The journey and the vision
As of today, Acme International is a broader view of a nascent beginning made in 1965 as a family business for hank yarn trading. The enterprise took a big leap by switching to yarn indenting in 1978, before entering into the export business in 1996. Since then, the company has been a trusted partner for its clients in domestic and international markets with global footprints in more than 40 locations. The company’s product range spans from raw cotton and yarn to fabric and garments. Later, Acme group diversified into a houseware division named Acme Housewares in 2001, a fabric manufacturing unit called Acme Cotsyn Pvt Ltd in 2005 and a yarn spinning entity titled Acme Yarns Pvt Ltd in 2010.
Comparing the two generations and their working styles, Jitendra Shah, says, “The new generation picks up things faster due to its education and hardships. We used to work eight hours a day, but today’s business leaders go beyond 10 to12 hours a day. In today’s competitive scenario, it is required too, so they need to give more time to business. I have made my name in the yarn business in the domestic markets, but my son Rahul has helped us grow into a successful export entity.”
Passing the baton
Jitendra’s vision to expand into international markets made him get his son into the family business, and this was in line with the latter’s educational expertise, that is, a degree in international business studies. Speaking about his involvement with the family enterprise, Rahul Shah, says, “Because of my father’s vision to expand the textile business into international markets, I got involved in the family business. My education in international business studies helped the company in venturing out into the export segment. Today, we are a diversified group with integrated business verticals, including marketing, trading, manufacturing and online retail. We have a diversified range of products right from yarn, to fibre to fabrics.”
Education plays a significant role in organising the business and achieving new heights, but that is not a guarantee for translating a growth plan into a success story. One needs to carry the legacy and keep the business culture intact, because the customer-buyer relationship is based on these two factors. “Moral, ethics and integrity, all three have been are passed on to my children as well. I do not need to tell them about this; it is in their bloodstreams. They have seen me running the business based on these principles my entire life, and they have inherited these values from me. One of our core values has been empathy, as we respect each and every individual in the company. Ours is a joint family business, and our staff relations are no different. So, neither our staff nor us have any issues in supporting each other,” insists Jitendra.
Hardships, experience, values and vision together bring the success, and it takes years to see dreams turn into reality. Adopting the new rules of business to stay in competition is the key to entrepreneurial growth. “I think, from a family-run enterprise of six to seven people to a professionally-run business house of more than 700 workers is the biggest transition so far, where every individual is entitled to take informed decision and be responsible for the company goals,” explains Jitendra.
Bringing in the mindset level change among the decision makers requires the ability to convince them to believe in the future prospects of an organisation. “These things cannot be done overnight, or just by passing an order,” believes Rahul. “Basically, it has been a long thought-changing process in terms of shifting lending patterns from personal and market funding to banks/NBFCs, apart from maintaining our commitments with vendors as well in today’s competitive scenario.”
Veterans always put their experience forward while making any business decision. They prefer to take calculated risks within their capacity. Recalling his father’s ability to be a true guiding force, who also gave crucial lessons for succeeding in business, Rahul avers, “My father used to say that no work is too small and no dream is too big. Anything that happens in the office in various departments and stages, you must know about it. It will help you to understand the issue at the core level and offer a practical solution to the problem. It will also help you to gain broader acceptance as a business leader among your co-workers, apart from building a trust-bond between you and them.”
Having a father as a boss needs dual management skills. If agreement comes easy, disagreement comes hard. Acknowledging his equation with father and boss, Rahul says, “He has always been a father, and not a boss. He has given me the direction to grow in the export market, and a vision that I have transformed into a reality. He has been the guiding force throughout the transition process of our company.”
Business Tip by Jitendra Shah
Ethics, moral and integrity are the key values to run a business, if you want to succeed in long term. You may get a sudden push by wrong means, but it won’t be fruitful for you and generations to come.
Business Tips by Rahul Shah
First thing, learn everything as you can and as much you can; second thing, never divert from the core values that has been passed on to you from generations; and third thing, love what you are doing, because if you love it you will enjoy, and if you enjoy it you will grow.