BUILDING A GOLDEN MOMENT!

Nikhil Ballal

Tell us something
about your childhood.
MN-I was born in Kolhapur. My father who
was a civil engineer got a call from Bombay
Municipal Corporation and so our family
migrated to Thane in 1949. I was six years old
then. We are basically three brothers( Myself,
Balkrishna and Madhav) I am the eldest. Our
parents were very liberal. We shared a great
rapport with them. Values like sincerity,
honesty and dedication were never taught to
us.They came to us naturally by watching our
parents. My father was ‘Mr.Perfect’ . We idolized him.

Did you always aspire to become a
developer?
MN-Yes. After completing civil
engineering I told my father that I want to
become a businessman. He told me that I
can do whatever I want only till he is on the
job. So, I knew I had sufficient time to
prove myself as a businessman as there was
a fall back in the form of my father. In
1965 I started practising as an architect.
Due to my father’s goodwill I immediately
got my first assignment. It was extremely
difficultto live upto the expectations as my
clients wanted meto be as perfect as my
father.
Under his able guidance I could
deliver. Despite his busy schedule he
would often inspect my work and helped
me understand the finer aspects of
construction.

How did you develop as an entrepreneur?
MN-I was so passionate about my work
that irrespective of opportunities being big
or small I use to give my 100%. These
small assignments taught me a lot. After
completing every assignment I could see some
‘value addition’ in me in terms of knowledge
and strategizing. Finally after gaining
experience for some years I decided to start
constructionon my ‘own land’.
I took the risk to buy a massive plot of
three acres. My parents couldn’t sleep that
night! (smiles). I believed – Only those who
risk going too far can possibly find out how
far one can go! I dared to take that risk! I was
not even 30 then.

How was the experience of constructing
your first ever building?
MN-It was fantastic. My day would
begin at 6 in the morning and would end a
little after the midnight. I was a workaholic
person! Also relations which I had developed                                                                                                                                 over the years helped me in completing my
first four storeyed building before the
deadline. My work never stopped because
of shortage of raw materials. I always knew
which supplier had a surplus stock and can
supply me raw materials (laughs).
During those days developers shared a
healthy competition (smiles).In fact you
would be surprised to know that we also use
to share our plots with each other.
There are more than 150 buildings
under your name. Tell us about your journey.
I started at the age of 22 and presently
into the 50th year of my profession. It gives
me immense pleasure to see my buildings all
over Thane. My focus had always been in
providing houses to masses instead of
classes. Till now I have given dream homes
to more than 6000 people!
Just like any businessman I also had to face many                                                                                                                          ups and downs. I still remember I
miserably failed in one project. I incurred
huge losses and became ‘zero’ . But this didn’t
affect me at all because I believed -“Jevha
me Shunyatna suru kela hota tar punha shunya
milala tar kay farak padto” ( when I started at
zero then if I get a zero again why it should
bother me) (laughs).

How did you overcome this crisis?
MN-I took up a project which was not
profitable yet helped me retain my goodwill
and maintain my faithful contractors and
labourers. This motivated them towork in our
other projects.Only few people had cars and
motorcycles and many like me had only a
bicycle( smiles). I use to pedal 20 sites at a
time.
Employees are backbone of any business.
I have also been very protective and supportive towards                                                                                                                my employees. Presently there are some who are associated with our
company for more than three decades. In
every phase of our life employees have stood
firmly behind us.

What is your success formula?
MN-My Success formula has been my
good observation skills! I like to listen rather
than openly express myself. This trait is
something that I’ve retained over the years. I
have learnt business from many people.
Sindhi and Jain community have
taught me a lot! Late Mr. L VVasavada has
been my idol! I use to accompany him in
purchasing raw materials. He was the
‘Group on’ (an online portal where you get
the best deals) of our age!( laughs).
I have always been loud and clear
about my decisions. I never take half
measures. “Majhakadhi hi talyatmalyatnasta” (I
am never perplexed about anything).
Good planning is a key to success!
Whenever I plan any project I prepare a
time table this helps me to finish the work on
time.

What would you say about your
generation next?
MN-My next generation have taken this
company to a next level. My sons Samir and
Sachin have been working hard. I restricted
myself only to Thane but they have projects
in Pune, Mumbai and even in Bengluru.
Perhaps, we are the only Maharastrian
builders who have projects in Bandra and
Girgaon.

What would you appeal to budding
businessmen?
MN-Hardwork never guarantees us
success but success is not possible without
hardwork, that is my mantra. Always
remember the price of success is hardwork,
dedication and ofcourse determination. If
you give the best then you will yield the
best. I believe in this simple principle.
If one wants to be successful in business
then he should be fearless!
MansaniMansalakabarrghabrava.. (Why
should a human fear another human?) This may
be the only industry where one has to deal
with all kinds of people.
Today this industry has become more
challenging! But one should look to these
challenges as opportunities. It is necessary to
have deep knowledge of legalities of this
business. During our time there would be
many legal issues but I never got afraid.
Instead I would take it as a challenge and say
” ChalaYaala pan jhopvun taku..( We will make
him bite the dust) (laughs). Just be on crease
(in business) like Sachin Tendulkar runs
(money) will keep coming!

We heard you own the first Mercedes of
Thane?
MN-Yes that’s true. I am very fond of cars.
I bought this in 1985. (smiles)

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