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Just completed ” It Happened in India” written by Kishore Biyani (the man who revolutionised retailing in India) with Dipayan Baishya, a business writer.  A very well-written story which gives tremendous insights into what makes an entrepreneur successful.

Kishore Biyani re-wrote the retail script in India. From a position when he was almost looked down upon as a trader who wouldn’t amount to much to his current position as the Group CEO of the rapidly growing Futures Group, he and his companies have come a long way.

“It Happened in India” is interspersed with comments made by various people associated with Biyani from both within and outside his organisation. The book is written in a simple yet effective style and grips the reader. It is described as “the story of Pantaloon, Big Bazaar, Central and the great Indian consumer”.

Right from the time he first started, Biyani showed amazingly accurate perception of the Indian consumer -especially in the retail space. He perhaps understands the psyche of his typical customers more than anybody else. Therein lies the secret of his success.

The Pantaloon chain , headquartered in Mumbai, has grown to operate over 5 million square feet of retail space. It has over 450 stores across 40 cities  in India and employs over 18,000 people.

At the heart of the organisation is what Biyani calls the Pantaloon Genes. These precepts are :

  • We like being simple
  • Speed is the essence of everything
  • We like to learn while we execute
  • We like thrift
  • We believe that customers are always right
  • We like to think in terms of the majority of people
  • We take pride in our core value of Indian-ness
  • We believe in ourselves
  • We do not like to blame others or external factors
  • We like to think positively in every situation
  • We like building and nurturing relationships
  • We love to rewirte rules even as we retain our values

As is said in the book, what we become is a result of the way we think. “Sometimes we a nation of billion people, think like a nation of million people” said former President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

Kishore Biyani dared to think big. His story is worthwhile reading not only for entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs but also for those who want to understand the Indian consumer.

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