Sunday, April 24, 2011

Entrepreneurship and Marketing Lessons Learnt from Goli Vada Pav

Last week I attended a very invigorating session by Venkatesh Iyer (Venky as he is fondly called) of Goli Vada Pav organized by TiE. While the session title was “My Story to Entrepreneurship”, the actual session was much more than that.

The passion with which Venky spoke demonstrated how much can be achieved if you just have true belief in the idea about which you truly passionate. Venky spoke about entrepreneurship, beliefs, passion and marketing.

After thoroughly enjoying the interactive talk, I jotted some key takeaways. 

Thought these would be really valuable for those who are passionate about some idea and want to make it big - because Goli’s story is all about that:

1.     Premium Sells:  Before Goli Vada Pav, people were used to eating vada pav at much lesser cost than what Goli charges it. Goli charges premium for the quality it provides – the quality is in the menu, the ambience, the service and everything. Once the consumers see the quality, they are ready to pay premium for that. Be convinced about the quality you provide and you won’t ever have to ‘justify’ high price.

2.      Don’t give up on the idea: Goli failed twice, with the same idea, for different reasons. But Venky and his team did not give up on the idea thinking that it is not working out. Only when you believe in an idea, you can sustain multiple failures and never blame the idea. You look out for the solutions which will actually solve the problems.

3.    Keep it simple: Complex things might sound good in books but keep things simple when it comes to actual implementation. This applies to everything – right from talent acquisition, training, franchisee setup, branding, promotion – just about everything !

4.   Effective branding and promotion only requires currency of creativity: Venky narrated some incidences about how he used railway announcement system or TiE event for branding and promotion of Goli. None of these were paid. All these just needed the currency of creativity. Venky’s blog also is an excellent piece of writing demonstrating how a very creatively written blog can attract attention of the right crowd.

5.      Piggybacking works: Goli used the technique piggybacking very effectively – Be it the usage of brand (as Venky calls it) of Vada Pav or the famous dialogue of movie Sholay (toh aaj goli kha…) or in the franchisees setup.

6.   Speak consumers' language: I was amazed to see how Goli speaks consumers’ language. The consistency can be seen in: brand name, brand mascot, Facebook page name, blog language, ambience at the Goli center, pictures on the site, cartoons – just about everything!  

I left the room with a mixed feeling of inspiration, awe and respect for passion and with a definite plan to visit Goli Vada Pav center – more for experiencing the passion turned into reality.

Cheers to Goli !! 


  1. Radha,
    Venky left the audience spellbound, indeed. We can learn a lot from him. I have visited his site, blog, FB page etc, and found these as 'engaging' as his speech. The stories on his blog are just 'fundoo'( Mumbai/Goli terminology). He is a true entrepreneur who understands not only the business but also the mind of the customer. He delivers what the customer wants.

    He has proved that persistance always wins. He has proved that one can build a business empire out of a product as humble as a WadaPav. All one needs is passion and persistence.

    Thanks for this post. It is immensely beneficial for all budding entrepreneurs.

  2. Gr8 take away Radha.........passion always needs a deep understanding of the customer to win.....and win big....

  3. hi my name is megharaj i am doing MS in embedded system even i am having an idea but dont know that is that a valid one or will it work , basically i am a technical student but i am more interested in business activities i will complete my studies shortly all my friends are searching for internships but i want to apply my knowledge and develop products useful for society and even i am having some idea's but i dont know how to express them must i go with my idea's or must work in a company and gain practical knowledge dont know totally confused please help me to handle the situation. my email id is

  4. After reading this, I am dying to eat a Goli Vada Pav. But where is it? I can't find it. Why?

  5. @Vikram: Goli has very strong presence in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in Maharashtra. It is due to some political issues they faced initially during their expansion in Tier 1 cities. As for information on centers, I think the best source to ask would be their Facebook page, maybe?