Sri Sathya Sai Guidelines for Entrepreneurs and Businessmen

There are large-scale industries and small-scale industries. It is however better to start a small-scale industry to gain experience of the various facets of business. It is not wise to start a big business without any prior experience, as it could be prone to huge losses. It is better to go ahead in business systematically from small size to big size in a gradual manner. It is thus prudent to invest, say in the beginning about INR 5 lakhs. After 3 years review the situation and increase the investment to INR 10 lakhs (figures given here are only suggestive). After 25 years or so, the business model will crystallise and take certain shape. At that time all care should be taken to protect the form of business. It is very important to recognise the significance of form and quality. 

The following example illustrates the aforementioned concept of form and quality. In one of the states of India, tobacco is grown to be supplied as raw-material to cigarette industry. The business people send the best quality tobacco for sample purpose. It is however important to maintain the same quality till the end. However, some businessmen keep bricks and stones inside the packing to fulfil the weight specifications. The customers at the receiving end would not react initially but when the same thing happens repeatedly over a period of time, they cancel the orders, as the consignments are of inferior quality. It is important to conform to the quality of the sample when subsequent bulk consignments are sent. One should be prepared to reconcile losses but not quality. If quality is consistently safeguarded, there is no scope for sickness in case of business organisations. There are doubts about the quality of the Indian products in the foreign markets. No effort should be spared to dispel such doubts from the minds of the customers and business people in overseas nations.

Competition and profits influence business strategies today. For instance, if one sells soap at INR 5, a competitor sells a similar soap for INR 3. The people are impressed by price more than quality. There is a problem of look-alikes also in the market. For instance, some people make fake soaps and print the brand name ‘Luxx’ (slight spelling change) with dubious looks. Because of competition, quality should not be compromised. In the past, one soap company used to make soaps from natural sandalwood oils, whereas now, the same soaps are made from artificial sandalwood essence. The company suffered heavy losses (for various reasons) and had to go through various problems. 

Some of the students graduated from the Management programme at Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning went to Indonesia to work in an apparel industry owned by a person of Indian origin. They took some issue relating to income-tax matter (pertaining to the organisation) to the notice of the proprietor. This timely intervention saved the honour of the organisation and prevented an imminent damage. They explained to the top-management the benefits that would accrue to the organisation by following the righteous means. This example explains why men are more important than other factors of production (land, capital and organisation). 

In the process of organisational activities, managers may have to help lower level employees a great deal. For this, there may not be any recognition or gratitude from the beneficiaries. However, help should continue regardless of all worldly considerations. Those who render such unconditional help will experience an inexplicable joy, which cannot be experienced through other means. It can be compared to a natural spring of water. The most important outcome is the Self-satisfaction that one receives on rendering such selfless help. It should be remembered that one should be concerned about one’s own duty, for ‘Duty is God, Work is Worship’.

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