Consultancy Retail

Please spare your 10 cents to read the following hypothetical example before we go into the depth of the concept I’m trying to explain.

Imagine a guy named Jagmohan Das. He is a fruit vendor, say a grapes exporter from Nasik or oranges exporter from Nagpur. He has implemented various advanced techniques to increase his produce. He has successfully managed to do that. His normal business model is grow fruits, segregate them as export quality and domestic, tie up with exporters and domestic fruit vendors, make provisions for logistics and at the end of day earn money by selling his oranges or grapes.

However he has some problems with the business and is not able to generate expected returns. They can be (1) His export quality fruits are being rejected by customers as they exceed the minimum level of use of chemicals. (2) He has an option to bring them to domestic market. But due to the perishable nature of produce, he ends up wasting half of his oranges/grapes. (3) He can sell them locally. However he knows only his exporter and do not have the knowledge of the place. So he cant get a good price.

As a solution, he walks in to a ‘Max Consulting’ kiosk locally (in his own city Nagpur or Nasik) and becomes a member. Here he is counseled by the best people in fruits export business and advised on how to tackle various problems related to fertilizers, logistics, export procedures etc. Max guys help him to reduce his export rejection, and also help him sell his export rejected fruits locally. Jagmohan travels from Nasik/Nagpur to Cochin in order to find a market for his oranges/grapes there. Again, he knows no one there and has a language problem. So he walks into the local ‘Max Consulting’ kiosk. Since he is a member, he is counseled, introduced to the right people and helped to set up his business locally. Jagmohan is happy as all this is done at a minimum annual subscription fee. Plus if chooses to use Max Consulting sales channel, he can share a small piece of his profits.

I call it consultancy retail. Making sales, supply chain and logistics consulting solutions available to every town in the country in order to help SME’s do their business better. We enrol small and medium businesses as members and help them to grow their business better. We earn through the membership fees as well as through the percentage profit if they meet their targets. At the same time, we have logistics guys and other agents tied up with us to help our members. We charge them a minimum fees and again as per their deal size.

Is this a good idea?

11 thoughts on “Consultancy Retail

  1. hmm,
    firstly , can such a varied audience be catered ?
    from fruit vendors to colleges?

    so many geographically diverse locations? you need to be having many offcies right?
    and the MBT was all about virtual working,s o in what direction this is heading to..

    if these questions are trivival , then idea rocks though!

  2. The capacity will have to be built. We can start with some and later expand. Yes we will have multiple offices. But they will more be Kiosks rather than customer repelling offices. It will be like walking in to a plush grocery store and buying consultancy 🙂

    Of course the virtual office concept is still alive in MBT. This one is different.

  3. You are looking at a lot of capability building. And a lot of people. So getting the initial buy-in from your customers will be tough since all that wont be present at the start!!
    Plus, it is a bit capital intensive. But your value proposition is awesome.

  4. It can start with, say 5 centres in India and about 4 business lines. I want to focus on agricultural exports as priority as it is the sector that needs to come of age. But managing Rural supply chain is going to be difficult, I agree.

    Tell you frankly, its not much of a capital investment, except in software setup and manpower. Rest is fairly achievable.

  5. My 2 cents…

    I feel its a very good idea but the proposition is very vague and needs to be consolidated. Its not possible to concentrate on all the problems at one time. A detailed business plan needs to be made after a good amount of research on agricultural products, their exports , supply chain management, the major problems that rural SMEs face…A look at how are things currently managed and who are the potential competitors is imperative. Rural people anyways havea a lot of reservation about going to plush office and unknown people.So firstly we have to start with something that has the maximum requirement/need and gets you started in a couple of cities…then it can further be explaned to include sales, quality assurance etc.

    The professionals/consultants/Subject Matter experts that you need to hire for various activities would be your major cost apart from offices.

    End of day if its too costly for a farmer, fruit vendor he is not going to go for it…

    you have probably already thought of these things already but the comments are based on whatever is written..cant comment more at this point.

  6. Hi Ajay,

    To be fair, this is still at the ‘idea’ stage. I have done some reading on the way the business is being done right now and see that it is not well organised, or should I say aggregated. I will need subject matter experts-yes. That is why I want to start small with only 3-4 industries and say 5 centres.

    I will surely work on a business plan. I’m just trying to understand views right now.

  7. Comment 1: Idea is good.

    Comment 2: Every idea is good.

    Comment 3 (Gyaan): Maybe you could help one fruits vendor get more ROI and see if the idea is worth following? Anything can be made to look good or bad on paper. Unless you do it, you won’t know.

  8. I surely want to do it. And I’m aware it is going to take time and money to bring this concept to reality. I will need few good brains to help me formalize every thing. And of course, there is money. I’m just tackling the feasibility of the idea.

    PS: The example of a fruit vendor is indicative. The concept remains industry independant.

  9. Here I’m pasting a comment from a Banker friend of mine.


    Hope you too are fine!

    Interesting and out of box business model to put in first place!

    I do have some doubts about this one although..

    1) How to cater such wide target audience? The players are too many…!
    2) If its a green field project..hmm may be the model can cater that person, but someone whose been a retail vendor/exporter over the years has his built in SCM and associates already in place, hence it would be difficult to convince him( although that can be done) to take this service.
    3) The proportion of income vis-a-vi the investment, does it sound feasible as its completely depended on the monsoon pattern. Sound like keeping all eggs in one basket!!
    4) How to market your product in such a clustered segment of players.
    5) How about the geography targets, towns yes it might work but interiors…I doubt cause there are still ‘Hath system’ in place which gives trades in millions.

    I hope I am not sounding pessimist, but this is what I could pen down, as I went through your write up. May be something else might pop in my mind and I will add on the feedback.

    Keen to receive your answers!

    Best Regards,
    Snehal Kulkarni
    Assistant Manager
    Global Markets Group, ICICI Bank Ltd., BKC, Mumbai. INDIA I

  10. Another web comment. Please allow me time to reply.


    The idea is superb; my concern is on the implementation part. It would be ideal to start of catering one or max two offerings, again the breadth could be more than just Nagpur or Nasik, so this also needs to be taken care of.

    My suggestion would be to have it online (then the constrain of having offices would not matter) or tie up with association (Fruits export association in this case). Frankly speaking no need to have an office to address those needs of the client.

    One more concern is how do we target them, can we approach them instead of they approaching us.

    The concept is fantastic need to shape it further.

    I hope my comments is of help.



    MITHUN AHIR | Capgemini | Finland

  11. One more mail comment
    Dear Mayur,

    Apologies for the delay in replying…Got stuck with something…..

    The business plan in first place to be explained in one page is commendable….and what I could understand is that Max wants to part of the massively intriguing Supply chain and act as a lubricant….

    The Idea now is whether you want to be “Part of this chain” as a LINK or Act as a CATALYST and “Smoothen and fasten the process”

    LINK: The issue with this part of the business to start of would be detailed domain understanding….in this case of Agriculture and related issues. Which according to me would be both time and money consuming with no assuring returns…mainly b’coz we know that farmers have their own set of reservations with respect to technology as well as the cost associated with it.

    CATALYST: This is where Max can make its niche or should I say weave its business strategy around. To be precise I am reffering to addressing problem no. 2 and 3 in your case below.

    This I think would not only be relatively uncomplicated as well as scalable (I think scalability is more a virtue for any business model). As once you achieve scale you can also think of tying up with established players in this business. To name a few – ITC – through its Portal E-choupal and Logistics players like – Gati, Reliance etc through the Cold storage chains…

    I hope this made some sense….

    Gaurav Jain
    B&K Securities, Mumbai

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