There may not be many people who haven’t used or aren’t familiar with Saffola Edible Oil, Nihar Natural Hair Products, Parachute Coconut Oil, and Livon Hair Serum, among others.
Hard mariwala, Founder and Chairman of consumer goods company Marico Ltd, a Fortune India 500 company that offers all of these brands, explains that his journey began at the age of 20 when he started working in his family business.
“I graduated from college in Bombay and joined the family business made up of my father and three of my uncles at the age of 20. The office was located in the heart of the commodity markets in Masjid Bandar. It was a typical family run business … and I started exploring different areas of the company, ”he recalls.
Harsh Mariwala, Founder and Chairman, Marico Limited [Image Credit: 100X Entrepreneur Podcast]
“We had a chemical business, a spice extract business, and we also had an edible oil business. During my year-long exploration, I’ve visited all of the factories and markets and realized that if I can convert the loose unbranded edible oils business into a branded business, it will be far more sustainable and profitable. So I started the journey of sales, network expansion and brand building. So that was my starting point, ”he says.
Harsh says he was in the early 90s convinced his parents that the consumer goods business needs its own culture and identity, and asked them to take over the business as a different company.
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Harsh was 39 years old when he founded Marico. He explains that starting Marico was not a financial separation from his family business, but a management separation.
“It was just a management separation where the the company was divided into three to four different subsidiaries, and each of my cousins took part in the business. But in terms of ownership, it’s all put together, it’s the same percentage, 25 percent if you consider that my father had three brothers, for a total of four brothers. So I was also involved with 25 percent, ”he adds.
Harsh explains that having multiple family members can create management complications, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be successful. However, complications can arise as everyone has different ambitions and mindsets.
“Relationships are very complex – they are related on the same level, they also bring people together, they also have common debts. So Separating all of these, especially on inter-functional or cross-generational issues, increases complexity. There is a lack of openness through respect and the like. So we said that if you really have to work on a performance basis, then it is better that there is only one family member in each company, and that too at the top. That was the thought when we went to Marico, ”he says.
He says that the most important decision in his life was to convince his family and start Marico separately.
Today Marico, the Harsh has been building for over 30 years, has a market capitalization of over Rs 68,000 crore.
In this latest episode of the 100X Entrepreneur Podcast, Harsh Mariwala talks about his entrepreneurial journey and building Marico for over 30 years.
To find out more, listen to the podcast here
02:02 – “If business topics are discussed in your presence, you will get a good understanding of the business, even if you may not be adding value.”
04:15 – Early exposure to the brand and business at the age of 20
06:02 – Marico was founded as an independent unit in the 1990s
11:27 – Building the team at Marico
13:50 – “Commitment brings commitment and you have to involve people in some organizational matters if you want their commitment.”
17:46 – Thinking process behind brand building
19:54 – First sense of achievement with Parachute & Saffola Oil
22:15 – Marico’s personal social responsibility initiatives
26:19 – Reduction of entry barriers for consumer brands
27:47 – Leverage growth as an individual
30:11 – Treat your employees as brand ambassadors
34:33 – Advising entrepreneurs to lead the way in their segment
36:11 – Source of evidence: books and thought leaders