Simply ‘Out’standing: Yogesh Lakhani
Bill Gates once quoted, “If you are born poor it’s not your mistake, but if you die poor it is your mistake”.Hailing from an economically lower middle-class family, Mr. Yogesh Lakhani was born poor, but today he has come a long way and it is quite certain that he is not going to die poor. He talks about his ‘out’standing journey with KYT’s executive editor Nikhil Ballal.
Yogesh always dreamt of becoming rich.His relatives belonged to affluent class, and Yogesh’s family, unfortunately, was the only anomaly in his circle of family. Lakhani’s childhood was locked in a 10*10 feet room. He wanted to break those shackles in which he spent most of his impressionable age and strive to achieve his dream of becoming wealthy.
At the tender age of 10, Lakhani had his first encounter with earning money. This was not by choice but by chance, that Yogesh had to sell newspapers, crackers, and fruits. Catastrophe hit Yogesh’s family when his father was hospitalized. Since his father, who was the sole bread winner in his family, could no longer work, the burden of supporting the family financially fell on the young shoulders of Yogesh. It was then, when he took up his first job of sellingnewspapers, crackers, and fruits. Yogesh toiled hard and worked from dawn to dusk. During the course of his job, he decided that he would be a businessman and earn tremendous amount of money that will help him support his family.
After completing his schooling, Yogesh applied for a peon’s job in his uncle’s office. His uncle quickly absorbed him since there was a vacancy in the office. Yogesh wanted to pursue higher studies but due to paucity of funds, his dream to seek education was shattered. Yogesh’s financial position was extremely bleak and he could not afford a fee of Rs. 10 for his education. Yogesh continued to work as a peon in his uncle’s office, but when one fine day the person whose position Yogesh had taken in the office returned, Lakhani’s uncle had no option but to hand over a pink slip to his nephew. Yogesh wanted to continue. His uncle had a new job for him for which he would get a commission. His job was to get advertisements that can be run between two cinema shows. In no time, Yogesh got a hang of his new job. With his first income of Rs. 100, Yogesh printed his visiting cards, which had the name “Bright Outdoor”. That was the start of Bright Outdoor advertising.
Yogesh mastered his job as he worked there for three years. Slowly and steadily he ventured out and entered the fields of railway platform board painting, shutter painting, kiosks painting, inter-alia.
In 1987, Yogesh launched his first hoarding in Malad, a suburb of Mumbai. Being his first hoarding, he might have unknowingly turned a Nelson’s eye to the rules and regulations set by government agencies with respect to hoardings. The Municipal Corporation was quick to realize this and his first ever hoarding was demolished in front of his eyes. Learning from the mistakes quickly, Yogesh rectified the errors paying due respect to the rules governing the hoardings’ business.
Having a hoarding of your business or of yourself was considered to be a luxury. For instance, once the wealthy can afford to have a hoarding. Yogesh Lakhani fathomed the perception of people and proactively tweaked the dynamics of this business and made it a common’s man product. One of his schemes; 50 hoardings for 3 lakhson railway platform turned out to be a big hit among his potential clients.
Lakhani then entered the Film line and succeeded. Being a movie buff, he liked watching movies. His love for movies soon met his love for earning money. He started renting VCRs(Video Cassette Recorder) and earned a lot of money. Yogesh knew nothing but work. He never took a single day off and worked round the clock.Yogesh’s first office was a modest set-up in a garage and just like his first hoarding, his first office was demolished by the Municipal Corporation. It is rightly said, “Experience is the best teacher but its fees are very high”. Yogesh learnt the tricks and trades of business in a hard way. Since then, Yogesh has taken up the challenges head on and is inching towards achieving the goal of becoming a rich man.
Bright Outdoor is India’s no 1 hoarding company and received over 200 awards. Surrounded by politicians and Bollywood stars, Yogesh has kept himself away from the glamour and banes associated with stardom. Despite his tremendous success, Lakhani is grounded and humble. Unlike most of the successful business, Yogesh has neither the boon of heredity nor the advantage of a Godfather. Mr. Lakhani’s innovations have helped him to sail through to rough weather in business.
Patience is the key to success for Yogesh. He effortfully handles critical situations without getting bogged down by their pressures. In every tough situation, Yogesh never forgets to smile. He believes that a smile is the only curve that can set anything straight.