Exclusive Billionaire Interview with Dr. Binod K. Chaudhary
Hello everyone! I’m Richard C. Wilson, founder of Billionaires.com.
Today, it’s our privilege to showcase Dr. Binod K. Chaudhary, recognized by Forbes.com as Nepal’s sole billionaire. Driven by a legacy established by his grandfather, the late Mr. Bhuramull Chaudhary, in the 1870s with a textile business, Dr. Binod Chaudhary now serves as the Chairman of CG Corp Global. This conglomerate spans 160 companies and boasts 123 brands worldwide.
CG Corp Global has diversified interests across various sectors including fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), consumer durables, education, cement, energy, hospitality, real estate, financial services, telecommunications, Ayurveda, biotechnology, and engineering & construction.
We deeply appreciate Dr. Chaudhary’s generosity in sharing insights gleaned from his decades of remarkable success amidst his demanding schedule.
1. What is the #1st most costly mistake you have made, or seen many investors/business owners make, that could be avoided?
My own experience has been that if you want a deal, very desperately, that’s when the beginning of the disaster starts, no matter how attractive the deal is or how strategically important the deal could be, you have to be cool. You have to look at all the aspects of the deal very carefully, you have to let your team of advisers, counsel and finance team look at each dimension of the deal critically and dispassionately.
Sometimes the entrepreneurs tend to be too desperate to get the deal anyhow. And that’s when they end up making raw deals by overlooking some of the critical elements relating to the deals. In the case of a joint venture, you miss issues with the partners, its buyout price or the relevant legal structural issues.
I’ve done this in case of my deals in Dubai, and paid a big price. I did the same on another deal in Kigali. We even changed our partners for years to have the deal signed and we had to pay a huge price for such disasters.
So my advice would be that don’t ever push the deal beyond a certain point. And always be prepared to say no, to take a pause, take a few steps back or even sometimes walk away.
2. What is the most valuable strategy, worth far more than $1 million, that you wish someone could have provided you early in your endeavor that you can share here?
I had the privilege of a gentleman who was the CEO of my bank, Mr. D. C Khan’s who ran our bank for many years. We also had a finance company, an insurance company and some other financial services related businesses that were tiny and minuscule and which had no sort of prospects of growing to a level that was worth our time and effort. Nonetheless, we spent time monitoring and building those tiny enterprises. Albert, I must say that in a small country to have an insurance company or NBFC or infra company or a potential capital company, etc., irrespective of the size has a big perception value.
But the price that you pay for creating that perception and for having an enterprise of that size in your portfolio is huge. So, I remember Mr. D. C Khanna always used to say that, sir, you are wasting too much of your time on small things which is disproportionate to the dividends you are going to get.
I believe that we should know what to focus on. I think that was brilliant advice, which I received some 25 years ago. I did not listen to him at that time, but a time came when we could not focus on these deals and some of these companies went out of track. We had to also pay a price for that, not only in the financial services sector but also in the FMCG sector.
So the bottom line is that if you have the opportunity of working on big deals rather than doing ten small deals, focus on one big deal because it takes the same amount of time and effort, and the issues and challenges are the same but the dividends are better. The issues and challenges in smaller countries are bigger because you can’t afford a very qualified, very senior, very competent CEO or professional team.
3. What was the major turning point that made everything you were doing surge forward?
I think earlier we used to multitask. We used to have a common management team because of a resource constraint as well as sometimes considerations of the cost. But we realize that that’s not something that’s going to ever work. The world has become far more specialized than you need people who know that particular industry, who can foresee what is coming, who can understand the competition, who have to have the right kind of network.
So we decided to consolidate our companies into separate entities and started to build a separate management team to lead them. We started establishing a vertical leadership as well as a strong management team. We also did the same thing regionally by having our presence or regional headquarters in Dubai and Delhi. So perhaps the major turning point came from doing away from multitasking and dealing with multiple companies of diverse nature and keeping them under one umbrella, building and consolidating a cohesive portfolio of companies under one vertical and having it led by experts of that particular industry domain.
4. If you want to add anything on your favorite non-profit mission, or what you are most excited to connect with other billionaires about, we are happy to have that added into the interview as well.
Yeah, I certainly want to talk about our nonprofit mission or philanthropy work here, because, in our life and the life of CG Corp, our foundation work sits at the center stage. We realized this after the 2015 massive earthquake in Nepal. We had the option to find a haven for us and our family and our senior team. But on the contrary, we chose what our motherland needed the most. Nepal needed our management expertise. They need our skills to put resources together and deliver homes and schools at a time when material and workmanship and people were not available and they were all trying to run away. So, I think that was a tough task, but we did manage it well. We are also grateful and humbled that it won us global recognition. Forbes carried out a cover story on that. I would also like to share a copy of data acquired through PwC. They carried out a case study about how we delivered home to the needy ones in 30 days under such difficult times.
How do we train the people who are going to live in those homes and help make them work, make them build their own homes, future home? Likewise, the number of other majors let me rephrase it. That whole experience gave us such a sense of containment and satisfaction which probably was bigger than anything else that we’ve achieved or acquired ever before. We’ve had successes in the business, we’re recognized and were respected for that, even by organizations like Forbes. But the smiles that we saw on the faces of the people who received these homes and being able to stand the organization, in times of need (feed/water/shelter/school) was gratifying and immense That’s when we decided to significantly enlarge our foundation work and today, we are involved in many different facets in the forefront of the covid related problems – oxygen supply, to build ICUs in several hospitals. We are into arts, crafts, cultural heritage, spiritual, historical etc. we are working with some of the highly respected foundations worldwide and it has given us a lot of contentment. We feel good when international foundations reach us to say that – listen you are putting your own time, efforts and money in a great place. You are achieving 2-3 times more for the same amount of money and that’s why we want to partner with you. That gives us a huge sense of satisfaction. That has encouraged us to do more philosophical work in the center stage of our life.