Article I Recommend: http://entrepreneurindia.in/nano-a-nano
I didn’t quite agree to the views posted by a certain August Shark, whose I column I look forward to in every issue of the Entrepreneur magazine. He is a once-failed, second time successful bootstrapper who resides in Mumbai. Surprisingly, I didn’t quite agree to what I understood from the column and here’s my reply:
I beg to differ, sir. Owing to the conditions of most of the population, we cannot yet afford to get classy. The gap is increasing and that should be bridged. Though Nano is, after all, a business targeting a specific segment, it gave many people an opportunity to own a car. It wasn’t for folks who can afford better models. It was about ‘need’ because it has to be about ‘need’, in India. :) Bread better than Cakes any day. Every family in India, now, doesn’t have a Nano probably because ‘dignity of labor’ is non-existent here. So people might point at Nano and give that ugly grin. I’ve seen it happen. No wonder the idea didn’t really catch on. Plus it was marketed as a ‘budget car’. Doesn’t feel cool to own one now, right?
‘Customer Desire’ is what running a business is all about. It can also be about ‘Customer Need’, however. As long as the customer ‘desires’ or ‘needs’ your product/service, you can run a business. Especially in India, where the ‘need’ factor arises purely because of the social conditions. When we have a look at the statistics, we observe that majority of the population cannot afford to live the comfortable lifestyle.
Considering our population, even if we say that 3% have the purchasing the power, we’re speaking of thousands. This makes sure that markets don’t fail and firms make booming business out of those thousands. These people can afford to pay for extra comforts, prompter services and ‘desire’ more and better.
What of the remaining millions? Untapped market, baby. Particularly, the market where ‘need’ is a priority. Here, the folks need stuff at lower rates and user-friendly for the kind of usage it calls for. It is all about the basic needs and a bit of a luxury because first we give them hat they ‘need’, then what they ‘desire’.
Dignity of Labor is what this country lacks. We have people looking down on baristas and paper boys. And these jobs are taken by people who, again, need them. It is not some random college boy who does this for pocket-money but a college boy who does this for his education. And this brings with it a few bad things too.
We target the lower segment of the society and it becomes associated with ‘people who cannot afford higher prices’. Though it can be generalized does not mean that should be a bias. Perhaps it is a stigma or high inferiority complex in the mind of an average Indian- but this mindset’s gotta go. And it will come by development of rural areas. We empower them, make them self-sufficient- that gives them the confidence to be what what they desire. We do not wait for the trickle-down effect to happen, we simply go and do it. No, I will not be posting a business plan or a strategy here. I’ve my own and you work on one!
Like someone had said- “Problem –> Solution. Now go kick ass.”