A good branding strategy and modernisation of their factory played a key role in the scale INB Food Products Pvt Ltd was able to achieve in five years.
Pratap Singh Rathore had never intended to join his father’s 50-year-old savoury snacks (namkeen) business in Udaipur. He says, “I was happy and content with my white-collar job in the financial sector and I planned to make a career in the same,” the 40-year-old recalls.
But a personal and unexpected tragedy toppled Pratap’s plans. “My brother and father, who were together running the business, died, in 2010 and 2012, respectively. I, therefore, had to take over the family business,” he says.
Immediately after taking over in 2012, Pratap got the business registered with the name Indore Namkeen Bhandar (INB) Food Products Private Ltd.
From a turnover of Rs 12 lakh in 2012, the company clocked Rs 1.7 crore in 2017, and employs 15 people. It is now one of the leading manufacturers and brand of namkeen in Udaipur.
Pratap says, “I believe a lot in branding and designing. When I took over, I focussed on renovating and modernising the factory and converting the shop into a showroom.”
According to Pratap, branding the company's products has helped it acquire new customers, solidify trust and recognition among the existing ones, and has helped build a financial value, allowing it to demand a higher premium from its customers in what has become a cut-throat market.
“Our products are sold at 40 percent rates higher than the average and people willingly buy them, bringing us enough revenue to subsequently advance and innovate our products.”
Started in 1969 by Pratap’s father Swaroop Singh Rathore, INB had already built a vast customer base over the years. Therefore, the company has never really felt the need to resort to conventional marketing techniques for selling its products. “Word-of-mouth marketing has been working well for us. Nearly everyone in Udaipur knows about our showroom and has visited at least once,” says Pratap.
In recent years, INB got benefited from showcasing its products in government's cooperative stores in Udaipur and it, therefore, plans to advance its association with such State-owned marketing channels. Pratap says, “We are in touch with the Rajasthan government to seek a permit for displaying our products in the cooperative stores all across the state.”
In the future, Pratap wants to replicate the success achieved in Udaipur to the entire State of Rajasthan and India. He is confident of achieving this goal as he believes that the only ingredient required for winning the customers is quality, which he believes INB has been consistently delivering for almost five decades.
On the lessons his father passed on to him, Pratap says there have been many, as a result of which he does not fear competition now.
Pratap recalls an incident when a similar savoury shop opened adjacent to theirs, and how his father viewed it as an opportunity instead of a threat. Pratap says, “My father was not worried about losing his original customers. He was confident about retaining them and never really bothered with enticing them further. What he focused was on attracting customers loyal to the other shop in order to widen his customer base.”
Pratap says his father exhibited such confidence because he had been delivering top quality products on a consistent basis for decades. “Customers trusted my father blindly. They were confident about the quality and did not worry after buying from my father’s shop.”
And, building such a relationship with my customers so far has been my primary objective and learning so far, he adds.
(This story is published in partnership with the MSME Ministry to showcase success stories of SMEs)