Mithila Industries has pioneered the concept of Slip Guard treatment in India. The concept is absolutely new but has started gaining attention through franchising. In an interview Sujit K Jha, Manager, Franchise Services, Slip Guard speaks about the company growth and future prospects.
Abha Garyali (AG): Share with us inception, growth and success of ‘Slip Guard ’.
Sujit K Jha (SKJ): The concept is new in Asia in general and India in particular. There is a growing awareness among the people about slip injury prevention. Our management sensed this opportunity few years back and we planned to enter into this new challenging sector with huge market potential coupled with innumerous growth. We dream to be the leaders of anti slip products in about 10 to 15 years down the line. Growth is phenomenal in this sector and we tasted success in less time than we actually targeted.
AG: What was the inspiration behind launching ‘Slip Guard ’? What is its uniqueness?
SKJ: India is quite poor in terms of per capita income but at the same time this leads to huge potential as well. People first ensure the basic needs of life like food, house and basic amenities, then opt for safety and insurance of their loved ones. The target sector can range from residential to industrial and from hospitality to health sector. The uniqueness of Slip Guard product is its liquid treatment which is invisible and does not noticeably alter the surface. However, the best thing of the treatment is that in few minutes the existing floors (no need to change floors) become safe and anti-slip.
AG: When did you start franchising? What inspired you to take the franchise route for expansion of ‘Slip Guard’?
SKJ: It was in April 2010, in our SOG meeting that we felt the need to expand our service outside our base of Delhi/NCR. Our failure to offer cost effective Slip Guard anti slip solutions outside Delhi/NCR encouraged us to have Slip Guard franchise all across India. In June 2010, we finalised Slip Guard franchising concept and opened Slip Guard for potential entrepreneur to join us nationwide. In its first phase, we plan to have 100 exclusive ‘Certified City Partner’ (CCP) to cater the widespread geographical coverage.
AG: Has franchising made a difference in the performance of the company?
SKJ: In the beginning of this financial year; we decided to franchise our business and appointed 100 CCP by end of March 2012. We are very pleased to see that we are progressing well and are able to reach to our valuable customers away through our exclusive CCP’s.
AG: How many franchisees do you have and in which cities in India? What are your future plans for expansion?
SKJ: Currently, we have partners in Kolkata, Nasik, Faridabad, Patna and Delhi. We are finalising appointment of another 10 CCP’s in different cities in India which includes cities like Pune, Chennai, Bengaluru.
AG: What are the qualities and qualifications that you look for in your franchisees? How much investment is required by aspiring franchisees?
SKJ: We are looking for self-motivated entrepreneur who can accept new challenges, have pride in doing quality work, enjoy dealing with people and have the confidence to promote themselves and their business. We need energetic, enthusiastic and committed people who have the passion to succeed. Investment can range from Rs 50,000 to Rs 15 lakh. The range varies depending upon the role, market potential, city and position.
AG: What support and training do you provide to your franchisees?
SKJ: Through the Mithila School of Excellency; we design our training in such a way that CCP would work as safety consultants. We are not ‘fly by night operator’ in our approach and commitment. We want to strengthen our partners in such a way that they will remain the market leaders even in future possible competition.
AG: What are the challenges that can be faced by a franchisee? How can they overcome these challenges?
SKJ: The CCP’s may face initial hiccups from users as this is an almost unheard product or concept. The franchisees may face competition from unawareness and their own capabilities to reach out to users.