Talk of Datuk Vinod Sekhar and one thinks of many things … visionary, businessman, movie producer, environmentalist, and even political commentator.
Praised by everyone from former US President, Bill Clinton to Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Vinod counts many international luminaries as close friends and buddies. He even continues to do business with some of them like Hollywood actor, Bruce Willis who is another close friend.
So what makes Vinod Sekhar so attractive or interesting to those who know him? Is it because he just brims with ideas and lofty concepts of a more just world where everyone can be helped to earn a decent living?
Or is it his connections with the powers that be from around the world which makes almost everything he touches turn to gold – read huge profits for his business associates?
Fact is, Vinod is a social capitalist with an insatiable appetite for causes that help create or promote a just world. A strong supporter of Supply Side Economics, he believes in enriching businessmen with lower taxes and incentives so that they can expand and build even bigger businesses.
“My reasoning is quite simple, and it has nothing to do with greed. The fact is that if businessmen earned high incomes due to lower taxes and better incentives, they can divert more business funds to social causes that truly assist the masses.
“This is what I mean by social capitalism. It’s a leaf off the old saying that it’s better to teach a man to fish then to give him fish every day. By teaching him to fish, he will learn to provide for himself and his family,” Vinod says.
With this in mind, Vinod Sekhar has consistently opened up opportunities for others to better themselves.
For instance, he makes it a point to put his money where his mouth is, and starts with his own employees. He ensures that all his employees have stable careers by ensuring the financial health of his businesses.
He only takes calculated business risks and seeks the advice of experts when necessary. Even then, he says that businesses go through a cycle of ups and downs that are tied to national and or global economic health.
The most important thing during a downturn, he says, is to keep one’s faith and continue to inspire your employees that things will get better. “And when it does, reward your employees for sticking with you during the rough times,” he says.