Dhirubhai Ambani is the founder of Reliance Industries Limited, India’s largest petrochemical and textile sector giant.
Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani famously known as “Dihrubhai Ambani” was born in a Modh baniya family to Hirachand Ambani and Jamanaben in the village of Chorwad in the district of Junagarh in Gujarat.
He always had a mindset of doing Business rather than doing a job. Also right from his school days he didn’t had any interest in formal education and he was always trying to create some kind of business. Once, during his school days he bought some oil cans from wholesaler and sold them in weekly market. Later he started selling Pakodas to pilgrims of Mount Girnar, as he always believed in Business.
As his father was unwell and unable to work, he insisted Dhirubhai to take responsibility of house. So his brother (Ramnikbhai) arranged a job for him in Aden. At Aden in Yemen, he took up his first job as a clerical job at A. Besse & Co, one of the largest transcontinental trading firm.
Curious to learn the tricks and tactics of the trade, he started working simultaneously for a Gujarati trading firm. There he learnt accounting, book keeping and preparing shipping papers and documents which helped him a lot in his business career.
And also acquired the skills of dealing with banks and insurance companies.This shows that he believed more in developing skills than education.
After Two Years working at Aden for A. Besse and Co. his was promoted to manager but he refused and came back to India for starting his own business.
He always believed in doing business and contribute in growth and development of his country . But his father never supported him for doing business because his father failed many times in business and pleaded to never do business.
Soon after coming back to India he started trading spices, sugar, jaggery, betel nuts and such products to Gulf Emirates under the name Reliance Commercial Corporations. He always focused on low profits, high volumes and rich quality.
He soon shifted to yarn trading, which though involved high opportunities with high level of risk but he still dared to start yarn trading. Starting on a small scale, he soon made big deals in yarn trading as being elected a director of the Bombay Yarn Merchants Association.
His futuristic look and ability to judge helped him crack two most heavy deals in the yarn trading that earned him the large capital required for his future plan of establishing, manufacturing units for Reliance Textiles. And soon he settled up a textile mill in Naroda, Ahmedabad in 1996.
Every weekend, he used to fly from Bombay to Ahmedabad just to check on the progress of the factory and troubleshoot any problems faced by the workers. His main aim was to produce the finest quality nylon in the quickest way and in the largest quantity.
A drop in the valuation of the rupees in 1996 globally risen the project costs. But being a Risk taker still he tripled the workforce to fasten the building of the factory.
By August 1996, the construction work finished and the equipment and machineries were being installed to meet the September 1 deadline of starting with his Nylon production.
By January 1967, his dreams started to come true as the production of his finest quality of Nylon begun; but as the company was new it had no buyers in the market as the wholesalers refused to buy fabric from Reliance.
Not the one to accept defeat, he stepped out on the road and started selling his finest quality nylon directly to retailers. His gutsy behavior and daring attitude impressed everyone and soon the market for ‘Vimal’, the name of his finest fabric grew and started expanding. And in no time, it became the best-selling fashion fabric.
Increased demand for his fabric led to increase in sales and greater profits. With the excess money, he started expanding his mills by adding new machineries and better facilities for his workers.
Once his factory faced tremendous losses due to cyclone in Ahemdabad, and experts suggested that it would atleast take 3 months to recover the factory losses, but Dhirubhai completed it in 3 weeks with same budget.
By 1972, Reliance became huge and thriving. Three years later, it received an award of excellence from the World Bank, as a fact that he speeded the upgradation and expansion of all plant operations in India in very short period of time.
In 1975, a Technical Team from the World Bank visited the Reliance Textiles Manufacturing unit. This unit has the rare distinction of being certified as “Excellent infrastructure than developed countries standard” at that period.
In 1981, his elder son, Mukesh Ambani joined the business and in 1983, his younger son, Anil Ambani joined the business.
Over the period of time, the Reliance diversified into many other sectors, such as telecommunications, information technology, energy, power, retail, textiles, infrastructure services, capital markets,logistics and much more.
Reliance was the first Indian company to get featured in Forbes Top 500 list.
Today, it has a market capitalization of ₹890 billion(US$13 billion) and net assets worth ₹1,800 billion(US$26 billion). Reliance Group operates in over 20,000 towns and 450,000 villages in India, and too in abroad.
Awards and Recognitions
- 1996, 1998 and 2000– Featured among Power 50- the most powerful peoples in Asia by Aisaweek magazine.
- In June 1998 – “Dean’s Medal” by The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, for setting up an outstanding example of leadership. Dhirubhai Ambani was the first Indian to get Wharton School Dean’s Medal.
- In November 2000, Conferred as “Man of the 20th Century” award by FICCI in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the growth and development of the chemical industry in India.
- “Greatest Creator of Wealth in the Centuries” a the poll conducted by TOI in 2000.
- In August 2001– ET Awards for Corporate Excellence for Lifetime Achievement.
- In October 2011- Awarded the ABLF Global Asian Award at the Asian Business Leadership Forum.
- In January 2016- Awarded “Padma Vibhushan”.
Takeaways From his Biography
- Dream and Dream big, but dream with your eyes open.
- Money is not a product by itself, it’s just a byproduct, so don’t chase it .
- Be a Risk Taker, but a calculative one.
- Focus on Growth and Expansion.
- Think big, think differently and think ahead.
- Build extraordinary relationships(To have the power of bending the rules too.)
- Be Humble.
- Change your orbit, constantly.(This helps to grow massively)
- Bet on your people.( Business is all about Networking)
- Hold on to your dreams.(Never Give Up)
- Be a safety net for your team and they will perform wonders for you.