Crossword, a lifestyle bookstore unlike any other bookstore provides a unique range of products and services to its customers. It addresses a wide audience by providing a varied range of books, CDs, music, stationery and toys. In an interview Zahir Laliwala, Franchisee, Crossword shares the success of his franchised outlet.
Ramanjit Kaur (RK): How does it feel to own an outlet of your own?
Zahir Laliwala (ZL): The feeling to own an outlet is great but the responsibilities to deliver quality products and services also increase with it. Owning a business of your own requires a lot of management and brand building at the local level.
RK: Do you believe that taking a franchise is a better option than starting a business from scratch?
ZL: As per my opinion, both franchise and an independent business, have positive sides depending on the risks involved. We are actively handling our franchise businesses and take equal responsibility to deliver our best. However, operating your own brand definitely involves more responsibilities especially in terms of brand building, product sourcing and creating the brand’s own management information systems.
RK: When did you enter the business of franchising? What inspired you to be a franchisee?
ZL: We entered the franchising business in 2004 by taking up the franchise of Crossword franchise for Bengaluru. Shifting base from Ahmedabad to Bengaluru made us enter into franchising.
RK: What new initiatives and practices have you introduced in your outlet?
ZL: We have started events for children on every Saturday and also deliver different interesting events all around the year at ‘No Profit No loss’ basis. We have interactive learning sessions for children that can be easily availed through a registration fee of Rs 50. We have also started encouraging Bengaluru-based first time authors by offering our shop (free of charge) for their book launch.
RK: What support does the franchisor provide you to efficiently run the franchise?
ZL: Our franchisor has helped us a lot in establishing the business. They usually help us in various book launch events organised by our outlets. It has supported us with a PR agency, which works at the local level to get PR coverage for the store events. Also, the company helps us in generating advertisement revenue through national tie-ups.
RK: What are your future plans? Do you plan to take up more outlets?
ZL: We have plans to expand our presence by the next two years. To start with, we will open outlets at various available locations.
RK: Any advice for aspiring franchisees?
ZL: For an aspiring entrepreneur, it is important to be dedicated and committed for whatever you are doing. Especially when you are planning to take up the franchise of a particular brand, you need to work hard to make it run profitably.