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5 Learnings for Small Businesses from Success of AAP

adminbmt March 5, 2014

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and its wooping success is making headlines. AAP, a party formed not long ago, has formed government in Delhi, at the very centre or heart of India. There are many lessons to be learned from AAP’s success for students, political parties, ordinary people and businesses. In this article we look at some of the lessons for small businesses from success of AAP.

Lesson No. 1: Willingness and courage to take risks

It is indeed important for small business to take risks. Arvind kejriwal, the force and face behind Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), has never shied away from taking risks. He took break from Indian Revenue Services (IRS) to set up an Non-Government Organization (NGO). Not so long ago, in 2010, he was the architect of Anna Hazare’s movement against corruption and when this was not enough, he formed AAP and contested an election against three-time sitting chief minister (CM) of Delhi.(5) Small businesses, Well I think you got my point.

Lesson No. 2: Clarity of thought

From the beginning, Arvind kejriwal had just one mission – The elimination of corruption from indian politics.(7) He was the architect behind Anna’s movement against corruption and later the face and force behind AAP. Even in AAP Manifesto for Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal took issues in hand which directly or indirectly took on the mighty corruption. One of the highlights of AAP manifesto reads & clearly shows AAP’s commitment and clarity of thought:

“Commitment to passing Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill within 15 days of coming to power. All public servants to fall under its purview.”(3)

For small businesses it’s important to jot down why they want to be in business in the first place. Before planning business model, do take time to ponder on 5-WH questions namely – What, why, where, who & when. This exercise will give your business clarity of thought which is important for future growth of business.

Lesson No. 3: Smart marketing and communication with people

In marketing, segmentation of market is a fundamental principle given by Philip Kotler.(1) But AAP forgot to use that principal (or didn’t bother to care about) and marketed their brand, in this case AAP, to every segment of the society. They viewed the entire electorate as one segment. AAP never segmented the market along traditional parameters; instead introduced a new market segmentation paradigm, based on values and beliefs, and nailed it.(7)

Another takeaway is in power of communication of AAP. The way Arvind Kejriwal & his team used social media – Facebook, Twitter, television, to create a brand image for himself and the party is definitely noteworthy. Just before the election, AAP was called a ‘media creation’, visible only on TV and social media. But Arvind Kejriwal used the same media to spread the message of AAP and did a phenomenal job. It was equally active in outdoor media (autorickshaw hoardings), radio messages and print media (mostly interviews and inserts).(7)

It’s imperative for small businesses to have a website or online presence. Many small businesses have lost out with this one. It’s also important to spend time and energy and most importantly money on online marketing through social media – Facebook, Twitter etc.

Lesson No. 4: Including Aam Aadmi or ordinary people in important decisions of the party

Arvind Kejriwal, who led the debutant party to a spectacular victory in the polls winning 28 seats in the 70-member assembly, became the Chief Minister of Delhi as AAP was ready to form the government. But before this key decision to form government he asked for public opinion. He got responses from the citizens through website, phone calls, SMS and by holding public meetings and most of them favoured government formation by AAP. He said the party held 280 public meetings across Delhi and in 257 such gatherings people favoured formation of government by party.(4)

Government formation was a key decision for AAP and it was definitely noteworthy that they included ordinary people or aam aadmi in it. The idea of referendum for key government decisions is definitely not new but a refreshing one for Indian politics; some might criticize AAP for the same as there is question of who voted ‘yes’ for this decision – were they really AAP voters or Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)/Congress supporters?(6)

The key takeaway for small businesses is this – A little Research never hurts, even if you have to take decisions based on their results – the idea behind it is creating an image of Public Business. If your small business is about selling products or services to the masses, then it’s important to know what kind of products/services people want to buy in the first place.

Lesson No. 5: SMART targets set by AAP

If you look at AAP manifesto for Delhi close enough, you will find that almost all the targets or goals set by AAP were specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely or in short SMART.(2)

Most of the goals set by AAP were very specific for eg. their commitment to passing Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill:

“Commitment to passing Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill within 15 days of coming to power. All public servants to fall under its purview.”(3)

AAP’s goal of electricity bills was very measurable indeed:

“AAP promises a reduction of consumers’ electricity expenditure by 50%. This will be done by ordering an audit of discoms, rectifying inflated bills and getting electricity bills checked by independent agencies.”(3)

AAP’s goal of social justice and women’s security was timely. AAP’s goal of sanitation and waste management was without any doubt realistic and Inflation and unemployment attainable.

Small businesses can or should keep SMART goals in mind while setting goals for their business. This is indeed an important takeaway from success of AAP.

Rishikesh G. Pande
(The article is the illustration of author’s opinion. There can be different and even completely contrasting viewpoints.)


  1. “Phil Questions”, Kotlermarketing, 2001-2012, accessed on January 3, 2014, accessed at ( )
  2. ”Smart”, topachievement, accessed on january 3, 2014, accessed at ( )
  3. Aam Aadmi Party Delhi election Manifesto 2013, accessed on january 3, 2014, accessed at ( )
  4. Ebook, Firstpost, The outsider who grabber power: AAP scripts a new chapter in Delhi, accessed on january 3, 2014, accessed at ( )
  5. Sardesai Rajdeep, blogs, Ibnlive, 2013, december 13, accessed on january 3, 2014, accessed at (
  6. Sampadkiya, Loksatta, 2013, december 24, accessed on january 3, 2014, accessed at (
  7. Mehta jaideep, TheHinduBusinessLine, 2013, december 15, accessed on january 3 , 2014, accessed at (

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