TIPS ON SURVIVAL FROM A VETERAN OF 4 POLITICAL COUPS
The Asian Age, September 7, 1996
By Ruchira Singh


Reaching out to people : Dr Hiru Bijlani has three books to his credit and is the founder of a Rs. 1 crore company, Zenith Global Consultants Private Limited. He started out small in 1985 with only a capital of Rs. 50,000.
A photograph by Kedar Nene.

Dr Hiru Bijlani has lived through four political coups in Thailand, Maldives, Iran and Liberia between 1978 and 1991. The life and death situations and the survival of a traveller I those circumstances have come through in a book he has written, called Tips and Tales for Travellers.

Dr Bijlani is a desi management consultant and the founder of a one-crore company, zenith Global Consultants Private Limited, in Mumbai that started in 1985 with a capital of Rs. 50,000.

The firm has a joint venture with Leadership Management International, USA, a world famous international professional development company, and offers training programs and affiliates world-wide for placements and joint ventures.

Dr Bijlani specialises in international business and training and offers the Leadership Management International course to business houses in India. According to him, Exel India, Taj Group, The Times of India, The Indian Express, James Capbell and New India Assurance are some of the companies who have benefited from the course. The none-week programme costs Rs.24,000 per participant. Dr Bijlani has two other books to his credit - Globalisation an Overview (Rs. 275) and Global Joint Ventures and Alliances (Rs. 175), both published by Heinemann Asia, a Singapore based publishing house.

While Tips and Tales is currently under production, the two earlier books have sold 5,000 copies each, claims Dr Bijlani. These books are based on his experiences while doing business in Asia and are therefore targeted at Asian executives involved with international business, he says.

"I got slightly bored of consulting and teaching so I turned to writing," says Dr Bijlani, a doctorate in international business from the University of Bombay. "With these books I can reach many more people and it will help them a lot too." Dr. Bijlani is an active lecturer and has participated in several seminars.

In Global Joint Ventures and Alliances, Dr Bijlani suggests "Business joint ventures and alliances should follow the route of arranged marriages - instead of

starting a joint venture or alliance based on emotional decisions, it would be advisable to exercise matchmaking by gauging if the firms involved are mutually compatible."

The 150-page book is "based on my personal experience as a manager and consultant in projects in different parts of the world and on my teaching and research experiences. I have attempted to develop for the reader, a systematic, step-by-step approach to joint ventures and alliances starting from conceptualisation of the idea followed by stages of self introspection, historical review, Swot analysis, industry survey, technology assessment, environmental assessment and finally the process of looking for and finding the right partner. The problems and pitfalls that may arise in the process are also highlighted."

But should not a person rely more on his guts and on individual perception rather than do-it-yourself book before doing business with an alien partner? "This book is a checklist to supplement your guts," is Dr. Bijlani's reply.

The book, with its step-by-step account of the processes involved, case studies and sample contracts and formats may prove to be helpful to entrepreneurs who do not have an idea about the legalities and processes involved in formalising international deals and agreements.

Zenith's portfolio boasts of feasibility studies for Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation and the Canadian Consulate; head hunting for Mehta Group, The Times of India, Times Bank, Shah and Sangli and for several NRI groups and finding a Japanese joint venture partner for Hindustan Lever in 1988 for the manufacture of Surimi (fish paste) in Gujarat for export to Japan.

Dr Bijlani has held various positions in various institutes including the Indian Society for Training and Development, the Forum of Asian Managers, Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs and the Bombay Management Association. He is also the vice president of the Institute of Management Consultants of India that works to enhance the credibility and quality of Indian Consultants. Dr Bijlani's target is to have a turnover of Rs.10 in the next three year's time.

 
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