Being a first-generation entrepreneur is not an easy task. There are a number of challenges one has to face and create a survival guide of one’s own to chart a success story. All they have is an undying spirit to stand up for themselves, build something of their own, and contribute to the growth of economy and society.
Many would argue that growing technical penetration, government initiatives to support the start-ups and entrepreneurs, and educational programmes make it easier for first-generation entrepreneurs today to take the leap, however, that was not the case when Mr. Lakshmi Ram Thakuria, the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Charu Group of Industries ventured into the field in 1995.
There were very few brave players stepping into the world of entrepreneurship and it was seen as a challenging domain with no financial viability. Those who had little support of capital from family were often degraded for their aspirational behaviour by the society. Yet, Mr. Thakuria decided that he had to turn the trend and started off with his business in Guwahati. Today, the conglomerate has got a splendid national repute and he is inspiring many young aspirants to follow their dreams.
GATHERING THE WORKFORCE
Mr. Thakuria was born to a teacher father in Assam and had a keen interest in studies. His father inspired him to read more and learn constantly to become a thorough professional. Mr. Thakuria obtained his bachelors in civil engineering and did his post-graduation in management.
During his post-graduation days, Mr. Thakuria developed a wide curiosity in the business world and therefore went on to do some additional professional courses such as Industrial Management, Financial Management, and Entrepreneurial Development before joining the workforce as an entrepreneur in the MSME sector.
Fighting a conservative society and its demotivating mindset, Mr. Thakuria laid the foundation of Charu Group with a start-up capital outlay of Rs. 45 Lakhs and 12 employees. The next big challenge he had to face was development of skilled manpower as the indigenuous workforce was not familiar with plastic technology and polymer sciences. The sales turnover in the initial few years of the group remained somewhere near Rs. 30 Lakhs, but under the able support and guidance of Mr. Thakuria, it kept on multiplying year-on-year and today is one of the most successful enterprises in the state and country, with an annual turnover in double digit billions.
Mr. Thakuria’s constant struggle and consistent perseverance enabled him to attain this goal. He not only toiled daythrough-night to establish the business, he also endeavoured to develop new faces in the workforce by personally imparting practical training at the shop floor. He ended up turning his 12-member workforce into a 125-member team just within a year.
FACING CHALLENGES HEADS-ON
After setting up the initial business and motivating youth to learn new skills to join the workforce, another problem that Mr. Thakuria was facing arranging working capital funds as obtaining loans from commercial banks was a big challenge.
He used all the skills from his management studies to diversify his short-and longterm goals and dedicated funds smartly. Management techniques were utilised by him for regular cash-flow during economic procurement of raw materials in bulk quantities and systematic execution of supply orders to the indenting authorities after scrutiny of healthy fund position. This method of fund flow management helped in relishing the recycling of working capital, which became one of the prime factors to drive the economic success of the group.
Another great contribution of Charu Group under the aegis of Mr. Thakuria has been its active role in the conversion of indigenous raw materials into finished products for public usage that also supplies potable water, agricultural and energy saving through the practice of rain water harvesting. A longterm goal in providing financial assistance to build a mini stadium for school goers is refurbished and it is part of the Chart Group of Industries’ Corporate Social Responsibility (C.S.R.) among accomplishing other charitable activities required for the uplifting of society. A long-term goal for the organisation is for global marketing in connivance with reputed forums.
LEADING WITH PASSION
Mr. is an inspirational leader. He is known to be a dedicated team player and often encourages all his employees to contribute more than their roles demand to the company.
He is a fan of innovative ideas and tries to incorporate suggestions from his team in day-to-day workings at his offices and his factories. He has a great eye for detail and ensures perfection is maintained at every level of business.
He seldom takes a break from his own responsibilities and to date tries to micromanage every activity at the Charu Group of Industries. His humble nature allows him to maintain a healthy interpersonal relationship with all managers and team leaders working under him and create a positive and thriving work environment.
Mr. Thakuria also takes great care of the physical and mental well-being of his employees and is always eager to assist them personally and/or financially whenever there is a need. He feels that behind every successful business is a dedicated and hardworking team that is respected and taken care of. With the same spirit, he treats his employees as a part of his extended family and is always available for them.