“Is it useful? If not, it better be entertaining. Else, it goes into the basket called useless”. With this simple mantra and simple philosophy for life, Manoj Bhargava, possibly the wealthiest Indian in America, leads 5-Hour Energy, the company that makes tiny bottles, packed with nutrients. Most of the company meetings last 30 seconds to a minute, says Bhargava, who leads the $1 billion+ company, with a lean, non hierarchical staff, of 60 people. “We are not efficient, we just don’t do useless stuff”, he says. Good advice! I can see how my efficiency would get a boost, if I stop doing useless stuff on my blog, twitter, facebook and take a big gulp of the 5-hour energy drink!
Bhargava’s approach to marketing and advertising is just as simple. With the belief that one may not be thirsty and need the energy jolt at the same time, tiny 2 oz. energy bottles packed with functional nutrients, B vitamins and amino acids, are strategically designed to be placed at the check-out counters and at easy point-of-sale locations; and are believed to have covered 90% of the energy shot market. Explaining one of their first ad that was nominated as one of the worst ads on TV, he says, “we don’t tell a joke and then name our product; our approach is to tell what it is”. This ad increased sales by 50% in 3 months.
Bhargava started plastics raw material company in 1990 that grew to $20 million in sales, before he sold it to a private equity firm. He then started a consumer products company, Living Essentials, out of which came 5-Hour Energy. His stake in Living Essentials is over $3 billion. Bhargava is as generous a philanthropist, as he is successful at entrepreneurship. He has contractually pledged a billion dollars to charities that fund medical research. Bhargava was awarded “2011 Newsmaker of the Year” award and was named Ernst & Young’s “Entrepreneur of the Year for 2012”.
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