“Industries should think of revolving the line of credit, this will help with emergency funds,” suggests CEO, Biz Span

Working in rhythm with the nuances of a local market can prove to be challenging for start-ups in India. Also, the recent on-set of COVID-19 has forced the industry to speed-up recovery while developing models that would protect it in the future, highlights Saurabh Choudhary, CEO, Biz Span in a free-wheeling conversation with Ranjana Konatt from Industrial India

Joshua Ness Bez Ofwu3y Unsplash
Photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash

Tell us about Biz Span and the work undertaken by your firm… 

Biz Span is a consulting firm that provides the market with entry consulting, business innovation consulting, business strategy consulting, business development consulting and entrepreneurial consulting. Biz Span has tripartite operational goals – the first set of services involves end-to-end consulting for companies that are making an entry into the Indian market. The company gives these firms the ground to start in India. The present target is small to medium-sized enterprises and start-ups outside India who crave for growth. Also, Biz Span as its name suggests is derived from the word ‘Business Expansion,’ and we help Indian start-ups establish their footprint in Asian and South Asian markets.

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Saurabh Choudhary

The two wings of Business development encompass the 360 degrees of services needed starting at market research, market assessment, feasibility and competition analysis, creating the market entry game plan (Innovation & Strategy) and the roadmap development for expansion, legal and financial requirements of business incorporation, setting up the logistics, providing suitable partnering with the local agents (Distribution & Sourcing/ Procurement), minimizing the cultural barrier, channel optimization and localised branding. Biz Span will launch its third wing of operations soon, which is to run an incubator for start-ups and social enterprises from across the globe. Incubator program will involve mentorship, business plan development, connect with Investors, insightful workshops, Office space renting and covering all small and large types of services in between. Biz Span wants to create a unique incubator program that is learning-oriented and provide a one-stop solution support system.

Challenges for a start-up within the Indian market: 

Start-ups often lose patience as they don’t get early returns from the developing Indian market. We burn funds to match expected growth. Indian entrepreneurs are always looking for fresh ideas that can take them beyond the boundaries of domestic markets. Now they are looking for technological development in operations too. Early start-ups, if they survived the struggling phase, come up with a stronger one.

What are the various business models being focused on? 

Technological Advancement: Artificial Intelligence, IoT, VR, AR, Trending Robotics, accumulation of data and playing with it, digital and mobile-friendly arena and 3D printings. Using a business model that can directly connect with consumers, and that can cater to the health and wellness of employees. Money is not as important as the right investor.

Assess the Indian market – is it a technologically advancing or an over-saturated market? Where does demand like concerning technology and services?  

According to the Global Innovation Index, India jumped to rank 46 and that is an achievement. But I still believe that India is one of the biggest out-sourcing destinations. India is not an over-saturated market sit is a land with unique problems and a place that can innovate with the right solutions. There are many aspects where technology and services are in demand. For example, 3-D printing, clean energy, artificial intelligence, public health systems, robotics, etc. The best way is to work in an integrative manner. This all sectors need to work together for fulfilling the demand faster.

What part of the Market Entry Value chain do you contribute to? Could you elaborate on the term a little more? What are the projects you are contributing to, what are the challenges?

Venturing into a new geographical territory is a daunting step for any corporate or public sector Organization. The nuances of the local market can make it even more difficult while there is a dramatic cultural shift. However, the long-term pros of expanding a business in an ever-growing economy can surpass the cons easily. We aim to provide support for a partnership for an end-to-end venture into the new market of India whether you are a known name in the market or a startup testing new waters. We also help domestic companies who are already in the market for many but at some point, they are slow in growth. We help them to navigate through this with our effective business development and innovation strategies. We can achieve this through effective networks among decision-makers and well-established relationships at the Central and the State level.

India is not only a young country by the statistics of youth demographics, but it is also a place of thriving budding entrepreneurs with innumerable ideas and business models – mentoring support, especially for the first-time entrepreneurs, can save a lot of money, efforts and frustration. Our entrepreneurial consulting services encompass the designing, validating and testing of the business model. It also includes facilitation to interact with the possible Investors for the angel funding of upcoming startups. Successful operations of a company have an imminent aspect of having impeccable business development. In the new market, the local contextual knowledge can help establish better liaisons and targeted marketing plans for potential customers. There is often the need to get rooted with a network of agents who can help run the business like upstream and downstream suppliers and distributors.

We work with companies from Sweden, Canada, Turkey, Indonesia, etc. We are also working with many Indian companies like Crrunchy Flavours, Fashn.me, Fixkarnow, Sainik Engineering, and a few real estate companies, etc.

How in your opinion can the industry get well-rooted with agents especially when it comes to running up-stream and down-stream suppliers and distributors? What are the challenges here that your company helps with?  

For any industry, three things are an important product, distribution and marketing. Supply chain management is one of the assets of our company. We divide the consulting work into phases. Like separate phase for up-stream then another phase for production and last phase for down-stream. We also divide these phases into sub-phases. Our separate team works on separate parts which include analytics too. These phases are executed parallel or as per the demands and requirements.

If we talk about the up-stream we filter out the best suppliers, raw material and logistic services. Best in terms of cost and quality. We innovate the production part with advanced technologies and trained manpower. In down-streams, we help them in market analysis, connecting with the right channel, distributors and retailers.

Give me a market view of the pace at which we are moving as an industry? How has the on-set of COVID-19 impacted the situation? How tough has it become to forecast the trajectory the market is likely to take… 

See, the scenario has changed in the past few months and especially post COVI-19. It is tough to predict the market. Around the Globe, the influencers and world leaders are coming to realise the fact that climbing economy and health can be unsettled by a virus. We need to speed up the recovery and develop a model in which the world would protect from future crises. A big gap between supply and demand is about to come, and it needs to be balanced. Consider reducing non-essential expenses in the supply chain. Industries should think of revolving the line of credit, this will help with emergency funds.

In the present scenario, we can be the biggest supplier in the Globe replacing China. Buyers are showing distrust towards Chinese products. We need to realise the demand and match the production quality and required deliverables. In the coming days, people will show more trust in Indian manufactured pharmaceuticals and consumer foods. So ultimately, we are on the average pace which can be pushed harder.

Ranjana Konatt is Editor (Brand Positioning), Chary Publications. She may be contacted at ranjana@charypublications.in 

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