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Feb, 11 2013

SMALL BUSINESS, HUGE RETURNS

Do you want to start a business of your own but discouraged by crunch of funds? Don't slouch, sit straight for here are some emerging fields offering low-cost business opportunities with big potential for big returns to small investors and that too with t

NEETA dreams of making money by starting her own business. But she is discouraged and dispirited whenever she sees big players dominating the Indian market in various sectors. She finds it difficult to believe that her business can compete with the established players who have made and are capable of making big investments, which she cannot afford. Does she, with a small investment, stand any chance of success in the market where big players are thriving? Like Neeta other aspirants are apprehensive of entering the market. Will the market be fair to small investors?

The real boost to small investors comes from the low cost business sector. Besides the big players, the low cost business industry via franchising is offering great avenues to small investors to earn high rewards while offering the liberty to operate from home with minimum skills.

Low-cost businesses cover a wide range of areas, including courier services, travelling and ticketing, financial services and consultancies, real estate services and business services as well as community, social and personal services. These areas of low-cost businesses are very much available via the franchise model and have proven to be a boon for small investors yielding high returns.

Courier services at glance

Courier services are a great example and areas that could be explored for low-cost business opportunity. DTDC, Prodot, Overnite Xpress, Forul Express Courier and Cargo Ltd and First Flight are some of the brands that are operational via franchising and offer minimum investment business opportunities.

DTDC, a homegrown brand that deals in the logistic services, brings business avenues for entrepreneurs who have a low investment budget.

Subhasish Chakraborty, Chairman, DTDC, believes: “One of the key steps and challenges to succeed in the field of courier services was the creation of a sizeable network geographically as well as capital generation for the envisaged growth. Having had a humble beginning and little prior experience, this would have been a Herculean task at the time.”

Biz avenues in traveling & ticketing

The service industry in particular has various sub branches that offer business opportunities at low investment suitable for low income groups, retired personnel and ladies who opt to work from the comfort of their home with minimum or no special skill. From logistics to travel, from consultancies to wellness, from F&B to education and cleaning, and so on, there are fields with loads of opportunities. These business opportunities are flexible and can be started as an additional source of income.

Another brand, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd has grown to become one of the largest vacation ownership companies in the world. With increased inventory by over 48 per cent and strengthened customer-centric efforts the brand continues to grow via franchising.

“We are a brand for Indian families and remain committed to growing our network in geographies where Indians like holidaying. Hence, countries which have been brought closer economically due to LCC flights are where we will look to expand our business. In line with this we plan to expand in India and overseas too,” says Rohit Malik, Chief Sales Officer, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd.

Cox & Kings, MakeMy trip, Thomas Cook, Magic Holidays, Cashfree Holidays and many others are active brands in the area of travelling and ticketing that offer low investment business opportunities.

Business potential in Retail & consultancy

Having potential to offer great business prospects to entrepreneurs in healthcare, financial services, logistics, tourism and many others, retail and consultancy sectors have shown a steady progress in the recent past. Safexpress, NPAsource.com, Morpheus Human Consulting Pvt Ltd., Antal International Recruitment and many more brands have emerged as potential consultancy services that have plans to meet the needs of niche client segments more effectively with dedicated processes, infrastructure and human resources specially trained for the specific requirements of the business sector.

Retail brands offering low investment opportunities such as Carzspa, Interiors Haat, Levoon, Marshalls, Main Khadi Hu, Phonecare, Dollar Store, Geetsfashions and many more have taken the front seat in organised retail sector, as business opportunities in this sector are selling like hot cakes. It is the richness of experience that savvy retail industry has come up with franchise business model with minimum investment that could be taken up by anyone with less skills.

OTO Bodycare, a premium name in the wellness sector, becomes handy for every franchisee to invest in with its affordable kiosk format. The brand's product and services are dedicated to help people live better and longer. OTO's kiosk format is apt to be taken up as a low investment business and could fetch great returns too.

When asked about what inspired him to opt for the franchise route, Raghvendra Singh, Director, OTO Bodycare, says: “We looked at the enormous market of fitness products for healthy lifestyle and innovation. The size and growth of the market prompted us to opt for the franchise route which we believe is the best option to go ahead in the Indian market.”

Opportunities in store

In the past few years, DTDC has consciously invested in state-of-the-art technology such as handheld devices for updating; GPS enabled fleet, world-class ERP, end-to-end tracking services and many more. This has given the organisation an edge over its competitors by reducing manual intervention at many levels. “DTDC consistently focuses on activities and products that aim to realise its motto  ‘Delivering Value by Making Life Easy.’ Keeping in line with this, our retail venture ‘DTDC New World’ is being equipped with various convenience services and products in a neighbourhood store format that will set it apart as one of its kind,” says Chakraborthy. Though the fitness products industry is faced by challenges such as substandardised products and product servicing but OTO boasts of a strong line-up of products and aims to put an OTO product in every home through collaborations with established manufacturers, “We have pool of trained engineers and regular supply of spare parts. We have AMC option for customers up to seven years,” says Singh.

In fact the concept of holidaying is seeing a spurt among the members of the middle and upper-middle classes. Rising disposable incomes of people are also giving a boost to their travelling aspirations. “The potential franchisee of our brand should understand the local market, current business with a steady client base and should time to invest in and grow the business,” says Malik.

Roll out & requisites

The brand OTO has zeal to excel with an ability to think global and act local. A franchisee of OTO is provided with complete product process and selling technique training. The real time stock and products updates along with services required for the products are also given. Moreover, the stock of high valued items on behalf of its franchise partners is maintained by the franchisor to reduce the investment in stock.

With pan-India expansion plan in tier I and II cities, the franchisee of OTO Bodycare requires an investment of Rs 12 lakh and upwards, along with an area of 100-200 sq ft for kiosks.

However, an aspiring franchisee of Mahindra Holidays will have to look at an investment of Rs 2 lakh and will need an office space of 300-350 sq ft.

DTDC with 6000 franchisees at present is also looking for pan-India expansion aggressively. Potential franchisees of DTDC should be diligent, must follow the service guidelines and adhere to the prescribed set of rules and regulations for quality control. The investment to seek its franchise is Rs. 50,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh initially depending on the area along with an access to working capital ranging between Rs. 25,000 and Rs 1 lakh.

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