Landmark Success!

Moving swiftly on its way to become a smart city, Thane which is already in top-gear has become destination for the ‘Class’ on its own Mercedes-Benz brand. Landmark group, which is associated with this highly prestigious brand, has opened a showroom on Ghodbunder recently. KYT’s managing editor Nikhil Ballal met Mr. Sanjay Thakker, chairman and promoter of Landmark who sees a great future not only from his company’s business point of view but also for the city.

This state of art showroom of Landmark has already been a talk of the town because of its facilities and some lucrative schemes making ‘tri star’ dream more accomplishable!

Mr. Thakker has a blazing track-record of running close to 100 automotive outlets in seven states of India and leading a work force of around 3000 in the auto dealerships and 2000 in the insurance and finance distribution business. Although he hails from a financially stable business family however due to his father’s early demise he had to shoulder many big responsibilities at a tender age.

He was hardly 11 when he lost his father. Unlike other students, after school he was more seen in Chartered accountant and Lawyers offices to resolve legal matters than playing and whiling time with friends. Despite these detriments, he was equally good at sports and academics. He led his college as cricket captain and won many laurels in table tennis too. He always had the fire in his belly to grow and succeed. Leadership qualities were there since childhood which came to the fore when he held many posts in students’ council.

He ventured into business in his college days. Mr. Thakker’s first warehousing real estate business office was barely 50 sq.feet. Having donned many hats right from students’ days he tried his hands on many other businesses. One of them was shares arbitrage business. In early 90’s he would buy shares from Chennai and sell them in Mumbai.

Although a leader today, he came into automotive trade accidentally. Few years later, his childhood friend late Milan Shah and he came across an auto dealership proposal of Honda. Honda wanted to give dealership for Ahmedabad. Mr. Thakker was in dilemma whether to go for the proposal or skip it. But then he has a very unique success formula. Whenever you are confused say ‘Yes’, “I said Yes and rest is history”, quipped Mr. Thakker who has largest profitable auto dealership network in India.

When asked about his success mantra he says,“I am voracious reader. Mythology and History is what I love to read the most. If you see Lord Ram had handful of inexperienced people so he was compelled to fight from the front whereas Lord Krishna had a bunch of competent people so he followed everything with a strategic pent up mind. I follow Krishna. Also it is always better to have a smaller piece of a large pie than to have a large piece of a small one”, shared Mr.Thakker with a slice of his valuable experience.

 

“We started in 1998 from Ahmedabad.  Those were the days when we were learning the tricks of trade and also trying to establish ourselves. This stage naturally requires tremendous energy, free flow of ideas, innovation, creativity and many other aspects that are synonymous with youth.  We preferred youngsters who understood our aim, hunger and urge. The vibrancy and dynamism of Landmark has always given us a cutting edge”, explained Mr. Thakker.

 

“We owe our success to the brands that we deal. We are indeed happy to have met Honda people at an early stage of our business. There is so much to learn from Japanese people”, admits Mr. Thakker. He recollects one incident which depicts their dedication and devotion towards their profession. Once,Honda officials had planned a meeting at their Ahmedabad showroom. Unfortunately, due to some reason their flights got cancelled, he thought now they may postpone their meet. But they didn’t. They took some connecting flights and reached Ahmedabad. He was amazed with their sincerity. “They value people’s time. We at Landmark emulate these principles”, states Mr. Thakker. A fuel for thought indeed!

When asked about most challenging phase of his career, he recalls Gujarat riots. During the riots his entire stock of cars and showroom was burnt to ashes. Situation worsened as insurance company refused to compensate them for their huge losses. Despite such traumatic situation his employees stood behind him. When he flew to Gujarat he was surprised to see his staff selling cars on road. “Losses took a back seat, I was delighted by their positive attitude which also made me feel an accomplished leader”, adds Mr. Thakker.

“I strongly believe people don’t quit jobs but quit bosses. I have among the most competent professionals from the industry working for our group and are with me for decades. Our attrition rate is far lower than other players of our sector”, smiles Mr. Thakker.

“My family has also played a major role in my success. They have supported me in thick and thin. After Gujarat riots, I was extremely tensed. My little daughter who was only six year old thenrealised that her father was facing tremendous financial losses. Everyone was helping me, I recollect my little daughter’s act of putting 500 rupee note from her piggy bank next to my bed along with a note offering her savings”, remembers visibly emotional Mr. Thakker. “Striking a balance between family and business is key to success”, adds Mr. Thakker. That proves beyond doubt that though a foot always on accelerator Mr. Thakker has full control on wheels.

Apart from Mercedes, today we deal with esteemed brands like Honda, Volkswagen, Fiat, Jeep, Ashok Leyland, Renault and Nissan”, states Mr. Thakker.

“Mercedes says either you do your best or do nothing! It is about experience and not money. According to me price is momentary whereas experience is permanent. Best things that you have enjoyed in life, seldom have you recollected its prices but you always cherish the experiences.Over the years, the Mercedes star has been a status symbol with worldwide recognition. It’s a legend among hood ornaments of the world. Owning Mercedes is ultimate way of celebrating your success. It gives you a sense of achievement and accomplishment.

Unfortunately when it comes to luxury cars market, India is way behind China. Out of the total cars sold 7% is the share of luxurious cars in China whereas in India it is only 1.5%. Annually India sells about 3.2 million cars out of which only 35 thousand are luxurious cars. But the market is improving, thanks to some lucrative schemes announced by Mercedes which have augmented the sales in recent past. Mercedes’s star agility program is one such scheme which says –Pay as much as you use. While buying a car they assure you to buy it back after certain period with a predetermined price.

Such schemes have broken the myth that owning a ‘tri star’ is impossible. We started in Thane in December and already we are getting a good response. Thane has a huge potential, according to KPMG it is the one of the top three fastest growing cities of India. We are confident to sell good number to units in 2018”, says Mr. Thakker.

“There are no limitations in business but limitations are there in our mind. If you are totally involved in business then you innovate and encash one new opportunities. One opportunity leads to other.  After dealing in automobile business we realised there is scope for insurance too. So, we started our distribution of insurance products across India.  Today Landmark insurance which started with a 2 member team has over 25 offices across India and over 4 lac customers and 2000 employees”, smiles Mr.Thakker.

His company is run professionally, with the ownership and management kept completely separate, a rarity in Indian automotive dealership scene, where it is common to see large families manage automotive dealerships. There are no family members in the business from an executive point of view, except his sister-in-law who is an architect and leads in the in-house design team for new projects. “This was the only way, I could have created a scalable business,” reasons Thakker.

When asked what would be the piece of advice that you would like to share with budding entrepreneurs, Mr. Thakker quoted Bhagwat Gita and Lord Krishna saying that one must play the game well and perform one’s duty but always realize that life is like a play where you are performing your part as an actor on stage.  concludes Mr. Thakker who has a poster in his office which shows a man running and it says there is no finish line.

With the landscape of Thane changing everyday, the horizon can now boast of a glittering new ‘star’. Is it omen of a prosperous SMART CITY?

Moving swiftly on its way to become a smart city, Thane which is already in top-gear has become destination for the ‘Class’ on its own Mercedes-Benz brand. Landmark group, which is associated with this highly prestigious brand, has opened a showroom on Ghodbunder recently. KYT’s managing editor Nikhil Ballal met Mr. Sanjay Thakker, chairman and promoter of Landmark who sees a great future not only from his company’s business point of view but also for the city.

This state of art showroom of Landmark has already been a talk of the town because of its facilities and some lucrative schemes making ‘tri star’ dream more accomplishable!

Mr. Thakker has a blazing track-record of runningclose to 100 automotive outlets in seven states of India and leading a work force of around 3000 in the auto dealerships and 2000 in the insurance and finance distribution business. Although he hails from a financially stable business family however due to his father’s early demise he had to shoulder many big responsibilities at a tender age.

He was hardly 11 when he lost his father. Unlike other students, after school he was more seen in Chartered accountant and Lawyers offices to resolve legal matters than playing and whiling time with friends. Despite these detriments, he was equally good at sports and academics. He led his college as cricket captain and won many laurels in table tennis too. He always had the fire in his belly to grow and succeed. Leadership qualities were there since childhood which came to the fore when he held many posts in students’ council.

He ventured into business in his college days. Mr. Thakker’s first warehousing real estate business office was barely 50 sq.feet. Having donned many hats right from students’ days he tried his hands on many other businesses. One of them was shares arbitrage business. In early 90’s he would buy shares from Chennai and sell them in Mumbai.

Although a leader today, he came into automotive trade accidentally. Few years later, his childhood friend late Milan Shah and he came across an auto dealership proposal of Honda. Honda wanted to give dealership for Ahmedabad. Mr. Thakker was in dilemma whether to go for the proposal or skip it. But then he has a very unique success formula. Whenever you are confused say ‘Yes’, “I said Yes and rest is history”, quipped Mr. Thakker who has largest profitable auto dealership network in India.

When asked about his success mantra he says,“I am voracious reader. Mythology and History is what I love to read the most. If you see Lord Ram had handful of inexperienced people so he was compelled to fight from the front whereas Lord Krishna had a bunch of competent people so he followed everything with a strategic pent up mind. I follow Krishna. Also it is always better to have a smaller piece of a large pie than to have a large piece of a small one”, shared Mr.Thakker with a slice of his valuable experience.

 

“We started in 1998 from Ahmedabad.  Those were the days when we were learning the tricks of trade and also trying to establish ourselves. This stage naturally requires tremendous energy, free flow of ideas, innovation, creativity and many other aspects that are synonymous with youth.  We preferred youngsters who understood our aim, hunger and urge. The vibrancy and dynamism of Landmark has always given us a cutting edge”, explained Mr. Thakker.

 

“We owe our success to the brands that we deal. We are indeed happy to have met Honda people at an early stage of our business. There is so much to learn from Japanese people”, admits Mr. Thakker. He recollects one incident which depicts their dedication and devotion towards their profession. Once,Honda officials had planned a meeting at their Ahmedabad showroom. Unfortunately, due to some reason their flights got cancelled, he thought now they may postpone their meet. But they didn’t. They took some connecting flights and reached Ahmedabad. He was amazed with their sincerity. “They value people’s time. We at Landmark emulate these principles”, states Mr. Thakker. A fuel for thought indeed!

When asked about most challenging phase of his career, he recalls Gujarat riots. During the riots his entire stock of cars and showroom was burnt to ashes. Situation worsened as insurance company refused to compensate them for their huge losses. Despite such traumatic situation his employees stood behind him. When he flew to Gujarat he was surprised to see his staff selling cars on road. “Losses took a back seat, I was delighted by their positive attitude which also made me feel an accomplished leader”, adds Mr. Thakker.

“I strongly believe people don’t quit jobs but quit bosses. I have among the most competent professionals from the industry working for our group and are with me for decades. Our attrition rate is far lower than other players of our sector”, smiles Mr. Thakker.

“My family has also played a major role in my success. They have supported me in thick and thin. After Gujarat riots, I was extremely tensed. My little daughter who was only six year old thenrealised that her father was facing tremendous financial losses. Everyone was helping me, I recollect my little daughter’s act of putting 500 rupee note from her piggy bank next to my bed along with a note offering her savings”, remembers visibly emotional Mr. Thakker. “Striking a balance between family and business is key to success”, adds Mr. Thakker. That proves beyond doubt that though a foot always on accelerator Mr. Thakker has full control on wheels.

Apart from Mercedes, today we deal with esteemed brands like Honda, Volkswagen, Fiat, Jeep, Ashok Leyland, Renault and Nissan”, states Mr. Thakker.

“Mercedes says either you do your best or do nothing! It is about experience and not money. According to me price is momentary whereas experience is permanent. Best things that you have enjoyed in life, seldom have you recollected its prices but you always cherish the experiences.Over the years, the Mercedes star has been a status symbol with worldwide recognition. It’s a legend among hood ornaments of the world. Owning Mercedes is ultimate way of celebrating your success. It gives you a sense of achievement and accomplishment.

Unfortunately when it comes to luxury cars market, India is way behind China. Out of the total cars sold 7% is the share of luxurious cars in China whereas in India it is only 1.5%. Annually India sells about 3.2 million cars out of which only 35 thousand are luxurious cars. But the market is improving, thanks to some lucrative schemes announced by Mercedes which have augmented the sales in recent past. Mercedes’s star agility program is one such scheme which says –Pay as much as you use. While buying a car they assure you to buy it back after certain period with a predetermined price.

Such schemes have broken the myth that owning a ‘tri star’ is impossible. We started in Thane in December and already we are getting a good response. Thane has a huge potential, according to KPMG it is the one of the top three fastest growing cities of India. We are confident to sell good number to units in 2018”, says Mr. Thakker.

“There are no limitations in business but limitations are there in our mind. If you are totally involved in business then you innovate and encash one new opportunities. One opportunity leads to other.  After dealing in automobile business we realised there is scope for insurance too. So, we started our distribution of insurance products across India.  Today Landmark insurance which started with a 2 member team has over 25 offices across India and over 4 lac customers and 2000 employees”, smiles Mr.Thakker.

His company is run professionally, with the ownership and management kept completely separate, a rarity in Indian automotive dealership scene, where it is common to see large families manage automotive dealerships. There are no family members in the business from an executive point of view, except his sister-in-law who is an architect and leads in the in-house design team for new projects. “This was the only way, I could have created a scalable business,” reasons Thakker.

When asked what would be the piece of advice that you would like to share with budding entrepreneurs, Mr. Thakker quoted Bhagwat Gita and Lord Krishna saying that one must play the game well and perform one’s duty but always realize that life is like a play where you are performing your part as an actor on stage.  concludes Mr. Thakker who has a poster in his office which shows a man running and it says there is no finish line.

With the landscape of Thane changing everyday, the horizon can now boast of a glittering new ‘star’. Is it omen of a prosperous SMART CITY?

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