Monday, May 18, 2009: 08:43:26 PM

Retail Biz Personality of the Fortnight

Weaving a success story — Harish Tiwari, Sharda Collection

It is the positive mindset and perseverance of Harish Tiwari, which has helped Sharda Collection make a name for itself in Nagpur’s retailing sector. As the Director of this company, which retails and manufactures silk garments and fabrics, he takes a keen interest in most aspects of its operations. It is no wonder that in a short span of time, Sharda Collection has created a steady demand for its products in this Orange City.
In the cocoon stage
According to Mr Tiwari, raising capital for a start-up business requires a methodical approach, which is instrumental in building a strong financial foundation for the company to embark on long-term growth.
After graduating in 1985 from the University of Pune with Marketing as his main subject, Mr Tiwari spent some time analysing the market conditions. He thought that it would be best to work with an established textile firm to learn the tricks of the trade before commencing his entrepreneurial venture.
He believed that his experiences in the company would prepare him for coping with the sectoral challenges and help him with the groundwork for setting up and successfully running a textile company.
Mr Tiwari says, “Some entrepreneurs think that setting a target market limits the scope of their pool of potential customers. However, this is a wrong notion and a potentially misleading one when it comes to working on the marketing strategy for the company.” He believes that defining the target market is essential for determining the company’s desired brand positioning, and accordingly identifying the most effective promotion strategy for the brand.
After gaining sufficient knowledge about market trends and zeroing in on the strategies to build his company’s image, Mr Tiwari started with his own company, Sharda Collections, by opening a small retail store in Wardha Road in Nagpur in 1995.
Mantras of success
Mr Tiwari realised the importance of having an online presence to reach out to the global consumers. He advertised his catalogues and sold his products through the Internet, apart from his brick and mortar retail stores.
He also believed that dissatisfied employees lead to lower productivity and declining sales and therefore, paid adequate attention to employee management and retention.
Today, Sharda Collection is known for its excellent quality silk garments and efficient service. Even a slight slip-up in business approach or a single instance of discourteous service can turn away customers. Mr Tiwari realises this, and takes special care in delivering high levels of customer service in every business transaction.

Start-up businesses are often beset with financial roadblocks. However, Mr Tiwari did not let these roadblocks become a barrier in the path of diversification for his business. He has constantly made efforts to fine-tune his marketing strategies to maximise returns on investment (ROI). Besides quality, meticulous planning and proper documentation rank high in Mr Tiwari’s list of priorities. He also plays a vital role in making any changes in the company’s cost structure or pricing policy.
Looking ahead
According to Mr Tiwari, the present global meltdown has taken a heavy toll on the retail sector in India, and his company has been no exception to this. Presently, the company is not considering undertaking any business expansion. However, Mr Tiwari is confident that the unwavering commitment and the hard work of his employees will enable the company to override the economic tsunami.

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