Dream big, Achieve big!!!
“IF YOU’RE BORN POOR IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT, BUT IF YOU DIE POOR IT’S YOUR FAULT.” – Dhirubhai Ambani
We Indian’s like to daydream a lot. Don’t you agree? And our favorite daydreaming session is not being part of the family of Jeff Bezos or the Bill Gates or even the Lakshmi Mittal’s but it is with our own Ambani family, our country’s favourite rich dreamy people. They only live in a billion dollar house with 27 storeys, staff of 600 to maintain it, garage space for 168 cars, their own theatre and even it’s name is after a mythical island in Atlantic called ‘Antilia’. Their usual gifts consists of giving $62 million planes to wives. The daughter held $80 million shares when she was just 16. Ok, so now enough gushing. I kinda zoned into it.So, all this money and grandeur did not just come out of thin air. It was the hardwork of Dhirubhai Ambani who has made it possible for his future generations to live so lavishly. If he did it out of sheer hardwork and perseverance, others can achieve it too. Here is our example of the Indian startup which made it ginormous..
Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani opened his small eyes to the big world on 28 December, 1932 in a small district of Chorward in Junagarh, Gujrat. His father was a school teacher and his mother a homemaker and he had four siblings. His family had a limited source of income and lived in frugal conditions. Even among all this Dhirubhai had big dreams. He always told his mother to not to worry about money, he will get her lots of it. To help his family, he also set up a stall selling onion and potato fries during village fairs.
Coming to his education, Dhirubhai was not academically brilliant but he was a visionary. So no worries guys, there’s hope for us. He was also a brilliant leader. He defied the Junagarh’s Nawab ban and hoisted the national flag to celebrate the country’s independence. It was there when he gave his first public speech, inspiring people. He also joined the patriotic leaders who rebelled against the Nawab and wanted to join with India. Finally, the Nawab had to give up and fled to Pakistan and Junagarh became part of India. Dhirubhai had huge plans but he didn’t become a politician even when he was offered by others, as his plans were bigger. Dhirubhai couldn’t get to complete his education, even though he wanted to as his father’s health was deteriorating and family faced financial crisis. And after matriculation, he had to leave for Aden, Yemen to work.
So, Aden was one of the busiest ports of the world at that time and Dhirubhai got the job as a clerk at A. Besse & Co. which was a big trading firm there. Doing our jobs, we normally get used to the monotonous life and be done with it. But did Dhirubhai do that? The answer is a big NO!! He wanted to complete his education and he did that by learning from the work itself. He already was into business and here he got the opportunity. So, he learnt aspects of trading, imports, exports, sales and distribution. He went to markets and met many traders from different parts of the world. Here he learnt about currency trading. Though he wanted to participate, but he didn’t have enough money with him. So, he started working simultaneously in a Gujarati trading firm. Here also he didn’t stop learning. Like a sponge he absorbed everything from accounting, book-keeping, drafting legal documents and even shipping papers. So he finally started taking loans from friends and traders and finally entered speculative trading. He already had a flair for business and a presence of mind with him . What could stop him then. He was an instant success.
In 1954, he came back to India to get married to Kokilaben. On his return, the company recognised his talent and promoted him to an oil filing station. You must be thinking after promotion he would be satisfied. But our hero, though being a petrol pump attendant, was a dreamer, he now dreamed to own one oil refinery himself. His first son Mukesh was born in Aden on April, 1957. During the 1950’s, there began the Yemeni’s movement for Independence and opportunities for Indians started dwindling there. Most of his friend’s migrated to England but he shifted back to India.
With his wife and son, Dhirubhai came to Bombay to explore new opportunities. He was just 26 years old at the time and had huge dreams and plans to achieve them. India was then just implementing its second 5 year plan and Dhirubhai saw the opportunity for industrial growth. He didn’t want to open a small grocery or cloth shop. He had very little capital with him. So, he with his cousin Champaklal Damani started trading spices and other India commodities in bulk to his Arabian contacts with very little margin for himself. All the education he had accumulated earlier, he would start making use of it. We all fail to realize that everything we learn is useful to us, we just need to realize it. Don’t you remember Baba Ranchodas Chanchad’s teaching’s in 3 Idiots!! Well, Dhirubhai was the opportunistic one and used all his learning in his business. All his efforts paid off and orders started coming in giving birth to the ‘Reliance Commercial Corporation’. His first office was only a single 350 sq ft room with a telephone, tables and chairs.
Eyeing to world and wanting to achieve so much more, he wanted to shift to yarn trading. But his partner and cousin was afraid of taking so much risk and they finally parted ways in 1965. Dhirubhai started this also at a small-scale then shifting to bigger deals. After two very big deals, he got enough capital to set up a textile mill in Naroda, Ahmedabad. He came to check on the construction’s progress every weekend from Bombay. Between such a time, the valuation of rupees went down and he faced losses but he still didn’t stop and construction bearing the losses himself. He also found 35 men to work. Finally after completion in 1966, the work started in the mill. It’s a business, you can’t just set up your business and expect to earn profits the next day. His textiles finally came out of production but he couldn’t find any buyers. It was a huge setback to him. With so much money invested and so much at risk, he couldn’t just give up. So he stepped out on the road and directly approached the retailers cutting off the wholesalers and selling his stock to them. All his struggle paid off when a time came when the retailers would sell ‘only Vimal’, his cloth brand. It became the best-selling in the market. The profits grew and so did his company.
This was just his beginning and the rest is history. His company went on from a turnover of ₹70 crore in the mid 70s to ₹75,000 crore in 2002. It even went ahead to get an approval from the World Bank in 1972. His son Mukesh joined the company in 1981 and introduced further polyester fibres to the textiles along with entering into the petrochemicals, petroleum refining, oil & gas exploration and production.
Today the company has reached heights, that no one could imagine but which only Dhirubhai could dream. Dhirubhai breathed his last on 6 July, 2002 after having a major stroke. At that time he was ranked by the forbes as the 138th richest man with the estimate worth of $2.9 billion. A movie ‘Guru’ was also made based on his life where Abhishek Bachchan played his role.
Dhirubhai dreamed, and dreamed so big that he had to achieve them. It was not a fantasy but something which he really wanted with every fibre he had within. So he worked and worked hard absorbing everything around him which finally led him to achieving that dream he had as a child.