Though Swami Ramdev has been the face and brain behind Patanjali’s success, it was his aide and childhood friend Acharya Balakrishnan who ran the show perfectly well, executing the best duties a CEO can perform.
From being an Ayurveda practitioner in Himalayan villages, to shaping up Patanjali’s success as its CEO is a story of a disciplined approach followed by Balakrishnan. When asked how he manages to cope up with the growth, Balakrishnan said, "Routine operations do not have much of a pressure because we have a system wherein we keep a record of the policies to be implemented and the existing policies. But there are times, when some unwanted and unexpected incidents might take place and we have to up our ante immediately. Or when routine work gets disrupted, we have to sort it out through planning and intellect.”
Patanjali was incepted in 1995 as the Divya Yoga Mandir Trust, with Swami Ramdev being the President while Acharya was the General Secretary. Back then, it was a small pharmacy by the name of Divya Pharmacy.
Since then, all the administrative, manufacturing related responsibilities are handled by Balakrishnan himself. Sharing his journey over the years, Balakrishnan said, “Right from the inception of Patanjali when we had just five employees, to this day when there are more than 15,000 people with us, I have been closely monitoring the whole system.”
Over the years, Patanjali went on to hire many professionals to ride the Ayurveda success. Talking about the change required to manage the rapid expansion, Balakrishan said, “Earlier, I only supervised the administration related issues. Last year, we decided to expand our business at multiple sites. I did not have adequate number of people in my team so as to undertake the expansion and I had to build up a team, make the plan and execute it in a very short span of time. As of now, we have started our projects in cities like Tejpur, Noida, Nagpur, Ahmednagar (Maharashta) etc.”
On the two different mindsets creating an enterprise, Balakrishnan said, “I and Swamiji, we have been closely involved in all the processes from the beginning. Our ways of working is different. Sometimes, we make changes and then inform each other. At other times, we discuss with each other and then take a decision. Yes, at times we have difference of opinion and I think that is important. Different kinds of energies generate the much required spark.”
(This article was first published in the July issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)