As the brand gets bigger it gets more and more popular faces to advertise for it. So when Maxx Mobiles signed Mahendra Singh Dhoni in 2009 to become their brand ambassador everyone knew they had crossed a major milestone of success. Their aggressive campaigning during T20 World Cup got them eyeballs and their sales spiraled; exactly how Ajjay Agarwal wanted it to be. But it took years for mastering the field of business which also meant dropping out of school at the age of 14.
Yes, the big shot businessman Ajjay Agarwal, Founder and Managing Director of Maxx Mobiles, dropped out of school in 1992 when he was only 14. After failing STD 9 from Children’s Academy School, he decided to quit structured education and joined father’s electronic trade business in Mumbai itself. This was not because of any financial crunch or that the circumstances forced him into it but because Ajjay was fascinated by business and wanted to be a full-time, early bird.
For managing his father’s accounts he got paid Rs 4,000-5,000 which became his first earnings. He understood that they were sitting at the mouth of a technological revolution and helped his father expand into musical instruments, mobile phone accessories, gadgets etc. He started travelling to Malaysia and China to meet the manufactures and learnt about the other side of the business which helped him later on.
In 2004, Ajjay decided to dive into manufacturing and started making mobile accessories like chargers, batteries, earphones etc. The first year earned him a revenue of Rs 5 lakh which was enough to make him realize the potential of the industry. He was among the ones who clearly saw the forming of telecom storm. He put all his savings, profits, and borrowed money from everyone he could including his father, friends, relatives and began manufacturing at a large scale. By 2006, he was looking at a revenue of Rs 50 crore. Astonishing everyone he had made Rs 5 lakh to Rs 50 crore in only two years of operations.
Taking another big leap, he dived into manufacturing mobile handsets by launching Maxx Mobiles in August 2008 becoming one of very few Indians who ventured in the market of mobile phones. For the first six months, Ajjay focused on getting feedback from his distribution channels and consumers. Based on this feedback he started producing 20 models in the next six months. He launched phones with dual sim slots, which was a new feature for Indians then, and became hugely popular in markets of tier II and tier III cities.
Ajjay’s profound interest in business had taught him that managing internal costs will maximize their profitability. Earlier, Maxx Mobiles would import 95% of raw materials from overseas but gradually they started getting parts from India and soon enough Ajjay made subsidiary companies which were producing around 50% of the raw materials in-house.
“It wasn’t easy. We had a challenging time keeping up pace with fast-changing technology that out dated its previous versions every 6 months,” says Ajjay. He opened his first factory in Mumbai, then a second one a year later in Haridwar, followed by a third in Mumbai in 2009.
But focusing on strong after sales service and deeper penetration into the Indian market maintained their grip and soon their products began selling in the Indian subcontinent, South Asia and Africa. They became the major Indian player in feature phone segment as 80% of their sales came from featured phones.
Maxx Mobiles has been created by a man whom the education system did not consider eligible for studying in std 10. But he was good with numbers and wanted to churn out big profits from business. Ajjay’s company is looking at a turnover of Rs 1,500 crore by the end of 2017.
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