Right from our childhood, we are taught that if we want to be successful at anything we have to be early starters. They, in fact, go on to say that the earlier it is the better. But there have been unlimited stories where people dived pretty late into the field they loved and excelled. This is one such story where Odhavji Raghavji Patel, who used to work as a school teacher drawing a meager salary of Rs. 150 a month, started his own venture after 30 long years of teaching and turned his venture into a 1000 crore company. Yes, this is one more inspiring story which demolishes the argument that one needs to start early to be successful and establishes the fact that if you are determined and are ready to give whatever it takes to be successful nothing can stop you.
I am pretty sure you have heard about wall clocks bearing the name – Ajanta, Orpat, and Oreva. Yes, you guessed it right! Mr. Odhavji Raghavji Patel was the person who gave birth to these amazingly popular brands and made these clocks hang on walls of almost every Indian home. Though he is amazingly successful today and has the resources to enjoy all the luxuries of life, his journey has not been the one filled with rose beds, rather his journey was full of thorns and made him bleed at times but Mr. Patel did not give up. He kept walking on the journey called life and finally after a lot of hardships and tragic incidents reached his destiny – Success.
Raghavji Patel who was happily serving as a school teacher was forced by his wife to start a new business so as to achieve twin objectives of using the spare time effectively and earning extra bucks which could help the family lead a better life. Yes, the salary of Rs. 150 a month was not enough to look after the needs of the couple and their six children. As his children, four boys and two girls were growing up, it was becoming very difficult for Mr. Patel’s wife to provide basic necessities to the children which were most important for their growth. So one day she shot at him asking him to start a new business. She said, “Why don’t you do some business in your spare time? If I were a man I would have done business with my brother and became famous all over the city”. These lines hit hard on him and that very day he decided to start a business to earn extra money to provide basic necessities to his family.
Odhavji Patel who was born to a conservative farmer’s family was very studious and completed B.Ed after graduating in science. After this, he started serving at a school for 30 years and after such a long time he started his own venture and after trying different businesses his wall clock brand became a household name in India. During 1960’s he opened a cloth store in Morbi and when the business was doing quite well he plunged into another venture, a business of making oil-engines. Yes, as there was water shortage during this time in Gujarat, people had to make use of oil engines to draw water from well and Mr. Patel seized the opportunity by starting a new company by the name ‘Vasant Engineering Works’ which manufactured oil engines – Jayashree which was named after his daughter.
As the business grew successful and helped him earn lots of profits, a group of people came to him with a unique set of ideas related to transistor clocks. Mr. Patel immediately liked the idea and hence agreed to set up the factory at a cost of Rs. 1,65,000 and also rented a house at Rs. 600 a month. This turned out to be the beginning of famous brand – Ajanta.
Initially, the company had to suffer heavy losses as they concentrated on North India to sell their products but after understanding North Indian clock market was captured by ‘Scientific’ he started concentrating on the south belt and sold the clock which had cost Rs. 45 directly to the retailer at Rs. 105. This way he not only eliminated the presence of a middleman but also was able to make extra profits due to the direct contacts. He also shunned the tradition transport mechanism of using railways and used Roadways transport to send his goods. The success of the brand Ajanta gave him enough confidence and hence he came up with two more brand names Orpat and Oreva which too went on to become a huge success.
The company that Odhavji had started with an initial investment of Rs. 1.65 lakh went on to join 1000 club and made Mr. Patel a famous businessman. Raghavji’s company today sells clocks in more than 45 countries and employs over 5000 women and 2000 men. This man who otherwise would have retired without understanding his potential dived into the world of business owing to pressure from his wife but learnt not only to swim in the ocean but also to reach the shore safely.
We do hope this story inspires you to get up from your seat and work hard to achieve success. If a school teacher who had dedicated his life teaching for over 30 years can start a new venture and turn it into a 1000 crore company, what is stopping you from achieving success? The answer lies within you.