Business Today

From the Editor

Rohit Saran | Print Edition: February 21, 2010

Whether you are doing your work, running a business or simply living your life, do not think about reducing your expenses. Instead, think of ways to increase your income. Three years ago Shah Rukh Khan told us this simple-yet-profound approach to managing his personal finance. This was actually his mother's philosophy. "She told me, 'The time and energy you spend on trying to plug holes, if it's spent on constructively thinking of ways to increase your income, it will bear better results. It's also a more positive way of working,'" he had then recalled.

When BT spoke to Bollywood's biggest star over two sessions recently-this time to understand the scope and rationale for his businesses-his philosophy sounded equally disarming. "Bijli paani ka kharcha nikal jaaye" (if I am able to pay the bills and salaries I am happy) is his stated approach to the bottom line. But the bottom line (profit) isn't the raison d'etre for his businesses. If a business is not serving the core purpose of its existence, it is not worth having, however profitable it may be, Shah Rukh told us. The case in point is KKR, IPL's most profitable yet one of the worstperforming teams. So, the soul of a business isn't profit, but a larger purpose.

Right now, the principles of SRK's business are more spectacular than its performance-which isn't too bad considering what other filmstars have been able to achieve as businessmen. But if he is able to scale up his five businesses without compromising on the values he professes, that will ensure that King Khan's kingdom won't be lost when he ceases to be a star. Better still, he will be able to not only conquer Bollywood (which he once resolved to) but also live up to the true spirit of India's commercial capital, Mumbai.

The soul of business recently got a severe tongue lashing from US President Barack Obama. Some of it was because of executive compensation. We delve deep into this issue. The Chairman of 3M-the company that exemplified innovation well before it became a fashionable buzzword-explains how he keeps the spirit of innovation alive and why he is so bullish on India. Making of an Indian MNC is an interesting saga of a quaint Indian firm going global- successfully. What SRK is to the film business, IPL is to the sports industry. Finally, it's that time of the year when everyone is scrambling for tax-saving investment options.

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