Amit Kaul has more than 18 years of experience in across several verticals like Strategy, Processes and ERP implementations. Throughout his career, he has garnered strong expertise of structuring, transitioning and managing large complex outsourcing deals. He has successfully sold multi-year, multi-million dollar outsourcing deals, managed the workforce transition, designed the SLA based delivery parameters and managed the successful delivery of large outsourcing deals.
He is a serial entrepreneur with names like 1800sports, VIA consulting solutions, and Schoolfi under his name. However, his true ingenuity comes to the forefront with 1800sports. The company aims to provide excellent sporting products and services with the objective of nurturing the physical and mental development of children. 1800sports.in has grown tremendously over the last four years, and offers an extensive range of sports equipment, infrastructure and apparel that spans across more than 4000 products, in over 50 brands.
What inspired you to build the above product / service?
It all began with a simple need to buy a basketball kit for my son. Difficulty in finding it led to the exploration of this market. I realized that sports are a very neglected sector both in terms of product availability as well as product choice forcing me to think about potential ways and options to bridge the gap. Thus, 1800sports.in and STEP (Sports Talent Enhancement Program) were born.
Please provide a brief overview of your product / service
1800Sports.in is India’s largest and a truly end-to-end sports company with offerings for consumers across all age groups and skills. We offer products from best global and Indian brands at best prices – 365 days a year. Our product range spans sports, health and fitness products, sports apparels, as well as sports Infrastructure for indoor and outdoor sports (Turf, Vinyl, PU, Acrylic, Wood etc)
What is your life mantra?
Work Hard. Have Fun. Take Risks in Life. Stay grounded and never loose contact with your roots.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
The journey to build 1800sports has been a lot of hard work, sleepless nights, 18-hour long car drives, but at the same time very fulfilling and great learning experience.
I think the most challenging aspect has been getting good people to work for you and making them believe in your capabilities to grow the business and their career.
The second most challenging part has been working through the web of various legal requirements while setting up and maintaining a supply chain with multiple warehouses and offices across states. Setting up a robust technology solution to support operations with good controls and end-to-end tracking has surely been a long drawn process which has been evolving every day with changing business scenarios.
How did you overcome those challenges?
As Abraham Hicks said, “The entire universe is conspiring to give you everything that you want”.
I guess this has been very appropriate. I worked desperately and passionately on each one of these challenges to the extent that at times I was confined to my room for days together. As part of my job as a Principal with Accenture, I was travelling to my client locations from Monday to Friday and then I used to travel on Saturday and Sunday to various locations to get all these things in order.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now
Our business is mostly bootstrapped with our own money. Some friends who believed in me and the company have invested from their personal savings. That has helped me both in reinforcing faith in the concept and bringing in additional responsibilities to make it bigger and deliver value to these partners and shareholders.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
At 1800Sports.in, we take pride in the fact that our first employee is still working with us after 4 years – so is second, third, fourth and many more.
We have a very young team with an average age less than 30 years. That provides many opportunities for us but at the same time brings in its own challenges.
We take our time to hire right people, but once a part of the team we provide all the guidance and support to groom them and grow them as future leaders for the company.
We provide them the best working conditions and everybody gets to work very closely with others as part of different teams.
We also have plans to give stocks to our people to make our growth a rewarding experience for everybody.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
- Passion for work
- Right Attitude
- Honesty and Ethics – Important to ensure quality and service of products to our customers – Stay honest towards your customer’s interests
Which online tools / services / apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
We use mobile collaboration tools to stay in touch with our teams on and off work and that helps in building teams and sticking together along with getting the work accomplished on time.
Share any one habit which you think which you think makes you more productive.
A bit of meditation regularly helps me remain focused and balanced.I always move around with my “To Do” list in my pocket, which I guess is a habit from my consulting days and helps me be on top of all activities on a daily basis.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
I am a very emotional person and most times, I make decisions in the spur of the moment basis my emotions, which may not always make a good business sense.
Answer in less than 50 words
Be Passionate about the work you are doing. Passion forces to explore all possible ways to create and deliver value for your customers
- One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Don’t run after money. If one chooses money over learning and experience, then he is always chasing money while his learnings remain limited.
- One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
Marketing! Marketing! Marketing. Put in a good amount of time and money on marketing activities from day one. It is extremely important to make the customers know about your products and offerings and keep on reinforcing that message with better offerings every day.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
We plan to make 1800Sports.in a multi-million-dollar company offering best products from best global brands. We are focused on getting the best global sports brands in various categories to India.
Our strategy involves:
- Strengthen our product and service offerings in sports, health and fitness categories.
- Enhance the customer experience through introduction of quality global brands across various sports
- Grow our brand offerings and become the leader in providing quality sports products and sports infra in the country
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
I always had many ideas and I can see some of those ideas having been transformed into big companies by people who took the plunge at the right time.
If I had a chance to start again, I would rather follow my passions, take risks and start earlier than I did. It is a very fulfilling experience.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
- Goa for its carefree and chilled out beaches
- Leh for its serene environment and challenging destinations
- Belgium and Germany for good food and variety of beers.
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
“Take risks in Your Life. If you win, you lead. If you loose, you guide.”