Nirma’s Creator, Karsanbhai’s Story is Lesson for All Entrepreneurs
Detergents and washing powders are inevitable products in our daily life. However, nobody took the chance to manufacture this product in his own way and sell at a very affordable price from villages to towns and to big cities as well before Dr Karsan Bhai Patel. If you are an entrepreneur you should read this story. Yes, guys, he is none other than the owner of NIRMA detergent powder. “Washing Powder Nirma” the popularity of this television advertisement was huge at our childhood age. The story of Nirma is one of the biggest success stories in India’s entrepreneurship history. Let’s see how did he achieve this success.
In 1969 Dr Karsanbhai Patel was a chemist at the Gujarat Government’s Department of Mining and Geology. He manufactured this phosphate-free Synthetic yellow Detergent Powder in his own backyard and started selling it locally. At that time the price of his powder was Rs. 3.50 per Kg. when HUL’s surf was priced at Rs. 15 per Kg. He started packaging the product in his 10x10ft room and every day he used to sell 15 to 20 packets on his way to office by using a bicycle. After losing his daughter Nirupama in an accident, Dr Patel named this powder “Nirma”. Soon, the popularity of this reasonable detergent powder became very high in different villages of Gujarat.
In 1972, he resigned from his job and dared to open a shop at Ahmadabad. The demand for his product was increasing and he hired people to sell his products in different nook and corner of Gujarat. However, he couldn’t capture the markets in other cities and it had an impact on his sales graph. Due to payment issues with retailers, he stopped selling the product and asked his employees to stop delivery. It was a pretty surprise decision to all the competitors as well as retailers.
In 1975, India’s communication system was changing drastically and people started purchasing televisions for the entertainment. Dr Patel invested his all profitable amount for Television Advertisement of his brand “Nirma”. After that the history was created, that TV advertising left a huge impact on every Indian middle-class houses and demand of the products reached sky high all over the country. Then he made one T&C that Nirma won’t supply its product in credits. They started the business with cash on delivery system.
By 1985, Nirma washing powder had become one of the most popular, household detergents in many parts of the country. By 1999, Nirma was a major consumer brand.
Karsanbhai Patel, an entrepreneur and philanthropist of Gujarat, started Nirma as a one-man operation. Today, Nirma has over 18,000 employees and a turnover of over Rs. 7000 crores.
They (shares) reminds me and my family of Gujarati asmita (pride)—of how a Gujarati manush (man) took on a multinational giant and showed to the world that an Indian enterprise was no less.
Guys, Karsanbhai will be remembered for his innovation and ideas but one thing we always fail to catch during reading the success stories and that is execution. From an entrepreneur’s perspective, you should see Karsanbhai’s execution on his innovation. You may face ups and downs but the execution on inspiration can become bigger than innovation. Be positive, let’s dare to be an entrepreneur, be a DOER!!