1 Jun 2017, 10:17 — 6 min read
It is an alarming truth of our times that despite all the progress that has come with modernisation, millions of people still live without access to clean water and energy supply.
Quick to realise that developing clean energy solutions is the need of our times, entrepreneur Dinesh Rathi, set up his environmental consultancy practice, DRA Consultants Pvt Ltd, in Nagpur in the early 1990s. The driving force behind establishing this firm, soon after completing his engineering studies, was his desire to be a game-changer in the environmental sector and chart his own career graph.
After the inevitable early challenges, the company has grown to have a valuation of over INR 50 Crore on the BSE today. DRA Consultants has won many awards nationally and internationally for their work which focuses on improving water supply in urban areas. Dinesh envisions a time when every urban household in India has 24x7 water supply.
In conversation with GlobalLinker (GL) Dinesh Rathi (DR) shares his entrepreneurial journey. Watch this video for more:
GL: Tell us about your business.
DR: Most of the time, people start a consulting practice after acquiring experience. However, I started my firm soon after I passed out of college. After completing my engineering studies, I took up an offer to work part-time in an energy efficiency research consultancy firm. One of my clients then, a man who worked for Larsen & Toubro, encouraged me to start my independent practice. I started in a garage after purchasing a computer with my savings. This person gave me my first opportunity and I published my letterhead under the name ‘Dinesh Rathi and Associates’ and that’s how the company started.
Our firm focuses on energy & water efficiency. We started advising private sector companies on how to optimise their energy use. Slowly, we went into their townships. Then we moved into rural and urban water supply. In the last decade, we shifted our focus to urban water management.
GL: What are the challenges you have faced in establishing your business?
DR: The first challenge was buying a computer and getting and completing my first assignment. That assignment was the greatest challenge of my business career so far. If you can get the first lakh then the second lakh is very easy. It took me a year and a half to earn rupees 1 lakh. After that I had resources in place.
The second challenge was that people had a hard time taking me seriously because of my young age. I sometimes had to say that my boss was unavailable so I had come in his stead. Only then would people listen.
The challenge today is building a team. I cannot go everywhere but people want to see me and get a personal consultation from me. We are trying to get a team together that can ensure that people will know DRA and not just Dinesh Rathi.
GL: What is the USP of your business?
DR: There are a few things we always hope to achieve. One, we look to ensure our customer is satisfied. The first satisfied customer gave us our second assignment.
Value for money for our services offered is something we aspire to.
For the last 25 years we haven’t had a separate marketing department in the company. We believe that a satisfied customer creates more customers. That is our USP.
GL: What are some of the milestones of your business?
DR: We have worked with Larsen & Toubro and Gujarat Ambuja from the very beginning. They are both leaders in the cement field. Gujarat Ambuja has never built a plant without our expertise. At one point, we had almost 100% market share when it came to new plants in the sector.
The second milestone came when we moved into urban water management. The water supply of Nagpur is considered the best water supply system in India. We were involved from conceptualisation to implementation of this system. Our work earned national and international awards. Even the President of India has given an award to the Nagpur Water Supply service.
The third milestone was making the recycling of water more widespread. Learning how to reuse water after treatment for facilities like power plants which don’t actually need fresh water creates opportunities for the country. Resources are conserved and can be channeled elsewhere.
Now, our company is listed on the BSE at INR 50 crore. This is a major source of pride and is a testament to the successful growth of our firm.
Some awards we have won are:
GL: What role do you feel GlobalLinker plays in connecting & assisting SMEs?
DR: We live in an era of networking, communication and resource management. GlobalLinker helps with all of these. GlobalLinker helps us to improve efficiencies and our own internal management.
GL: What is your big business dream?
DR: Our next milestone is that we want to be in each and every city in India. Our work is water management. Our goal is to have every urban household access to water 24x7 daily. I also hope that during my career at least 10 cities can eradicate the plague of water-borne diseases.
GL: What is your message to aspiring entrepreneurs?
DR: Customer satisfaction is key. Money is a by-product. If your customer is satisfied, money will follow.
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Posted byGlobalLinker Staff
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