Aditya Vikram Gupta has a charming, easy going attitude about him, which may make him seem out of place in the dog-eat-dog world of entrepreneurship. But beneath all of this, in his heart of hearts, Gupta is a unique combination of a fighter and innovator rolled into one.
A mechanical engineer by training, Gupta has waded the thick and viscous waters of self-doubt and braved discouraging words from even those closest to him, and made a mark for himself by reinvigorating a moribund business almost single-handedly.
Back in 2006, a novice Gupta had a vision in his eyes, that of every aspiring entrepreneur: To make it, and make it big. He’d wished to establish his own business, but the dearth of requisite resources foisted upon him a future wherein he was absorbed in the family business of manufacturing metal appliances. While his father and uncles, partners in the business, thought of shutting down the unprofitable threaded rods business, Gupta observed the inkling of an opportunity. He was granted 6 months to turn the fortune of the business. Gupta set out at the get-go. He pursued customers relentlessly and was always on the lookout for areas to optimize.
With Gupta’s efforts, the threaded rod business that was once on the verge of being shut down, grew at a breakneck speed of nearly 200% at one point of time. “It’s not that I did not receive my fair share of disappointments. Rejected offers gave me the blues. The commute towards the factory seemed futile and endless. But once I was in the factory, that urge to strive was reignited.”
His uncompromising and earnest attitude is best reflected in an anecdote he recalls. “I sent samples to a potential buyer, and I was adamant not to compromise on the prices. I wanted to sell my product on the virtue of its quality. When I didn’t hear back from the firm, I wrote a letter to the CEO, a handwritten letter. I posed to him the question: “When you sell your product, what do you think the customer prefers, your price or your quality? I received a reply in the mail where the CEO said that they always try to sell their product on the basis of its quality. That prompted me to ask him why he expects me not to do the same. The CEO replied by offering me the contract.”
Gupta’s creative and innovative approach can be attributed to the drive for success he so confidently and openly exudes. “It was almost a sort of an itch, to make my name in Ludhiana.” This thirst is a result of belonging to a family of businessmen. “I’ve lived under my father’s shadow for long, and it matters a lot to me to get out of that place. I want to make something of myself.” Gupta’s father has played a pivotal role in shaping his son as a tour de force. Gupta senior has not only set the bar that his son is emulating, he’s also inculcated an independent, creative problem-solving streak in Aditya. “Whenever I bother my father with a question, I always come back with another question that is meant for nudging me towards the right track of thought.”
With the Growtherator programme, Aditya has grown his vision as an entrepreneur and people’s manager. Before he enrolled in the programme, his employees had a job with a very low scope of growth. “I’m not really good at the management end. That’s my father’s forte. I handle the innovation side of things, playing with new materials and products. The employees in my firm did not have a huge opportunity to grow. Yes, we did provide them with a sense of great security; we don’t let anyone off, but the chances to grow were negligent.”
But now he’s looking forward to investing in his employees. “I want to offer them a shot at growth, and I advise every other entrepreneur to do the same. We’re running some upskilling programmes for them and trying to map growth charts so they can witness their own growth in the company ranks and are motivated to give their best. This, I hope, would cultivate professional innovation rather than the slapdash way we do things right now in Ludhiana.”
His manufacturing unit witnessed a total shutdown during the business, but with the world opening up, they’re moving towards normalcy, and his outlook is optimistic. “My business saw closure, but with the USA opening, I’m receiving orders now. To all my fellow entrepreneurs, don’t stress out on it too much. Soon we’ll be back on track.”
True to his word, Gupta is not worried about what happened. With the time on his hands, he’s been experimenting like a giddy child, preparing himself for what’s to come. Let the future call with whatever it has to offer, even if Gupta’s knocked down, he’s set Rocky’s soundtrack as his ringtone to remind him of the fighter within.