Success story of Patanjali, Baba turned businessman

Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna’s Patanjali Ayurveda Limited recently opened its first vegetarian restaurant in Chandigarh, named Postik Restaurant. Well I don’t know about you guys, I personally feel our beloved ‘yoga baba’ is on a mission to eat up all the foreign brands and create a monopoly in all sectors of Indian market.

Baba turned business man is expanding all over the places be it medicines, FMCG products, pottery utensils and allegedly in textile business by introducing his ‘Jeans’ etc. With his recent adventure, I mean venture he entered in the Restaurant business as well (read first para please!).

To me it feels like I am living in a Tollywood film and Baba Ramdev is no less than Rajnikant. One fine day Ramdev decides to start his own business and BOOM!! He is everywhere.

Patanjali store have spread like plague in all over India and let’s not even mention Patanjali’s rigorous ad campaigns. It all happened so suddenly nobody saw it coming.

So coming straight to the point. Let me put some light on how on earth did this happen.

In 1995, Ramdev was a little known yoga teacher in Haridwar when his close associate, Acharya Balkrishna, and he set up Divya Pharmacy – under the aegis of Ramdev’s guru, Swami Shankar Dev’s, ashram – to make Ayurvedic and herbal medicines. The medicines proved so popular that Ramdev and Balkrishna sought to scale and diversify into other products. But that proved difficult since Divya Pharmacy was registered under a trust.

At the same time, with Ramdev’s popularity soaring, substantial funds began to come in – sizeable loans from the likes of NRIs Sarwan and Sunita Poddar, as well as locals such as Govind Agarwal – which in turn helped to get bank loans. Thus was born ‘Patanjali Ayurved’ as a private company in 2006, which has since rolled out a range of products – in healthcare, hair care, dental care, toiletries, food and more – at breathtaking speed.

Today, Balkrishna stands among the richest men in India and Patanjali as one of the main players in the Indian fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector. While Ramdev is busy propagating Yoga and Ayurveda to create a market for the products, Balkrishna is creating the products.

Their partnership has been phenomenal, but there are also many other reasons behind this larger than life success story:

Media attention: Ramdev rose to national fame as a yoga guru through his programmes on TV channels – Sanskar in 2001 and Aastha from 2003. He readily acknowledges the role of the media in his rise.

Smart pricing: Yet another reason for Patanjali’s success is the thrift it practices. Baba says, his company’s main aim is to promote Ayurveda we don’t look for big turnouts. The salaries people get in Patanjali is also very decent as compared to other competitors.

Retail outlets: Initially, Patanjali shunned the conventional distribution network, preferring to rely on its own channels of super distributors, distributors, Chikitsalayas (franchise dispensaries) and Arogya Kendras (health centres which sell Ayurvedic remedies). Once it turned to retail outlets from 2011, revenue began to multiply manifold.

Variety of products: Already, a few Patanjali products have made major inroads – apart from Desi ghee, its toothpaste Dant Kranti, for instance, launched in March 2010, brought in revenues of Rs 200 crore in 2014-15. Patanjali has also ventured out to produce many other new items that were mostly produced by foreign companies in recent months. Patanjali also sells toothpastes, unpolished pulses and detergents.

Swadeshi factor: Patanjali is happy to co-exist with indigenous companies, multinational ones are a different matter. Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna strongly believe that India does not need any foreign company to sell their product in India. We Indians are capable of meeting the demands of Indian market.

Advertising: Patanjali’s own advertising was limited in the past, but has increased considerably of late, with ads appearing on general entertainment TV channels (GECs) such as Star and Zee. The company has also reached out to regional Southern channels.

Well, I guess this much information if enough to showcase the powers of our ‘Super Patanjali Baba’ turned businessman.


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