“Entrepreneurship is a challenging but rewarding journey. It needs a very sharp focus and a strong commitment to the business which does not have any working hours nor the level of hard work” says Janak Sheth, CEO, Century Pharmaceuticals. “Since I was in school, I had a desire to start a business of my own since there was no one in our family doing business. During my employment with an international pharmaceutical company, I got an experience to design, install and operate a pharmaceutical plant. This gave me the confidence that I could do my own business as effectively” asserts Janak. Being a Chemical Engineer, he had a focus on chemical industry and therefore manufacture pharmaceutical active ingredients or bulk drugs was his first choice in business. Secondly, the initial work experience in this field led him to continue in the same field to build on and encash the experience gained. He had a strong desire to be able to provide employment to needy people and hence decided to start their unit in the backward area of Panchmahals which gave employment opportunities to tribal and rural workforce. Since he found himself working much harder and with a sharper focus on results during his employment period, compared to other colleagues, he thought that he had the basic requirements of an entrepreneur. He did prove his point being a successful entrepreneur.
“After the initial hard time faced by us owing to lack of finance and managerial experiences, we built strong systems which helped us to grow faster and take on more aggressive challenges learning along the journey. With time, we have tried to evolve into taking bigger business risks” says Janak. The initial challenges were finance. Fortunately the government policies were conducive to encourage SME Company’s formation and he benefited from it with quick disposals of very soft loans, including a seed capital loan to them to augment their scanty resources. Once the project was implemented, the challenges of marketing and later production were faced. However, with passing time and experiences gained along the way, they learned their way to handle and overcome all the business challenges successfully.
“We are manufacturers of pharmaceutical active ingredients. We started manufacturing a few APIs initially and later expanded our product range further to tap a larger section of the pharma market, which includes small, medium and large customers including multinationals” asserts Janak. Their strength has been to generate more revenue from a small capital investment thereby improving bottom lines. They also focus on good and consistent quality standards, a shade above their peers which gives the edge in fighting effectively the cut throat competition present in the industry today. Their USP is to maintain consistency in quality and timely delivery of their products. They focus on quick responses to customers and maintaining a continual dialogue with the changing customer requirements and preferences. This approach and the quality of the service is appreciated by their customers.
Being an optimist, he always looks for above average growth of their Company even in challenging times. In fact, they have done better when others are faltering. He believes in motivating his employees personally and regularly appreciating various milestones charted by the company through their efforts. Owing to a friendly and transparent atmosphere in the company, they have been able to retain talent and this helps with continuity and better performance with time of employees resulting in improved company results. Many of the employees through this motivation are able to perform extraordinarily boosting their self-confidence and remaining committed to the company. Secondly, he has a desire for taking challenges and hence the team also enjoys the various milestones achieved by them as a team.
Balancing work and life responsibilities
“Hard work needs some time for relaxation. Relaxation is different for different people. I like to contribute towards a better society by participating in industry forums and also social groups and social welfare. I believe social welfare gives satisfaction and I like to see the end beneficiary. I also enjoy some sports and travelling with family and friends. In many of our business travels we get time to move around and study different life styles and cultures” says Janak.
The role of the family is very crucial to the success of an entrepreneur. The life of an entrepreneur is challenging and hence needs a lot of patience and support during stressful times. It is the family, which brings comfort, encouragement and support to revitalize and strengthen one’s own commitment. He was lucky to get this support both from his parents and his wife and children. They accepted his long working hours and need to travel frequently. It was a result of this that they tried to combine several family vacations while on business. “My wife is my biggest motivator and support system, especially when things do not turn right. I am greatly indebted to my family too for reposing faith in me during challenging times to help overcome the downturns in the industry” says Janak.
An entrepreneur reinvents himself after a few years to another level of entrepreneurship. They started manufacturing pharmaceutical active ingredients. Once successful, they decided to venture into the unknown and try to work for the betterment of the society by trying to research on unmet needs of the industry. Currently they are working on a possible treatment and a cure for Asthma and Allergy with a targeted therapy. As a result of development of various new drugs, we have been able to see a greater longevity in people. This it has brought about a new category of lifestyle diseases for which there is no cure. Another area of their company’s interest is in stem cell therapies. This regenerative medicine promises a bright future where they can expect cost effective treatment without any side effects. They have seen outstanding results so far in the research and clinical trials conducted by them and this promises to be a new arena of hope for a better quality life for the geriatric patient group. In this way they hope to see a happier world and continue to contribute to society needs of the future for greater longivity with better quality of life.