Mukesh Ambani is the richest man in India and with a fortune worth over $22 billion, one of the richest men in the world. He is the Chairman and CEO of Reliance Industries Limited, which is perhaps the most successful Indian private sector company, and a triumph of true entrepreneurship against the odds.
Ambani had to struggle to get to where he is now. He owes a lot to the foundation built by his father, the legendary Dhirubhai Ambani, but is was Mukesh who built the $100 billion structure, that is Reliance Industries. What are the business lessons that you can learn from his life and career?
Mukesh Ambani: Go For It!
Mukesh Ambani is after all, the son of the biggest “doer” India has known, Dhirubhai. Mukesh is a lot like his father was. He goes for it, tries to reach out for the impossible. Back in the 1990s, Reliance was a solid company, but not a particularly large one, and nowhere important globally. Mukesh decided to change things. He went for it. Taking on a huge leverage in the form of bank loans that could have taken his business away from him and bankrupted him, he took his chances and built one of the world’s largest petrochemical refineries at Jamnagar in Gujarat, which is estimated to be worth over $6 billion. That single act put Reliance on the world stage and Mukesh has never looked back since.
Promise Less, Deliver More!
Mukesh Ambani doesn’t talk much or promise much, unlike some of his counterparts. While others talk, he delivers. He has delivered returns to his original shareholders that are as much as 100x. This is unprecedented in India. All established companies shake in their boots when Mukesh Ambani enters a new business area that was so far dominated by them. Ambani’s forays in India’s telecom sector have scared so many of the entrenched participants.
Do it Yourself!
Mukesh Ambani trusts no one except for himself and his able lieutenants. He does not trust the government, does not believe in any politician, moves away when someone approaches, offering to help. Mukesh does not trust anyone to do things for him. He does it himself. He built his empire, which is estimated to be worth around $100 billion today, all by himself, with the force of his personality. No quarters asked, none given – that’s Ambani style.
Never Lose Your Cool
There have been times in Mukesh’s life when he was truly up against it. When his father suffered a severe paralytic attack when Mukesh was still in his early 20s, nobody gave Reliance a chance. But Mukesh stuck at it and built a magnificent structure over the foundation built by his father. Even much later when his brother Anil Ambani decided to part ways and take away many companies that were created by Mukesh with him in the bargain, Mukesh did not lose his cool. He stayed calm and built upon what he had left, and today he is in a league of his own.
Mukesh has a habit of religiously going through the technology section in business papers, hunting for new investment opportunities in India’s technology startups. He has built quite a portfolio for himself this way, his eye for what is to follow in the future is well regarded by one and all. And he is intensely ambitious. Ambani once said, “Today I see a billion people as a billion potential consumers, an opportunity to generate value for them and to make a return for myself”.
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