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Mar, 07 2014

Family biz’s newest stars

Why these scions decided to join their family business? Was it a choice or they always aspired to be the would-be heirs? Read about how the roles of these young guns have been instrumental in building their family businesses by hopping on to the franchise

According to CII report on family business network, family businesses form a backbone of the Indian economy with gross output of 60 per cent of GDP or about 90 per cent of India's industrial output. Nowadays, family businesses are scaling up rapidly, with second or third generations making it more organised.

What is the similarity between brands like Chhabra 555, KBSH Online, DTDC Couriers and Cargo Ltd, Marshalls and Steelbird Helmets? The answer is  all the above mentioned brands are now run and managed by second and third generation entrepreneurs. Becoming heirs of the family business is a new trend than opting for a 9-5 job. TFW got candid with the young turks who have chosen to give thumbs up to their family business and went an extra mile to cement their business with the help of franchise building blocks.

From bumpy to smooth ride

Managing a family business may not be everyone's forte but for these young turks the ride has not been so bumpy.  They've got it all without even struggling for it but taking a business to another level surely has proved out to be tricky for them. Let's check it out when and how they decided to join their family-owned business.

The journey has never been easy for Asheeta Chhabra, Head - Business Development, Chhabra Triple Five Fashions Pvt. Ltd. She entered Chhabra 555 as a third-generation entrepreneur. Being the newest entrant in the Chhabra 555 Management, she had been roped in to institutionalise a forward-looking and process-oriented approach for the company. After completing her MBA from XLRI, she amassed experience in various sectors like retail, healthcare and automobile, during her consulting stint at Ernst & Young. Currently, at Chhabra 555, she is casting the dye for various strategic initiatives like establishment of regional business development teams and institutionalisation of sales incentive plans, which have been customised to propel their growth path. She is also involved in the process of developing training modules for the new franchisees as well as the entire sales team. Apart from this, she also handles the e-commerce and marketing initiatives of the company. What really motivated her is the Chhabra 555's visionary Jagdeep Chhabra who has exceptionally streamlined working style and inspired her to carry forward the legacy of family-owned business and further expanding it via franchising. On the other side, talking about his journey so far, Rajeev Kapur, MD, Steelbird Helmets, says: “I started my career as a management trainee over the years after working on various positions from Manager to Director and finally I have been elected as the Managing Director. During this journey, I have introduced a lot of revolutionary products according to market requirements. We were the first one in helmets who raised their voice for a complete ban on spurious products. Our utmost priority was R & D and today Steelbird has state -of-the-art R & D centre dedicated to innovation, all made this journey eventful.”

Another example is Abhishek Chakraborty, who is currently a Executive Director at DTDC Courier & Cargo Ltd. Prior to joining large global Consulting Firm where he worked somewhere else on some very interesting business challenges. Although he grew up with the business of DTDC around him, at the same time there was none of the traditional pressures to carry on the legacy at that moment. Later he realised that DTDC has a tremendous potential for growth and innovation and that's how he thought of joining the business. With a firm belief on expanding via franchising, he says: “Right from the outset, we have always believed very strongly in the franchising concept in order to expand and that has become all the more relevant now as we are diversifying our business and scaling up our capabilities keeping franchisee growth at the heart of all our plans.”

For Sanya Dhir, who is the Brand-Director, Karol Bagh Saree House (KBSH).  Her call to shift to her family business  was the need to bring out Indian ethnic wear from the traditional closet and break the age-old stereotype attached, making it more accessible and relevant to the modern Indian woman.  A fashion retail graduate from Nottingham Trent University joined the 50 year old family legacy a few years ago. Taking business development and geographic expansion as her USPs, she channelised the company with newly defined objectives and brought the concept of multiple brand umbrella to this 50-year old family legacy. The collaboration between Yash Raj Films & KBSH Private Limited and launch of brand Diva'ni (India's first cinema inspired fashion brand) is a recent feather in her cap.

Moving on to another youngpreneur, Karan Sharma, wall coverings as an industry has a huge potential and with Marshalls being at the forefront of it, he saw a bright future and looks forward to fulfill his dream by building it on pan India level. Another inspirational journey is of Dr Akshay Batra, Managing Director, Dr Batra's Group of Companies. When asked about his entrepreneurial voyage, he says: “It's been a wonderful journey since 2001, I joined Dr Batra's after taking the formal training in medicine. It's been an enriching experience to work alongside my father and Founder Chairman of the Company, Dr Mukesh Batra. I was fortunate to get an opportunity to be a part of and witness the brand that has grown from well established three clinics to 125 clinics spread across India and abroad.” Adding further about the hiccups he witnessed in family business and how he learnt to grow a business, he says: “Looking back at initial years, I feel that a lot of hard work has gone into making Dr Batra's a brand that it is today. Back then, we did not have a corporate team to support operations and as a result we ended up doing everything ourselves. Those were the founding years that gave me in-depth analysis of how to run and grow the business.”

Opportunity in-store

DIVA'NI, a brand of Yash Raj Films (YRF) and KBSH Private Limited (KBSH) looks forward to grow via franchise model.  As per Sanya Dhir, “Diva'ni offers three kinds of business models to its franchise partners. A partner can take large or small exclusive showroom franchise. The brand has also opened the doors for Shop-in-Shop franchise partnership with premium multi-brand outlets.” On the other side, Abhishek Chakraborty says: “The core business opportunity we offer to franchisees is to become part of the network and leverage its strength while growing their business through the multi-dimensional service offerings we have. We provide them the support needed to serve their clients end-to-end maintaining great customer satisfaction.” For developing their brand, Chakraborty says: “We work religiously on upgrading the quality and appeal of our franchisee and own outlets in order to provide a holistic customer experience.”

Targeted expansion

Under their leadership, they are now building their brand across length and breadth of the country. Commenting on expanding further, Rajeev Kapur, MD, Steelbird Helmets, says: “We are intended to be a Rs. 500 crore company by 2015, with a vision to be known as Asia's largest selling ISI Helmet brand. Since three years, Steelbird has increased its manufacturing capacity over three times to 9,000 helmets a day and intend to increase this figure to 18,000 helmets per day soon. Besides, Steelbird has set up a fully automated Robotic Visor manufacturing line. Soon, we will be launching a whole new range of quality helmets. We have already launched the range of riding gear with MTV.” The brand will further spread its wings through exclusive Riderz Shoppes pan-India. Considering the demand, the brand plans to come up with 200 Riderz Shoppes. On the other side, on ramping up expansion strategy, Asheeta adds, “The franchising/dealership route has helped us enter various far-flung markets and further our vision of propagating Indian culture through our products.  Alongside, we plan to increase our focus on export and foreign bulk buyers during the next year as well and are currently, in the process of institutionalizing several mechanisms for the same. We have followed a very aggressive expansion plan across India and we plan to focus on this in the future as well. We will leverage our established supplier base, strong distribution network and effective accounting mechanisms to spur this growth.”

On the other side, Dr Batra's is looking at growing its international business and enter tier III and IV cities in India. Commenting on her plans for the year 2014, Sanya Dhir, informs: “After launching our first store in Delhi, we are already gearing up for the launch of Diva'ni flagship store in Mumbai and Chandigarh as well. We will soon be launching Diva'ni 's micro site as well and will offer access to our global clientele. Diva'ni will be adding six stores in the next one year by targeting metro cities and tier I cities initially. First lady, which is our couture line under Diva'ni will also be launched by 2014 summer.” Going forward, Marshalls target is to reach 60 showrooms in 2014. Whereas, DTDC plans to expand the stores by 500-600 more from all over India.


Franchise facts


Retail formats: Large exclusive showroom or flagship/ small exclusive showroom and shop-in shop

Investment: Rs 4-4.5 crore/ Rs 1.5-2 crore & Rs 17-20 lakh

Area: 4,000, 1,600 & 200 sq.ft


DTDC Courier & Cargo Limited

Investment: Rs. 1,28,000

Area:125 sq.ft

Location: Majorly commercial and industrial area



Investment: Rs 12-15 lakh

Area: 350-500 sq.ft

Location: Anywhere in India


Chhabra 555

Investment: Rs 50-70 lakh

Area: 1,500 sq.ft

Preferred location: High footfall areas


Steelbird Helmets

Investment: Depends on location

Area: 250-550 sq.ft

Preferred location: South & North East India


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