EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH
Sai Poorna Patnaik
“Sylvann” , Legend Stone (P) Ltd. & Bitcoin Caffe
VictoryTales with its objective to bring more and more meaningful and powerful inspirational stories from around the world to empower and motivate our growing community of entrepreneurs, this time introducing Mr. Sai Purnaa Patnaik, Founder of “Sylvann”. Born and brought up in an average Indian family, Sai Purnaa Patnaik struggles throughout his life to came out of poverty. With his firm beliefs & determination, Sai came out of the hardship he faces after the demise of his father who was a Teacher in Railway runs School. While doing master’s in business administration tried his luck by doing partnership with one of his friends and sell Net2Phone instruments from Singapore and sell them in domestic market where he lost all his savings. Worked as an office boy in a pharmaceutical export company and remain in office day & night and learnt titbits of international market and exports besides learning how to operate computer and emails.
Sai Purnaa, learnt a lot from his every failures and came up strongly to achieve his desired goal of becoming an entrepreneur and now heading many companies including “Sylvann”.
Know more About
“Sylvann” , Legend Stone (P) Ltd. & Bitcoin Caffe
Established in the year 2004, “Sylvann” is first ever company having expertise in customized designing mosaics and working for the last 16 years to make mosaics from Natural Stone, Glass, Porcelain, 3D Mosaics. Sylvann’s mosaic are unique, made by placing coloured pieces such as stones, glass etc in an organised manner to make them beautifully decorated mosaic, and the company have been exporting their products to USA, Italy, France, Holland, UK, Singapore etc. The raw material used to make mosaics are the natural scrap from big factories and by converting them handmade mosaics which are used in interior and exterior wall cladding and in swimming pools. The company is also developing customized designs as per the taste of their customers and as per market demand. The professionals of the company are developing their products extensively and experimenting to come as per the expectations of their clients to provide them their dream products. To know more about Sylvann, kindly
Our exclusive interview with
Sai Poorna Patnaik
Tell us a little about your organization and your organization’s journey so far;
I started my company “Sylvann” in the year 2004 by gathering natural scrap from big factories and converting them handmade mosaics which are used in interior and exterior wall cladding and in swimming pools. Initially we started our exports of mosaics with France. In 2007 we started a company in the name of Legend Stone Pvt Ltd. In partnership with a Holland company. From legend stones we focused on interior and mainly exterior paving stone products. We are now exporting to UK, Germany, Ireland, Holland, USA ETC.
Tell us a little bit about yourself (background) and your journey as an entrepreneur, please.
My father was a railway school teacher from Rourkela in Orissa. We were three siblings and always had crisis at home as my father was the only earning member for the entire family. Financial crisis made me to always look for ways to make money to support my family along with my studies. My father was suffering from cancer, and we struggled with his treatment for almost five years, and unfortunately, we lost him. His treatment expenditure got us into huge debt. we had to leave our school and find alternate methods to go for correspondence course in Matriculation. Having tried several earning options, I could understand the importance of my further studies. I used to get admission in colleges and struggled to pay my college fees, during my Graduation when all my classmates were giving their final exams and I was not allowed to enter the classroom, luckily the student’s president of the college whom I helped him during election campaign, came to my support and fought with the management, and I was allowed to appear for the exams. Similarly got support from friends and classmates and completed my MBA from Jaipur. It was difficult time with no financial support, no shelter, away from family, on top of that sending money back home.
I always valued time, Time is the scarcest thing in any one’s life so always tried to be productive, and I always involved myself into multiple things along with my studies. Trying various businesses within my capacity and most of the time I lost money with some learning. Always had a keen desire to do something of my own. At a very young age tried my hands with selling Son-papdi sweets with gift packs during festivals and apart from festivals supplying them to hotels and shops. Also tried selling incense sticks to pan shops.
During my MBA, I got into a partnership with a friend to get Net2Phone instruments from Singapore and sell them in domestic market, where I lost all my savings. While I was working as an office boy for a pharmaceutical export company along my MBA, I requested my Boss to allow me to stay in the office. And I learnt a lot from there about international market and exports. Also learnt computers and Internet. Internet was new at that time, and I had the advantage of learning internet and sending mails etc.
After completion of my MBA my certificates were stuck because of Fees, and I started giving consultancies to few factories who wanted to get into exports.I used to make their websites and contact offshore clients. But I wasn’t earning much, and I had the financial pressure of sending money home, I took a full-time job with one of stone factory to whom I was consulting as part time earlier. I worked there for 9 years to make my financial condition better, but it did not take me anywhere nor could get freedom of exploring new avenues. That’s when I experimented in developing mosaics from stone wastage, and we did sampling and it clicked well. That’s how we started our company. But initially we made wrong selection with people working for us and we lost and came into huge debt. But that didn’t stop me to restart again. I lost again in 2008 when my wife had an accident. I learnt a lot from my every failure and came up strongly to achieve my desired goal of becoming an entrepreneur.
Why did you choose entrepreneurship over a job?
I always needed freedom and was fed-up with my financial crisis and poverty that I closely experienced for years. I wanted to make best use of my energy, will power and have my own venture and to give back to the society. I learnt from my father to serve the society in what ever way possible.
What gets you out of bed in the morning i.e. what’s your source of motivation?
Good Question. Every day I like to learn something new out of my life’s circumstances. So first thing I do after I get out of my bed is to water my plants and then read books. I always like to experiment in my business with some crazy ideas which excites me. I am also health conscious and having addiction of going to the Gym, I look forward to attending my Gym session every morning and in the evening I play football with half the age group. I deeply believe in giving back to the society which gives me internal strength and motivation.
Regarding my source of motivation, every year I plant lot of trees and take care of them, it gives me immense pleasure when I see these trees growing big. One more thing which inspire and motivate me to support an orphanage. With the help of our suppliers and clients who extend their help to support orphanage. I always feel that lots more to do and time is flying, I am still far away from my childhood dreams and that motivates me to take new challenges, learning new things, networking with younger generation entrepreneurs, you never know what and how any opportunity can get me to my desired goals.
During this COVID-19 crisis, what are the measures you have under taken continue your business without disruption?
Our business required physical visits to factories to check quality, but due to zoom calls we could conduct zoom calls with our north and south teams.
The factories we have reduced the strengths to 40% working at one time.
For quality control we have requested production status on photos google drives to ensure the standards are met. So more online monitoring.
What challenges/obstacles did you face in your journey so far?
We had to fight with people who have deeper pockets and better infrastructure. We just focused on what our competitors are missing. We always continuously strive to make it better product and better packing, adding more and more value for the customer. We always try to surprise our customer with over delivering, Less complications making everything easy for them. Our product is Labour oriented which is a big problem these days, but we try to conduct meetings at factories and teach them financial planning, savings and importance of taking care of their health etc. We try to treat them as we treat our customers and gradually that has helped in getting the best out of them. We tell them we don’t need your hands and legs we want you to show us your mental ability. We have asked our team not to use these words, which are actually a big problem i.e Mujhe laga, Maine socha, Meri guarantee, chalta hai these are some problems for all business.
What comes first for you - money or emotions?
Frankly speaking, I feel empathy and emotions are very necessary components of a business. Every business is for people, by people and for the people and in every case, Humans are involved, and you will have to take care of them at every time. Business runs because of Humans and emotions are important component besides money. Empathy is always required to move further to strengthen the business foundations.
How do you handle the pressure and manage stress?
I think the best way to handle stress is to work out in Gym or play football, or spend some time with trees or nature, speak to some strangers are some of my modes which I tried to handle my pressure if comes to me. Besides this, reading books, going out with family and listening to music also helps to relieve stress.
What is one strategy that you believe has helped you grow as a person/startup?
I think the one strategy that I believe has helped me to grow as a person is the “High velocity in action and decision, do not fear of making mistakes”.
In your opinion what are the keys to success?
One need to be a massive action taker; average action doesn’t take you anywhere. Learn unlearn and relearn is what keeps you going. Things change very frequently, and you just can’t stick to your past and be rigid with your traditional learning. You will have to try to keep pace with the change’s world throws at you. Learn from your mistakes and make them successful.
What advice would you give to someone starting out as an aspiring entrepreneur?
The only advice, I would like to give to someone starting out as an aspiring entrepreneur is to Focus on building a strong team, right and dedicated team can pull you out during tough times. Be consistent and patient. Apply long term focus and Don’t neglect your health.