Vishnu Punjabi

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The Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards is a world-class recognition celebrating and honouring business leaders who have shown outstanding performance and tenacity in developing successful businesses within the Asia Pacific region. With 16 countries holding the APEA each year, it is by far the most recognised awards of its kind in Asia Pacific. We spoke to five of the winners from Brunei for their business advice.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAVISHNU PUNJABI
Founder
Parvati Textile Centre

Vishnu Punjabi established Parvati Textiles Centre in 1980 and since then the company has progressed to become one of the leading players in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry. With a well diversified product portfolio that provides the daily neccesities to all kinds of consumers, Vishnu sees tremendous potential for further growth in the future.

What is the most difficult part about being an entrepreneur?
The most difficult thing is carrying the burden of hope, expectation and responsibility of all the stakeholders and trying our best to meet and exceed them.

Each and everyone in and around the organisation has a different level and type of expectation.

Staff members hope for a yearly pay rise; suppliers expect regular orders; customers expect prompt service; the government expects regulatory compliance; Banks expect good financial performance; family members expect material possessions; NGOs expect social responsibility and good corporate governance. So at times it’s not easy to please all parties.

What is the best part?
The best part of being an entrepreneur is being able to influence and make firm decisions, which an employee may not be able to do.

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs starting their own business?
Be frugal and tight fisted in money matters, every penny saved is a penny earned.

Have a clear vision of what line of business you want to get into and adapt to changes cautiously and conservatively since being over aggressive and confident can cause harm.

Don’t step onto other people’s territories, sharing is caring. Stay firm in your decisions and follow your gut feelings. Don’t waver in times of difficulty, be firm rooted, since frequently jumping from one field to another will cause only misery.

What did your journey in business teach you about leadership?
My journey has taught me to practice before preaching. If I don’t practice my own preaching no one will follow me, if no one follows, then I am not a leader.

This is more easily said than done, but yes, we must be able to set an exemplary example before we can expect others to follow us.

This article was published in the Jul-Sept 2014 issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!