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  • Saurabh Bhandari

Petrol pump employee to a BILLIONAIRE: Dhirubhai Ambani.



More than anything, Dhirubhai Ambani will be remembered as the person who shook the common man of India out of their ignorance and made them change their long held beliefs about trade and business.


He was a common man with not so common vision and the hunger to to see his dreams turn to reality.

A country becomes great not by itself but by the people who build it. Essentially, the more deeply values like freedom, adventure and entrepreneurship are ingrained within a country’s people the more progressive and prosperous it is. Countries like USA, Germany and Japan are the best examples and China in the past few decades has done a tremendous job in joining the ranks of highly entrepreneurial nations.


Where does our own country stand? Let’s just say we are still busy playing the catching up game with other countries and we still have a long way to go.

Our society for a long time had bad opinions about business and businessmen in general. We Indians obsess over movies like no others and movies too played an important role in showing that businesses and businessmen are not good and are only greedy behind getting lands of innocent farmers by unethical means. That was the reason why Tata’s and Birla’s are the only two prominent business houses existing in our country.


Dhirubhai Ambani was solely responsible in chasing away that long held misconception among the people and fired up the dreams of millions of common men and women of building an enterprise larger than their own life.


Dhirubhai who started his career from the ground up with no fancy education as a petrol pump employee then as an accountant, had higher aspirations and never let his lack of good education or financial support stop him from dreaming about building his own business.


What made him one of the greatest businessman of India,


He prioritized learning over everything: He was of those rare businessmen who knew the importance of learning. While he was employed at a petrol bunk in Yemen, his interests in learning trading made him take up another job at a trading firm. The experience he would gain here proved to be instrumental in his success. How many of us would want to invest time to learn the tricks of the trade before taking the leap into entrepreneurship and how I want such people to know that its plain foolishness to do so.


He knew money like no other: Part of the reason why Dhirubhai Ambani was successful as a businessman was because he knew that cash was the lifeline of any business and he was a champion of managing and rerouting money within his businesses to get the maximum return out of it.


He was a people’s man: Come to think of it, at a time when trade and business in India were held by their neck by the primitive economic policies which hindered the growth of industries and commerce- building a 750Cr empire was no joke. All of this success can be rightly attributed to Dhirubhai Ambani’s ability of influencing people and becoming one among them. Be it the employees, or the government officials or the shareholders everybody loved him. Sure a business can exist but for it grow into a giant, having extraordinary people skills is a must.


He was a master thinker: Dhirubhai Ambani was one of the finest strategic thinker. After he got a strong hold of conducting his trades in the commodities of synthetic yarns, spices etc., he went the backward integration route and targeted the manufacturing of synthetic yarns and opened their own mills. The next step was to get control of the raw materials which go into producing yarn and ventured into petrochemicals and refining. Getting into petroleum refining was a game changer for Reliance industries and Dhirubhai Ambani is the person who had that vision and executed on it.


More than anything, Dhirubhai Ambani will be remembered as the person who shook the common man of India out of their ignorance and made them change their long held beliefs about trade and business.


He was a common man with not so common vision and the hunger to to see his dreams turn to reality.


We need more such common men in our country, who will rise from the earth and shoot for the stars. Men/women who will inspire million others by their journey and give them the reason and the fuel to fire their dreams to aim for the stars.


I sometimes question myself, when a person like Dhirubhai Ambani was still able to build such an enterprise during the time when the governments and economic policies were not in favor of traders and businessmen- what he could have accomplished if he belonged to our times?


Times, when the government is doing everything to support businesses, all those restrictions gone and the power of social media which has made reaching out to your customers so easy. I’m sure he would have built a trillion dollar company before even Apple reached there. Now that he’s not among us brings up a larger question,


And that is,


What are we doing with all these facilities available to us?


We... the ones with fancy degrees, utilizing social media to only post pictures of our own and dismissing any discussions about economy/business being boring.


Jobs and salaries are mere comforts. When will we take the initiative and enjoy being uncomfortable and dream about building the next Reliance industries of India?


When…?

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Saurabh Bhandari

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