Corporate gifting, an integral part of MNC culture till some time back is increasingly becoming popular among Indians as well. Catering to this increasing trend of corporate gifting is Sparket Marketing. In an interview Anil Kumar Gupta, Managing Director, Sparket Marketing Pvt. Ltd shares this unique business idea and its future expansion via franchising.
Rita G Chauhan (RGC): How was the idea of ‘Sparket’ conceptualised? Share with us the growth and success journey of ‘Sparket’.
Anil Kumar Gupta (AKG): Earlier, we manufactured products like mouse pads, coasters, table mats etc only. As there is a limit to the number of times our clients could buy these products, therefore they demanded for other items which could be used as corporate gifts. At that point we deliberated with our team members and after a year of introspection of our strength and weaknesses, entered whole heartedly in to corporate gifts industry. Thus the idea of ‘Sparket’ was conceptualised. We launched Sparket Marketing Pvt. Ltd in 1986 and started working with various corporate companies situated at Bangalore, Kolkata and other cities. Today we have global presence across continents and our next goal is to deliver our custom promotional gifts to each and every country. The journey of ‘Sparket’ has been full of learning and has helped us to become better as the years pass by.
RGC: When and what motivated you to expand your unique business idea via franchise route?
AKG: Wide range of products allures our clients and entrepreneurs to connect with us. In 2008 we started receiving calls from various entrepreneurs who wanted to work with us in their respective cities. Besides, on our website we received a number of end user enquiries who preferred a local contact to deal with us.
This motivated us to expand and we realised the importance of local entrepreneurs to fulfill the gap. We zeroed on local partners as exclusive franchisee for life time business relationships.
RGC: How many total outlets do you have in India and in which cities? How many of these are franchised and company owned?
AKG: Currently, we are actively operational at five big cities across India. In Bangalore and Kolkata we are operational via owned outlets while in Mumbai, Delhi and Kochi we are following franchise business model. However we had many interested investors which we refused politely as our model needs working franchise partners and not investor partners only.
RGC: What all products and services do you offer? What according to you is the scope for aspirants keen on taking the franchise for ‘Sparket’?
AKG: We offer everything from a pin to a plane. The aspirants can fulfill all their dreams and wishes as sky is the limit. This business provides a number of opportunities in any area and there is no limit on one’s growth.
RGC: What are your business expansions plans? Where do you see your brand in the next five years?
AKG: Currently, we are focusing on eight big cities and major state capitals. We are also planning to be present in few English speaking countries through master franchise route. By next five years we will be the leaders in corporate gifting which is a fragmented industry. We would like to have all our franchisees to be well settled with spacious office, big team, and good returns.
RCG: What are the basic fundamentals that you seek in your franchisees? How much investment and area requirements by aspiring franchisees?
AKG: We seek an entrepreneur who is willing to learn from the very basics. May he believe in starting small but he should be very ambitious to make it big in short span of time by hard work and enthusiasm.
We need him to be ready with only Rs 6 lakh for exclusive territory rights of state capitals (this investment spread over a period of time) for unlimited business turnover for lifetime. One can start with a table and cupboard space to ensure his nose is out of water within 2 to 4 months.
RGC: Share with us the challenges that can be faced by your franchisees? How can they be overcome?
AKG: Initially, a franchisee needs to learn the business strategy and handling the customer’s queries and orders on time. Further, he needs to work on clientele relation building. To start building relationships with bulk buyers who can buy anything from six months to two years depending on the buyers, competitors, and seller’s capabilities. He needs to understand the market gap and use our strategy accordingly to achieve our joint business goals. Thereafter with each passing year the business will automatically become that much more stable, enjoyable and profitable as by then you have your own regular set of customers.