“BCool – making Mazda cool”
Sometimes a company can turn things around for itself and create a new image altogether. “Mazda Limited” would normally be called a engineering company, specializing in tailor-made heavy engineering equipment but due to its new division BCool it is also becoming famous for food products. Shanaya Mody is the woman entrepreneur who has engineered this change with BCool and its lineup of food products such as Instant powder drinks, Jams, Food Colours etc.
Yourstory learnt more on her entrepreneurial story and how “BCool” is making “Mazda” cool from Shanaya herself.
Tell us how BCool was started and the business idea behind it?
BCool was established in 2006, with not much more than a piece of un-used factory land. We started initially as a company supplying Instant drink powder to the international market; however over time we have diversified to include Jams, Sauces, Essences and food colours.
Today we have a yearly turnover of around 3.25 crore and BCool is a recognized brand name in the U.A.E, U.K, Nepal, Africa, U.S. and several other countries.
We are one of the few instant drink manufacturers that can provide up to 20 different flavours, along with private labeling and a varied range of international packing which meets all export specifications.
What kind of products do you make for which markets?
While there is severe competition in a mass product like ours, our hold in the international market is strong. We are getting into more products, and through vertical integration, try to offer customers not only the product they need but also other complementary requirements. For e.g. we have tied up with a local machine manufacture which enables us to supply customers with both our instant drink powders and also the machine they require to package it. We have several customers globally in Jeddah, Dubai, United Kingdom, Australia, Nepal, Bangladesh and the U.S.A., and are also associated with some big brand names who we privately label our products for.
Where is the main difference in how you execute your business idea from others?What’s special about our business model in is that our marketing strategy is slightly different to what most companies would adopt. Having a bulk consumption FMCG product which faces severe competition it is virtually impossible to differentiate yourself via ‘product’. At BCool we differentiate ourselves through our novel marketing model. Our repeat product sale is not solely because we manage the balance between quality and competitive pricing, but more because of our intense focus on customer services and strict emphasis on maintaining quality.
What I have bought to the business is an ultra-low cost management style. Even at a revenue value of Rs. 3.25 crore, the whole business is managed solely by me and I am aided by a wonderful Production Manager – Mr. Sachin Patel. I incur no extra travelling costs, and all our sales/service is done solely by phone and internet. Our main marketing portal is a b2b site through which all our queries are generated.
What does the expansion of your business depend upon?
Like most FMCG products, ours is a volume game. Since the profit margins are not too large because of the nature of the product, the more business we generate the faster we can scale-up our business. In addition to this our strategy is very clear – Innovate and Increase our product range to provide the customer with value-add services and vertical integration. While scaling-up the business is important, quality maintenance in any food product is of primary importance.
Who inspired you to try your hand at entrepreneurship?
I would have to say here that it runs in my blood. My father started his own business and I aspire to be like him, I’d always wanted him to be able to proudly say that I was a ‘chip of the ol’ block’!
What was the biggest challenge that you had to face with BCool?
In 2009, sugar prices sky rocketed globally. Now in a product where sugar is our main raw material, one can imagine the effect this would have had on our business. We took that opportunity to innovate and initiate. We focused on R&D and developed several other products to reduce our dependence on sugar – and that’s when we introduced sauces and other products to our range.
What are the toughest lessons you learnt about entrepreneurship?
When I first started, trusting people to uphold their word in business was the mistake I made. I learnt the hard way that the business realm is very ruthless and trust – whether it is for payments or supplies, or delivery – is to be frugally imparted!Where did you find the seed capital for your company? Any plans to raise money?
Since I already had factory land which was unused by the engineering company and old machines that they had discarded, initial seed money was self generating. Using these we started our initial order and after that the working capital has been self generated. BCool is debt free and currently we have no plans to raise money.
What has your company’s growth been like in man power and market share?
In terms of our sales growth in the last two years we’ve almost doubled our turnover year on year. We started initially with 2 hires and 5 workers and now we’ve grown to have 5 permanent staff and 50 contract labourers.
What do you think is BCool’s biggest achievement?
The single biggest achievement has been that people in foreign countries recognized the brand name ‘BCool’. To meet people I don’t’ know internationally and then in conversation have them exclaim ‘Oh BCool, I buy that regularly’ is to me the biggest achievement.
We are constantly in receipt of emails from customers appreciating the work we’ve done for them. In addition, Alibaba.com featured our company in their campaigns as one of their selected success stories.
Where do you want to see BCool in the coming two years?
I wish to have a more wide-spread market reach, and make the brand name ‘BCool’ even more familiar to many other countries and people.
What is the technology platform that is empowering BCool?
Our business is solely powered by technology. As previously mentioned all our business is through B2B websites, and phone calls. We have very little face interaction in our customers; if this is required we use video conferencing.
What entrepreneurial lesson do you wish to pass on to your peers?
I’ve learnt that just as they say for life ‘nothing is constant except change’, similarly as an entrepreneur I’ve come to believe that ‘nothing is constant but struggle and often failure’. The success then according to me, lies in sticking it through and constantly finding ways to rise above these difficulties while ensuring that in each attempt you’ve superseded your last.
Yourstory wishes Shanaya Mody and BCool a long and fruitful entrepreneurial journey. We are sure that she will continue to shine and make BCool a name to be reckoned with.