"Tenacity in people inspires me a lot"- Says Ajay Shetty

07 January 2022

1. What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?

I often tell this to people I know and I take this platform as an opportunity to tell this to a larger audience that the goal is not to be an entrepreneur but to follow your vision and your passion.

In order to do that sometimes one has to create his or her own path and if those entails being an entrepreneur, then so be it.

There will be times you need to follow your heart and your vision and it is a path that is often not taken by many people which is a path of an entrepreneur.

My driving force was the idea or what I call the vision that I had at that time for the alchobev business. I felt that there was a gap in the area I was passionate and I wanted to do something about it. So it's mainly passion and vision.

2. Considering the fierce in today's business world, how would you highlight your company's competitive advantages? What makes Salud stand out of the crowd?

It is again a lot to do with what is the ethos of the company is. The goal for us to produce a product and a category that was not around. It was to produce a product that was accessible but yet classy, modern, non-conformist and aspirational.

All these characteristics together make the brand interesting and yet make it a mass product, something that would be inline with our vision but still cater to our target audience. It is a combination of many things.

A lot of large companies have tried to do something similar but none of them has started off with all of them together. I think that makes us unique. We have taken a big step in that direction by creating an urban lifestyle company of sorts. The combination of these factors makes us very unique.

3. How do you handle investors and find issues in your business?

We have never had issues either with our investors or funding because we have had a team that has been on board since day one backing and understanding the vision. It also helps as I have done this before. This is not my first time as an entrepreneur. I have created and curated a similar alcove business in the past and thanks to that we have had amazing relationships with people who know what we have been able to achieve and hence finding the kind of funding we need was easier.

Prasad Vanga, CEO of Anthill Ventures has been a great motivator, guide and mentor to me in the idea of what I want to achieve. Through him and his banking team, we have been able to pursue our goals. We have had amazing people who always backed me and the idea who will continue to back me till we become a Unicorn.

4. Outline the schedule of one of your typical working days.

I wish I had a typical working day to give you a schedule. I do know that my days are not long but my nights are longer.

I have an hour that I have allocated to public relations. An hour in the morning goes into global news and newspaper reading. I still do believe in print. I spend a lot of time catching up on that. Then comes calls and e-mails before I head into meetings either in the city or outside it could be between distilleries to businesses to basically understand what we are going to be doing as per the vision with short term goals for the next 3 to 6 months.

In pandemic times it's been more of an understanding as to how markets will change and how footfalls in markets will change because we are primarily driven by consumers. So, a typical day is not so typical for me it variates quite rapidly.

5. What best motivates you. How have your entrepreneural motivations changed since you first started?

Earlier it used to be personal meaning when I started out in my previous avatar I got carried away and was focused on too many things and spread myself out thin.

Nowadays, it's about everybody who matter to Salud. The responsibility that I owe to my investors and my team is the biggest motivator. It makes me want to work harder because I feel responsible for families and people who are dependent on us and I also feel responsible to the people who have backed me and our vision. So it's that what motivates me.

I think I have become a lot more sober and a lot more understanding that things are temporary. The goal and the focus have to continue being the company and the brand and not yourself.

6. What are your shortcuts to successfully handled frustration and stress?

There are no shortcuts. You must understand that there will be tough days and you must learn to deal with it and move on. Keep them as learnings rather than frustrations. I talk to my team, my friends who matter to me or I play a sport.

7. What book inspires you the most?

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight has inspired me a lot but so has Bhagwad Gita.

8. What do you consider to be your weaknesses?

My stubbornness I suppose is my weakness. I could use it to my advantage and I do but that is am very stubborn when I know that I really really push till I know that I cannot work anymore. That stubbronees is there in me to not give up

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