Much before Flipkart tapped into the retail industry, a group of people (V.S. Sudhakar, Hari Menon, V.S. Ramesh, Vipul Parekh and Abhinay Choudhary,) fuelled with passion and experience on failure post the dot com bubble founded Big Basket, the country’s first online shopping platform which revolutionised the way people bought groceries. Just like how this platform is unique in every way, the story of how Big Basket came to be is also quite a tale.
When you hear of startups being created by people below the age of 30 and with no experience, your heart usually goes out to them. However, when you look at people on the other side of 50, with more experience in failing than succeeding, trying to start something new, you wonder what the future looks like for them. When the dot com bubble bust, a lot of people struggled hard to find their footing in an increasingly competitive world.
The founders of Big Basket, on the other hand, decided to use the experience they got post the failure and decided to create a website that hasn’t been done before. The five founders of this platform had their first experience in the e commerce side when they created Fabmart.com (an online platform to sell books, toys and groceries) in the year 1999. Very quickly, however, they realised not just India, but the rest of the world wasn’t ready for the online world yet.
Very soon, Fabmart merged with a brick and mortar grocery chain and by 2006, the founders sold Fabmart for a lump sum. By 2011, the team thought of revaluating and trying their hand at something new again and despite all the criticism they received for this idea, the founders decided if they had to do anything, the time was now. It was a good thing they made this call because it was exactly at this time that the smartphone boom was happening and literally everything was available with the click of a button (except for groceries, of course!)
The journey to success
Post securing the first round of investment ($ 10 million from Ascent Capital,) the Big Basket team decided the time had come to expand its reach. In a country as diverse as India, perhaps the biggest challenges an online delivery platform like this faces is to ensure they sustain the model despite all adversities. After putting in dedicated research for five years, the Big Basket team realised the best way to make their presence felt was by providing personalised service to people across all cities.
With shopping habits varying from city to city, one of the major reasons for the success rates of Big Basket is the amount of attention to detail the founders paid. From increasing the leafy greens numbers in Mumbai to supplying a special kind of rice (called Sona Masoori) in Bangalore to going so far as to provide eight different kinds of eggplants to picky customers, Big Basket ensured their quality was nothing short of perfection. To improve the customers experience, the team ensures near time perfect deliveries in most of its orders and if by chance the delivery has been delayed, customers get a discount depending on the delay.
Despite growing as well as they had, Big Basket still had a lot of tough competition in the forms of other startups like LocalBanya, Sequoia backed PepperTap and SoftBank funded Grofers. The time had come for the team to up its game by securing more than double the amount of funding that it got during the initial rounds, Big Basket crushed all its competition.
The next few years saw Big Basket grow from just an idea to being present in 25 cities with a combination of 150 million and looking at the size of the growth, the founders decided the time had come to bring in a partner. By zeroing in on Alibaba (China based e commerce platform,) the team worked on mapping a growth chart for the next two years!
Big Basket is not just a dream but a well thought out plan that attracted and made its presence felt in the larger cities and went on to grow in the smaller cities by on boarding Shah Rukh Khan as a brand ambassador. By investing money into getting warehouses and increasing the delivery output, Big Basket plans on not only retaining its post as the largest grocery delivery platform in India but all over the world as well!
Dhirubhai Ambani And Success Secrets Of The Man Behind Reliance
Dhirubhai Ambani and the creation of Reliance Industries is a real life fairytale. A rags to riches tale about a man who was desperate to push himself out of the drudgery, Dhirubhai built Reliance from scratch. The son of a school teacher from a tiny village in Gujarat, Ambani worked every day to make sure he did not live the life his parents did. Through overcoming struggles and hard work one day at a time, Dhirubhai Ambani rose from a one bedroom chawl to having a personal valuation of over $ 3 billion. Ranked as the 138th richest person in the world by Forbes in 2002, these success lessons from Ambani are worth noticing!
1. Always think of how to be revolutionary
One of the reasons Dhirubhai Ambani was able to make Reliance Industries so great was because of how he kept looking for the next big thing. When he was working in Yemen at the age of 16, he realised oil as a field would work really well in India. However, oil wasn’t the only field in which Ambani excelled. One of the other steps he took to be a revolutionary leader was making communication through cell phones not just a luxury, but an affordable commodity. Known for tapping into fields which people didn’t think a viable source of revenue, Ambani started turning one idea after another to a massive success! If he had not thought of tapping into unexplored ideas, he would not have become the forebringer of change in India!
2. Think big, start small
One of the primary rules Ambani lived by was to think big, but start small. While Reliance is a massive conglomerate today, it had a very different beginning. The first Reliance corporate office was a 350 square feet room. Armed with one telephone, one table, three chairs and two office assistants, the first office was a partnership between Ambani and his cousin, Champaklal Damani. Despite the failure of the partnership, Ambani refused to stop working on making his dreams come true. A year later, undaunted by the failure, Ambani founded Reliance Industries. If he had gone all out and started the Reliance Industries from the very word go, success may not have been the same had it not been for Ambani testing the waters first!
3. You can learn the most from the risks you take
Some of the greatest lessons you can learn in life is by taking risks. Just like Ambani said, “The person who doesn’t take risks will not have major growth in their life.” From the very moment he came to Mumbai only with Rs. 500 and a family to take care of, he realised things won’t go forward without taking risks. If he hadn’t taken the chance and gone through with the idea of starting his own company, Reliance would not be what it is today!
4. Bet on the people around you
The people you have in your team are there because you want them to be a part of your business.They are working with you because they believe in your leadership skills. Dhirubhai realised early on in life that he had to give the people on his team a reason to believe in him and in the company. The philosophy of “arm around the shoulder type leader” was made popular by him and with time, this has become a widely popular form of leadership. Furthermore, not only did he believe in his employees, he also made sure his employees had safety nets in place for them when things went wrong. Every great leader reaches greatness because of the amount of trust they place in the people around them.
4. Do not worry about change
Every time Ambani saw things changing, he knew he would have to adapt with the times, otherwise things do not go the right way. If Ambani hadn’t realised the best way to make a difference in the communications world was by making incoming calls free, Reliance would have been on quite a different path. Embrace that things will evolve constantly and the only way you as a leader can grow, is by keeping with the times.
5. Create a niche for yourself
One of the reasons Ambani is one of the greatest leaders in the Country is because of how he discovered a niche for himself. In a life which spanned over a period of 69 years, he managed to hold onto his ideas and managed to turn each idea into a success. From the oil industry to the communications world, Dhirubhai Ambani monopolised markets which people did not think were viable industries at the time. The niche he created for himself was so strong and great, no one had the guts to penetrate, leaving Reliance as the sole leader in these fields for the longest time!
Dhirubhai Ambani’s story is an inspirational one. He led an inspirational life and every choice he took, was for the betterment of the Country as a whole! If Dhirubhai Ambani has taught you any other lessons, comment and let us know!
Famous People Who Turned Their Failures Into Success Stories
Struggles and failures are a part of everyday life. However, it is how you deal with the failures which makes you a great person. Every great entrepreneur has had their fair share of lows before they rose up stronger than before. From Richard Branson to Dhirubhai Ambani and to Steve Jobs, every great success story started off with nothing. Here is our list of entrepreneurs who went through major failures before becoming some of the most famous people in the world!
1. Arianna Huffington
Arianna Huffington had one dream in life and one major drawback for achieving the dream: she didn’t know how to speak the English language. Everyone around Huffington thought her dream was going to be just that. Language was a major hindrance for her and even when she got into Cambridge, life wasn’t easy. She had to learn the language by reading and listening to everything in English and slowly, by speaking in the language she wasn’t sure of, Huffington started overcoming her fear.
While not a direct failure, her lack of the knowledge definitely acted as a major roadblock. Coming from a life where she and her mother had to work to make ends meet, Huffington led a constant life of struggle. Despite working through the day, Arianna still wanted to overcome her inabilities by working on her English pronunciation skills. From not knowing the language to mastering it so much that she could write her first book, The Female Woman, Huffington’s life saw an inspirational rise.
Even through all the roadblocks and mind blocks, Huffington pushed past her struggles to become the CEO and founder of the extremely famous Huffington Post. Even after that, the struggles just refused to stop. From fainting out of sheer exhaustion to realising sleep was important, Huffington addressed very issue with skill and talent. A woman who has grown through all the hurdles thrown at her in life, Arianna Huffington has shown that no block is too great and every barrier can be overcome!
2. Steve Jobs
More than a decade ago, when Jobs released the first ever iPhone, he changed the way the world used smartphones. While the average audience was quite taken in by this cool new toy, there were more skeptical people than those who were in favour. How can a company which didn’t have any experience in dealing with the production of phones, make waves with something like an iPhone? However, the success of the phone was greater than what people would have expected and overnight, the future of Apple and Jobs changed forever.
Before Jobs made Apple the massive success it is today, he had more than his fair share of failures. Dropping out of college and with no formal education, he led quite an exciting life. Despite all the rejections he faced in various phases of his life, Jobs never stopped working on making his dream come true.
From hiring John Sculley as the CEO of Apple (a move which brought the Company down,) to launching various failed products and to not knowing where to market the Next Computer, Jobs led an interesting journey to the top. Today, Apple has a valuation of more than a trillion dollars and with one impressive innovation after another, everything produced by Apple is one of a kind. Ironically, the fact that he was ousted from Apple didn’t stop Jobs from growing. He took this so hard, he considered this as one of the major failures in his life. However, despite all the things which went wrong, Jobs always said he was who he was because of the failures.
3. Walt Disney
When Walt Disney started his journey as a caricature artist, a lot of people told him he just didn’t have it in him to make a mark in the world. However, he stuck through with his creations and started weaving stories with the creations he made. While Mickey Mouse was the first ever caricature he designed that became famous, his other creations became just as famous in the coming years.
Despite being fired by only a junior editor from his first job, Disney worked on his skills so much, he slowly but surely started making a mark. Did you know that when Walt Disney first created Mickey Mouse as a character, he wanted to name it Mortimer Mouse? Mickey Mouse was also drawn as an aftermath of a deal gone wrong. One of the first animated series Disney was working on, called Oswald The Lucky Rabbit, fell through as a result of a disagreement between Universal Studios and Disney.)
The only way Disney knew to deal with the situation was by drawing out his pain! However, had it not been for his wife’s timely intervention, the world would not have fallen in love with one of the most adorable characters of Disney’s history, Mickey Mouse! When Walt Disney died, his personal valuation stood at a whopping $ 35 million, making him one of the richest men in the world, without the shadow of a doubt.
4. Richard Branson
Richard Branson, a serial entrepreneur and now the 5th richest man in the world, also had his fair share of troubles. Branson had the business selling streak from a very young age. At the age of 16, he started his own magazine called Student. While the magazine did really well, it also set the stone for his record label, Virgin Records. However, despite the record label taking off in the first few years, trouble started brewing. Without giving up, Branson kept thinking of how to make the most of what he had.
It was only when a flight of his got cancelled on the way to Virgin Island, that inspiration struck Branson. From selling tickets worth $ 29, to redefining the way people flew, a cancelled flight was quite literally Branson’s ticket to freedom. With people not liking the clothes offered by his clothing brand and a record label which failed to succeed, Branson refused to give up. Everything Branson did over the years was to ensure that nothing he did was without enthusiasm. So much so that he wanted the entire world to experience what he felt when he lost his virginity!
Failure is a part and parcel of life. There is nothing that is truly stopping you from achieving your dreams. Stop thinking about what was done and lost and start thinking about how to make a difference in your life. If you think we missed out on any other stories like these, comment and let us know!
Why Is Risk Taking A Stepping Stone To Success
Risk taking and entrepreneurship almost go hand in hand. Everytime you start and stop yourself from achieving the impossible, think of what your idols did and look at how they overcame their roadblocks. From Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg and to Jeff Bezos, everyone has had their share of troubles and disparities. However, it was only because they decided to take risks and move out of their comfort zone that they could become the successes they are today. If you still aren’t convinced, here’s why you should definitely take risks to do better!
1. Hidden opportunities come to light
Often times, taking risks is looked at as a negative thing. While the risks you take may not really pan out the way you want them to, the end result is always a good one. Take, for example, the story of Oprah Winfrey. If she hadn’t decided to make a move and jump out of the life she was used to, there was no way she could have become one of the most successful women entrepreneurs in the world today! Every opportunity she saw, she took. Everything happening in life was a lesson worth learning and this was one of the primary ways that Oprah jumped
2. Taking risks has a certain order
While taking risks may seem like an ad hoc and a spur of the moment decision, it really isn’t. There is a certain order to the madness and if you plan everything perfectly, then taking the risk is worth all the effort. Do your homework, understand the situations and get your bearings in order. Only after you have all your i’s dotted and t’s crossed, can you see what the end result of taking risks looks like!
3. There is nothing scarier than doing nothing
From Steve Jobs to Travis Kalanick and to Mark Zuckerberg, every successful businessman has taught one important thing. Doing nothing doesn’t push you forward but keeps you rooted in the same place, with no growth happening. Putting yourself in situations you did not expect not only helps you deal with the future, but will also help you overcome your fears in a way you thought wasn’t possible. For years, society has been telling women they cannot do anything, that their position is only in the kitchen. If an entire gender hadn’t rebelled and said no, they had to do things their way, change wouldn’t have happened. Defy the norms. Show people you can do what you want and make sure you always stand out. No matter what.
4. Risks help you get over your fears
One of the most common roadblocks to you achieving your success is fear. The more vulnerable and fearful you are, the more you realise you can’t achieve you want. “Success in life comes from taking risks,” Push yourself to move away from the fear and reach a point where taking risks seem not only fun, but worth it in the long run!
5. Embrace your failures
Like Arianna Huffington said, “failure is not the opposite of success but a stepping stone to success.” Learn to live with your failures and accept that whatever happens, happens for the right reasons. Deal with all the lemons life throws at you and always know that you can turn them into a really delicious lemonade! Just like all the extremely successful entrepreneurs who have quite literally slammed the door on failure.
Often times in life, you tend to stop yourself from achieving the goals because you are terrified of going the extra mile. When you think of how the grass is greener for the other person, take a moment to think about how they got to that point. If you think we missed out on any other reasons as to why taking risks is important, comment and let us know!
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