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Oct, 08 2013

I am bullish about franchising

With over 15 years of experience in strategy, operations, marketing and sales across consumer goods, retail and real estate, 39-year-old Pushkaraj Shenai holds enviable knowledge about working of various industries. In a tête-à-tête with Parina Sood, the

Take us through your professional journey.

Currently, I am associated with Lakmé Lever (the beauty services business of Unilever which operates 200 salons over 40 cities in India) in the capacity of the CEO. Before joining Lakmé Lever, I was the COO, Piramal Realty where I built the team responsible for land acquisition, project management, marketing and sales for a portfolio of 18 million sq ft. I led the team at Globus which won the Best Fashion Marketing Award at IMAGES 2008. Also worked across sales and marketing in Unilever; across regional and global brands in skin care and cleansing. I am basically an architect from Sir JJ College of Architecture and did a PGP from IIM Ahmedabad.

What, according to you, are the three skills needed to be a successful franchise professional?

  • Brand Development: A sound model built around a powerful brand is the foundation of any business.
  • Process Control: Disciplined execution ensures consistent experience across all outlets.
  • Building Win-Win Partnerships: We ensure that we create successful partnerships and win-win situation for all.

How has franchising brought about a change in the business scenario?

Franchising has dramatically increased the choices for consumers. Aspirations are rising across all economic strata and franchising has enabled businesses both Indian and international, to reach more consumers and scale up with speed. This growth has increased employment opportunities in the organised segment. At Lakme Salons, it has allowed professionals to become entrepreneurs at a faster rate due to the comprehensive support model.

How do you ensure that there is ongoing communication between the corporate office and its franchise partners?

Lakme has a high support franchise model. We have an Area Business Manager for every 5 to 8 franchisees who is responsible for driving the business, ensuring execution and compliance.  Our support functions like marketing, HR, etc., also have regular contacts with our franchisees. We organise franchisee meets every six months. I personally spend 20 per cent of my time interacting with franchisees.

According to you what are the five key elements necessary in franchise business model, from a long term perspective?

  • Strong market growth
  • Consumer centricity
  • Distinctive and strong brand
  • High quality talent
  • Disciplined Operations / Processes

Are you bullish about the growth of franchising industry in India? If yes, why?

Extremely bullish. India has a strong culture of entrepreneurship and I firmly believe that professionals will prefer investing in franchise businesses. Franchising, with a multiplier effect of enterprise creation and job generation, has the power to produce the needed sustainable jobs that can provide a better future for hundreds of millions of individuals all over the world. With more than 30,000 franchisors generating at least 20 lakh business enterprises worldwide, franchising is a proven business strategy which has immense positive impact on the Indian economy. The government needs to propel this growth with policies and incentives conducive to it.

Your leadership mantra?

Don't take yourself seriously. Think win-win. Differentiate on performance.

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