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From Rs 13,000 To 8000 Cr – Story Of A Common Ice-Candy Seller

The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength or knowledge, but rather a lack of will.

His childhood in Thiruthangal Village, Sivakasi in Virudhunagar district of Tamil Nadu was like millions of other children growing in poverty-ridden families. Survival was the biggest question for the family eliminating possibilities of other luxuries like education. He dropped out of school to support his own and family’s survival. Quitting school was of little significance for him as he was a rare attendee but newer responsibility of earning for the family was something he could not have skipped.

His poor and uneducated family did not have any permanent source of income but had some immovable property nothing more than a namesake for asset. When nothing worked out, the family decided to sell all their belongings and properties to raise a meagre amount for their maiden business unit, an extremely small one though.

R. G. Chandramogan is one of the first generation entrepreneur from Sivakasi, a place famous for fire-cracker industries. He owns India’s largest private dairy and agro business under the banner of Hatsun Agro Products Limited valued at approximately Rs 8,000 Cr, started with the Rs 13,000 that Chandramogan’s family raised by selling everything they had.

Lack of knowledge, experience and resources were the prevailing challenges and Chandramogan was completely unaware for any managerial plans entrepreneurs usually have. For him survival was the only question and his ice-candy making business set-up in 250 sq.ft. with three helpers was the only solution. The ice-candy making business was another example of unorganised businesses in Tamil Nadu with 40,000 odd such units existing and competing each other on everyday basis. Chandramogan and his three helpers named Pandian, Rajendran, and Paramasivan produced ice-candies and sold them on pushcarts. It was the year 1970 and life was all about facing everyday challenges to make the minimum required for survival. Next 10 years were similar in terms of activities and revenue.

Though life was similar for nearly all of the ice-candy players in Tamil Nadu, the difference Chandramogan had was his willingness to grow the business. The first decade was all about surviving but once the key question of survival was successfully resolved, the next decade was all about growth. Chandramogan’s annual revenue in the year 1971 was Rs 1,50,000 and the same in 1990 had crossed Rs. 3 Cr. They were operating a chain of ice-cream parlours all across Tamil Nadu, this was something the other 39,999 odd ice-candy players in the state could not manage to do. Arun, Chandramogan’s ice-cream brand, was a popular name all across the state and it was time for Chandramogan to take his company Hatsun Agro Product to the next level in business. Chandramogan had formed a company in 1986 to manage his growing business activities. These were some fundamentally different steps other players in the ice-candy industry never considered.

Since then Hatsun Agro Product Ltd has grown in multiple folds to become India’s largest private dairy business with an approximate valuation of Rs. 8,000 Cr. Chandramogan has grown to become one of India’s very few billionaires. His brands Arun Ice-Cream, Arokya and Gomatha milk are sold in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Goa. They have plants in Kancheepuram, Salem and Madurai for markets in Tamil Nadu and Belgaum for markets in northern Karnataka and Goa.

Chandramogan’s business skills that he learned on his own have played a key role in Hatsun’s growth. He skillfully utilized his relations with farmers all across the state to build a milk procurement channel for his plants. Hatsun is currently procuring more than 7.5 lac litres of milk on a daily basis, their actual plant area is 30 lac sq.ft and the company is run by 8000 odd employees. They have ice-cream plants in Seychelles, Fiji and Brunei as a part of their international operations.

Life for Chandramogan was similar to those of the 40000 odd people who were doing the same activities in 1970. The substance was his approach that led him to think outside of the box and beyond survival. His skills and efforts to connect with farmers and his completely innovative strategies that made his ice-cream parlours a cult in Tamil Nadu, everything is just awesome. Every rags to riches story has the same setup where one starts from very basic or no resources and reaches unusual heights, but the real story is what happens during this transition period, It is inspirational and heroic. Chandramogan’s story is a living example of the difference between common and un-common minds.

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