In Nov 2008 I joined BlackBerry in India. Our business in India was fledgling while Nokia had 82% market share. We turned it around in the next three years and grew the business by 25 times. We achieved this by investing and focusing on the channels where the customers were going. Over 70% of the mobile phones at the time were sold through general trade. So we worked closely with the key dealers across India to build relationships, support them, and grow their business. Our success was led by general trade channel. I learnt that each dealer (shop owner) is an entrepreneur who is by himself the CEO, HR, Finance, Facilities, Sales, and Marketing. We spent hours at shops sipping tea and learning about the finer details of your business. This helped me appreciate what each one of you brought to table, the dynamics resonated deeply with me. 40 years ago, my mom had started a small school in one room in Jammu city. The school grew over the decades to 200 students. My mom was the CEO, Finance, Admissions, and so on. It was fascinating to see her multitask the family needs while juggling the nuances of the small business. Every time I see an individual entrepreneur trying to multitask and fill all those roles while competing against larger entities my energy levels go up, I feel enthusiastic and energized. This skill is unique and special and we have plenty of this in India.
Industry dynamics have changed since the good old BlackBerry days. India now has one of the largest internet connected customer base in the World. E-commerce has grown at the back of this trend and it is here to stay. Organized trade is developing their own unique value propositions to compete effectively in the new India. Our economy will double in the next few years adding 198,00,000 crores per year to GDP. We have “once in a lifetime” opportunity facing us. Each one of you should aspire to leverage this opportunity and Sofyx can help. In a country of 1.3 billion people there is room for many channels to co-exist and grow. The ones that will stay ahead are the ones that will adopt internet and related technologies rapidly. Unlike many other countries the general trade has a big role to play in India, small shops are the back bone of our economy and there are tens of millions of these businesses. They power every nook and corner of our country. We feel comfortable making even our most expensive purchases from a small shop that we have known for years. However, smaller shops will have to evolve, adopt technology and Internet as customer preference and behavior is changing.
Last Dec I completed a decade of returning to India. I decided to take up a challenge for the next ten years and a goal that would be worth pursuing. So we have a mission – to transform the small business/general trade in India. We incorporated Sofyx with that vision. We will help small shops owned by individuals to compete and grow in the new digital India. We will bring deeper understanding of target customer base, help you connect better with them, build loyalty, drive visibility, improve revenue and profitability, help you run the shops based on simple analytics and streamline the buying decisions. This combined with the local presence of the shopkeepers in my mind would be a very unique combination that only India as a country can develop. I strongly believe that we can revolutionize general trade by marrying e-commerce to brick and mortar shops. A new and powerful channel will emerge. Our first goal is to help the smartphone selling shops in India. It is our mission to power many of you through the technology and solutions that Sofyx will bring so that you can grow and compete effectively in the new India.
Many of you know me directly so don’t hesitate to reach out on phone at 9871110785. I would love to hear your views and your interest in associating with us. You can also check our website at www.sofyx.com. We have some partner views on the website. If you would like to add your view to the Sofyx website please send us a picture and a quote at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the next few weeks we will be holding a few partner sessions in some of the focus cities to help you understand how Sofyx will help you. Looking forward to seeing you soon.