Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey as an entrepreneur
Basically I am an Electronics & Communications Engineer and holds a Master’s in Business Administration. I was working in the telecom domain for almost 18 years and had associated with major multi-national companies like Reliance, Motorola, Ericsson, Wipro, Globacom across various geographies in and out of India.
The thought of establishing a Sports Academy, incorporating multiple sports activities was always in my dream – A Sports and Arts Hub where people of all age groups can associate utilizing the multi-sports and arts facilities available.
I was so passionate about Sports from my younger age itself and used to be an above-average player in many games. But due to the lack of opportunity and un-availability of sports facility centers, I couldn’t aspire to the next level.
During my college days here in Trivandrum city, we used to go all the way to the Shanghumukham beach area with my friends to play badminton on the court behind the present old Indian Coffee House. Had there been more courts and better facilities back then, a number of people from my generation including me who wished to become professional players could have fulfilled our dream. It was that thought and my undying passion for sports that made me establish the Brand “Love All Sports”.
The concept was to establish a Centre Of Excellence for popular games. In the year 2016, October 20th, that “Love All Sports” – The Dream became a reality.
What attracts you towards entrepreneurship instead of a corporate career?
I chose entrepreneurship because I always wanted to make an impact. You see – It’s fascinating how you build something from the root to build an empire around it and not everyone can do it. It takes a lot of courage, planning, perseverance, hard work, teamwork, combined with good strategy & execution skills. Thanks to my wife Seena Pillai (Ex-Employee of Reliance & Wipro) who gave me valuable inputs to make the journey a lot easier.
I have spent almost 18 years in my job career and retired from my corporate life on a high. Entrepreneurship gives me the freedom to design my life the way I want. I am able to provide jobs to multiple people as well. After a hectic day, during the evenings, I am able to sit on the long verandah of my own establishment, watching people playing, laughing, reading and it gives me immense satisfaction and pleasure enjoying it.
How do you manage yourself and keep on going despite the challenges?
I don’t take anything seriously in my head. Take it the way it comes. I believe every single problem in this world has got a solution. The only thing is, we need to find it. I always try to make sure that I empower the right people for the right work. This way I do not feel overburdened with work that leads to stress. In my free time, I try to travel, spend time with my family, and try to maintain my work-life balance as much as possible. Travelling helps me clear my mind and focus on issues that need my attention. Apart from that I read, write blogs, and listens to music.
How did you come up with the name for your business/startup?
A lot of people ask me about this ” Love All Sports”. The concept is simple, I Love All Sports !!. Apart from that, all games start with Zero-Zero. For all racquet games, it’s “Love All” initially. Similarly, everyone are born as equals. How they utilize the opportunity, makes the difference. Even if it’s a game, even if it’s a real-life opportunity, the presence of mind, luck and hard work creates the magic!
What difficulties which you have faced or you are facing?
Starting an institution is easy, but maintaining it or sustaining it in the elite stature is the most difficult task. It’s just like buying a luxury car using your bank loan. But for maintaining it, you have to find the money. Entrepreneurship is also similar to that. Now “Love All Sports” is a brand and to maintain the Brand like this is the biggest challenge. I cannot afford to lose the reputation of it. So I always try to attend and find solutions to all my customer needs and complaints, even if the problem cannot be solved, I will always ensure that the issue is addressed.
Then the pandemic! It was almost like a house arrest for the majority of the people around. Initial time was OK as we were able to spend a lot of time with family, that too inside the home. Got to see a lot of movies as well. But with time, it got to a state where no more movies to watch, limited to see only the same faces again and again, nothing new, nothing interesting too. I got a lot of enquiries regarding the opening of the sports facility but unfortunately, I couldn’t help them much as we were obliged to take care of the safety of our elite customers. But what we could provide them during the lockdown period was the online coaching classes.
The interesting fact was, attendance for this was cent percentage as everyone has got plenty of free time. We made all of them attend the classes along with serious home works for the next day. This was a real game-changer as many of them joined with other members of the family and together we could establish a wonderful online platform for coaching. The skill development for us is not restricted to sports alone, but in the overall development of the individual like their posture correction, eliminating stage fear, language correction, public addressing, etc that we could accomplish during the pandemic time.
What keeps you going?
I am really happy to see the brand ” Love All Sports ” grew within a short span of time. It’s just like nurturing a plant and it really gives immense pleasure when you see flowers and fruits in that! Now, Love All Sports is blossomed to it’s full capacity and started yielding fruits. Anything you do in life you have to do it with a passion and that keeps me moving.
Tell me about an accomplishment you are most proud of.
Establishing a brand like Love All Sports itself is the biggest accomplishment for me. I am able to facilitate a fantastic infrastructure for the public and that I find as the biggest accomplishment. Now under the umbrella of Love All Sports, We have Love All Badminton, Love All Cricket, Love All Soccer park, TT, Yoga, and the about to launch Public Reading Library ” Books n Beyond “.
How many hours a day do you work on average & can you describe/outline your typical day?
I don’t really work. I live my day. I try to visit all my establishments all days and keep interacting with our quality members. Try to play Badminton and cricket during week ends.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
My biggest strength is to tell ” Yes” and ” No”. You know, it’s really not easy, especially when it comes to relationships. It may sound awkward when you say it bluntly, but later you will realize that you have done something fine.
Weakness – This page is not enough!
What advice would you give to someone starting out as an aspiring entrepreneur?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes but see them as an opportunity to learn. Be crystal clear on your project. Make your vision steady, plan it properly, and implement it. Always try to create a second line. Be humble and grounded. Try to help others. Attend the complaints on time and correct them. Don’t repeat the same mistakes again and again.
To be successful, you should team up with people who share your vision behind the idea and you also need to hire the right people for the right position so that it gets implemented in a proper way.