A never-say-die attitude helped Sharmila Raj Jain face odds and carve out a successful business.
Confidence is one of the most important aspects to achieve success. Entrepreneurship or professional career, confidence drives the person to success. However, the confidence levels of an individual can be raised through education and by experience of handling real life situations and people. This is how Sharmila Raj Jain’s father brought her up.
Today, she successfully manages PD Fluted Cartons and guided it to achieve Rs.2.5 crore in revenues. She says, “My father used to say, ‘if you can drive the car, you should have the courage to take the car to a service centre and get it repaired’. This enabled me to grow in life by handling situations and people myself.”
About her career, she says, “I did Charted Accountancy up to intermediate level and got married. My husband is supportive and wants me to have a career of my own. Initially, I worked for a few companies to keep myself occupied. This work not only gave me confidence but extra money.”
PD Fluted Cartons was started in 2002 with Rs.4-5 lakh investment. Talking about the business idea, she says, “My husband and I were working in Nepal and have decided to comeback because of bad political situation. We also wanted to something on our own. My brother-in-law manufactures labels for liquor companies and he suggested the business idea. He said that his customers were asking about the Carton Boxes for packaging. We checked the project feasibility and went ahead with the idea. There were hardly any companies who were providing high quality specialised cartons. So, we targeted that niche market and bought corrugated machine with high investments,”
The business faced a lot of challenge in the early phase. She says, “It was hard. There are months when there were no orders—especially from January to March where there were no packaging orders from liquor companies. Even in those hard times, we did not fire any employees.
“Those days were tough. Even if we gain one customer, we used to lose another customer because of internal policy changes. This made us expand to other segments, which helped the unit stay operational all the time.”
The major successes of the company came when it added Schneider Electric India to its customer base in 2009-2010. “There were importing material Nasik from France. After following for six months, we have replicated and produced the packaging boxes they were importing from France in terms of quality and strength. Having them as one of our customer has also helped us to increase our standards and get an ISO9001:2008 certification,” she says.
Talking about her ideology, she says, “I always tried to make impossible to possible. Many times, we get customers with almost impossible deadline deliveries. We worked hard to see different possibilities and achieve them. This helped us to add new customers to our base.
“ISB Goldman Sachs programme has helped me greatly in coining new marketing strategies for the business. Earlier, we used to see a telephone directory for the major companies and call one after the other. After doing the programme, we are using trade shows for marketing. This is helping our targeted customers to reach us and get more orders.” The company is planning to bag international orders and is also targeting Rs.3 crore revenues this year.