Creating yourown identity is the key to success in any industry

Manoj Mishra is an established name in the paint business in Nepal and India. Starting as a Sales Trainee at Kansai Nerolac Paints India, he went on to become one of the most successful sales & marketing professionals in the paint market in the eastern part of India. In 2009, Mishra came to Nepal for the first time as the Head-Sales & Marketing of Berger Paints Nepal, and in 2015 took charge as the Country Manager of Kansai Nerolac Paints, Nepal. In a conversation with the HRM, he talked about his professional journey, achievements, and the scenario of the paint business in Nepal. Excerpts:

Tell us about your first job. How did you get into the job? 
I started my career at Kansai Nerolac Paints (KNP) India as a Sales Trainee in Patna, India. While pursuing my master’s degree at Patna University, I wanted to test my knowledge level and attempted to face an interview with the company’s Divisional Sales Manager of East (India) who selected me for the post in the first go. But I was inclined towards joining civil service and was reluctant to join a private job at that time, so I did not respond to their call for almost a month. But after a lot of persuasion by the management of KNP, I joined the company.

What challenges did you face after joining the job?
For me, the challenge was to work as a sales professional who has no idea about sales.

What were the major lessons from the first job? How did the experiences help in shaping your career?
Honesty, sincerity, and hard work were the major lessons. Maintaining these three factors throughout my professional life, I was able to create a distinct identity and went on setting new milestones in my career leaving behind many of my colleagues, who joined the organization as seniors and almost at the same time as me.

What major achievements were there for you professionally and personally?
I was able to establish myself as a ‘successful sales personnel’ in the very first year of my company joining. Personally, people started recognizing me by my name in the entire East Indian paint market.

Tell us about your appointment as the Country Head of Kansai Nerolac Paints Nepal in 2015. 
I came to Nepal as Head-Sales & Marketing of Berger Paints Nepal in 2009. After a successful stint of approximately six years with Berger Paints, I was offered the post of Country Head by KNP in 2015.

How have these past eight years been for you as a professional? 
My eight years journey with KNP Japan Pvt. Ltd. has been very satisfying and full of achievements on the professional front. I am happy that I could establish the name of Kansai Nerolac as a strong number three paint company in Nepal.

The past decade has seen both boom and decline periods in the paint business in Nepal. What approach Kansai Nerolac has taken to achieve steady growth and face the challenges? 
After the 2015 earthquake and before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the paint market in Nepal was growing at a very high rate. In fact, from 2016 to 2020, the growth of the market broke all past records.

However, the pandemic forced the market into a downturn for approximately two years. After a short recovery in 2022, the paint business again went into a slowdown. The present scenario of the paint business of Nepal is grim due to the drastic decline in construction activities over the past year.

As a company, we are trying to expand our presence and reach more customers to increase the share of the available pie of the market.

How do you see the prospects of growth for graduates looking start careers in sales & marketing and other areas in the paint industry?
The paint industry of Nepal is vibrant and dynamic as the majority of the development activities are expected to take place in the next 10 years in the country. With the infrastructural growth, the paint industry holds a high scope in Nepal. I would exhort graduates to choose and develop their careers in this industry to become successful professionals in the coming years.

What advice do you have for them to become successful industry professionals?
Creating your own identity is the key to success in any industry. With this accomplishment, no one can stop you from becoming a successful professional.

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