These stories hopefully will inspire you through your startup journey and will keep you motivated.
Written By: Mamta Chhikara
She started her career 30 years ago as an entrepreneur, selling eateries from a mobile cart on the Marina beach amidst all odds — battling a failed marriage, coping with her husband, a multiple addict, and taking care of two kids.
Today, she has overcome the hurdles and owns a chain of restaurants.
” I started my business with just two people. Now, there are 200 people working for me in my restaurants. My lifestyle has changed too. From travelling in a cycle rickshaw, I moved to auto rickshaws and now I have my own car. From 50 paise a day, my revenue has gone up to Rs 2 lakh a day.
The ‘Ficci entrepreneur of the year’ award is the culmination of all the hard work I have put in over the last 30 years. It came as a surprise as this is the first time I have received an award.
Till now, I had no time to think of what I was doing. But the award made me look back and relive the days that passed by. Now, my ambition is to build my Sandeepha brand.”
Advice to young entrepreneurs
Do not ever compromise on quality. Never lose your self-confidence. Believe in yourself and the product you are making. Third, always stick to what you know. When you employ people, you should know what you ask them to do.
[ Source Quora ]
Dhirubhai Ambani was the most enterprising Indian entrepreneur. His life journey is reminiscent of the rags to riches story. He is remembered as the one who rewrote Indian corporate history and built a truly global corporate group.
Dhirubhai Ambani alias Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani was born on December 28, 1932, at Chorwad, Gujarat, into a Modh family. His father was a school teacher. Dhirubhai Ambani started his entrepreneurial career by selling “bhajias” to pilgrims in Mount Girnar over the weekends.
After doing his matriculation at the age of 16, Dhirubhai moved to Aden, Yemen. He worked there as a gas-station attendant, and as a clerk in an oil company. He returned to India in 1958 with Rs 50,000 and set up a textile trading company.
In 1992, Reliance became the first Indian company to raise money in global markets, its high credit-taking in international markets limited only by India’s sovereign rating. Reliance also became the first Indian company to feature in Forbes 500 list.
Dhirubhai Ambani was named the Indian Entrepreneur of the 20th Century by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). A poll conducted by The Times of India in 2000 voted him “greatest creator of wealth in the century”.
Dhirubhai Ambani died on July 6, 2002, at Mumbai.
Must Watch Guru Movie to more about Dhirubhai Ambani - Tycoon of India From Rags to Riches.
The ‘Nirma’ success story of how an Indian Entrepreneur took on the big MNCs and rewrote the rules of business :
It was in 1969 that Dr. Karsanbhai Patel started Nirma and went on to create a whole new segment in the Indian domestic detergent market. During that time the domestic detergent market only had the premium segment and there were very few companies , mainly the MNCs, which were into this business.
Karsanbhai Patel used to make detergent powder in the backyard of his house in Ahmedabad and then carry out door to door selling of his hand made product. He gave a money back guarantee with every pack that was sold. Karsanbhai Patel managed to offer his detergent powder for Rs. 3 per kg when the cheapest detergent at that time was Rs.13 per kg and so he was able to successfully target the middle and lower middle income segment.
Sabki Pasand Nirma!
Nirma became a huge success and all this was a result of Karsanbhai Patel’s entrepreneurial skills.
The best case of – Give your consumer what he wants, when he wants, where he wants and at the price he wants, selling will be done quite automatically. This is the marketing ‘mantra’ of Nirma.
The company that was started in 1969 with just one man who used to deliver his product from one house to the other,today employs around 14 thousand people and has a turnover of more than $ 500 million. In 2004 Nirma’s annual sales were as high as 800000 tonnes.According to Forbes in 2005 Karsanbhai Patel’s net worth was $640 million and it’s going to touch the $1000 million mark soon.
Prem Ganapathy, was stranded at the bandra station,when the person accompanying him left him and ran away. Prem had no local acquaintances or knowledge of the language. Out of pity, a fellow Tamilian guided him to a temple and appealed worshipers to contribute money for his return ticket to Chennai.
Prem refused to go back and decided to work in Mumbai and started cleaning utensils in a restaurant. He appealed to his owner, to let him become a waiter as he was class 10 pass. The owner refused, because of regional politics and Prem bided his time till a neighbor hood dosa restaurant opened and offered him a job from a dishwasher to a tea boy.
Prem became a huge hit with the customers because of his excellent customer service, initiatives and relationship and brought business Rs. 1000 daily which was almost 3 times as compared to other tea boys. The life was good.
A customer made him an offer. He was planning to open a tea shop in Vashi in Mumbai. He wanted Prem to be his 50 – 50 partner where the owner would invest the money while Prem would run the shop. The shop started doing brisk business when the owner became greedy. It hurt him to share 50 % of the profit with Prem and he threw Prem out replacing him with an employee.
Prem was made of a different material and he was never going to be defeated. He took a small loan from his uncle and with his brother, opened his own tea stall. Unfortunately the neighbourhood residents objected. He then started a hand cart but that also did not work out. He found a spot and set up a south Indian stall. He did not know a thing about dosas and idli but learnt by observation, trial and error. The dosa stall was a huge hit and flourished during the 5 years from 1992-1997. But why was the tiny dosa stall was was so successful in spite of competition from ubiquitous eateries prevalent in Mumbai. According to Prem it was its hygiene, proper appearances of the waiters and fresh ingredients which stood out as a difference.
He saved a couple of lakhs of Rupees and instead of heading home he took the biggest risk of his life and opened a new shop near Vashi station and named it as Dosa Plaza. His Chinese plaza next to the Dosa Plaza flopped miserably and was shut down in 3 months. Undaunted, Prem realized some lessons from it. He applied those lessons in making Chinese cuisine in his dosas which worked very well.
He got passionate and invented a variety of dosas with Chinese style like American Chopsuey, Schezwan Dosa, Paneer chilly, Spring roll dosa etc. The 108 types of Dosas in his menu gets him a lot of publicity.
A chance encounter with a customer who was part of the team setting up a food court in a mall in New Bombay advised him to take a stall at the food court and again Prem was ready and willing to grow and expand. His vision was to grow by better offerings and better customer service. He also went to ad agencies to create the brand identity including the logo, brands, menu card, waiters dress etc.
He started getting a lot of offers for franchising and had to find out the meaning of franchising and its modus operandi. Dosa Plaza currently has 26 outlets and 5 of them are company owned. It has 150 employees and a turnover of 5 crore. All the branches are connected and networked and there are training managers and proper manuals to maintain standard and uniform product and services.
Ramesh Babu, the barber who became a millionaire, did exactly this when he was shaping his dazzling destiny. Stories of personal perseverance, the ones where heroes overcome severe obstacles and achieve dizzying heights of success, have been around since the beginning of time but they never get old. They inspire us and inflame our passions, making us believe we too can follow suit.
Ramesh Babu bought a Maruti Van with his meagre savings in 1994. By 2004, he had a fledgling car rental business with seven regular cars. In 2014 he has a fleet of 200 cars. What is even more extraordinary is the 75 luxury cars on the fleet- a range of Mercedes, BMW’s, Audi’s, five and ten seater luxury vans and, his ultimate pride, a Rolls Royce.
Building a successful business:
From 1994 onward I seriously got into the car rental business. The first company I rented it out to was Intel because that’s where Nandini akka was working and she helped arrange it. Gradually, I started adding more cars to the fleet. Till 2004, I only had about five to six cars. I was focused on getting the saloon business off the ground, so this was not my priority. The business was not doing well as the competition at this level was intense. Everyone had small cars. I thought of getting into luxury cars because that is something that no one else was doing.
On Taking Risks:
When I was buying my first luxury car, in 2004, everyone told me that I was making a big mistake. Forty lakhs in 2004 for a car, even a luxury car, was a very big deal. I was extremely apprehensive, but simply had to take the chance. I told myself that I would sell off the car if worse came to worst. Fortunately for me, the risk paid off remarkably. No other car rental service had luxury cars of this stature. There were ones who had purchased second hand models and the conditions of those cars were far from pristine. I was the first person in Bangalore to invest in a brand new luxury car and it did very well.
Naina has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Delhi university and an MBA from Harvard Business school. In fact, Kidwai was the first Indian woman to graduate from Harvard Business School.
She started her career with ANZ Grindlays . Presently, she is also serving as a non-executive director on the board of Nestle SA. Kidwai is also global advisor at Harvard Business school.
Indian government conferred Padma Shri award on Naina for her contributions in the field of Trade and Industry.
[ NDTV ]
Hope you find this post about ” successful Indian entrepreneurs who started with nothing and then made an empire” useful and inspiring.
Post Courtesy: Mamta Chhikara