You may have heard the word ‘shanty town’. In malayalam we call it the ‘ Chandha ’ . Even in good rains, people go to the vegetable ‘ Chandha ’ . As you walk, the packing debris and much vegetable-wastes on the roadside cannot go unnoticed. Move through the entrances and there is a blast of vibrant colours, right into your eyes. Brinjals, carrots, lady fingers, melons, yam, drumsticks and Kerala bananas are all there. They are stacked into looking like hills of vegetables.
Not so long ago, vegetables were cultivated on hill slopes. They became to be called as ‘ Malacurry ’ ; ‘ Mala ’ meaning hill. There are hundreds of shops in this ‘chandha’ . Thousands of customers are choosing to get the right pick of each vegetable. You have seen these festive sights throughout the Kerala state. All the shops looks full, complete and total. There is an abundance everywhere. People are all neatly dressed, cheerful and celebrative. Welcome to ‘ Onam ’ .
Why not greet each other on this new year day? Yes, this is the first month called ‘ Chingam ’ in the malayalam calendar. Each day has a name. They are as Aswathy, Bharani, Karthika, Rohini and many more. The twenty second day in this sequence is called ‘ Thiruvonam ’. It is from this name of the day, that the festival gets the name ‘ Onam ’ .
It is a festive day for all Keralites. No Keralite can be blind to the market realities of the ‘Onam’ season. The turnover of sales of electronic goods, food, clothes, jewellery and other white goods will increase over ten times than other months. Students look forward for holidays from schools. Employees look for ‘Onam’ bonus from companies. Every Keralite has a reason to be happy.
The neighbours connect with each other. All the friends get together. The colleagues discover the camaraderie and all the relatives come to feast together. The enterprise of clubs, housing colonies and malayali associations develop to provide the cultural, traditional and entertainment values to its members. Competitive sports of various sorts has an important place during this Onam season. Vallamkali, Pulikali, Kummattikali, Kaikottikali are few of them. Many hotels flaunt the iconic floral decorations. The shutterbugs and the tourists find that, this season has a lot to occupy their mind.
The businessmen must respect the opinions of the consultant. The businessmen should be open to the suggestions from their advisors. The objective of a business should be to give service to the customer. Only through consumers delight, can the profits be enhanced.
Active participation and consumer engagement will assure the sustainance of a business. As you know, the consumer behaviour is subject to the universal behaviour called ‘change’. The businessmen has to have flexibility to upgrade their approaches. They should update their research and learning so as to position their product and services appropriately. Much humility in the business man will allow him to accurately poster his personality.
Posturing the personality of a businessman into the community is a great learning from ‘Thiruvonam’. Are you stubborn?
It is important to know the correct timing to kick start their business. Even more important is to know when to exit from the industry. If the utility of the product diminishes, then one has to be ready to diversify. SLR cameras, Kodak, typewriter companies, tobacco products, mechanical wrist watches, cathode ray televisions have all seen the inevitabilities of change.
Many textile companies that manufactured traditional attire had to give in to fresh trends and new fashions. Vintage cars though may look good, but makes little business sense.
Successful business men have all had a mentor. This mentor is wise and is out of realm of the business activity. Yet is participative to ensure the well being of the businessman. You may call him a ‘business guru’.
An unassuming boy with little height ‘Vamana’ came to deceive the mighty king. The mighty king was called ‘Mahabali’. His reputation of nobility and generosity is unparalleled. His reputation of delivering on a commitment is unmatched. No management pandit could have predicted the downfall of Mahabali.
Was Mahabali a victim of ego of virtuousness? He postured his personality as the most successful king, to one and all. But Mahabali was incapable to make the exit. He was not flexible to accept a graceful exit.
The guru had warned him. “ The little boy Vamana who requested just three feet of land has come to deceive you ” said the guru. Mahabali could not relent from his stance of that of a perennial giver. Discarding the advice of his mentor, Mahabali postured his personality of an emperor, who towers above all.
His downfall was imminent. He was compelled to bow down to Vamana. Vamana pushed him out of sight. Vamana succeeded in eliminating the emperor.
Can the ego of personal stance become, the burden to businessman?
Many are not able to relent and let go. This entanglement with a habit called leadership has caused the deletion of many, from the industry itself.
The business guru may have advised against further pursuits of loss making venture. But your ego positioning may tell you differently.
Mahabali was a wise emperor. He was humbled in his defeat. Yet boldly made a redemption. That is to grant him access to his erstwhile kingdom. In good faith, the request was granted. One day in a year was designated for his visit. The emperor had to ascertain that his people are happy, wealthy and had access to abundance. He needed assurance that there is harmony and equality.
The Keralites decided to resonate the sentiments of their dear emperor. They eagerly await and welcome the annual arrival of emperor Mahabali. Can you see the business lesson in ‘Onam’ ?