Easy payment schemes not viable for Singhagiri
Running a family business is
generally considered a difficult job to that of a sole proprietorship.
For Mano, this has not been the case but a huge support. His sister,
brother and wife too are involved in developing the business to todayís
state after his fatherís demise in 2006. He has found success in his
business together with his loved ones.
Singhagiri (Pvt) Ltd Managing
Director Mano Marasinghe is featured in this weekís Young Entrepreneur
column. Excerpts of the interview:
Q: How did you come up with your
A: My father Sugathadasa
Marasinghe who was a businessman cum film producer in the sixties
started the company. He had been working in the Bank of Ceylon and after
two years he entered the business arena fifty years back by starting a
bakery. Then he started a small electrical item selling point similar to
that of a Philips agency and after two years he became a top dealer in
Singhagiri Managing Director, Mano Marasinghe
Later he started selling out a Japanese electronics brand. It is only
after ten years that he started selling Samsung and he was the first
agent to introduce the Samsung brand to Sri Lanka. We started doing
business in Lunuwila, my fatherís home town.
Q: As a young entrepreneur what are
the challenges you face?
A: The bank interest for
loans was a challenge to entrepreneurs earlier. Since the bank interest
rates have come down, we anticipate it to comedown further to a single
There is a highly competitive market for electronic items in Sri
Lanka. But our strategy is not to compete with them.
The economic recession has had a huge impact on us and we have
curtailed our employment base to 75 from 250 employees.
Q: What are the strengths of the
A: The duty free shop at
the Bandaranaike International Airport is our main strength. Seventy
percent of the sales are from the Duty Free shop while the rest is from
wholesale and retail channels. We have 12 outlets in the country. We
will not be going for easy payment schemes like others do. We will be
giving easy payment schemes only for credit cardholders.
Q: As a young entrepreneur how do you
manage your enterprise?
A: I always try to provide
a quality service to the customer. We are still renowned for giving the
best after sales service. We are in the process of improving our
business steadily. We have two after sales service centres in Lunuwila
Q: How did you supply with capital
A: My grandfather
supported my father financially to start the business. My grandfather
has advised and given him Rs 10,000 to make a start. Since my father was
working for Bank of Ceylon he had some money in hand.
Q: What are the strategies you adopt
to enhance the employees efficiency?
A: The employees working
with me are the trained people and they are the spirit of the company.
Their knowledge is highly appreciated in reaching to the top in
They work as a team and we have seen a lot of improvement in the
company as well as in them.
Q: What is your goal in business?
A: We expect to improve
business steadily while being a good competitor in the market. We donít
believe in rapid improvement. It is better to move on at a slow pace.
Q: What are your future plans?
A: We have introduced
another brand from Middle East which is called Aftron to the market. We
are not promoting this brand since Samsung has a strong footing in the
market. We have already started catering to the North and East areas
through our dealer channels. The market in those areas is booming fast
creating more market opportunities for the industry.
Q: What was the growth you had for
this financial year?
A: Our financial year ends
in March but we have already completed the target for this year. We
expect to surpass the target by the end of this financial year.
Q: Why have you not adopted easy
A: We have been doing easy
payment through Singhagiri Finance Limited earlier. We realized that it
earns fewer profits which ultimately led us to cash blocks. There should
be a huge capital for doing easy payments for electronic items.
Q: What is the support you expect
from the Government?
A: We expect the
Government to reduce interest rates, so that we will be able to expand
our outlets and to give benefits to the customers.
There has been a lot of tax reductions given by the Government
compared to the past.
Q: What is the support you get from
A: There is good support
from my family and actually the family involvement in the business is
what has taken the business so far. My wife too works in the company. My
brother-in-law too helps in developing the business.
Q: What are the challenges involved
in a family business?
A: We have not found any
challenges as such yet. My sister and I discuss on the future plans of
the company. We take each otherís approval in taking decisions on
important matters. So there are no issues involved in our family
business. We have been inter-depending on each other in decision-making
and the regular business. And there is always a trust between us so it
makes easy to work. There is security in running family business rather
than having outside partners.