#most successful businesses
Despite being a huge economy that ranks at number 3 in the GDP (PPP) league globally, India is a nation where the agriculture and unorganized sectors dominate employment generation. Contrary to what a lot of people may believe, we do not have a majority of our workforce employed by the organized sector.
The Indian workforce can be categorized by a simple and approximate formula – 65-35-15-85. Of the entire workforce, around 65% are engaged directly or indirectly in Agriculture, a massive number. This number will include farmers, farm labourers, transport workers, mandi workers, marketing people, rural business persons of all types etc. That leaves around 35% of Indian workforce, which we can call non-farm workforce. Of this 35%, not more than 15% are employed by the organized sector. They are paid salaries on fixed dates (almost), enjoy statutory benefits and can associate their work with some brandname of some credible size. The remaining 85% (of this 35%) are engaged in unorganized sector, that does not enjoy any of these characteristics. Are these not shocking statistics, for India, after nearly seven decades of economic independence? By the way, I have not counted homemakers and housewives, whose contribution anyway does not get counted in the GDP calculations.
We are a nation of 1.3 billion people (that’s 130,00,00,000 people). So it is clear there is abundance of labour available in India, that is untrained, unskilled (or at best partially skilled) and has a poor chance of making it in the formal organized sector. What do these people do? Well, they create small businesses of their own, and get on with their lives quietly.
Mainstream academia and media often speak disparagingly of these millions as “Mom-and-Pop” shops, because the comparison yardstick is the West, where most of retail is organized. But if these millions were to give up their businesses, and start pestering the governments of India (central and state) forSarkarijobs, the whole system will crumble and break down in no time. We should be very thankful to these entrepreneurs who quietly create opportunities for themselves, and even employ many more.
I assume by small. the question means really small, even micro. And “top 10” must be the range and spread. The ones I am listing below, are usually proprietorships of the most unstructured format. I am intentionally not counting the Small-scale enterprises in the manufacturing sector. I am also leaving out individual contractors that use the internet economy to work from home, on projects anywhere in the world (these are educated and very capable people).
In my opinion, ten of the smallest of businesses (not counting agriculture related work) that are widespread across India, totally taken for granted, and where literally crores of Indians (1 crore = 10 million) are self-employed, can be listed as:
- Small retail shops – Millions of them spread across the length and breadth of India. They are usually owned by a single family, and entire work is done by two or three members of the same family. They do not formally book every transaction, and issue no receipts. Hence, they generally pay no taxes at all. In fact, if they are forcibly dragged in the tax net, many of them will simply become unviable! So what will happen? Right now we have around 1 million young people entering the workforce each month. Or 1.2 crore each year. We will substantially increase the number if these shops collapse.
- Paan ki dukaan – Indians love their paan, supari, cigarettes, tobacco, and gutkha! And this gives birth to the legion of Paan Shops we see everywhere. They form a key part of the marketing plans of consumer goods giants like Unilever etc. As they say, the Ps of marketing are Product-Price-Promotion-P lace-and-Paan shops.
- Readymade Garment shops – Thousands of these small shops cater to the needs of the local communities they serve. While all conceivable brands are available in big malls, the small shops cater at an atomic level to their customers’ needs. And they are busy all year round. One can be often surprised at the economical rates these offer.
- Tea stalls – Popularly called chai-ki-tapri. these are hangout places (for a few minutes) for the local small office-goers, daily wage labourers, and anybody passing by. Usually run by a single entrepreneur, they employ chhotus, young boys barely 8 or 10 years of age. It can be seen everywhere in India. They serve tea (of coffee), some basic snacks like pakoras, etc. Wholesomely unhealthy if taken on a daily basis.
- Auto Repair shops – If you do not wish to spend a lot of money to get your vehicle (2 wheeler or 4 wheeler) repaired at the branded sales outlet or service centre, then the roadside repair shop is always at your disposal. Business is always brisk, and the technicians working can be amazingly skilled.
- Mobile repair / accessories shops – The past few years have seen employment generation through this route. Tiny shops that are run by just one or two people can cater to a vast range of your repair / recharging needs. Found almost everywhere.
- Grocery Daily need shops – A type of the small retail shops. Some of them are organizedkirana stores, others much smaller but equally useful. They develop customer relationships through home delivery, some credit, and informal support for a range of needs. Usually have dedicated and loyal clienteles. The arrival of organized retail has, so far, not affected them much.
- Small restaurants / coffee shops – Lots of them dot the highways as dhabas. or all commercial roads in cities of all sizes. They are usually much cheaper compared to branded cafes. I remember enjoying a hearty meal (for a family of four) for Rs 36 when we hungrily went to a very small “south Indian” restaurant on a mountain side in Munnar, Kerala. What a meal it was! And what a rush the restaurant was handling. Such experiences make you want to become a food entrepreneur (the yummy margins! ).
- Seasonal shops – Every festival in India brings unique buying needs, and that leads to sprouting of such shops in specific areas of all towns and cities. So, during the Ganesh Chaturthi festivals, shops spring up overnight selling pooja samagri (material for religious prayers) and idols. Similarly, Deepawali sees fire-cracker shops and Holi brings with it gorgeously colourful temporary shops. All dealings are naturally in pure cash!
- Hawkers of all types – Not to be outdone by the above, we have a whole range of hawkers who shout themselves hoarse strutting their stuff door-to-door, all day long. They do this on bicycles, or thelas, and it must be very exhausting work.
I personally feel that society ought to respect these individuals much more that it currently does. They are the most basic building blocks of our goods and services markets. The entrepreneurial streak of these unsung heroes can be very motivating if we see the sheer struggle their daily lives entail.
As India moves forward, while our economy will get more structured, the simultaneous growth of our population is going to make formal employment generation a huge challenge. Interesting times ahead!
There is a contradiction in the question: What are the top 10 internet business models that are currently the most profitable and easiest to copy in a new market?
The most profitable business model will not be the easiest to copy since by definition anyone can copy that business model, compete with the original business model and so bring down the profits of the business model as a whole.
Examples of most profitable internet business models typically depend on dominating the long-tail. This requires these businesses to operate at a lower cost than if manual / human processing was required, and capitalize on improving the signal to noise ratio using algorithms at scale. It is difficult for substitute businesses to develop the same scale later as collecting huge amounts of long-tail data takes a long time (years)
Google search: Have data on long-tail search terms and creates a market place where participants can bid to reach most relevant customers.
Amazon.com: Have organized information of long-tail products for sale and offer unparalleled selection, prices are reasonable, inventory overheads are low (they need to stock a few items globally compared to a few items per physical store)
Ebay: Created an auction marketplace where buyers can bid for long-tail products offered by sellers world-wide. The larger the number of buyers, the larger the number of sellers and Ebay makes a cut off each transaction.
Wikipedia or Yahoo Answers: Long-tail content is generated by users at little / low expense to the company, content is relevant and used years after it was originally created. Bulk of the content is accessed only a few times every month but collectively drives billions of page views a month. This can be harvested by basic online advertising.
What s the Better Buy: a Consumer or a Business Laptop?
Laptop makers such as Dell, HP, and Lenovo carefully label and target their laptops for either “business users” or “home users,” which implies that they’ve done their homework for you and selected the best models for your type of usage.
But even if you’ll be using the laptop in your living room rather than during board meetings, should you skip shopping in the business laptop department altogether? The answer is, well, it depends.
I compared similarly configured consumer and business laptop offerings from several major laptop vendors, and found several good reasons for home users to consider business laptops–including more configuration options and better warranties.
But it isn’t always a cut-and-dried decision. Here’s what you need to keep in mind when selecting your next laptop.
Six Reasons to Consider a Business Laptop
Lenovo’s ThinkPad T420 business laptop. Better durability and build quality: Business laptops are designed to take a beating, literally in some cases. Lenovo’s ThinkPad line of business laptops are military-spec-tested to endure heat, humidity, pressure, shock, and other extremes so that the laptops can survive anything business travelers and outdoor workers toss at them. (Seriously, Lenovo testers even throw laptops out of airplanes .)
The company’s IdeaPad consumer laptops don’t get that same extreme treatment, because regular laptop users supposedly don’t torture their laptops as much.
Even if you don’t plan on working in severe conditions, a business laptop’s more rugged design may help you get more long-lasting value out of your laptop, thanks to the use of premium materials. The HP ProBook 4530s laptop for professionals, for example, might look quite similar to the silver HP Pavilion dv6t in the consumer line, but the ProBook 4530s is constructed of “high-strength precision-formed aluminum” while the dv6 simply has a metallic finish. The ProBook’s aluminum is deeply anodized to be scratch-, smudge-, and wear-resistant.
The Asus U36S, a high-end consumer laptop. However, high-end materials have started to show up in premium consumer ultraportable laptops, such as the Asus U36S. which has a magnesium-aluminum alloy cover. But business laptops generally are still constructed and tested to be tougher.
For instance, Asus reinforces its business-oriented B23E laptop with metal hinges and metal brackets to cushion the hard drive, and tests both the hinges and the panels beyond consumer standards. Here’s some information on how Asus tests .
And the Dell E6520 not only has a spill-resistant keyboard (a protective seal guards against everyday spills), it also comes with a 360-degree bumper around the LCD panel, and even its latch is made of a zinc alloy for durability.
More build-to-order options: You’ll find many preconfigured laptop models to choose from in the home/consumer site of any major laptop manufacturer, but if you want to fine-tune a laptop’s specifications to a greater extent, head to the business side.
For example, with the entertainment-focused Lenovo IdeaPad Y470. you can select from consumer models with Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 processors and different memory and hard-drive capacities. But your customization options for those models are limited to adding on more years to the warranty or selecting laptop accessories.
Select the business-oriented Lenovo ThinkPad T420 model, on the other hand, and you can opt for a higher-resolution display, swap in a discrete graphics card, upgrade the hard drive, add a fingerprint reader, and much more–at additional cost, of course.
Longer warranties and better support: If you want more protection for your laptop, business laptop warranties typically trump consumer ones. The Toshiba, Dell, and Asus business laptops I looked at, for example, came with standard three-year warranties, versus a one-year warranty on the consumer models.
The ThinkPad was configurable for up to a four-year warranty, while the IdeaPad warranty only went up to three years. Each year of additional protection and support is worth between $50 and $100 dollars, and gives you more peace of mind should your laptop break down beyond a one-year period.
Priority service is also sometimes available to owners of business laptops, whether or not you use it for business purposes. HP EliteBook buyers, for example, will soon be getting their own dedicated tech support person to talk to.
Additional security built in: Because lost business laptops are a huge liability and concern for business owners and IT departments, security features that consumer laptops don’t get are practically standard here. All of the business laptops I looked at offer at least the option to add a fingerprint reader, and many come with TPM (Trusted Platform Module) Embedded Security chips to encrypt your laptop’s data. HP touts its own suite of security tools (“ProtectTools”) that promises to wipe your drive remotely, shred files, check credentials on boot-up, and more.
More expansion and connectivity options: Want to quickly plug in or unplug your laptop from an external monitor and the many peripherals you own? A business laptop is more likely to have a matching docking station or port replicator, perhaps because business users are more likely to want a setup both at the office and at home, or because they need quick connectivity if they travel often.
Matte screens: Finally, consumer laptops tend to come with glossy displays that may show vibrant colors but also are subject to terrible glare. Business laptops generally have antiglare displays or at least antiglare options. These screens are easier on the eyes, easier to view outdoors, and have better viewing angles.
Next: Four Reasons to Buy a Consumer Laptop
What s the Better Buy: a Consumer or a.