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I'm Vikram Agarwal, Director, Cornitos, And This Is How I Work

I'm Vikram Agarwal, Director, Cornitos, And This Is How I Work

S. Shanthi
When every snack brand in India was selling chips for Rs 10, Vikram Agarwal launched Cornitos in 2009, a premium snack brand with a price tag of Rs 100. And, to everyone's shock, it grew into a 40-crore brand within a span of seven years. We at Lifehacker India ask him the secret behind his success story and he says, 'I found my own blue ocean'.

After graduating with a degree in commerce from Shaheed Bhagat Singh College in south Delhi, he joined the three decade old family business, Rs100 crore Globe Group, which supplies electrical equipment to large electronics companies world over. However, he wasn't contented and wanted to follow his passion, which was food. That is when he decided to launch Cornitos. With that he could give his people a taste of his favourite Mexican food, but with an Indian twist.

Cornitos was established in 2009 under GreenDot Health Foods Ltd banner. It is the first company to launch Tortilla Crisps in Indian branded snack food category. "The best formula to success is to do what you are passionate about," he says and shares more such productivity tips.

(Also read: I Am Guruprasad Kuppu Rao, Industrial Designer And Scholar, And This Is How I Work )

Location : India
Current Gig : Director, Cornitos, GreenDot Health Foods
One word that best describes how you work: Slow and Steady
Current mobile device : iPhone 6
Current computer : Macbook Pro

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading 'Little Black Book For Stunning Success' by Robin Sharma. I like reading motivational books and biographies.

What apps, software, or tools can't you live without?
I put down all my things to remember in my Evernote. I use it to its full potential. I am a very organized person and really need to put everything down, so Evernote is quite helpful. I also cannot live without WhatsApp. We have our internal WhatApp group which makes life easy for me. I can stay connected with everyone at work. Things can be sorted then and there. I feel WhatsApp is the biggest blessing for anybody, provided it is used the right way. I am always updated about all our activities across the country.

What's your workspace setup like?
I am a very organized person. So, my workspace is clean and well lit. Also, I keep all my products in a rack next to my chair. The idea is to push myself to my creative best. If my products on the rack do not change for weeks, it means I have to start rethinking. It helps me come up with unique ideas. I taste a batch of products every day to ensure we are always reinventing ourselves (of course I jog to compensate).

What do you do when you have a creative block?
I have a packet of Cornitos (laughs). What can be more relaxing than having Cornitos at work? Jokes apart, I actually do that. You need to know your product really well to get creative.

What's your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?
Being organised and having meetings only when needed. With technology being so advanced boardroom meetings are passe. I schedule meetings only when it is absolutely necessary. You can be productive only by talking less and doing more.

How do you make sure that your employees stay as passionate as you do?
We have a product team of 150 people across India. I give everyone equal chance to ideate and come up with unique ideas. I am also constantly in touch with all employees. I don't believe in hierarchy. My doors are always open and I'm approachable.

How do you balance personal life and work?
It is very important to have a balance. I start my day by 9.30 and go home by 7.30. How you work matters more than how many hours you work. So I go home and spend quality time with family and kids. By quality time, I mean switching off all gadgets and being there physically and mentally.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can't you live without and why?
I love my pen and paper more than any gadget. Every day I write down what needs to be done, plan my meetings and then start my day. While on the go, I of course use Evernote. Otherwise, I prefer to jot down.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?
I'm very good at multitasking and organising. I do not rush things though. I plan things ahead, which gives me ample time to get creative as well. However, there is no point in being creative if you do not show results. So, I ensure my thoughts turn into action. Also, I think I'm quite futuristic and brave. I know what will work five years down the line.

How do you recharge? What do you do when you want to forget about work?
I cut off from work every day. I spend quality time with my family and nature. I sit in my garden and relax. Also, jogging helps me rejuvenate and stay fit.

What's the best advice you have ever received?
That should be what my father gave me. He always used to tell me to take it slow and steady. He would also tell me to carry confidence on my shoulders all the time.

What's one advice you would like to give to budding entrepreneurs?
Find your passion and follow it religiously. Don't rush things all the time. Take time but always keep an eye on the top of the mountain. You will reach there with consistent efforts. And, lastly create your own blue ocean. Explore the unexplored.

(Also read: I'm Rajesh Loomba, MD, ECO Rent A Car, And This Is How I Work )

The How I Work series asks heroes, experts, and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces, routines, and more. Have someone you want to see featured, or questions you think we should ask? Email Ishita.

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