The decision to deviate from the well-beaten path and start one’s own enterprise is a tough one. It involves a lot of courage, patience and dedication to just start a business, let alone be successful at it. During tough times – and tough times there will be – it helps to know that there are others who went through situations similar to ones you might be facing right now. It helps to know that someone else beat the odds and became successful in their venture, because it means that it is possible to do so. Browntape brings you a custom dose of inspiration that will help you during those tough times of self-doubt. These stories of famous entrepreneurs have been hand-picked to make you realise that with perseverance and smart work, you can be successful at anything you do, be it starting your own ecommerce company or excelling in the online marketplace.
Let these guys inspire you
1. Verghese Kurien
The ‘Father of the White Revolution’ is the first on our list. Dr. Verghese Kurien was the man with the plan which, in one stroke, created one of the most loved and trusted brands of India, while providing income and support to tens of thousands of families. He also elevated India’s status as a milk deficient country to the largest milk producer in the world, surpassing the US in 1998. Amul was founded in 1946, as a cooperative body, which today is jointly owned by around three million milk producers in Gujarat. Dr. Kurien came to the now famous village of Anand in 1949, where he was assigned as a government employee, with the intention of going back to Mumbai as soon as possible. Within days, his plans changed. Realising the immense potential for production and distribution of milk and milk products that this place provided, Dr. Kurien literally spent the rest of his life creating and honing a nationwide movement that brought social and economic development for milk producers all over the country.
Things to learn: Always be on the lookout for opportunities. They find you in places you least expect.
2. Samuel Walton
The founder of the iconic retail chain, WalMart, grew up during the Great Depression in America. Doing odd chores to support himself and his family in his youth, including delivering milk and newspapers, waiting tables and selling magazine subscriptions, Samuel Walton knew the meaning of a hard life. After all that, he fought in the WWII, came back and started operating a tiny grocery store. He was 26 at that time. Using innovative ideas to market and sell his products, he soon took a loan and opened another store. The first WalMart opened in 1962, and today it is the largest retail chain around the world. It has over 11,000 stores in 55 countries, is the world’s largest company by revenue, and the world’s biggest private employer.
Things to learn: Horizontal development. Consistency. Marketing strategies.
3. Laxmanrao Kirloskar
Here is a story of one of modern India’s first entrepreneurs. Laxmanrao Kirloskar was born on 20th June 1869 in a small village in the Belgaum district. As a youngster, he had two passions – painting and mechanical objects. Against his father’s wishes, he joined the Sir J J School of the Arts, only to discover that he was partially color-blind. He did not give up after this severe blow to his dreams, and started studying mechanical drawing instead. Laxmanrao started his entrepreneurial career with a small bicycle dealership. He strongly believed in industrialization of agriculture, and using his prowess as a mechanical engineer and a businessman, he started manufacturing iron ploughs, the first Kirloskar products. Establishing a small manufacturing unit in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, he started the Kirloskar Group. During those days, he faced severe opposition from superstitious farmers who believed that iron was poison for the soil. Laxmanrao patiently and deliberately managed to change the hearts and minds of people. Today, the Kirloskar Group has sales exceeding $3.5 billion, with exports to more than 70 countries in Asia, Middle East, Europe and Africa. Not only was Laxmanrao a great industrialist, but also a social reformer. He worked hard to abolish customs such as untouchability and superstition. His dream was to build a self-sustainable community for his employees, and he realised it with the formation of Kirloskarwadi, a place where he started the Kirloskar Brothers Limited in 1910.
Things to learn: Humility. Not giving up against all odds.
4. Steve Jobs
Arguably, no list of famous entrepreneurs is complete without a mention of this guy! Steve Jobs has become an icon in his own right, due to his incredibly charismatic and design driven innovations that have made Apple what it is today. Everyone has heard stories of how Apple started in Jobs’ garage, with one computer prototype. What began there, soon became not just a company, but a philosophy. Every product that Apple rolls down has this design philosophy ingrained within it. We all know of the Apple-Samsung marketing wars. But that does not define either of these enterprises. What Apple created, developed and sustained had the power to change the world, and it did. From desktop computing to mobile computing, Apple changed the world. Steve Jobs, a college dropout who crashed in his friends’ dorms and attended lectures of courses out of pure interest, ended up becoming a model entrepreneur. Also, his autobiography is arguably every entrepreneur’s bible. Oh also, this man survived being fired from his own company, near bankruptcy and cancer.
Things to learn: Product comes first. Everything else later. If you make a great product that is truly designed to serve a customer, it will be successful.
5. Sachin and Binny Bansal
The Bansal duo, the men behind India’s most popular online marketplace, have an amazing success story. Driven by the desire to create a completely indigenous online marketplace for India that could compete with giants like Amazon and eBay, these two IIT Delhi batchmates ended up creating an online retail revolution in India. Today Flipkart is one of the top ten most visited websites in India. They sell nearly 10 products per minute, and are well set to achieve their target of annual sales worth Rs.1 billion.
Things to learn: Recognize potential markets. Do not be afraid to be David to a Goliath.
These are five entrepreneurs from diverse fields and eras that we think will prove to be an inspiration to you. For more information and queries about e-commerce in India, get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading multi-channel inventory management system providers, and we are always happy to help.