• 8/7/2019 Rags to Riches... A True Entrepeneur


  • 8/7/2019 Rags to Riches... A True Entrepeneur


    Developing Enterprising Individuals Student id: 7690930


  • 8/7/2019 Rags to Riches... A True Entrepeneur


    Developing Enterprising Individuals Student id: 7690930

    Table of Contents



    I would like to show my gratitude firstly by thank MrKamlesh

    Agarwal, for allowing me

    to write about his life. He took out time to discuss about his life

    and how everything shaped up for him. He spent about an hour

    giving me an interview.

    I would also like to thank MrKamleshAgarwals staff members

    namely MrS. Sharma, Mr H. Dubey, Mr A. Nath, Mr. T. Ghosh, MrS.Banerjee, Mr S. Dubey, Mr. A. Agarwal and Mr.P. Jha who

    helped me in my analysis to judge the entrepreneurial capacity

    of Kamlesh Agarwal.

    I will also take this opportunity to thank MrKamleshAgarwals

    family who discussed with me about his leisure activities and

    also filled in a questionnaire to analyze him as a family man.


  • 8/7/2019 Rags to Riches... A True Entrepeneur


    Developing Enterprising Individuals Student id: 7690930

    Last but not the least, I would like to thank Prof. Jonathan Styles

    who allowed me to write this report and helped me whenever I

    needed. He was a great help and always eager to help.


    Person who exercisesinitiative by organizing a venture to take

    of an opportunity and, as the decisionmaker, decides what, how,

    and how much of a good or service will be produced. He or she

    suppliesrisk capital as a risktaker, and monitors and controls the

    business' activities as a manager. The entrepreneur is usually a

    sole-proprietor, a partner, or the one who owns the majority of

    shares in an incorporated venture. According to the Czech-US

    economist Joseph Alois Schumpeter (1883-1950), entrepreneurs

    are not necessarily motivated by profit but regard it as a

    standard for measuring achievement or success. He discoveredthat they (1) greatly value self-reliance, (2) strive for distinction

    through excellence, (3) are highlyoptimistic (otherwise nothing

    would be undertaken), and (4) always favor challenges of

    medium risk (neither too easy, nor ruinous).


    Believe it or not millionaires do not grow on trees. They are

    actually quite hard to come by. However, they do exist.

    Millionaires are not a myth. They make their millions in variousways. Some inherit it from their family. Others make it the hard

  • 8/7/2019 Rags to Riches... A True Entrepeneur


    Developing Enterprising Individuals Student id: 7690930

    way they earn it. Some earn it by being famous movie actors.

    Some are famous entertainers. Some sign million dollar sports

    contracts and yet others are simply outstanding entrepreneurs

    who followed a dream. Kamlesh Agarwal is one of the latter. He

    has come a long way since working in his uncles small

    sariprinting workshop he know owns around ten furnishing stores

    across India and is involved with various other business activities

    as is discussed in the case study below.

    Case Study

    History and Background

    Kamlesh Agarwal was born in a small village in Haryana in a

    Marwari family. He moved to Kolkata from the village with his

    uncle at the age of five. He stayed with his uncle, aunt and

    cousins in a small rented flat. His uncle worked as a salesman in

    Sari shop and ran a huge family. Through this it can be expected

    that Kamlesh had a really difficult childhood. He went to a Hindi-

    medium school for primary education, came back from school

    and helped in the houselhold chores. He used to study at night

    after everyone had slept off. He was very focused as well as

    dedicated since his childhood. He then manage to get admission

    in an English medium school for his secondary education and

    passed out with flying colors, enabling him to get admission in

    one of the most reputed colleges in India, St. Xaviers college,

    Kolkata. He was a very down to earth boy and was really loved

    by everyone in the family because of his commitment in

    everything he did.


  • 8/7/2019 Rags to Riches... A True Entrepeneur


    Developing Enterprising Individuals Student id: 7690930

    Helives in a joint family but his immediate family of five consists

    of his mother, wife and two sons. Although he is very focused in

    his professional life he never neglects his family. He makes it a

    point to spend time with his family everyday if he is in town. He

    also plays golf with his younger son as a leisure activity. Both his

    sons are now adults and are involved in helping him to expand

    the business activities. He is also in regular touch with his six

    sisters and two brothers and helps them whenever required.

    Even though he is the youngest in the family he is looked onto

    for advice relating to any matter be it business or personal. He

    has been a pillar of strength and an idol to look up at. He has a

    friend group consisting of his business associates mainly interiors

    that are regular customers for his furnishing store. They along

    with their families make it a point to take at least a leisure trip in

    a year. This allows him to build a better relation with his

    customer as well as enjoy his holiday. He is also an avid

    newspaper reader and follows politics, business activities and

    sports. He has an excellent knowledge of the current affairs as

    well as history. He, like every Indian loves watching Cricket and

    follows it with utmost interest.

    KamleshAgarwal, is the proud owner of Indias biggest chain of

    furnishing stores. He has undertaken several other successful as

    well as unsuccessful business ventures but the one that brought

    him laurels is that of Skipper Furnishings. The firm has also been

    awarded as Indias best retail furnishing house from Shri Syed

    ShahnawazHussain, the then Honorable minister for Textiles,

    Govt. of India. Making a humble start in 1986 with a store in

    Kolkata it now has a chain of 11 stores and many more to come.

    He has recently started up with a Real Estate firm promoting

    residential as well as commercial properties.

    Making of an entrepreneur


  • 8/7/2019 Rags to Riches... A True Entrepeneur


    Developing Enterprising Individuals Student id: 7690930

    At an early age of 17 when he was still in stnd. 11 he joined his

    uncles business, of printing Sari(an Indian traditional dress) in a

    work shop. Then he moved to wholesaling of these Saris along

    with a few cousins. It was his and enthusiasm that brought him

    an offer to work as a working partner in one of his uncles friends

    Sari shop. Among all his cousins who were much older to him he

    was offered the position of a working partner this shows his

    devotion and passion to work and be successful in life. When

    asked what inspired him to take up self-employment rather than

    being employed in some firm he says, I am Banyaand business

    is in my blood. This shows that from an early age he was clear

    about what he wanted to do in life and how he would achieve it.

    He left his graduation midway to pursue the job as a working

    partner in the Sari shop. But even that was not to hold him for

    too long. Once he got hang of running a retail store he wanted to

    own his own store. With the help of the profits he has obtained

    from the partnership and family funds he leased an existing

    furnishing store to renovate it into a Sari store. Since he had

    even bought all the stock of the furnishing fabric that was left he

    had to dispose them. In order to dispose them he put up a

    clearance sale. Fortunately for him the sale took off and gave

    him profits. He then got inclined towards furnishing fabrics and

    dropped the idea of selling Saris rather he started up a furnishing

    store. Because of this change of destiny now we have a big

    successful chain of stores being the largest in India.

    He started of his career as an entrepreneur in 1986, got married

    in 1987 and had a son in 1989. He was doing well in his life and

    business and so he decided to diversify in other areas as the

    store was doing well and was pretty much settled. In 1991, he

    opened a firm to export tea, medicines and garments to Russia.

    Since the relations between India and Russia were good and tax

    norms were lenient during those days, it was an extremely

    profitable venture. Initially this venture turned out to be a huge

    success and extremely profitable. He also bought huge land area

    to set up a timber plantation, planting teak, shishu, lamboo and


  • 8/7/2019 Rags to Riches... A True Entrepeneur


    Developing Enterprising Individuals Student id: 7690930

    akashmaniplants inKalyani, a small town near the city of

    Kolkata. He bought this plantation from the additional profits he

    had from the previous two ventures. It was more of a secure

    investment as the investment is low and yield high but the

    gestation period in such investments is generally about twenty


    Major expansions and diversifications

    In 1995, he obtained bank finances in order to set up a

    disposable plastic glass unit. He had to sell his product from theunit at a real low price because of existence of tough competition

    in the market. It was difficult to capture the market because of

    the prevalent bigger players in the market. He also set up a

    carpet-manufacturing unit. Skipper furnishings had a very good

    market for carpets and they had to buy it from other

    manufacturers, he realized the profitability of going into revers

    integration and manufacturing the product on his own rather

    than purchasing from others and selling it. The unit was a hugesuccess as he already had an existence market for the product.

    He mostly sold to huge offices in and around the state of West

    Bengal through his existent store, Skipper Furnishings.

    Due to severe competition and unreliable employees he had to

    shut down the exports. The import and export norms had also

    become more rigid and the business did not seem as profitable

    anymore. He now concentrated back on his furnishing store andopened up another store in the same city aiming at the middle-

    income group, thereby keeping cheaper products in this store.

    This store also turned out to be a huge success and immediately

    hit higher sales. Because of the existent brand name of Skipper

    Furnishings it was easier to attract customers to the store.

    During this time his purchasing power also increased as he would

    be purchasing for two stores rather than just one this enabled

    him to purchase directly form the manufacturers saving the


  • 8/7/2019 Rags to Riches... A True Entrepeneur


    Developing Enterprising Individuals Student id: 7690930

    middle man costs. Since he purchased directly he was able to

    sell at a lower price thereby wading away the competitors that

    stood in his way of success. During the coming years he

    concentrated more on his furnishings stores and went on an

    expansion spree. By 2002 he had seven stores four of which

    were in the same city and the other three in Visakhapatnam,

    Bangalore and Hyderabad. He would appoint working partners in

    each store offering them 15-20% of the profits thereby initiating

    them to work for the benefit and profitability of the firm.

    Since most of his furnishing stores were settled and more or less

    organized he again tried to try his hand in other ventures. He

    opened up a franchise of Sony, the electronic giant. He also

    partnered with a garment manufacturer to open up three

    garment stores in Kolkata. He launched all the three stores on

    the same day housing garments for men, women and children

    along with other accessories. The stores did not do well since the

    very beginning and the partnership went on for a few years

    Kamlesh incurred heavy losses. Eventually in 2005 he sold the

    two manufacturing units he had set up, the franchise as well as

    the departmental stores to enter the real estate market. In his

    first project itself he promoted 200 flats. He also bought a few

    lands and is involved in a number of projects.

    In 2008 he allied with a few furnishing houses to start up

    wholesale of furnishing fabrics. Due to the wholesale unit that he

    set up in Delhi all the allied furnishing houses got monopoly over

    there items purchased and even got it at a lower prices than

    their competitors. This gave them an edge over there

    competitors. In 2009-10 he opened up a store in Jamshedpur,

    Nagpur as well as Bhubaneswar.

    He also invests additional funds in stocks as well as money

    markets. He lends out money on interest to individuals as a side

    income. He invests in stocks as a long-term investment to keep

    them more as assets.


  • 8/7/2019 Rags to Riches... A True Entrepeneur


    Developing Enterprising Individuals Student id: 7690930



    I had visited India a couple of weeks back. During my stay in

    India I met Kamlesh Agarwal and he fortunately had time to give

    me an interview for my report. Generally he is not comfortable

    talking about himself but due to my persistence he told me about

    his education qualification, family history and professional

    career. I also got an opportunity to meet a few of his staff

    members and discuss about his approach to his professionalcareer. I prepared a questionnaire on the basis on

    Hornaday(1982) to analyze his entrepreneurial talent by taking

    up ten main characteristics of an entrepreneur and rated them

    on a scale of 1-5. Some of his staff members have been with him

    throughout his career and would know him the best; therefore

    this was the best way to analyze his qualities. His staff was very

    co-operative and helped me by filling in the questionnaire with

    seriousness. I also was keen to know about the family orientationof such a busy and focused entrepreneur. So I prepared a

    questionnaire for his family members. I know most of his family

    members so it was not difficult to get them to fill in the

    questionnaire. In this questionnaire also I picked up five main

    characteristics of family orientation of a businessman and rated

    on a scale of 1-5.


  • 8/7/2019 Rags to Riches... A True Entrepeneur


    Developing Enterprising Individuals Student id: 7690930

    How Entrepreneurial is Kamlesh Agarwal?

    It can be seen in the above analysis that the staff members have

    a very high opinion of Kamlesh. They look up to him as a mentor

    and a guide. We can see that Kamlesh seems to be highlyentrepreneurial, as he has obtained a very high average in

    almost all entrepreneurial traits. Out of a maximum rating of five

    he has scored above four in all the qualities that must be present

    in an entrepreneur. With his life history it can be seen that he

    has been highly entrepreneurial all through taking risks. He is not

    someone who would sit back and be satisfied with a working

    business. He is in quest for more all the time. According to

    various theories an entrepreneur is one who is always in questfor something more. Kamleshs passion to excel is unmatchable.

    He has a high self- belief, which enables him to take risks to

    undertake newer ventures. It can also be seen that he is not

    someone to sit back and crib over his losses rather he learns

    from his mistakes and strives to do better each time. His

    leadership quality comes from his personality which commands

    respect automatically. All his staff immensely respect him and

    believe in him.

    It can be seen by the above analysis and past history that

    Kamlesh Agarwal tries too many ventures. Instead of focusing of

    a single line of activities he keeps trying new things, which cause

    him to distribute his focus. It is not humanly possible to be able

    to manage all activities of multiple firms individually. He could

    have performed much better than he already has if he would

    have had stuck to a single line.


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    Developing Enterprising Individuals Student id: 7690930

    Kamlesh Agarwal: A Family Man

    It is often seen that professionally successful men have a hard

    time in managing a family. Thus, it is important to understand

    the relation an entrepreneur shares with his family and how It

    affects his professional career. I prepared a questionnaire based

    on four main characteristics needed to be a family man and a

    negative trait of ego that could ruin ones family relation. The

    family members took this questionnaire rating Kamlesh on ascale of 1-5 based on the respective trait. The response of the

    questionnaire is depicted in the above chart. It shows that his

    family too as his staff has a very highopinion of him. The analysis

    from the questionnaire resulted in proving him as a very helpful,

    caring family man who is a prominent figure in his family

    celebrations. He also helps in solving family issues and does not

    run away from them. He loves spending time with his wife and

    kids and makes it a point to see them for a while everyday. He

    also takes up at least one vacation every year. This man seems

    to be an iconic figure managing his professional career as well as

    a harmonious family life. Being so successful and busy he is not

    egoistic and does get involved in family issues. Being such a

    strong professional figure it is unimaginable that he would be so

    highly rated on being emotional. This shows his attachment

    towards his family and how they make a difference in his life.

    When asked about his family he looks onto them as his strength

    and support. He says all the training he got in the earlier stages

    of his life was through his uncle and cousins. The family values

    embedded in him make him a much more attractive gentleman

    and more successful in life.



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    Developing Enterprising Individuals Student id: 7690930

    Kamlesh Agarwal may seem a perfect entrepreneur based on the

    analyses but as all men he too has flaws. He has now been as

    successful as he could have because of several reasons. He is

    too involved in his family activities, which takes up a lot of his

    time. Diversification in different forms of businesses without

    proper knowledge He believes that his passion will make him

    successful and he can gain all the expertise after starting a

    business but he forgets that ground work and proper study is the

    key to any successful firm.

    All-in all it can be said that MrKamlesh Agarwal is a very

    enterprising human being. He is successful in life and not afraid

    of taking risks. He is a dream of any entrepreneur. A calm and

    composed man in the outlook but a very passionate, zealous,

    focused, career-oriented man in reality.

    The interviews and survey results are stated in the appendixes.


    1. Entrepreneurdefinition


    2. Tanay Agarwal (2011) ; Interview of Mr. Kamlesh Agarwal

    3. Survey: Kamlesh Agarwal a family man;


  • 8/7/2019 Rags to Riches... A True Entrepeneur


    Developing Enterprising Individuals Student id: 7690930

    4. Survey; How entrepreneurial is Kamlesh





  • 8/7/2019 Rags to Riches... A True Entrepeneur


    Developing Enterprising Individuals Student id: 7690930



  • 8/7/2019 Rags to Riches... A True Entrepeneur


    Developing Enterprising Individuals Student id: 7690930

    Interview of Mr. Kamlesh Agarwal

    1. What is your definition of an entrepreneur?

    An individual who is self-employed and has the passion to take risks and besuccessful.

    1. Why did you chose to be an entrepreneur?

    I am a banya(Indian Families belonging to a business) and entrepreneurship is inmy blood and thats all I know.

    1. why did you chose the business you are in?

    it was destiny more than choice I went to buy a place to open a sari shop butended up setting up a furnishing store.(narrates the whole story)

    1. What kind of business have you been other than your main line business?

    Many. I have tried to do everything that I thought I was capable of and wouldfetch me profits(narrates the various businesses)

    1. Tell me something about your education qualifications.

    WellI am not highly qualified. I have a diploma degree in Bachelors ofCommerce as I had to drop out to start up a partnership firm I could not reallycomplete my education.

    1. Where were you born and what brought you to the city of Kolkata?

    I was born in Nakipur a small town in Rajasthan. I came to the city with my uncleat the age of 5 and lived here ever since.

    1. Could you tell me more about your family

    I was born in a huge joint family in India and have 6 sisters and 2 brothers. Myfathers brothers also used to live with us. In fact we still live together in the

    same house running different businesses. I have a wife and 2 sons. My motheralso lives with me..

    1. What kind of lifestyle did you have prior to starting your business.?

    I belonged to a not so well to do family so lifestyle consisted of living from handto mouth.

    1. How did you spot opportunities?

    I started working with my uncle then got a partnership offer then opened myown stores and in the same way good things kept happening.

    1. What do you see as a strength in you as an entrepreneur?


  • 8/7/2019 Rags to Riches... A True Entrepeneur


    Developing Enterprising Individuals Student id: 7690930

    my strength is my passion to work and strive and do better. Currently my sonsare my strengths as they have done well in their education and have joined mybusinesses. I would not say this to be a strength as an entrepreneur but it surelyis a strength as a father.

    1. Looking back on your experience, among skills, attitude and knowledge which is thekey to success.

    according to me its the attitude of a person which makes him successful I gotthe knowledge and skills from the experience but it was my attitude that helpedme move on.

    1. Finally, what are your future plans..

    - keep enterprising..keep growing..keep working.

    2. Survey: Kamlesh Agarwal a family man;



    3. Survey; How entrepreneurial is Kamlesh Agarwal?;



  • 8/7/2019 Rags to Riches... A True Entrepeneur


    Developing Enterprising Individuals Student id: 7690930


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