff for each rooms. However, I will have to judge new costumer and quote room rate accordingly! Usually it is Rs50 or Rs 100 more than actual rate. I am not an opportunist and I found it difficult to ‘adjust’ the situation. On peak time (around engineering and medical counseling time.) we make demand on our guests .we will give them rooms only for twelve houses. If it is O.K for guest, we gave them room and collect full rent. That means we sell same room twice in twenty-four hours to two different costumers and make double the profit. We have thirty-six rooms in our lodge. The more money I make for my owner the more he is happy but he never kept me happy.
My owner says, “Jivan, this is business” he even claims everybody is doing same method of business in India”. I call it opportunism. Is this they way you do business in the west?
I…. “Sir, this is opportunism .I continued... ““Is this not cheating?”
My owner says, “Business is opportunity”
In MBA class do they teach about “business opportunity or business strategy? If it is business strategy then how comes ‘wall street’ collapsed when it was hit by recession? What ever happed to their business strategy?
My owner says we are not cheating anybody. We are only exploiting the situation. Call it demand and supply. If I put is in my words. We are applying butter and lime on our guests. Butter for those who are not cheated. Lime for those fools. Now do not ask me where we apply lime. Do you agree with my owner? Business is opportunity. If you take Inidan business, it is opportunity that works wonder. Suckers in the name of business! Business strategy for corporate people where M&A (merger and acquisition.) works. So what exactly works for business? Is it business strategy? Is it opportunitism or pure cheating? Now you are likely to day “It depends….” Then you are an opportunitist if not you could be a businessperson. You will survive in this world.