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Instinctive communicator

MY BIG IDEA

Samyukta Bhowmick  |  New Delhi 

After NAVNEET KAPOOR finished his degree in Industrial Engineering from Nagpur, he demonstrated his determination to swim against the tide by joining a modelling agency as a coordinator.
Despite strong objections from his parents, he used his time at the agency to learn the ways of the public relations and advertising world, and used this knowledge to start his own media communications business in 1992.
Today, Square Communications Pvt Ltd has an annual turnover of Rs 15 crore, and Kapoor's parents have stopped raising quite as many objections.
GROWING PAINS

We grew up in Delhi, and although my parents were both professionals, money was never taken for granted.
I never really had a choice about what to study in college "" since I was a good student, it was just taken for granted that I would end up in engineering.
And although I never took it up as a profession, my degree did help me in certain ways, for example, I came first in a class in engineering drawing, and that along with many other extracurricular activities I took part in (adventure sports mostly) helped me realise that my vocation lay in something slightly more unorthodox and creative than an office job.
MODEL CAREERS

After graduating, I joined a modelling agency. I would arrange for props and locations, and because of this I had an extensive relationship with advertising and public relations and the media.
The six months I spent at the agency really helped me to learn the ropes of the communications industry, and soon I felt that I was ready to take off on my own.
A SQUARE START

The first office I ever rented was a small 8 ft by 8 ft room, which I paid Rs 3,200 rent for. This square room gave me the idea for the name of my company as well"" Square Communications!
In the beginning, it was difficult in so many ways; for one thing, my parents were still wedded to the idea of a career in engineering for me, so I had to hide what I was doing from them for six months.
On top of this, things are always shaky when you first start a business; so at this time I was also struggling financially and this made my parents even more against the idea of my new career.
STAR STRUCK

For the next two or three years, while I was learning about the media industry and running a business (I had neither a communications degree nor an MBA), my turnover was only around Rs 22,000 per year.
I had a few contracts, I even moved to Bombay from 1995 to 1997 and did some event management there, but nothing really clicked. My big break came only in 2000 when I bagged the deal for Star Cruises.
Two years after we made this contract, Star Cruises had gone from selling 9,000 packages a year to 84,000. We opened it up to middle-segment consumers who had previously thought that cruises would be prohibitively expensive, and this had an astonishing effect on their sales figures.
FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH

Now I have 43 working under me; we're handling all kinds of clients, including PR for international names like Aigner and Swarovski and individuals like Shiv Khera; and we're even planning a veterans cricket match which should take place in March or April.

My experience has really taught me that it's important to have a vision, and with enough hard work, it can really pay to go off the beaten path and follow your instinct!

First Published: Sat, January 15 2005. 00:00 IST
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