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Pioneer of LED Lighting, Pervaiz Lodhie of LEDtronics, Shares His Secrets to Success

Starting a business out of your garage? Check out these insights!

You’ve heard about entrepreneurs who start their businesses in their garage and become true successes. What is their secret? Well, recently I found out about Pervaiz Lodhie. He started LEDtronics, Inc., www.ledtronics.com, in his garage with his wife, Almas, in 1983.
Pervaiz Lodhie

Today, he has a very successful business headquartered in Torrance, California providing LED (light-emitting diode) products worldwide and is known as the pioneer of LED lighting. I interviewed Pervaiz to get some of his inside secrets, and here’s what he had to say:

Tell us how you started your LED lighting business.

When I started testing and packaging LED’s almost 40 years ago I was a junior partner of Data Display Products started by my elder brother, Qamar Lodhie. At that time, there were really no LED solutions to replace the issues people were having with the old technology, incandescent or filament light-bulbs such as very short life, using too much energy, high heat, higher failures in shock and vibration conditions, etc.

To solve these problems, I started creating and packaging LED lights to replace the old, outdated miniature incandescent bulbs as simply as possible. The LED lights were used in control panels, elevators, lighted push-button switches on aircraft and ships, and on control indicators in power plants.

As the LED technology improved, I continued to improve the packages to become more widely used, and I also created additional applications for the LEDs where higher intensities, more pure colors and wider viewing angles were needed.

It sounds like you created LEDtronics by using your expertise to solve important lighting problems your customers were having. With this in mind, what was the biggest challenge you faced starting your business, and what did public relations have to do with overcoming it?

With an engineering background, I did not have the experience to market and find customers. Fortunately, one of the editors of Electronic Products approached me when I was first starting my business and wrote an article about the benefits of my LED products. That was probably the beginning of the revolution. When the article came out, engineers that were looking for that kind of a product suddenly sent requests, and we were immediately getting calls for the products.

Another key reason for my entrepreneurial success was that I looked at the issues and problems of others trying to start businesses. I didn’t want to fall into the trap of investing too much and paying interest for many years and then never being able to recover from it. I was going to start my business in a completely different way with my own money.

Right from the start, I wanted to become the GE of the LED light bulb industry. As I was creating a brand new niche with limited resources, I felt JIT, or the Just-in-Time model, was ideal for me. I developed, manufactured and shipped LED solutions Just-in-Time but at standard cost so there was no premium cost. LEDtronics

This allowed me to have very little inventory requirement, and we still follow this process today at LEDtronics. We carry all the necessary components and then put it together as the customer needs it because there are some common components that you can use. That just-in-time situation allowed me to start and grow my business without borrowing money.

What suggestions do you have for small business owners on how they can compete against large corporations in today’s market?

The concept or idea of the product they want to build must be equal or better than what the competition has. It must have equal or better pricing. It has to have features that the customers of the larger manufacturer identify as needed. It is crucial to have some advantage over the competition because they already have established customers with an existing business relationship, and customers do not easily move away from an already established and comfortable business relationship.

I think that many, new business people make these fundamental mistakes. They develop something today, and they don’t realize that it’s a work-in-progress. They must continue to improve that product and to design it in a way that cuts costs. This way, they can keep the price attractive and keep improving its functionalities in a way that the customer is looking for.

In the first couple of years of starting a business, it’s essential to keep reinvesting every single penny of profit back into the business to allow it to grow. However, just as their business is ready to take off, many new business owners get tired and burn out, and they run out of cash so they give up. Then, all their work is benefited by others.

That’s good advice Pervaiz. Is there anything else you’d like to share with the StartupNation audience?

I think new entrepreneurs should start a company with something they are very, very good at and have full knowledge about. Instead of being a Jack-Of-All-Trades, I took on the challenges that I felt were very easy because of my background and experience as an electromechanical engineer.

I believe the American dreams are still coming about. You just have to do all your ABC’s correctly and anticipate how long it will take your business to take off from the beginning. Have a vision and a picture of what and where you want to be in one year, two years, three years, fours years, etc. Then work towards them and stay focused.

Thanks so much for your great insights Pervaiz, and congratulations on your success!

Do you have a small-business success story you’d like to share with us? Please contact us here.

Starting a business out of your garage? Check out these insights!
You’ve heard about entrepreneurs who start their businesses in their garage and become true successes. What is their secret? Well, recently I found out about Pervaiz Lodhie. He started LEDtronics, Inc., www.ledtronics.com, in his garage with his wife, Almas, in 1983. 
Today, he has a very successful business headquartered in Torrance, California providing LED (light-emitting diode) products worldwide and is known as the pioneer of LED lighting. I interviewed Pervaiz to get some of his inside secrets, and here’s what he had to say:
Tell us how you started your LED lighting business.
When I started testing and packaging LED’s almost 40 years ago I was a junior partner of Data Display Products started by my elder brother, Qamar Lodhie. At that time, there were really no LED solutions to replace the issues people were having with the old technology, incandescent or filament light-bulbs such as very short life, using too much energy, high heat, higher failures in shock and vibration conditions, etc.
To solve these problems, I started creating and packaging LED lights to replace the old, outdated miniature incandescent bulbs as simply as possible. The LED lights were used in control panels, elevators, lighted push-button switches on aircraft and ships, and on control indicators in power plants.
As the LED technology improved, I continued to improve the packages to become more widely used, and I also created additional applications for the LEDs where higher intensities, more pure colors and wider viewing angles were needed.
It sounds like you created LEDtronics by using your expertise to solve important lighting problems your customers were having. With this in mind, what was the biggest challenge you faced starting your business, and what did public relations have to do with overcoming it?

About the Author: Melanie Rembrandt

Since our initial launch date, Melanie Rembrandt has been an integral part of the StartupNation team. As the founder of Rembrandt Communications®, LLC, www.rembrandtwrites.com, Melanie is one of the country's top, public-relations consultants, an SEO content strategist and a published [...]