I truly believe what Walt Disney once quoted: “If you can dream it, you can do it.” It's never too late to start a business of your own. One can set-up a business at any age, there's no fixed bar on it. Today, Young professionals are not ready for work f
They need no introduction. They are young; they have niche ideas and know how to follow their dreams and turn them into a reality. With a go-getter attitude, young franchisors are moving ahead with precision and unmatched zeal and bringing out-of-the-box ideas. It will be surprising to know that today many young franchisors /entrepreneurs and even working professionals are now saying goodbye to the corporate work culture and starting to focus on building their dream business ventures. Many aspiring young franchisors or entrepreneurs have hopped on to franchising to reach on the ladder of success.
One cannot just succeed with a great idea, for that one needs to have good business acumen, long term vision to establish a business, ability to drive revenues and ensure profitability and sustainability. Many youngpreneurs believe that whether it's a franchise or an owned business, age is not a barrier rather it's a stepping stone to success.
Expedition towards success
Becoming your own boss is the newest buzzword. So TFW got candid with young minds who chose the franchise bandwagon to earn their bread and butter. Check out, how, when and what motivated them to get started with their own ventures. Take a look below at brands that have been set-up by young franchisors like Anurag Kedia, Director, The Four Fountains Spa, Jawed Habib, Founder, Jawed Habib Hair and Beauty Ltd (JHHBL), Anant Daga, CEO, W, a TCNS Clothing Company, Vikaas Gutgutia, Founder and MD, Ferns N Petals (FNP), Karan Sharma, Director, Marshalls Enterprise India Private Limited, Rizwan Sayed, Director, Your Fitness Club (YFC) and Aditi Srivastava, Director, Diet Mantra.
On sharing his entrepreneurial journey, Vikaas Gutgutia, says: “I started my journey 19 years back with the objective to provide first-of-its-kind concept in flowers. Having acquired enough knowledge about the business and the market conditions, we finally tasted success in 2001. With persistent efforts and desire to create an exceptional brand, we brought a new edge to the flower gifting culture in the country. The brand today boasts of 157 outlets in 65 cities nationwide and delivers across 150 countries worldwide.”
According to Anant Daga, “W's journey started 11 years back. The brand that grew out of the need to provide contemporary fashion to the modern Indian woman has in process re-invented the fashion landscape of the Indian ethnic wear market. From a single store outfit in Lajpat Nagar back in 2003 today, W has opened doors to over 130 stores across 60 cities making it the largest women's' wear chain in the country.” In addition to the EBOs, W is being retailed through over 300 large format stores, 300 MBOs and all leading e-commerce portals.
On reminiscing the initial days of setting up his venture, Rizwan Sayed, says: “After a thorough feasibility study on the Indian market, we narrowed on the mid income level Indian masses that were deprived of a good facility. We started our first club at Colaba in 2009 with just three employees; today we are at twelve owned clubs and with an employee base of 457.”
Karan Sharma says: “I myself started very young at the age of 20 in this industry and covered various aspects of the trade working in the most junior most posts of sales, marketing, stores management, manufacturing supervisor, accounts, purchases, etc. My advice for the young entrepreneurs is that before they take up anything, a proper study of not only the market but of the product should be done by them very methodically. One should know about the product they sell inside out rather than learning about it at your customers cost.”
It wasn't an end of the road for Anurag Kedia. On sharing the brand's journey, he informs: “As managers employed with multi-national companies, me, Saurabh and Sunil had been in fairly stressful jobs. We would travel frequently and stay in hotels. However, despite being reasonably well-paid, we could not afford regular relaxing massages at the hotel spas due to the exorbitant prices. We realised that if India had to be made stress-free, spa therapies would have to be made more affordable. That common experience provided us the inspiration to start a chain of spas that would put spas within reach of more people.”
With franchising becoming the preferred choice for most of the young breed of new franchisors, the industry is now moving on to the next level. Commenting on what has influenced the young entrepreneurs to start their business, Jawed Habib, says: “Easy availability of funds, good domain knowledge and more risk taking ability by the youth has made many first time entrepreneurs succeed. For our industry anyone who has a passion to run the business makes a good franchisee.” Jawed Habib Hair & Beauty Ltd offers to its franchisees two options Hair & Beauty Salon and Hair Xpresso. Talking about the business opportunity the brand offers to its franchisees, Jawed Habib says: “Our HairXpreso is the most preferred choice among youngsters. Since the project cost is lower as compared to our premium salons and the easy management of HairXpreso makes it all the more preferred brand for young franchisees. You need not dedicate full time to it, but have to be very active in marketing it.”
Talking about the business opportunity, Vikaas Gutgutia, says: “As we are witnessing that the retail is being ruled by the youth, we feel young entrepreneurs are more synchronised with the customer's demands and they are ready to go an extra mile to ensure delightful customer shopping experience. We have recently established a franchise model called FNP Express wherein we encourage people for entrepreneurship. For people who do not have high budgets to open a floral boutique, they can open a small scale franchise model specially introduced to provide an opportunity to people who would like to join hands and become a part of FNP success.”
Whereas Anurag Kedia says: “Our franchise model and concept works towards creating a win-win partnership for all our franchisees. The initial investment requirement is about Rs 50-60 lakh, including the rental deposit and all other project expenses. We need a property of minimum 1200 sq .ft carpet area on the main road of a post residential catchment. Our franchisees should be professionals with high integrity and willingness to contribute time.”
Anant Daga adds: “We have been adding 40-50 stores every year and are in the process of venturing into 15-20 new markets. Also in smaller markets, we have been able to establish stores with investments as low as Rs 20 lakh-Rs 25 lakh. There's a huge opportunity for young professionals even with limited investment capabilities across these markets to become a part of this exciting industry.”
Aditi Srivastava, says: “Diet Mantra franchise is a very small budget, pocket friendly option with high returns and fast breakeven making it a very lucrative platform for young professionals to embark on an entrepreneurial journey. Since the business model is well suited for the young entrepreneurs, almost 90 per cent of our present franchise partners are in the age-group of 24 37 years.”
On offering the business opportunity, Akhil Jain, Creative Director, Madame, says: “Franchising is not just about investment in retail it is also about development as a retailer (this is one of the most organised markets) as well. Today's energetic youth is fast changing the rules of the game and setting up higher benchmarks. The brand offers specific options suiting the feasibility and sustainability for the young professionals.” Talking about the support they offer to franchisees, Karan Sharma, says: “We provide the complete infrastructure thereby giving them complete flexibility of concentrating on marketing activities.”
Tapping the right franchisee
When it comes to picking the young franchisees on board, franchisors today have no qualms about it. Rather they are happy to tie up with young professionals who are ambitious about setting up the business. When it comes to trusting a young or new entrepreneur, Jawed Habib strongly believes that it is not the age factor, it is the passion that runs the business. On the other hand, Anant Daga feels: “More than age, it is about how passionate and committed the entrepreneur is. We have a mix of franchisees from different educational backgrounds, age profiles and work fields. What matters at the end of the day is your attitude and zeal.” In terms of criteria they follow for selection, W ideally looks for franchisee's experience in retail, organisational set up, financial stability and potential to scale up in future.
Talking about his preference for young v/s established entrepreneurs, Vikaas Gutgutia, says: “Our franchise family comprises both a young investor as well as an established entrepreneur, however we have observed that young entrepreneurs, who actively participate in day to day operations, are comparatively more aggressive, passionate, flexible and scaling to even greater heights.”
Enlightening about the franchisee profile they seek, Ketan Mehta, Chairman, Maya Digital Studio, says: “We actually look at the attitude of young and new entrepreneurs. We are always open to offer our expertise and help to young and new entrepreneurs in their endeavours. After all, their success will help us succeed and take both of us to new heights.”
With regards to the franchise profile they seek, Karan Sharma of Marshalls, says: “We look at people in the age group of 26 to 40 as ideal for our set-up. The person should be a graduate at least with good computer knowledge as our systems are online. He or she should have a confident personality as they will be the face of the brand and their presentation skills will be of the utmost importance.”
Today, many franchisors choose to partner with young breed of professionals considering their risk taking ability, aggressiveness and ability to take the business to the next level. At Four Fountains Spa, 80 per cent of their franchisees are in the age of 24-37 years. The remaining 20 per cent are also below 45 years of age. With regard to the age bracket of 24-37 years, currently, more than 35 per cent of Jawed Habib salons are run by the young which is a mix of working professionals and people having multiple businesses.
With regard to expansion, Jawed Habib looks forward to open their brand's store at any location with good visibility and catchment. The brand will be tapping tier II and III cities for expansion. Whereas, FNP is consciously foraying into small towns and every nook and corner of the country and plans afoot to almost double its retail presence in India by the end of 2014. While, The Four Fountains Spa will be opening 100 outlets in next three years.
ANANT DAGA, CEO, W
“More than age, it is about how passionate and committed the entrepreneur is. We have a mix of franchisees from different educational backgrounds, age profiles and work fields. What matters at the end of the day is your attitude and zeal.”
JAWED HABIB, Founder, JHHBL
“Easy availability of funds, good domain knowledge and more risk taking ability by the youth has made many first time entrepreneurs succeed. For our industry anyone who has a passion to run the business makes a good franchisee.”
VIKAAS GUTGUTIA, Founder & MD, FNP
“Our franchise family comprises both a young investor as well as an established entrepreneur, however we have observed that young entrepreneurs, who actively participate in day to day operations, are comparatively more aggressive, passionate, flexible and scaling to even greater heights.”