Innovation Amma – Master Buisness Skills of An Entrepreneur
Ramawati, fondly known as, ‘Habbad’ (somebody who is always in a hurry), a 75-year-old vegetable vendor in Kauwapur village, Chaubeypur district, Varanasi, wakes up every morning at 4 a.m. to go to Varanasi city (40 kms away) in a shared truck to fetch fresh vegetables for her customers. At the market, she buys loads of fresh vegetables every morning. There she pays a boy a small tip of Rs. 10-20 to pick up the load for her and put it in the truck. Although she can source vegetables from local vendors without taking the hassle of waking up early, traveling so far and managing the logistics at her age, she values that her customers will prefer fresher and cleaner vegetables, hence going the extra mile. On her return, she takes the help of her grandson to offload the truck full of vegetables.
She goes from village to village selling her vegetables and visits up to four villages in a day. She stations her cart on the main road leading to the village and visits each house, inviting, meeting and greeting all her women customer-cum-friends. On a hot sunny day, Habbad sits down on Shashibala’s (a lady in the village) verandah and gossips with her for a while about some news she that she carries from the previous village she visited. They both share a laugh and just before she is leaving, Habbad authoritatively invites her to come to the cart to buy vegetables. She continues strolling in the village, moving towards the next house, greeting the next lady she encounters, asking her about her family’s well being and inviting her too to come and buy the vegetables. As Habbad walks through the entire village, the news of her being in the village spreads like wildfire and people realize that ‘it’s time to buy vegetables’.
As Habbad walks through the entire village, the news of her being in the village spreads like wildfire and people realize that ‘it’s time to buy vegetables’.
As Habbad, walks towards her cart parked on the street, an enthusiastic crowd follows her as though enchanted mice follow Pied Piper to the beat of his melodious flute. The women flock Habbad around her cart and there is chitter chatter as all the women are gathered together. Nirmala (a customer) negotiates with Habbad as she picks out her vegetables. Habbad sternly refuses to reduce the price and tells her that she can pay her the pending amount the next day but she will charge her an interest over it.
It is confusing at once, why do all these women flock around Habbad’s vegetable cart? She is not a lady of sweet words, or many smiles. What is she ‘doing’?
Wait a minute this is not it! Habbad sells her vegetables at a price higher than any other vendor in the vicinity and absolutely gives no discounts. She even charges money for little things like coriander, which other vendors would have given free of cost. She commands authority and respect. She is very clear about her entrepreneurial principles and does not compromise on them.
Well, Habbad knows how to add value to her products. She sells peas without their shells, making it easier for her costumers to use but at a much higher price. At the same time, she is welcoming to her customers and forms a relationship with each one of them transferring gossip from one place to the other.
Habbad goes an extra mile to beat all her odds, all by herself! Do you?