As a young boy from a small town in Rajasthan, G.D. Saini has come a long way in the electronics business. Belonging to an ideally rooted joint family, Saini had a recognisable and happy childhood. He says there isn’t anything exceptional about it. “I grew up in a traditional middle class family with my father and uncles all living and working together. All major decisions were taken by the elders in the family and we had to comply with them.”
Dilemmas and dreams as a child
“As a child I was an average performer in my studies and just like any other kid had dilemmas about ‘what next?’…but somewhere inside lurked the wish to achieve something big in life and to show my younger ones a path to walk upon. After schooling I went to Sardar Sehr—my father’s native place for my graduation. And during my final year I fought students union elections and was selected as the general secretary of the Students Association.” While Saini remembers about his dreams and aspirations as a child, it is evident that he always wanted to be in the role of a decision-maker, leading a team and doing something for the people around him. During his school days he also had a wish to do LLB and go to Jaipur, and later during graduation days, a wish to become an IPS officer crept into his mind. But fate was holding something different for him and that was ‘business’.
College days equal to fun days!
The story of a small town setting of education was an affair filled with simplicity. As there were not many good schools around, Saini went to a Hindi medium government school and college. College days were full of fun and activities. It was a usual guy’s story-playing cricket on fields for 5-6 hours, whiling away time with pals, dreaming for the future and cherishing every moment. “Finally, the fun days got over and I moved back to my hometown. I wanted to do law but it was a joint family and decisions were taken by elders. So it was decided that I go to Delhi and study CA. And that’s how I landed here and established my base.”
Start of a journey
Saini came to Delhi in 1982—the year of Asiad. The whole city was filled with spirited colours of wining and cheering. “Being a sport enthusiast myself it was an opportunity to be relished. I also got started with my CA studies. Initially, it was difficult for me to adapt to a new urban environment. Till graduation I had done my studies in Hindi medium and to struggle with heavy books of CA and that too in English was quite a task. I felt it would be impossible for me to finish my course. But with a little bit of luck and ample perseverance I managed to get my CA degree.” After the completion of his studies, Saini wanted to venture out on his own. “As I was from a business family, resources were not a big issue. But in order to gain some experience I associated myself with a firm called Sanjeev Chopra & Co for about a year. In 1988, I started my own accountancy firm called G D Saini and Co.”
Electronics—The true calling
“It was in 1990 that the idea to get into electronics business materialised. The turning point was my younger sister’s marriage to one of the partners of Saini Electronics, Mahaved Prasad Saini. My business mind woke up to the prospect of starting the electronics business. Though I wasn’t the eldest, I had the responsibility to look after my three younger brothers for whom I was a rolemodel. Among six brothers and three sisters, I was the only one who graduated and went on for higher studies. Business was already there in the blood and resources were not an issue, so I took it as an opportunity and with the help and guidance of Mahaved Prasad Saini, we set up Saini Electronics.”
“We started it as a joint venture and ours was the only branch of Saini Electronics in Delhi. It was a normal starting—a bit conservative though as we started with very few items and always tried to play it safe. But this methodology helped us as we got within the capacity and never faced poor results.” Electronics is an unorganised sector, so Saini decided to do it in a more systematic and organised manner that led to the setting up of his first import company—Singhodia Electronics in 1997. Like any other start-up he also had his own share of problems. “Starting imports business wasn’t easy during that time. Duty structures were very high plus there were other channels that were less transparent and were selling goods at much cheaper rates. And as we always purchased from genuine sources after giving 100 per cent duty and never sourced it from open markets, our costing was naturally high as compared to others. Initially it was a struggle to establish our name in the market, but as it’s been well said that ‘patience is the key in business’, we finally got our share of success. Our right approach derived fruitful results and our name got established as a quality component supplier. We have also received the ‘Best Traders Award’ by sales and tax department in 2000-2001.” Besides this, the liberalisation period that rose during 1995- 2002 was a tough phase for domestic suppliers like Saini. MNCs from countries like Singapore and Hong Kong started their businesses in India. They were directly approaching organisations offering goods at favourable prices. “It was difficult but we had our name in the market plus the point where these companies lagged was inventory. Our biggest strength was that we had ample stock for our customers.”
Success—A step-by-step process
There are no short-cuts to success and neither life is a smooth process, feels Saini. “One has to go through his share of ups and downs. But success achieved at the cost of values or integrity is nothing more than a failure. It is a step-by-step process and values need to be maintained throughout. I would like to share with young aspiring businessmen that right approach and clear goals will definitely get you the place you wish to achieve.” “Business is all about managing people and managing money. I am happy the way my business has grown and quiet satisfied with its growth rate of 15-20 per cent per year. I am happy for my brothers too, who are all settled and doing well in their lives.
Family as a fortune
“If I say that my wife Sunita Saini has been my fortune then I wouldn’t be wrong. She has been a constant support and encouraging force to me. My tight schedule doesn’t allow me much time with my family, but she helps me in maintaining a balance. My two sons and a daughter complete my circle of happiness. Like any father I also have some dreams for my children. One such dream is to see my daughter studying in IIT. My sons are quiet young, so I still have some time to think about their future. “On the end note, I’d like to quote, ‘A satisfied man is a dead man’. One should always keep an urge to grow and succeed in life. I am satisfied in a way that I am not greedy, but I have the will to keep moving ahead with time and achieve all that I aspire to achieve.
As told to Himanshu Yadav of Electronics Bazaar