He dared to dream, and dream big. And then he decided to do it. And how!
At the young age of 26, he carved out a niche for himself that most dream of doing. He built a Rs 4 crore tea empire that continues to grow under his leadership.
Who is he, you ask? He is Prafull Billore, the man behind the hugely successful brand MBA Chaiwala. His story is as unassuming as the man himself.
Prafull Billore - Early Life
Prafull is the older son of Sohan Billore and his wife. He was born in Dhar, Indore, Madhya Pradesh on 14th January 1996. Not much is known of his childhood or his family. However, in his interview, Prafull mentions that he grew up in modest circumstances. It was his parent's wish that he completes his MBA in order to secure a high-paying job.
Prafull tried hard to fulfil his parent's wish and even attempted the CAT (Common Admission Test) in order to secure admission into IIM (Indian Institute of Management) at Ahmedabad. He was unsuccessful and, well, uninterested. After three failed attempts at clearing CAT, he gave up on formal education.
Prafull Billore - Career
“I wanted to be a big man. Bachpan se bahut tang samay dekha tha (Have seen tough times since childhood), and so my only passion was to make more money and live a comfortable life.”
Prafull readily admits that his aspirations did not lie with his parents. As a young man of 20, he was still struggling to understand what he could do. He travelled to various cities in India which gave him the opportunity to meet people from diverse backgrounds.
Meeting and talking to them gave him many insights. He read success stories about American businessmen like Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson. Prafull realized a common thread between these people. All of them, at some point in their lives, had worked for McDonald’s.
Prafull joined McDonald’s in Ahmedabad and earned Rs. 300/- a day. His interactions with customers there were educational. Says he, “I also took a part-time job at McDonald’s to see how it feels to work. The salary was not much and it made me think “aise bada aadmi kaise banunga, MBA ke baad bhi aise he kaam karta rahunga (how will I become a big man if even after MBA I’d work like this}?” Although Prafull quickly rose up the ranks from the housekeeping staff to the cashier, he was not satisfied.
Prafull began exploring business opportunities and quickly realized that most businesses asked for a very high initial investment. An amount that he did not have. So, he settled for a simple plan.
He decided to start selling tea. He called his father and borrowed Rs. 8000/- from him under false pretences. He, then, invested that money towards buying the inventory that he needed to start a small roadside tea shop. All the while, he kept his day job working at McDonald’s.
Prafull says he is not a tea drinker and he had no idea how to make it. The first day that he made tea, he could not sell a single cup. Not one to give up, he came up with a plan. The next day, he began approaching people, engaging them in conversation.
The fact that a roadside tea seller was speaking fluent English was fascinating for people. To top it up, Prafull was serving tea in earthenware cups with a slice of toast and tissue paper – a complete antithesis to the image of a regular tea seller. Soon he became the talk of the town. His tea was becoming famous, as was his conversation.
His growing fame came at a price. The other tea vendors in the surrounding area were unhappy with the new kid on the block. They conspired to close his operations and resorted to bullying and threatening Prafull.
Sensibly, Prafull decided to close his stall, but, undaunted, he approached a hospital owner and with his permission and help from other authorities, opened up another stall near the hospital. He named it MBA Chaiwala. He jokingly says – “MBA stands for Mr. Billore Ahmedabad”.
To increase his customer base, Prafull deepened his customer engagement by creating a small corner for job seekers. He put up a whiteboard for the job seekers to write down their details so potential employers could contact them.
Such was his fame that YouTubers put up videos of him further helping him reach a larger base. This was how his parents first heard of him selling tea instead of earning a degree. Initially upset with him, they, however, understood his motivation.
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Prafull Billore - Journey So Far
Prafull continually found ways to engage with his customers. Organising cricket matches, ludo games or even just a place where people could leave messages for loved ones were various activities that people looked forward to anytime they visited his stall. Two years of operating from Ahmedabad allowed Praful to expand to his first franchisee café in Bhopal.
Now five years later, the brand that is MBA Chaiwala is more than 50 franchisee outlets strong and growing stronger. They undertake large-scale catering orders for parties, weddings, etc.
It is Prafull’s ambition to grow the brand presence to 200 outlets by the end of this year. “If anyone asks me to make chai today, I won’t. I don’t like it. I was struggling when I was making tea on the street but now, I am focusing on expanding my business,” he quips.
First and foremost a focused, goal-oriented businessman, Prafull wears several hats. His goal is to create a millionaire from every village through his franchisee business model.
The MBA Chaiwala Academy
Prafull has launched the MBA Chaiwala Academy. The focus of this academy is to share entrepreneurial knowledge with other budding stars. It will include the ‘How to…’ instructional guidance for building a sustainable and thriving business. The complementary peripheral topics associated with self-development, mental growth, trading, marketing, etc will also be addressed.
Social Media Presence
This tenacious young entrepreneur is a strong presence on social media and an avid YouTuber. He maintains that his social media presence also helps him to spread more awareness for MBA Chaiwala.
Taking advantage of the growing fame of MBA Chaiwala, Prafull has organised various events like Poetry/Singing nights, ‘Mehfil-e-Kavita’ to encourage budding artists and afford them visibility and educational sessions for youth with guest speakers talking about entrepreneurship. He has hosted fundraisers to support various causes like upliftment of the underprivileged, treatment for cancer patients and the Kerala Flood Relief Fund.
The Motivational Speaker
Prafull Billore has been invited to talk at colleges like IIMs, IITs, Josh Talks, TEDxKIET, TEDxMDI GURGAON and Lovely Professional University.
Prafull Billore burst on the Indian business scene with a steaming hot cup of chai and is serving his way to the top. His dynamism, energetic approach to life and willingness to learn and engage has won him many admirers. He is like a duck – calm on the surface and paddling furiously beneath to reach his goal quickly. Here’s wishing him all the luck in this journey.
What is the net worth of Prafull Billore?
The net worth of Prafull Billore is approximately $3 million.
Who is Prafull Billore?
Prafull Billore is an entrepreneur and founder of MBA Chaiwala.
Why is MBA Chaiwala so famous?
Prafull Billore built a 4 crore business around tea without having much knowledge about business is what intrigues people.