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Chef Harpal Singh Sokhi | India | Pros & Cons!!!

I was actually working with a Celebrity Chef and had set up most of his business verticals, while doing so I realized that if I can create things that make business sense for someone then might as well do it on your own. Then there was a day I called it for myself quit and took the plunge to become an entrepreneur. I realized that somewhere within my own genes I had this in some form or the other as my father while working for Railway would always do small time businesses which would help him get the extra cash for running the family in a better way.

What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?

I think the most important aspect when you move away from comfort of getting a fixed salary month on month and suddenly you realize that oh nothing like this would happen from the next month and for me I had just decided to take the plunge without even looking at my bank balances. As I took the plunge I realized that I had to first build revenue streams that would help me streamline the operating finances. Initially it was all around the core strengths we had of consulting for restaurants, food shows, demonstrations and food ads in some sense, these helped me streamline the revenue resources. Television food shows which was actually one of the big saviors of mine and that kept the study flow of income. Slowly and steadily I realized that I must also look at long term goals and plan revenue streams along with wealth management. I started associations that helped in value building propositions.

Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?

How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?

The biggest challenge for me was that I entered business when I was almost 45 years of age and I had thought for once that it is little too late for take the entrepreunal route. However I started reading about people who took the plunge even after 50 and realized that there is no age to become an entrepreneur although the stakes are less when you are young as you can always fall back on a job but as you grow beyond 50 even that is a challenge. So failures were strictly not acceptable and we I decided that I must take baby steps and at the same time in some business verticals I must go in leaps and bounds.

There were times that would be challenging for me and during such time I think one of the most important thing is to keep yourself healthy and calm. In the back of my mind there would be questions only of growing the business and increase revenue streams so that someday I could personally invest into business that would become large. This took me about five to six years and now I am looking at building up business that would eventually build value.

What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?

I think it was self belief and hard work.

What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?

Quite a few things I wish that I was better at accounts and law. These things would have helped me understand quite a few things better. There were other challenges too being a passionate Chef and then to become an entrepreneur is a bigger challenge and the first thing you have to start believing is that all passionate things do make business sense at times. One has to weigh down pro and cons and do what is right for business. Now for a passionate person it is a challenge here and that is the first thing I had to change in my own self.

I also realized a few important aspects in business that while some things would be your strengths which upon my own analysis was that I could think faster and better in conceptualizing ideas and creations. I also realized that having a few important agencies like a great Chartered accountant, a great law firm to guide you so that you don’t do mistakes that would affect growth in due course of time. I wish I had access to these two firms early, however early stages when revenues are stringent you don’t tend to take large firms as them come with lot of baggage but as I moved on I started acquiring services of such firms to help me stream line better.

What advice would you give to an upcoming young and old entrepreneur locally and internationally?

My Advice to all youngsters is clear you have to weigh down things yourself and look at where you would like to be in time to come.

If you got a passion then pursue it whole heartedly and success will follow.

While becoming an entrepreneur always has it own positives and negatives but the biggest pride is that it makes me work harder because there are many families who depend on us and that challenge if you are willing to take up and work harder not just for yourself but for a team who would dedicate their life to you, then you got take the plunge.

Baby Steps!!

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