Mr. Midhun Kurien Kuruvilla, the founder of Anta Builders (www.antabuilders.com) was once a software engineer in HP Singapore and today he is instrumental in building homes for many in Kerala. Whether premium, budget or luxury Anta builders have it now; a brief discussion with him gives an idea how he built his business from scratch, would be a learning for many start-ups.
Can you brief about your current businesses? Anta builders is focused on owning the imaginations of a home, which is a dream of many Indians. Currently we have a portfolio of budget apartments, premium apartments, luxury villas and also ventured into farm house focussed on family leisure. We as a team fulfil the imaginations of having an innovative living space with assured quality that are expected to have a continued appreciation in future.
How did you come up with your business idea? I was a very happy corporate executive in the early 2000s. Things were great and I was on track to be a corporate leader with HP, Singapore. Since my inner consciousness was in India I was in constant touch with my college friends to start a business in India. We discussed many ideas, but most of them didn’t reach success due to lack of capital or rather my inhibition of taking huge risk. Then I looked into my family asset and explored the possibility of constructing villas in the inherited property. This lead to our first project in 2007 and we are happy to see the proud moments experienced by our respected customers of Brooks Villa.
How do you ensure customer delight? We are in constant touch with our customers and we ensure that our promises are genuine that can be fulfilled. We see that our customers are getting the best appreciation and best quality of life. We do lot of work prior to conceiving the project to ensure the customer happiness.
What were you doing with HP, Singapore? I was part of HP inkjet division as a production engineer, later I got opportunity to research and development Asia Pacific. The corporate governance learning from HP is the base of Anta, which is actually the back bone of our success.
Did you operate your business from your home? What were the challenges and benefits to this strategy? I have operated this business from my home in Kolenchery, which is small town in Cochin. The primary benefit was low overhead expenses and convenience, which was important while starting a business from scrap. As the business grows we were forced to move to city and in the year 2012 we moved our office to Cochin City.
What was the strategy for your expansion or scaling up? The strategy I used was to create a team followed by strategic acquisition, to expand the business. First acquisition was of Maruthi builders, and we have successfully handover the homes to respective clients at the mutually agreed price and time. Our strategy for business expansion was to create a word of mouth advocacy for our brand. We are happy to know that we stand for delivering the promises.
With the current economy in a slump, what cost saving tips would you have for a new entrepreneur? I started doing the business with very little capital and hence I looked for more value for each penny spends and now this has become a culture in Anta builders. Now all our projects give more value to customers, this was achieved by following the below principles;
- Quality negotiation (quality specified negotiation directly with the company), which helps to reduce the cost of production
- Effective project planning with quantifiable end points
- Innovations at all levels by executing the teamwork and ownership
Have you outsourced any portion of your business? Has that worked for your business? Yes – I outsource that makes sense from both a financial and time perspective. Even-though we outsource our work we have strict quality check at multiple levels to avoid any unexpected results at the end of execution.
What are the marketing techniques you use to generate business for your organization? We tried multiple ways and I can very well say that traditional and new age media has role in making awareness about our product offerings, but the most important marketing technique we use in our daily practice is promise the customer need, fulfil the promise, there by getting the customer delight.
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a business? The first is doing it. There has never been a better time to start. The second is to find someone, preferably from your local market, who has experience in doing that business. Interact with them and take their opinion and suggestions. The most important thing though is to learn and practice the learnings form experienced entrepreneurs.
Can you give a brief about your farm house business focussed on family leisure? I started the business when I was a bachelor and after my marriage I went with my family to various places and I understand the need of targeted family leisure, hence we ventured in Master’s farm in Munnar. Master’s farm is in the middle of cardamom plantation where the families can enjoy the true nature in full spirit. It also harbour many rare species and Hornbills, Racquet-tailed drongos, Mynahs, Parakeets, Treepies, Hopoe, Indian kingfisher, Jungle fowl, Peacocks, etc are few to name.
What are your current product offerings from Anta builders? Currently we have 4 ongoing projects out of which 3 are apartments (Anta Marvel – Premium future value apartments, Anta Highway Avenues – Urban value apartments and Kanadi Kovilakam – Future value apartments) and 1 is a premium villa projects (Anta Queens Garden – Premium future value villas).
Can you please explain the difference between Premium future value apartments, Urban value apartments, Future value apartments and Premium future value apartments? We conceive the project after a comprehensive market research which gives us an idea about the value forecast, target customers etc. Urban value projects focus is for immediate possession, that too with value for money. The urban value projects price appreciation is generally dependent on the market conditions. Future value means the projects are expected to get a double digit appreciation in the coming years and is purely based on detailed market research. For example – One of the biggest malls in Cochin is going to come just a few steps from Anta Marvel. Anta Kanadi Kovilakam is just situated on the wings of proposed Kochi metro lane. In case of urban value projects the focus is for immediate possession that too with value for money, the urban value projects price appreciation is generally depend on the market conditions.
What are your tips for customers to choose the best investment in realty industry?
- Check the legal sanity of the documents and I suggest taking an independent legal opinion before proceeding with investment or else investing in projects approved by nationalized banks.
- Check for future appreciation potential in the given location
- Check the credibility of the builder, their market standings, their ongoing projects, future projects etc
- Briefly understand the quality control measures followed by the builder to reconfirm the project quality and execution
- Visit the project at least once in 3 months to see the work progress, and once in every month or 15 days during the completion stage
What are your organizational values? Trust, Transparency, Innovation, Teamwork and Commitment is what gives us the market standing of today.
Can you brief about your family and how you manage the work life balance in your life?
My family consist of 3 kids (Sam, Liza and Johan), my wife (Ashna), father (advocate Kuruvilla), mother (Ally Kuruvilla) and brother (Abraham). Generally I dedicate morning breakfast and Sunday’s for the entire family and I push myself to be a part of all family functions to keep myself available for the family. Yearly trip and short vacations, is what I do to keep my work life balance. According to me a good family and social life is what is required for a successful entrepreneurial journey. One behalf of Indian CEO and Brand Management Guru we wish you all success in your future endeavours. Read more entrepreneur stories.