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Five Business Lessons From Sunil Bharti Mittal

When the Founder-Chairman of Bharti Enterprises was once in deep financial crisis in 1979, he had to approach Mr Brijmohan Lall Munjal, founder of Hero Group, for a cheque of Rs 5000. “Mr Munjal signed the invoice for the amount but gave me a strong advice, “Beta aadat mat dalna” and this advice went straight into my heart and since that day I have never let my finances get the better of me,” said Mittal who was speaking at TieCon Delhi.

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Narrating his challenging entrepreneurial journey and the steps he took to keep moving ahead, Mittal spoke about his regrets in life, “There are many decisions that one has to take during the course of the business but the one that I regret is my move to invest in Africa in 2010 which may have been ‘a bit rushed’, and that took several years to fix, time and energy,” said Mittal who has always been fond of doing business with customer facing interaction, “as this (business) gives me the fullest satisfaction.”

On New Age Ventures 

“Entrepreneurial world is fast changing. Many things will be disruptive and we will see a different world say 15 years from now. We have lived in the age of travel agents, but our children will not know who a travel agent is? They will see a different disruptive world of technology. Bank branches will not exist, traditional form of services will be a thing of the past. In automobiles, there will be autonomous vehicles with AR, VR and so on and so forth… So you must be able to see the future faster than anybody else because things are changing and one needs to adapt at a faster pace. Technology will disrupt almost everything.” 

On payment banks and insurance 

“In 5-7 years, we will be very happy if we are in top 10 in both life and general (insurance),” he said. On the Airtel Payments Bank, Mittal said that bank was meant for financial inclusion, especially for those who have not used banking services in the past, and that opportunity to scale it in India is very big. There are no credit cards or debit cards used in such banks.

“It is a frugal bank where you go in rural-suburban people to include those who have never been in to bank branch or don’t have bank account,” said Mittal that the bank was opening 80,000-100,000 accounts daily and that the move was a ‘big and good opportunity’ going in to future.

Advice to young entrepreneurs

“There is no substitute to hard work. Be physically available, work to make your idea successful. You will have failures as well but that’s fine. Be passionate about it. Must follow what you like. There is lots of capital; ideas going around but it is important to be passionate. Pick up something that you love, if you are passionate it will reap good results.”

Money can be a double edge weapon

“It is both an enabler and spoiler. Some of the e-commerce companies have derailed themselves and burned out their own cash for GMV. A good entrepreneur should use money in the right way at the right time. Don’t rush in to attain GMV. Money should be thoughtfully applied and has always been put to accountability.

Financial control

Always be in control of your financial position. You rather get cheated than cheat anyone.

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