Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Interview With Deepa Bhat, Founder

Featuring Woman Entrepreneur

Deepa Bhat,

[Category: Mompreneur
E-learning for K-12]

I have mentioned in my article earlier that the education market for the K-12 segment has tremendous potential. The penetration of the Internet and the multimedia, has made this potential lucrative for e-learning also in the K-12 segment. Coupled with these factors, Deepa Bhat used the Mompreneurship radar to detect the opportunity. She has just launched, which caters to the fun-filled way of reinforcing educational concepts to young children -- LKG - Grade 3, or kids in the age group of 4 years to 9 years. Deepa's kids have been the source for the motivation of her entrepreneurship. Read more to understand more about her interesting venture.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Interview With Cause Haun, SeeKaiRun

Featuring Woman Entrepreneur

Cause Haun
Founder, SeeKaiRun

[Category: Mompreneurship
Kids Footwear]

It is marvelous to see how a mother's instinct can drive new creations. A mother's choosy attitude towards providing the best for her child can actually turn a woman into an entrepreneur - a Mompreneur. I had the privilige to have email interview with Cause Haun, Founder of SeeKaiRun, who formed a new line of shoes when she could not find the right pair of booties for her first child. See Kai Run® is a family-owned and operated business located outside of Seattle, Washington. The idea was born when founder Cause Haun was on a quest for the perfect first pair of shoes for her son, Kai. Unable to find shoes in fun, cutting edge styles that still promoted the healthy development of growing feet, she created her own line of shoes that satisfied all of these needs. Read more about her story.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Interview With Anjana Vivek, Founder VentureBean Consulting

Featuring Woman Entrepreneur

Anjana Vivek
Founder VentureBean Consulting

[Category: Strike The Niche Segment
Outsourced CFO Model]

VentureBean Consulting partners with businesses, providing inputs in the area of strategy and finance, to help create sustainable value in a rapidly changing business environment. VentureBean works with companies to refine/build business plans and business models and provides inputs in deal related matters, for investment and M&A transactions in a variety of funding aspects from financial forecasts to valuation to due diligence and negotiations. VentureBean’s advisory services range from review and stock take of a business … to working on an action plan to meet immediate needs, to setting long term goals.

Read my interview with Anjana Vivek, to understand how outsourced CFO models are emerging.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

An Entrepreneur’s Delight

Outsourced CFO Models – A growing niche with brilliant prospects*

The recession that followed the financial meltdown has been a wake up call in the whole world. Where as many have argued that offshore-outsourcing will be adversely hit, the trend has not indicated any signs of adverse impact. On the contrary, now when the dust is settling, the offshoring outsourcing models for many business processes and functions seem to be standing tall. The offshore-outsourcing model has withstood the tornado. It has re-emphasized the need to be lean in structure.

One of the business processes and functions which is gaining momentum is Outsourced CFO models. The most commonly outsourced finance operation is transaction processing. The savings in this area can be potentially significant. But CFOs are now willing to move from outsourcing transaction-processing activities in finance to outsourcing business decision-support activities such as planning, control, and management reporting.

It is now the ‘Lean Is In’ mental setup among the corporates, which will further drive the prospects for outsourcing market for many other business processes and functions. Companies are reshuffling and juggling their business strategies in order to tone down the corporate structures. Naturally, this gives rise to higher potential for the outsourcing models. The potential is growing even from India’s standpoint too. In this article I am going to highlight the burgeoning entrepreneurial prospects for outsourcing CFO business models. Earlier [refer to my article: Importance Of Identifying A Niche Segment For An Entrepreneur], I had written about one more outsourced business function as the entrepreneurial opportunity – Marketing Consulting as outsourced business function.

Captive Offshore Centers are not a new concept at all especially with many MNC banks, who have set up their captive offshore center in countries like India, China, Philippines, Brazil and Indonesia. But this model is getting greater acceptance with other organizations that see advantage in setting up their own captive centers for financial processes. According to a report by Deloitte, tax planning and compliance is emerging as an important opportunity for offshoring.

Primarily the captive option for offshore outsourcing offers following advantages. The advantages are listed based on weightage they provide on the overall scale of advantages: Process efficiency, Process Quality and Cost Reduction. Since the finance operations are very information sensitive, it makes a good option for companies to set up their own captive centers. This gives the companies a better hold on the process control.

The second type of option for offshoring/outsourcing finance operations is outsourcing it to a vendor. This type of option gives organizations to scale up to the offshoring arrangement rather quickly. The advantages of this type of option, based on the weightage on the scale of overall advantages, are: Cost Reduction and Leveraging Technology Expertise. These two advantages make significant impact on the bottomline of an organization. This option will work for a company whose primary focus is cost reduction.

A third option for offshoring/outsourcing finance operations is that in which both vendors and the company have stakes in a pre-agreed proportion. The most popular form of arrangement in this model is Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) and Joint Ventures (JVs). As the name suggests, in BOT, the vendors establish the set-up, manage the operations for few year [or any time frame agreed upon] and then transfer back the entire operations setup back to the company so that it becomes a captive center for the company.

Till now the general perception of outsourcing has been where a company in the West offshores the outsourced function to India. But corporate India today is facing few challenges like rising cost of retaining employees and increasing rentals and price of the real estate. It makes a lot of sense for India Inc. to outsource their business processes and functions, and focus on the core competencies. It pays to adopt change early.

Whichever outsourcing model a company chooses, you as an entrepreneur will have an edge over others, only if you carefully consider your human capital around some important variables like subject knowledge and understanding of tax and company laws of various locations across the globe. If you want to venture into this niche as a service provider, then you must deem knowledgeable human capital as the winning strategy for your business.

Anjana Vivek is one of the entrepreneurs to have ventured into Financial Consulting as outsourced business function. Tune in after a few days to read her interview to understand better the prospects of the Outsourced CFO model.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Interview With Aparna Bhatnagar, GreenAndGood Store

Featuring Woman Entrepreneur

Aparna Bhatnagar
Founder GreenAndGood Store

[Category: Embracing Environment Level Challenges
Responsible Consumerism]

Green and Good Store was formed with a belief in the idea of ‘Sustainable Development'. A development, that ensures a pattern of resource use such that our needs are met in the immediate and indefinite future, while preserving the environment, the society and our traditional heritage.

The Green and Good Store is trying to facilitate inclusive and sustainable growth for all by developing a market for “socially and environmentally responsible goods and services”. Read the interview with Aparna Bhatnagar to understand more about her entrepreneurial venture.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Interview With Manjiri Gokhale Joshi, Founder Maya CARE

Featuring Woman Entrepreneur

Manjiri Gokhale Joshi
Founder/CEO Maya CARE Services

[Category: Home Sprung Business Models
Capture The Household Services Pie]

Maya CARE was conceived as a small dream - to provide services to senior citizens and a source of livelihood to women. The dream is now a movement propelled by growing a network of volunteers, men and women, across seven Indian cities. Maya CARE's Founder CEO, Manjiri Joshi, had nurtured this concept for quite a few years before actually implementing it. I had an opportunity to understand more about her entrepreneurial stint in an interview with her. Read on to understand her entrepreneurial genius, which has brought out a wonderful business concept, providing immense confidence to Indian socio-cultural set-up.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Responsible Consumerism - A Promising Concept For Entrepreneurs

A Concept Which Is Taking The Shape Of An Industry

What is Responsible consumerism or Ethical consumerism? It is the intentional purchase of such products which jave been produced with mimimum harm to or exploitation of humans, animals and environment. In the UK, the Co-operative Bank has produced an Ethical Consumerism Report (formerly the Ethical Purchasing Index) since 2001. The report measures the market size and growth of a basket of 'ethical' products and services, and valued UK ethical consumerism at GBP 36.0 billion (USD 54.4 billion) in 2008. This is about just one market in the global village.

Growing awareness among the consumers about the wrong-ways of bringing products into the market, has led to the world-wide acceptance of the concept of 'responsible consumerism'. It's like a 'movement'. In order to protect the environment and bring a fair play for the human capital involved and sensitivity to the animals, consumers are even ready to pay little bit higher price for the ethically produced goods.

Sensing the growing culture of ethical consumerism and the ‘Go Green’ drive in India, The Body Shop has recently taken some strategic measures to ride on this industry’s growth trajectory. The Body Shop has been since known for adopting responsible consumerism and its business ethos.

In a recent interview to ET, Jonathan Price, managing director, Asia Pacific, The Body Shop, said that The Body Shop, the iconic British skincare brand , has slashed the prices of about 800 products by up to 35% in India to speed up its growth in one of its fastest growing markets. The pricing markdown only for India was part of an ambitious plan to expand its reach to more people and smaller cities in quick time, says Jonathan Price. According to him, India is the pillar of future growth for The Body Shop.

If there is any credence to the strategic thinking of the product makers around the world, then it would be appropriate to consider it lucrative enough to launch more entrepreneurial ventures. It is a 'movement' which is evolving as a growth industry. Let us analyse a few factors here:
The scalabilty Potential:
  • Segments: Many [Cosmetics, household cleaning products, apparels, spices and other food ingredients]
  • Product Line : Vast
  • Product Range : Deep
  • Potential customers: Urban population
About 32% of population in India resides in urban cities currently. This will increase to about 35.2% of the Indian population residing in urban cities by 2019 - an increase of about 100 million. Out of this, it is important to highlight that much of the increase in urban population will comprise of migrants also. The migrating population will bring in their share of demand and to the total existing and growing demand for practising ethical consumerism.
Other factors to be considered while judging the potential of this industry:

1. Growth in Urban Population of India: estimated at about 41% of the total population by 2030. According to 2001 census about 64% of the urban population were living in homes which were in 'good condition', and hence can be assumed to be above poverty line. They will form the part of the urban population with some percentage of disposable income. Out of this share if you take around 20% [on the pessimistic side], as the prospects who would qualify as people with enough disposable income, you still have a huge market to tap.
2. Household Consumption: estimated to grow at about 8% per annum, which means by 2019-20, per capita income of households will double. This directly implies an increase in household expenditure budget in the coming decade.

Responsible Consumerism or Ethical Consumerism will force innovative ways to make products in the future. There will be growth for other related segments enabled by the growth of the core product industry based on responsible consumerism. For example the packaging industry, also will witness growth due to growth in other segments like those of apparels, food and beverages etc.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Home Sprung Business Model: Part III

Capture The Household Services Pie

Till about recently, the household sector has been a much-ignored sector in terms of providing services to specific needs. Needless to say that the scalability of any service ventured into this segment will be vast, and revenue potential -- very lucrative.

Sean Blagsvedt, founder of, has addressed one of the needs in informal employment segment [hiring a driver, a babysitter, a cook, a plumber etc.], which targets the educated double-income working class.

This market has been in clutter and chaos, where the employers would go about looking for a domestic help [usually a driver, a cook or a babysitter] by asking their neighbors or friends for references. Similarly the service providers, [like drivers or cooks] would go around spreading a word that they need work; getting references and employment through informal word-of-mouth method. Sean streamlined the market and brought together the two parties on an online platform. At, you can become a member by paying a nominal fee, and hire any domestic help with just a click of a button. The credentials of the prospective employees are available as scanned images, along with the complete profile of the prospective employees.

There are many such opportunities that revolve around the needs of the upper-middle class household sector in India. Take weddings for example. Wedding is a big social event for a couple who is getting married, and for their respective families, relatives and friends. While everyone wants to enjoy the revered occasion, it makes a lot of sense to ‘outsource’ the complete organizing activities to trusted ‘someone’. Thus, springs a ‘need’ [entrepreneurial opportunity] for a trusted wedding planner/organizer.

Another service need which has surfaced primarily in the metros of India, is the need for an extended arm for the senior citizens [and for those nuclear families where both the spouses are working] for day-to-day activities, which they find a little difficult to do because of either infrastructure problems or just the mental non-readiness to the fact that they have to be living independently during their sunset years due to the increasing mobility that is demanded of the younger employable population, in the wake of globalization. With the age-old tradition of joint-families in India and close-knit family culture, it is difficult for the current retiring generation to accept their nuclear family status even after retirement.

So why not pitch-in and provide a services which revolve around these senior citizens, which will reduce the nostalgia and keep up their active lives, leaving them feeling happy and secured? With her entrepreneurial genius, Manjiri Joshi Gokhale conceptualized this venture and formed Maya CARE Services to extend help to the senior citizens and anybody who might need it due to lack of time in their daily schedules.

Stay tuned to read interview with Manjiri Joshi Gokhale, founder Maya CARE Services.