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Jun, 15 2012

Buzz for benefits in B2B SPACE

From making signage to quick printing and refilling cartridges to cleaning services, India's business services industry seems to be living up to almost every business' objectives. As a large share of the industry is still untapped, foreign players have be

GETTING your hands dirty’ is no more a passé as greener yet niche concepts from overseas markets have already made a beeline in India's business to business (B2B) sector. From eco-friendly concept of refilling and recycling cartridges to reduce the e-waste to offering cleaning services through a one-stop shop for all cleaning requirements or fulfilling quick-printing needs of businesses and delivering a unique service of signage-making for retail or franchised giants, India's business services market is riding high on success and offering a profitable business opportunity to likeminded entrepreneurs or franchise investors.

As outsourcing a particular business service becomes the need of the hour across varied sectors, it's now the right time for foreign brands to invest in India's business servicing industry to rake in the extra cash. As Indian consumer's readiness towards embracing the western techniques and the cutting-edge technology for outsourcing services have increased considerably, it has actually propelled the rapid ingress of foreign entities into India to grab the market's remaining pie, thereby providing an aid to businesses by adopting the newest ways, which will allow them to achieve their objectives in no time.

Franchising - the preferred route

In the last decade, a few globally well-known brands entered India's business services industry to tap the growing market potential. Currently, India's business services industry is led by foreign big-shots such as New Zealand's largest cleaning franchise Crest Commercial, Australia's Keen to Clean, Iceland's BG Cleaning Systems, Cartridge World, Sir Speedy, Sign*A*Rama, Action Coach and Francorp, to name a few. In India's business services sector, cartridge refilling industry has seen a tremendous growth in comparison with other business segments that have subsequently launched their India operations. Australia's Cartridge World started its India operations way back in 2006 after clinching a master franchise deal with a pioneer in cargo, courier and logistics industry - AFL Pvt. Ltd.

Speaking about the benefits of the franchise business model, Naveen Rakhecha, CEO (South Asia), Cartridge World, says: “The business model has helped us reach and educate customers quickly as the stores are franchisee-owned and operated. Our stores put together serve over one million customers across India.”

While Sign*A*Rama, the world's largest sign franchise and part of a successful system of business-to-business franchises under United Franchise Group made its India debut in 2007, it sub-franchised its operations in 2009. Elaborating on what makes it stand out in the market, Ravi Venkataramani, Managing Director and Master Franchisor for Sign*A*Rama India, says: “At Sign*A*Rama, we believe in going the extra mile to produce more than just quick, standard signage. Each and every Sign*A*Rama sign centre offers full-service signage options that you simply cannot get anywhere else. Whether one sign or hundreds, temporary banners or permanent monument signs, we are committed to providing an exceptional experience for every customer, each and every time.”

Sir Speedy's proven franchise system has been helping entrepreneurs reach their dreams for more than 40 years. With nearly 600 locations in 13 countries, Sir Speedy delivers printing and marketing services that large as well as small businesses use every day.

About the ideal business route for Indian expansion, Chandrajit Narra of Sir Speedy (India), says: “From an international perspective, there is little doubt that franchising is an ideal vehicle for the Indian market. The franchise model provides for international transfer of a proven business methodology based on adherence to processes and systems that have been adapted for local market conditions. Provided that the franchise owner can bring capital, education and entrepreneurial energy and the business methodology is followed closely, brand awareness can be quickly established and the chances for success, profitability and expansion are greatly enhanced.”

Tweaking the strategy

Be it India or any market, whenever an international brand makes its debut, it has to go through a series of challenging situations such as understanding the market's needs, customer's requirements and fulfilling them by customising the brand as per the local market. What a brand actually sells or offers in its own country, it cannot enforce the same in a market where it plans to cement a robust brand footprint.

Expansion

As far as expansion in India is concerned, Sir Speedy aims to add 10 franchisees by the end of 2012. On their expansion strategy Narra of Sir Speedy says: “We continue to look at additional geographic markets around the globe where there is an opportunity to develop a successful franchise system based on the offering of printing and marketing services to a fast growing small-to-medium sized business market by a committed entrepreneur who wishes to follow a proven business methodology to establish a successful and dynamic business.”

Cartridge World boasts of more than 100 stores operating successfully across 37 cities of India and is on the lookout for partners to expand further. Says Rakhecha: “We are planning to set up a network of 250 stores across the Indian subcontinent in the next few years and aim to strengthen the brand's reach in all tier I, II and III cities in India.”

About spreading footprint in the Indian market, Brijesh Purohit, Managing Director, Keen to Clean, India, says: “Our growth focuses on consolidating our groups operations while expanding its scope. Even as we grow larger we do not want to lose sight of our foundations, as the moment any one of those falters, so will the organisation and the goals we are attempting to achieve. To that end further international expansion is a goal as well, as we want to bring our methodology and vision to new markets and level.”

Presently, Keen to Clean is operating 31franchise and two company-owned stores in Australia and India. Moving ahead, Keen to Clean has plans to add five franchisees by this year-end.

For spreading the wings of Sign*A*Rama in India, Venkataramani says: “Within five years, we plan to have franchisees throughout India and serve signage customers pan-India.”

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