Hi everybody, my name is gauhar ali
Today’s case study is one of the most incredible case
Today we will discuss about how a startup grows from a small village to multi million dollar company
This is a story of 7 ordinary women who had no background in
no significant educational qualification
And with just 80 rupees in capital
they were able to build a business empire worth 1600 crores
which is spread across 69 branches and more than 42,000
This home-grown brand that I’m talking about is none other
Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad.
Now, what’s more fascinating about this company
is not the growth of the company but the fact that
the business philosophies of this home-grown company
somehow seems to have very close resemblance
to extraordinary companies like Starbucks and Apple also.
The question is- What is so special about this papad company
and how has it lasted for more than 62 years ?
And how did these 7 women manage to build a business empire
out of just ₹80 in capital ?
The answer to this question lies in the incredible history
of the Lijjat papad.
This is a story that dates back to the late 1950s India
when India was a fairly underdeveloped country.
And back then let alone education, even literacy was
considered to be a luxury.
And even in terms of literacy during those times
woman’s literacy was not even considered important
because of which
only 8% of women in India could read and write
while 92% of women in India were illiterates.
On top of that, women were not even allowed to go out and
and the earning capacity of the families was not enough
to afford a decent standard of living.
That is when in 1959, Mumbai.
A group of 7 amazing women from very ordinary background
came together to discuss a business idea
which wouldn’t need them to step out of the house,
wouldn’t need education and yet
could produce a competitive product in the market.
Ladies and gentlemen, that is how the idea of Lijjat Papad
with just ₹80 of capital that was given to them by a social
They first started selling their papads at a local store and
due to the superb quality and taste of the papad even other
shops started buying their papads.
And that’s when they started scaling up.
Now, when they started scaling
they had the opportunity to hire women at a dearth cheap
because they were one of the rarest avenues of income for
which allowed them to work from home.
But you know what ?
When these women had their first board meeting
they established the fact that
the primary goal of their business wouldn’t be to make money
but to empower women from the smallest households of the
to provide them with the livelihood to nurture their family.
And more importantly they also established the fact that
moeny would only be used as a fuel
to scale their impact on the women of India
and not be the sole purpose of their existence.
So instead of hiring women they started to give out
to every woman who joined their business
and called them Lijjat Sisters rather than employees.
This is what you call as collective ownership, wherein
every employee owns a small part of the company such that
the profits and losses, both are shared by every single
person in the organisation.
So regardless of your age, caste, religion
even if you were at the lowest hierarchy of the Lijjat Papad
you’d still own a part of the business.
Now, most of us might think that this is just another
but I gotta tell you guys
that this attribute of collective ownership
is one of the foundational principles that make Starbucks an
Because you know what ?
Just like the sisters of Lijjat papad
own a small part of the company regardless of their position
in the organisation,
every employee at starbucks is considered as a partner in
rather than an employee.
Everyone starting from the baristas
who serve coffee to the customers
all the way upto the senior management officers, each one of
are offered stock options of the company.
So this way, just like the Lijjat sisters
every employee in Starbucks could be a small owner of the
And this move develops a deep sense of ownership
which cultivates a culture of greatness wherein
every employee is motivated to go out of the way
and to contribute diligently towards the growth of the
But the only difference between both these companies is that
while Starbucks ideated this with MBA masterminds and with a
million dollar capital backing
the 7 sisters of Lijjat
did it way before Starbucks, in 1959 without even knowing
what an MBA degree is.
Such was the business acumen of these incredible women.
The second phase of Lijjat was building a robust supply
that would be cost effective,
would ensure quality production and
would fit the lifestyle of the women who work for the
So instead of having huge office spaces they used the houses
of the sisters
as their small centres of papad making.
And this is what their supply chain looked like
The flour would first arrive from the mills to the
respective central location
wherein the dough is made.
And after the dough is made
the sisters will be brought by a bus facility provided by
Over here they would collect the doughs
and then go home, make papads
dry them on the veranda
and then deliver the papads the next day.
And lastly, after the delivery of the papads they would
collect their money
and the dough for the next cycle.
This would be followed by surprise visits by the supervisors
to check the quality of oil they use,
the hygiene check of the house
and most importantly the process of making papads.
Now the sisters are also given aluminium papad makers to
the papad is produced in a standardised manner.
This happens at all the branches.
If one of these branches does very well
the profits are distributed among the sisters.
And if not,
the losses are borne by the branch members together.
And after all of this comes the most challenging part of all
and that is
sticking to the vision and mission statement of the company.
Now people, for most of us
mission and vision statements are just stupid formalities
and they have no real significance for us.
Because in the corporate everybody knows that mission,
vision and values are
just fancy words written on the wall.
And at the end of the day if your boss wants to kick your
he is going to do it anyways.
At the same time
in case of colleges also
even your principle wouldn’t remember the vision and mission
statement of your college
and if he did
it would only be because
he mugged it up because some committee was visiting
to give your college some stupid certification or some
And this is the reason why
most of us do not understand the importance of mission and
But here’s a thing guys
Mission and vision statements form the very foundations of
every single organisation.
And when designed and followed the right way
it can help the organisation sustain for a century.
At the same time, if not done right
they can even bring down a million dollar business.
A classy example of the same is Apple.
Now people, when Steve Jobs got fired from Apple in 1984,
Apple was a million dollar company.
Until he was there at the company, the company stuck to it’s
And it was a formidable player in the industry.
But after he left, they started to derail from their values.
And within just 10 years
they were almost about to go bankrupt.
That’s when Steve Jobs got called back to Apple to fix
things and get the company back on track.
And you know what ?
After he took over the company, the first question he asked
to every single engineer
to every single deisgner and every single manager was
What does Apple stand for ?
And what are the values that we believe in as a company.
Because the biggest mistake that Apple made was
while he was not around
they started to loose their identity and started to deviate
from their values
because of which
they started making products with no sense of purpose.
Eventually, the brand lost it’s unique identity
and customer loyalty just faded away.
So Steve baba comes back
asks this question and within some time
the entire team is absolutely clear as to what exactly they
were supposed to do.
And this is what got them the ‘Think Different’ campaign
that told the world what Apple truly stood for.
And that is “Think Different”.
And within just 2 years the same company
with the same engineers and the exact same resources
then went on to create history to become a legendary company
that made products that changed the world forever.
And again as soon as Steve baba left
we all know what’s happening with Apple.
This is the importance of mission and vision statements.
And here’s the most mind-blowing fact of all.
In it’s 62 years of existence, not a single time
Lijjat Papad has ever deviated from it’s core values.
And even today
After expanding to 67 branches and scaling up to 42,000
and after exporting their products to 15 different
They still abide by the core philosophy of their business,
Sarvodaya, which means Progress for all.
While we live in a world where billion dollar corporates,
even with the slightest change in the policies
wouldn’t think twice before firing thousands of employees
and putting each one of their family’s life at stake.
On the other side we have got Lijjat Papad wherein
with every single machinery they bring in for automation,
they make sure
that not a single woman is asked to leave the organisation.
Because they are 100% clear that their ultimate purpose of
business is not to make money
but the empowerment of women so that
they can give their family and children a better quality of
On one side where we have got these evil companies
who would put the health of their frontline workers at stake
just to maximise their profits.
On the other hand we have got Lijjat Papad wherein
even if they have a great year, they make use of the extra
to sponsor the education of the children of their frontline
regardless of their age, caste, religion or even the
position in the organisation.
And they do all of this just so that
the next generation of these frontline workers
can be given the opportunities that they truly deserve.
And last and most importantly
while inspite of being at the pinnacle of the technological
there are people who often keep doubting on their
And here we see a standing example of 7 incredible women
who had no educational qualification.
no background in business and no fancy investor.
And yet, they were able to build a business empire
that is now empowering generations of women all across the
And that too
during a time when women had no scope of opportunities.
If this isn’t an epitome of greatness
I don’t know what is.
You should watch this documentry on lijjat papad
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