A Desktop Statue of a Hindu Deity Gives This Founder Daily Inspiration

The gift from his mother helps beverage entrepreneur Anshuman Vohra fight for success.

This figurine, a gift from Vohra’s mom, reminds him to keep pushing forward.

3 min read

This story appears in the April 2019 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Many parents encourage their children to become entrepreneurs. Mine did the opposite. But in an unlikely way, we took this journey together — and the person who once seemed most apprehensive about my career choice would come through with the greatest support precisely when I needed it.

This conflict was baked into my upbringing. While I come from a very traditional Indian family, my father was a career diplomat, and so we moved roughly every three years, living in places like Nigeria, India, and Vietnam before settling in the U.S. for high school. Because of this, I always felt at a crossroads between my family’s values and the multitude of other cultures I experienced.

Related: 8 Ways Successful People Master Resilience

I graduated college in 2000 with a degree in finance and landed an investment banking job. It was comfortable, well-paying, and intense. My parents approved. But after five or six years, I lost my passion for it. I’ve always been a sucker for entrepreneurship and a believer in the American dream. I was passionate about starting my own business. My parents staunchly opposed this, though. They were focused on all the ways I could fail.

After many difficult conversations, we arrived at a stalemate. They wanted me to make a bona fide effort to get into one of the top business schools. So I applied. To their dismay, and my relief, I didn’t get accepted. They reluctantly agreed to my starting a business.

Related: How To Launch a Business While Minimizing Risk

I founded my first company, Bulldog Gin, in 2007 with the goal of creating a modern premium-gin brand. Two years later, it was gaining traction in Europe during a gin boom in Spain — but despite that, the company wasn’t profitable due to heavy marketing expenditures. At one point during the global financial crisis, I was about 45 days from having to shut it all down. And that’s when my mom, who is a religious woman, came walking into my office. It was a difficult time, and she knew it. She said, “I’m giving you this statue,” which she placed on my desk. It was of Ganesha, the Hindu deity associated with removing obstacles. “Always make sure it’s facing the door,” she said.

Not long after, I raised money and kept the business going. The brand flourished, and in 2017 it was acquired by Italian branded beverage company Campari for almost $70 million. Today, Bulldog is distributed in more than 160 countries.

Related: The Beginner’s Guide to Succeeding at Entrepreneurship

I have no idea if there was a correlation between the statue and my success, but I do know that someone was looking out for me — be it my mom or some higher power. So as I build my new brand, electrolyte hydration beverage Halo Sport, I keep that statue in my office and look at it during hard times. I feel that, though no guarantor of success, my own relentlessness combined with a watchful eye makes the difference in the often-fine line between success and failure.

IPO of Ride-Sharing Unicorn Gives Market a Lyft

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The initial public offering of Lyft, the second-biggest ride-hailing company in the U.S., found a receptive market and helped boost the major stock indexes today.

Shares for the unicorn (a private company valued at more than $1 billion) priced at the top end of its expected range and jumped 8.7 percent on its first day of trading. The shares were up more than 20 percent before falling in the afternoon.

The Lyft lift and renewed optimism on the U.S.-China trade talks helped the stock indexes close out their best first quarter in over two decades with good gains today. The Dow and S&P 500 indexes were up 0.82 and 0.67 percent respectively and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.78 percent. The Entrepreneur Index™ closed the day up 0.57 percent and has gained 14 percent so far this year.

Prices were strong across most segments of the market. Gains in the technology sector were relatively modest with salesforce.com (2.06 percent) and NVIDIA Corp. (1.3 percent) up the most. None of the thirteen tech stocks on the Entrepreneur Index™ declined today.

Fedex Corp., up 1.97 percent, had one of the better gains. The stock has been careening along with sentiment on the global economy this year. It is up 12.45 percent in the first quarter.

Other good gains on the index today included:

Only four stocks on the Entrepreneur fell by more than one percent. Retailer Bed Bath & Beyond had the biggest decline, falling 1.96 percent. The stock jumped by more than twenty percent earlier this week when activist investors announced a plan to replace the 12-member board.

Comcast was down 1.09 percent after an RBC analyst downgraded the stock, citing increased competition from streaming services as a reason. L Brands (-1.29 percent) and Hess Corp. (-1.2 percent) were also down.

Investors once again shrugged off another sign of a slowing economy. The Personal Consumption Expenditures index that the Fed closely follows was up 1.8 percent in January, less than 1.9 percent estimates and the lowest reading since February last year.

The low-inflation reading could spark another political battle between the Trump administration and the Federal Reserve Bank.

The White House wants the Fed to take more dramatic steps to ease monetary policy and boost the economy. Economic advisor Larry Kudlow said today that the Fed should immediately cut the short-term Fed Funds rate by 50 basis points. It should also stop shrinking its balance sheet, which effectively reduces support for stock and bond prices, now rather than in the fall as the Fed has indicated.

The Entrepreneur Index™ collects the top 60 publicly traded companies founded and run by entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial spirit is a valuable asset for any business, and this index recognizes its importance, no matter how much a company has grown. These inspirational businesses can be tracked in real time on Entrepreneur.com.