We all know the saying, “Life is like a cup of chai, and that depends on how you make it.” But this 22-year-old from Labravda village in Madhya Pradesh took it quite seriously. Praful Billore, the son of a farmer in Madhya Pradesh, followed his ambition of becoming an entrepreneur by opening his chai shop, which turned into a huge franchise worth nearly three crores.
Praful Billore, popularly known as the MBA chai wala, had a dream of pursuing an MBA from a top B-school in India. The sole reason was to get a lucrative salary and the opportunities an MBA degree would offer.
Despite spending two years trying to clear the CAT exam and failing, he was shattered and depressed due to the failure of his MBA dream. He then decided to take a break from everything he was doing and traveled across the country.
He finally decided to settle in Ahmedabad and look for a job. He initially started working at McDonald’s for Rs. 200 per hour, which roughly gave him around Rs. 6,000 a month. Though he was climbing the ladder and earning well, he despised the idea of working for someone else and wanted to establish an identity for himself.
His belief in himself led him to open a small tea stall, as tea was his staple beverage during his CAT preparation. At first, he borrowed eight thousand rupees from his father to start the business under the pretext of enrolling in a short-term course because he could not bring himself to tell him the truth.
On the first day, he could barely sell any tea. On the second day, he sold five cups of tea and got around 150 rupees. Praful still didn’t give up and devised a strategy to invite customers. Having a cheerful way of conversing in English attracted people. Slowly, people started coming, and the business slowly started to grow.
When this MBA chai wala’s business started to grow, people saw it as potential competition and began threatening to close his shop. He even got threats from local goons and authorities to close his shop. Even though he dodged the threats initially, he shut down his shop because he was afraid of the consequences of continuing his business.
Praful didn’t give up; instead, he was motivated more than ever to continue to work on his dream. His next location was a place near a hospital. This time he made sure that no one would be able to displace him. Having to explain everything to the hospital authorities took a lot of time and effort, but in the end, it was all worth it. He finally set up his stall near the hospital and set up his business.
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In the midst of all this, he forgot to give his shop a name. Paul then sat down and came up with a few names, but nothing stood out. He then went ahead with Mr. Billore Ahmedabad Chai wala, now popularly called the MBA Chai wala.
Praful then transformed his tea stall business into a franchise and café. He also attended many events and got invitations to cater to multiple weddings and political rallies. He gained attention for an event he led on Valentine’s Day in which he gave away free chai to all the singles. He participated in 200+ events like the LinkedIn program, women’s empowerment, etc. MBA Chai wala has now become a name that resonates among all the chai lovers in India.
Now that’s a story we can discuss over a cup of chai.