Country Management of your business in India is no joke and companies that have shown scant respect for the Indian consumer have paid a heavy price.
At the very outset, managing a business in India requires a well capitalised balance sheet because there are always hidden costs and original plans typically fail to deliver the desired result. Many overseas management under provide for this leading to a fundamental problem…
It is also not unusual for overseas HQs to impose their vision of Execution of the Business Plan or indeed the conception of the Business Plan itself on Indian subsidiaries based on their experience in overseas markets. The Indian consumer is very finicky – product development is key : we need world class products but a penetrative pricing level that makes it an affordable luxury.
Then comes the all important “Moment of Truth” when it is actually the time for the consumer to make up his/her mind about a product purchase at which time it is crucial that a product’s benefits ring correctly vs the competition. This can have some unpleasant surprises out in the market !
Then there are the complexities of regional preferences , demotivated dealers/distributors as business may have turned unviable due to sales shortfalls and very high interest rates that continually make business partners seek high “ROI Guarantees” from the company. Add to this logistical challenges and demands of a consumer class beyond the main metros that cannot be ignored.
Also there comes increased competition because everybody who is somebody in the world wants to take advantage of India’s GDP and set up shop here given the fact that we will be the WORLD’S 3RD LARGEST GDP BY 2030 ( only 13 years away !) AND also the WORLD’S LARGEST CONSUMER MARKET BY 2030. So original Gross Margins as per Plan remain a dream while costs – which are facts on the ground – balloon, putting a premium on sales/business productivity that only very experienced and astute managers can manage.
The company’s Team India should the MOST important asset and to keep them Willing & Convinced on the Execution is itself a full time job of seasoned executives both in India and the overseas HQ, because of some of the challenges mentioned above. Many companies find themselves unequal to the task and learn rather too late that managing India cannot be a part time activity.
The Science of Business Execution in India remains the same whether it is a confectionery company or an automobile company :
So you have consumer goods companies like Perfetti Van Melle that have got the India Plan right long ago even after a delayed entry, some are still struggling after many years and then there are some companies like General Motors who seem to have given up the fight totally and are exiting India….
Read the article to understand how NOT to manage your company’s business in India – This will automatically give you some pointers on about WHAT to do RIGHT to get your Execution in India moving on the right track.
Mera Bharat Mahaan ! ( My India is Great !)