Niranjan Hiranandani, Billionaire Co-Founder and Managing Director, Hiranandani Group of Cos, and into Realty Business is He is ranked by Forbes among the 100 richest Indians
Excerpts of the interview with Niranjan Hiranandani
Dr. Neha Jagtiani : Hi Sir. Welcome to Hello Mumbai News. It’s pleasure to interact with you and feel obliged for taking time of your hectic schedule to talk to us.
Tell us about your professional journey till date.?
Niranjan Hiranandani: Hello Neha Feel nice to talk to you.
In my academic life, I was studious, among the toppers, and began my professional life as a teacher of Chartered Accountancy students. From ‘academics’ to the ‘real world’ has been a journey which began with the textile business, and in a small way, real estate too. However, somewhere along the way, I faced a dilemma: to choose between Textiles and Real Estate. But I opted for the latter and after all these years, even with diversification into retail, hospitality, education institutions and energy, among others, real estate remains the profession I am identified with the most. This is also because I have been part of industry associations, and have played an important role in shaping policy for housing as an industry.
In real estate, I have always tried to better the product, ensure ‘customer delight’ to the maximum and also create new paradigms. The integrated township which offers ‘walk to work’ was pioneered by my team; we created a new skyline for Mumbai with Hiranandani Gardens, Powai. The idea that a home could have everything a family would need within short distance came true – and effectively, defined ‘community living’. Eco-friendly and green, the developments have continued at other locations like Thane, Panvel and Chennai. New segments of real estate have been part of new plans, and the latest is our foray into data centers, with Asia’s biggest data center at Panvel. The logistics, warehousing and light industrial integrated township is also on my list of ‘to do’ things, and Pune, Chennai, Nashik are among the locations where these will come up. Exclusive second home for those who prefer Riviera living are coming up in Alibaug, while those who prefer mountains have the option of a similar project near Khandala Hill station. Group companies are into energy, the sky’s the limit. It has been a journey where the bottom line was about having a clear focus and working with heart and soul, pouring into our vision. When I look at our projects in Powai, Thane and Panvel, these spell world class quality. It’s called a “Garden City” and encompasses a city within itself. Within its vicinity are work, leisure, fitness, recreation, entertainment, education and healthcare all within easy reach.
Dr. Neha Jagtiani
Sir, Could you share your experience working as a top-notch entrepreneur in the country?
Niranjan Hiranandani: The experience can be summed up simply as taking one step at a time. The situation over the years has only gotten better, as one continues to work hard to achieve the larger goal. To be able to do this – have a holistic view – one needs to be open to learn; unlearn and relearn. It has been a journey which taught me the importance of risk taking attitude, of being able to work outside the comfort zone. Versatility is the core; it brings professional and personal growth.
In business, it is all a matter of right timing, of being ready for whenever the opportunity presents. I am fortunate in that I have been able to capitalize on the good opportunities during my lifetime. An entrepreneur who works hard and focuses passionately on his vision/goals most likely succeeds. Across four decades, I have witnessed many ups and downs. One needs determination and the highest level of commitment and total belief in one’s abilities to achieve set goals – this is what successful entrepreneurs do. I am no different; my success is based on these basics.
Representing the industry in industry bodies like MCHI, FICCI, ASSOCHAM and NAREDCO enabled me and many in this industry to get across our views and influence policy decisions that are beneficial for the economy in general and our industry too. Today as the President of NAREDCO and ASSOCHAM, I am able to put on the table our potentials to the State and Central government and work towards the betterments of all associated with this very important industry. After all, we are builders to the nation!
Beyond plain business, I am associated with the HSNCB which runs 17 colleges and 6 schools, the L H Hiranandani Hospital which provides good healthcare to the people in the vicinity as also other activities like my involvement with the Nathdwara Temple, these have, in a way, enabled me to grow into a ‘complete’ person, which combined with the professional, is indeed, true success, in my view.
Dr. Neha Jagtiani : Sir, what’s your message to the present younger generation?
Niranjan Hiranandani: Well, there is a need to look beyond short term and concentrate on the long haul. I know it is a generation that has very little patience, but there is the need to be passionate about one’s work, regardless of the level at which one is involved in the same. It is not as simple as saying, ‘work is worship’, there is also a need for passion and commitment to work, along with a mind-set to overcome every hurdle. This is what paves the way for success in the true sense.
As I see it, today’s younger generation believes in instant gratification; however there is value in living a beautiful life and a successful career comes with time, hard work, discipline and focus. Gratification will come when what you offer is complete in every way and to the satisfaction of the user. Shortcuts and bypass routes may give you instant gratification, but this sort of fulfilment is short lived.
Working towards the goal by way of gaining knowledge, skills, or technical exposure, especially when it’s all readily available, should be put to best use. Today even the sky is not the limit, and going beyond this is very much possible – it just takes belief, proper planning and willingness to slog.
Dr. Neha Jagtiani : Sir, Could you share your inner secret which always keeps you enthusiastic .
Niranjan Hiranandani: Neha enthusiasm comes with loving your work. The goal is to better today what was done yesterday, an eternal quest for excellence. To achieve this, I have always been a keen learner. Today as an entrepreneur, I enjoy my work and look for ways and means to innovate processes, and strive to do so in a manner that’s productive in every way. I enjoy interacting with the younger generation to understand their points of view, which usually are new and very innovative. My association with healthcare by way of the Dr L H Hiranandani hospital gives me an insight to what’s the need of the hour in this space especially during this tough COVID-19 pandemic that has hit us. My roles in various bodies I represent (MCHI, FICCI, NAREDCO & ASSOCHAM) ensures I do my bit with the government to bring about a positive change. I also look for joy in doing any task well or learning something new – like music or dance. Yes, also being fit physically is a priority, as a fit body ensures a healthy mind that seeks and absorbs positive vibes.
Dr. Neha Jagtiani : Sir, could you elaborate on your success mantra that helped you in facing challenges during difficult situations,especially amid the lockdown period.
Niranjan Hiranandani: Well, If I talk about real estate, the success mantra is that, housing is a basic need; so customers exist. All I need to do is ensure quality, as also create what the customer wants. Do it right, and find a way out of the challenged times, rather than worry about things like ‘what if’ and ‘by when’. The COVID-19 pandemic is unique, in the sense that it ushered in a ‘new normal’. The word we knew proper to COVID-19 is not coming back; we have to learn to adapt to the new world, one where we co-exist with the Corona Virus – until a vaccine is found for it.
It all boils down to having confidence – in the self, in the team and the business model followed. It has to be about the mindset that seeks value creation and through the mantra of ‘reform, perform and transform’, brings in the required change to deal with the challenge. It is about better performance and transforming the organization – as also the self, to deal with the challenges.
The pandemic is not something most of us living today have experienced before. So, like most, it’s the first time for me too. The solution is simple: ensuring that we perform the best even during the worst times, this is what I have always believed. As a business organization, we adapted, changed and innovated during the lockdown phase. Work does not stop or even pause. Online meetings and work from home ensures a smooth running of the office – whilst not physically being there. Also our schools and colleges have embraced online learning / e-classroom methods in a very good way. Kids from grade one to the teens in colleges have moved from classroom to the virtual page very successfully. Mitigating the effects of tough and challenging situations is the only way forward and it does not apply only to a pandemic scenario, but ought to be followed as a rule for life.
Dr. Neha Jagtiani : Sir, what according to you, a person should focus on which key factors which makes his life blissful?
Niranjan Hiranandani: Frankly speaking, I believe life itself is a gift that is pure bliss. What you make out of it as you go along your path it is what matters. Staying positive and ensuring that even a negative moment is viewed from a positive angle is I guess the master-key to ensure that life is blissful.
Dr. Neha Jagtiani : Sir, by being an entrepreneur ,what’s the most important message you wish to share to the community.
Niranjan Hiranandani: Neha , look, Life is a journey, the Magic Mantra is: how to become ‘extraordinary’ from ‘ordinary’. The obvious answer is the ‘extra’. I term this as the ‘transformation journey’, where ‘e-x-t-r-a’ stands for:
One needs to take on challenges by considering them to be opportunities, and one need to do ‘out of the box thinking’. I would also rate ‘
Interviwed by Dr. Neha Jagtiani. She is also Inchage Principal of R. D. National College Bandra, Mumbai