February 13, 2020

Interview Times

Inspiring The Young At Heart

Driven to succeed

Driven to succeed
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Devjyoti Patnaik, Founder and CEO of Jyote Group

Building a successful business is no easy task. It takes a lot of hard work, strong determination, and unwavering dedication. Ask Devjyoti Patnaik(Driven to succeed) whose journey to the top has been no less than a roller-coaster ride.

Devjyoti Patnaik(Driven to succeed) owns a group of 14 automotive dealerships that sell five different brands of automobiles across Odisha. He is one of those rare individuals who grew up to become what he always dreamt of as a child.

Hailing from a conservative family, he was never allowed to own a bike. “My friends used to ride their bikes to college and I was always chauffeured around in our family car”, he says. 

This made him realize to do something of his own. Devjyoti Patnaik(Driven to succeed) started his career working in his family-owned media group as a Marketing executive. In a span of just three years, he climbed to the top of the ladder and became the Sales & Marketing head. 

Five years into the family business, he quit as his childhood dream of starting something of his own gave him sleepless nights.

Soon after, he(Driven to succeed) ventured into the automotive business by setting up a TVS two-wheeler dealership in Bhubaneswar in 1996 which has now become one of the leading dealerships in the city today.

“When I opened the TVS dealership in Bhubaneswar, people said I had gone crazy. They said I was young and didn’t understand how business was done as I was spending more than what was required. 

But I didn’t pay any heed. I wanted to create a unique automotive experience and build lasting relationships with my customers. I didn’t look up to any dealerships that were operating in the state. 

Instead, I set my own benchmark of customer satisfaction and that paid off. TVS was trailing at 5th position back then and after we went into operation, the brand climbed to the second spot in Bhubaneswar,” Devjyoti says proudly.

His zeal for giving something fresh and new brought him closer to his customers be it through great infrastructure, a team of hardworking young individuals or exceptional customer relationship goals. 

As Devjyoti Patnaik(Driven to succeed) left no stone unturned to satisfy his customers, his business strategy got the attention of automotive giant General Motors. By the year 1999, he had brought Opel, a premium German 4-wheeler brand, to Bhubaneswar.

“Selling cars is not my business. I live, dream and breathe cars. The financial year 2012-13 was not a great year for Odisha as far as the auto industry is concerned. But we decided to reverse the trend and grow by 25 percent.

When we thought of reversing the trend, we also realized that we need to change our marketing and sales strategies. To improve our customer connections and customer engagement, we ramped up our manpower, taking it to 60 against the norm of 35.

Training is such a crucial part of our HR strategy. We are not worried about losing our trained manpower, rather we are worried about not finding trained manpower.

We train every new recruit rigorously for three months before sending them to the field. I also train them so that they are fully aligned with our thought process”, Patnaik says.

Within a year of opening the Opel dealership, he caught the eye of a brand that ruled the automotive sector in India back then.

“I never dreamt of getting associated with Maruti Suzuki. When automotive dealers across the country aspired to partner with such a big brand, the company officials came down to meet me at my small office and asked us to partner with them,” he says.

“I was relatively new to this industry and was not sure whether I could help a project this big and do justice to the brand but the market believed in us. My team was hardworking and passionate about cars. Though I was just 24 then, the automotive giant put their faith in me. That gave me a push to start the great automotive journey,” he reminisces.

Devjyoti(Driven to succeed) did his schooling and higher education in his hometown Bhubaneswar. He considers himself as an Odia to the bone. He excels in the fact that he is the first-ever Odia to get into the automotive business.

“Every other dealership that operated in the state was either owned by a non-Odia or was owned by someone outside the state.” 

This formed the base for his brand campaign of Jyote Motors ‘Apka Apna Maruti Dealer’ which became a huge hit with the customers as people started recognizing the brand as their own. This helped us build a strong connection with our customers.

Today Jyote Motors operates through nine dealerships across the state and is branded as Odisha’s leading Maruti Suzuki dealership. 

This apart, more international brands like Suzuki partnered with him and he opened the state’s first-ever Super Bike showroom Jyote Suzuki ‘The Big Bike Hub’. 

Devjyoti Patnaik is even credited with getting luxury automobile brand Audi to Odisha.

Now, his venture is on an expansion mode. After having launched two Nexa outlets in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, Devjyoti is planning to start operation in Kolkata through Nexa Salt Lake outlet by April this year.

When asked about his success mantra he says, “Sale is a by-product. Getting more and more people connected to the brand is rather important than just selling vehicles. When you build a relationship, people automatically come back to you even after their first purchase and often advocate in favor of your brand to other potential customers.”

He also believes in creating a hunger in his customers of owning a vehicle and he does this by educating them.

“We have the largest chain of driving schools across the state with high-tech simulators so that people can get practical training. In our schools, it is more secure for women to come and learn driving. The automobile was an aspiration in the past but today it is a necessity”, he adds.

Today Devjyoti Patnaik is the proud owner of a fleet of cars ranging from his very first car of Maruti 800 to the limited edition Lamborghini Aventador SV which is the only one in the entire country. 

To feed his hunger for riding motorbikes, he even bought India’s very first Harley Davidson, rounded up his friends from college and started a Bikers’ Club. 

The members of the club ride every Sunday not just for passion but to educate the society on the responsibilities of safe biking.

“We are a team of 22 bikers and when we set out in our monstrous bikes, we ensure that we follow every safety and traffic rules. Starting from wearing safety gear like full helmet, racing outfits, and shoes, we make sure every person that sees us together gets a message of safe and responsible riding,” the biking enthusiast says.

Speaking about the state’s development which is going on a fast lane and the recent agenda released by the government, Devjyoti says he has a lot to contribute.

“Any development of a country or a state or even a city cannot happen without an automobile. When it comes to Vision 2025 laid by the government, I feel we will play a larger role by providing commuting alternatives for every class of people,” he adds.

It won’t be wrong to say that in a span of 22 years, Jyote Group has not only been instrumental in enhancing people’s lifestyle but also brought employment opportunities to the state. 

Starting from just 22 employees, the group today employs more than 1800 employees and is in the process of generating even more employment for youth.

Devjyoti’s(Driven to succeed) success story will definitely inspire many budding entrepreneurs of the state. At a time when Odisha is all set to witness a start-up revolution, it may also pave the way for many more successful ventures in the state.

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