Ashutosh Garg, Founder, The Brand Called You

Ashutosh Garg, Founder, The Brand Called You

Ashutosh hosts the very successful video and podcast series titled “The Brand Called You” (www.tbcy.in) bringing the stories of successful entrepreneurs, professionals, and senior corporate leaders to thousands of listeners.

 

Podcast

Overview

Ashutosh hosts the very successful video and podcast series titled “The Brand Called You” (www.tbcy.in) bringing the stories of successful entrepreneurs, professionals, and senior corporate leaders to thousands of listeners.

He is a certified Business Coach and coaches/mentors several CEOs in India on business matters, governance, strategic planning, succession planning, personal accountability, and people and culture issues.

A published author of 8 best-selling books, he has written on Startups, Entrepreneurship, Retirement in the 21st Century, Personal Branding, Work-Life Balance, and Fiction. His latest book on Failure is titled “How to Survive Failure and Come out Stronger”.

He writes regularly for Times of India and Business World and can often be seen on National Television panel discussions.

Ashutosh founded Guardian Pharmacy in India in 2003 and built it into India’s second-largest Pharmacy Chain. He exited the business in 2016.

Prior to that, he worked for ITC Limited for 17 years, leaving in 1996, and thereafter with US Aerospace companies for 8 years as their Head of Asia.

Ashutosh served on the board of GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance (www.gavi.org) for 8 years. He sits on several boards and advises companies on strategy and governance matters. He was the Chairman of Bizdome, the Startup Incubator of IIM Rohtak till 2018.

He is a YPO member and was Chairman of YPO South Asia Gold (2017-19). He was recognized as a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum in 1994.

A keen golfer, he plays the Indian flute, and enjoys reading and listening to Indian classical music.

00:09- Introduction

00:32- Highlights of your life.

  • Ashutosh feels one big milestone was to have been born in his family. His father was a very highly decorated soldier, he was a brigadier general, awarded twice by the President of India for gallantry and for service. His father was his closest friend.
  • His second milestone was when he started work with India, tobacco, which is a part of British American Tobacco, that organization gave him a proneural outlook to live, which was a professional entrepreneur. And the company gave him some incredible opportunities to work in large organizations within the big group, as well as to be very entrepreneurial.
  • The third milestone would be his marriage to his wife, Vera, who’s a very well-known and well-acknowledged historian.
  • His next milestone was when he gave up his corporate career and became an entrepreneur. This was a significant move made when he was 46, he built a chain of pharmacies, which grew over a period of 15 years into India’s largest or second-largest pharmacy chain, under the brand name, Guardian.
  • And his final milestone is in 2010, he decided to become an author. And he decided to write his first book. Now would be his seventh book, and all of them have done exceedingly well, on multiple topics.

03:40- What were some of the core elements you learned from your father?

  • While money is important, it is not the primary driver for you.
  • The second thing was that you don’t need to justify yourself to everybody, as long as you are able to justify yourself.
  • The third thing which he taught him, which gave him an incredible amount of strength, was that as his father he stood by him.

06:08- What were some of the entrepreneurship aspects of your job?

  • India’s tobacco, and now it’s called ITC Limited. They decided, in the mid-80s, to diversify. So from tobacco, they had gone into hotels and wanted to get into fast-moving consumer goods. And they decided they wanted to launch an edible oil brand, which today, incidentally, is a very large brand in India called Sundrop. He was involved not just in launching the brand, but building the factory, which manufactured the oil.
  • At the age of 33, he was offered to visit Singapore to establish a business there on his own mandate. So he was given the freedom and the flexibility to pretty much function as an entrepreneur while ensuring that he did not have to worry about the huge problem of where will he get money, there was this multi-billion dollar company backing him.

09:30- What were the kind of capabilities and insights that you gained from Guardian pharmacy?

  • After leaving the corporate job, he started a chain of pharmacies. By the time they raised private equity, they had already opened 70 stores. And by the time he left, they had 250 company-owned stores.
  • He also brought GNC from the US to India, and India became GNC’s fifth-largest franchisee in the world. And when he sold his company in 2016, GNC had agreed to manufacture GNC products in India, for the first time, anywhere, anywhere else outside the US.

20:44-  Tell us about your experience as a member of the Advisory Council for the Center for Policy Research.

  • It’s got senior bureaucrats who retire from the chiefs of Army Staff to Supreme Court justices to commissioners of income tax, they all come and do a two or three-year stint as a part of this think tank.
  • He was involved in deliberations on multiple subjects, ranging from the economy, to the defense of India, to, even, talking about what could be done for the next budget, to infrastructure, and many other things.
  •  So that just gave him an insight into how a lot of the senior bureaucrats think.

22:44- How did you get involved with the Young Presidents organization?

  • YPO is a very aspirational organization. But it also is an organization where the doors shut after you’re 45. So the requirements are very simple, you have to have the title of president, CEO or managing director, Chairman, etc.
  • You have to be running a company or a business of a certain size, and you have to be below 45 then you obviously have to be recommended, etc, which process one has to follow.
  •  And once you join that organization, you suddenly realize it’s the only global organization that not only gives back a lot in learning to you as a member but it is a very embracing organization for spouses and children as well.

32:12- How did you decide to be a writer?

  • He used to write letters to The Times of India as a kid.
  • He still has his own column in The Times of India.
  • He doesn’t write in a particular genre and loves experimenting. He has written a book or two books on entrepreneurship and two books on fiction.
  • He wrote a book called Retirement, which was to reinvent, reboot, rewire and manage retirement in the 21st century.

40:25- What do you think about where we’re going today?

  • Politically, the world has been through many transitions. In the last five, or seven years, right-wing leaders have got elected all over the world. Right now, the jury’s still out on what will happen, he doesn’t see many changes happening except, that the individual associated with right-wing leaders suddenly gets a lot of prosperity. But the common man continues to be where they are, and they can’t, and they will continue where they were. So a system has to evolve politically, which will make sure that there is much greater equality amongst the world.
  • Advancement in technology and social media has democratized news. Now we pick up the data, which is the raw data from all over the world, and make our own opinion. It has empowered the common individual.
  • Another thing is digital platforms getting created all over the world. Almost the entire country now has bank accounts. Every time a subsidy has to be given it has been done through a direct benefit transfer to these individuals.
  • So we are in for some incredible times ahead of us with all the new digital technology that’s coming into our lives.

51:45- Do you think the classical traditions and the literature indicate that there’s something beyond, more like a universal consciousness?

  • It’s very difficult to argue a case, one way or the other because there are believers, and there are non-believers, and it’s best to let the believers continue to do what they’re doing non-believers to keep saying that nothing exists.

55:56- Where do you see yourself personally 10 years from now?

  • He sees himself fit and healthy, extremely busy, not necessarily to make money but to be able to keep giving back.
  • Doing pretty much what he’s doing today on a much, much larger scale, which is talking to people writing much more, enjoying music much more playing golf twice a week, and generally being able to do what he wants with his time rather than be dictated by anybody on what he should be doing with his time. And become a grandfather several times by the time he’s74.

56:59- What sort of final message would you like to leave our global audience with?

  • Do what you think is right. Have the conviction to live by that thought. And don’t deviate until you yourself believe that you need to make a change. Don’t worry about what others say or what others think.
  • They have no time to wonder what you are doing. So just do exactly what you think is right.

RESOURCES:

You can connect with Ashutosh Garg- LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/coach-ashutoshgarg/

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Profile

Ashutosh hosts the very successful video and podcast series titled “The Brand Called You” (www.tbcy.in) bringing the stories of successful entrepreneurs, professionals, and senior corporate leaders to thousands of listeners.

He is a certified Business Coach and coaches/mentors several CEOs in India on business matters, governance, strategic planning, succession planning, personal accountability, and people and culture issues.

A published author of 8 best-selling books, he has written on Startups, Entrepreneurship, Retirement in the 21st Century, Personal Branding, Work-Life Balance, and Fiction. His latest book on Failure is titled “How to Survive Failure and Come out Stronger”.

He writes regularly for Times of India and Business World and can often be seen on National Television panel discussions.

Ashutosh founded Guardian Pharmacy in India in 2003 and built it into India’s second-largest Pharmacy Chain. He exited the business in 2016.

Prior to that, he worked for ITC Limited for 17 years, leaving in 1996, and thereafter with US Aerospace companies for 8 years as their Head of Asia.

Ashutosh served on the board of GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance (www.gavi.org) for 8 years. He sits on several boards and advises companies on strategy and governance matters. He was the Chairman of Bizdome, the Startup Incubator of IIM Rohtak till 2018.

He is a YPO member and was Chairman of YPO South Asia Gold (2017-19). He was recognized as a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum in 1994.

A keen golfer, he plays the Indian flute, and enjoys reading and listening to Indian classical music.

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