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The Inspiring Story of Dhirubhai Ambani – A Must Read for Every Entrepreneur

Dhirubhai Ambani
Dhirubhai Ambani (Picture credit: Wajid Khan from flickr

Welcome to Youth Motivator. I would like to tell you the success story of Dhirubhai Ambani which proves that where there is a will, there is a way.
This is a must read for everyone, as this story is filled with motivation.
This article is the biography of Dhirubhai Ambani.
Ambani became one of the greatest businessmen who redefined the meaning of the business despite lacking financial support, family background and education from the prestigious business schools.
He achieved great heights with his indomitable will-power and dedication.
Ambani is the founder of the Reliance Industries Limited, one of the world’s largest multinational conglomerate companies.
Now, the total assets of the Reliance Industries Limited are more than US$140 billion.
Before starting Reliance Industries Limited, Ambani did several jobs.


Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani (Dhirubhai Ambani) was born on 28 December 1932 to Hirachand Gordhanbhai Ambani and Jamnaben Ambani in Chorwad, Junagadh district, Gujarat in a poor family.
His father, Hirachand Gordhanbhai Ambani used to work as a village school teacher while his mother was a homemaker.
Ambani was well-aware of the financial problems which his family faced.
So, he always dreamt to become rich so that he can support his family and freed them from the financial struggles.
Ambani was a born businessman and during his childhood he used to sell pakoda (a fried snack) to the pilgrims at Mount Girnar in Gujarat.
He was not able to continue his education after the high school owing to his family’s financial conditions.

A problem solver-

During that time, his elder brother was working in Aden.
So, Ambani decided to migrate to Aden to work there.
Then, he himself readied all the necessary documents and passport.
Finally, when Ambani was about to board a passenger ship to travel to Yemen, he was informed that there was no room in the ship, as the ship became full.
But he badly wanted to reach Aden, so he decided to travel to Aden in a cargo ship.

Even though the journey was very uncomfortable, Ambani was happy to reach destination. 
This incident throws a light on his excellent problem solving skills and problem solving is a common characteristic for all the successful entrepreneurs.
An entrepreneur is one who makes a living by solving the problems of others.
In the year 1950, Ambani reached Aden and secured a clerical job in the dispatching department of A. Besse & Co.
At that time, A. Besse & Co. was the largest transcontinental trading firm which traded several items like food grains, textiles, petroleum, etc. to different countries.
Here, he learned the secrets of the trade and established contacts with many foreign businessmen.           
As he studied in the Guajarati medium, he found it difficult to converse with the English speaking colleagues.
This made Ambani to realise the importance of the English language.
So, to learn English, he used to religiously read many books and trade magazines written in English and used to improve his English vocabulary by referring the English dictionary.
And eventually, Ambani learned the skill of managing people.
During this time, he developed an interest in learning more about business, so he started working simultaneously for a Gujarati trading firm.
Here, Ambani learned many important skills like accounting, book keeping, dealing with banks and insurance companies and preparing shipping papers and documents.
Impressed by his management skills, he got promoted and was handed over the responsibly for managing a Shell gas station, run by A. Besse & Co.
Ambani worked in Aden for 7 years.
During the late 1950s, the movement for independence was erupting in Yemen which made the lives of the immigrants difficult.
As a result, Ambani along with his wife Kokila Dhirubhai Ambani and his nine months old son, Mukesh Ambani returned India on April, 1957 and he began to look for business opportunities in Bombay (now Mumbai).
Later, this couple was blessed with Anil Ambani, Nina B. Kothari and Dipti D. Salgaocar.

The birth of Reliance-

Ambani co-founded Reliance Commercial Corporation along with his second cousin, Champaklal Damani and started to import yarn and export spices to Yemen.
In the initial days, Ambani was unable to invest huge sums of money into the business, so he settled as a spice trader.
Since the inception, he gave the highest priority to quality and sold the spices in high volume with low profit margins.
In the year 1965, the partnership of Dhirubhai Ambani with Champaklal Damani ended as they both had different visions regarding the business.

A risk taker-

After doing spice business, Ambani realised that yarn business had a great potential and even though this business involved considerable risks, it promised handsome dividends.
But he had no expertise in the yarn business, so he read many books related to this field and also established contacts with many people involved in this business field to gain knowledge about the yarn business.
The Reliance Commercial Corporation was started in a small room with only a telephone, one table and three chairs.

A negotiation master-

The most important thing was to import yarn but Ambani lacked the required funds for doing so.
So, he convinced some money lenders to lend him money on a promise that he will provide them great returns much greater than the interest rates in the market.
Ambani was able to raise sufficient funds as the money lenders were convinced by his optimism.
Eventually, his yarn business grew by which he was able to reap huge benefits and the investors were satisfied as they received good returns.
Thanks to this success, Ambani became a well-known business man.
Ambani ran his business successfully, because he learnt the tricks of the trade while working at Aden.
He later, decided to manufacture the synthetic fabric.
During those time the natural fabrics like cotton and silk were popular but not the synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester but Ambani was sure that the future belonged to the synthetic fabrics.
This far-sightedness gained Ambani the name, the polyester prince.
In the year 1966, he established a textile manufacturing factory at Naroda, Ahmedabad, Gujarat with the main aim of mass producing the best quality textile in the shortest possible time.
On every weekend, Ambani used to fly from Bombay to Ahmedabad to supervise the progress of the institution of the factory and to solve the problems of the factory workers.
The cost of the project went up steadily as the value of rupee depreciated.
But this setback could not break the determination of Ambani who continued on with his project.
And by January, 1967 the production of fabric started at the Naroda factory.

A marketing genius-

Some established big mill owners caused troubles to him as they didn’t like a newcomer into their field, so they prompted the wholesalers to not to buy the fabric from Reliance.
But Ambani did not accept the defeat and instead took the stock and personally sold them to the retailers on the streets.
And he also used a marketing strategy, only Vimal as an answer to eliminate the monopoly of the big mill owners.
The retailers were very impressed by the product as it was of exceptional quality at very reasonable prices.
So, the Ambani’s textile brand, Vimal started expanding rapidly.
Within a short period of time, Vimal became one of the finest and best-selling fabric brands.
Later, Vimal became the premium fabric brand of India and the textile mill was also modernised and now, the products made there are exported to 58 countries.
For this, Reliance received exporter of the year award many times.
Thanks to his marketing strategy, the business became very profitable.
Even as his business was running profitably, some big textile mill owners were bent on to cause troubles to his mill by taking advantage of some government policies.
So, Ambani realised that if he grew his business very big, then the competitors would not be in a position to trouble him and so he expanded the Reliance on a big scale.
But to expand his business, he needed a huge sum of money.
So,  Ambani approached the banks to seek loans but unfortunately the banks turned down him on the grounds that he had only one single mill.

A share market expert-

Then, Ambani decided to raise funds by the IPO (Initial public offering) route and he wanted to share the profits of Reliance with Indians. So, Reliance was listed on the stock market.
The IPO of the Reliance Industries was very well received and was oversubscribed many times by which Reliance was able to raise huge funds.
By the year 1972, the Reliance Textiles became a huge brand.
And in the year 1975, Reliance received a nod of excellence from the World Bank and this speeded up the process of upgradation and expansion of the all the operations carried in the plant.
The Reliance textile mills started modernising between the years 1984 and 1996 with the introduction of the computerised and sophisticated machines.
These hi-tech machines replaced the out-dated machines and this made it the grandest composite textile mill in the country.
During this period, Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani joined Reliance.

Eventually, Reliance expanded into several other businesses like energy, retail, telecommunications, petrochemicals, etc.
Now, Reliance Industries Limited is one of the biggest conglomerates in the world.
All this had been made possible with the dedication and relentless efforts of a legendary visionary, Ambani.
Today, Reliance Industries Limited is the largest privately owned business empire in India and the second most profitable company in India.
Additionally, they are the second biggest publicly traded company in India.
Dhirubhai Ambani had been conferred with countless honours, some of which include Dean's medal by the Wharton School, The Economic Times award for corporate excellence for lifetime achievement and Man of the Century award by Chemtech Foundation and Chemical Engineering World.
Sadly, Ambani passed away on 6 July 2002 and at that time the net worth of Reliance was a whopping $6 billion.
On January 2016, he was posthumously awarded Padma Vibhushan.
After his death, Reliance Industries was partitioned between the two brothers, Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani.
Now, Mukesh Ambani, the elder son of Dhirubhai Ambani runs Reliance Industries Limited and the younger son, Anil Ambani runs Reliance Group.

The life lessons from the life of Dhirubhai Ambani -

You can win the world, if you dare to dream big-

When Dhirubhai Ambani was in the school, he dreamt of becoming financially independent, so after the school hours he used to sell pakoda.
And later, he dreamt of doing a job on a foreign land, so he went to Aden and secured a job there.
He dreamt of doing business in India, so he established Reliance Commercial Corporation along with his second cousin, Champaklal Damani.
Ambani was able to accomplish big success because he dared to dream big.
As the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single small step, likewise every big thing starts with a small dream.
And the dreams will definitely get realised if you relentlessly work towards your dreams.

Convert your problems into opportunities and never lose hope during the hard times-

Ambani faced many setbacks during his business life but he never lost hope and kept doing the right things.
He faced countless challenges in his life, like in the year 1965, the partnership between Ambani and his business partner, Champaklal Damani broke, but he did not abandon his business dreams, instead he believed in himself and kept moving forward.

In the year 1966, the value of Indian rupee increased as a result the construction cost of his textile factory mounted and even at that time, he did not lose hope and continued with his work.
And during the launch of his product in the market, he faced severe opposition from the other players in the industry. Then also, he bravely fought against all odds.
On February 1986, he got affected by a stroke, which paralysed his right hand.
So, Ambani achieved great success even after facing many setbacks and problems relating to family, government, wealth, health, etc.
He boldly faced all the problems and took them as challenges and worked upon them.

Risk is the biggest teacher-

Ambani was one of the biggest risk taking entrepreneurs of his time.
He became a more confident and knowledgeable person as he allowed himself to face bigger risks in the life which allowed him to grow big.
Ambani faced many risks like leaving his country for employment, risking his job to start a business, changing the direction of his business from spices to yarn, entering into new businesses like petrochemicals, etc.
He achieved grand success because of his risk taking ability.

Think big, think fast and think ahead because ideas are no one’s monopoly-

To attain success in your field, you must think big, fast and advanced because then only you can survive the competition.
You must have guts to dream big because if you don’t dream, someone else will hire you to help them build their dreams.
While working at the petrol pump, Ambani dreamt of building a petroleum company and later, he established the world's largest oil refinery at Jamnagar in Gujarat, India.
In his initial days, Ambani went to a foreign country for employment opportunities but now Reliance functions in 108 countries.
He used to think differently as for the first time in India in the year 1977; he publicly issued IPO for Reliance.
As a result, Reliance gained a record 58,000 investors.
Now, Reliance is ahead of its competitors in many areas, thanks to the great thoughts of its founder, Ambani.
Now, Reliance is the second company in the Fortune India 500 rankings only after Indian Oil Corporation Limited.

The success of Jio-

Mukesh Ambani also employs similar strategies as his father and this can be noticed in the case of Jio.
Jio offers low-priced data plans to the masses on a very low profit margin and because of Jio, India became the world’s top data consumer.
Previously, India was at the 155th position in world in data consumption.

The biggest contributor for GDP-

Now, Reliance Industries Limited is one of the biggest contributors to the GDP of India.
Dhirubhai Ambani always wanted India to become an economic superpower and the Reliance Industries Limited is greatly contributing to this dream.
Reliance Industries Limited employs more than 194,000 people.


A movie by name, Guru was released on 12 January 2007 with Abhishek Bachchan as the main actor.
This movie was inspired by the life of Ambani.
Ambani is an inspiration for many entrepreneurs.
He faced many struggles but ultimately became one of the biggest business tycoons of India.
The life story of Ambani teaches us that to become successful, the most important ingredients are hard work, willpower and self-confidence and these are more important than capital, education and support.

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Once again thank you for your time


  1. Excellent presentation. Easy to read and follow. Best of luck!

    1. Thank you Gopal Sharma for your supportive comment.


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