In 2002, when Akash Goenka was asked to return from the UK to join the family business in Kanpur, he understandably knew little about the family business of spices. His father, along with childhood buddy Surendra Gupta, had started Goldiee Masale in 1980. In two decades, the company had reached a reasonable scale: ₹60-crore turnover, and a decent spread across Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
After completing an MBA from CardiffBusiness School, Goenka had joined British Gas, where he had completed eight months. “I was well settled in London,” recalls Goenka. A transition from a big global brand in London to a local brand born out of the largest city in Uttar Pradesh wasn’t going to be easy. The second-generation entrepreneur had to grapple with the usual set of issues in the family business, the biggest being transforming it into a professional entity. The venture lacked automation, the sales force was alien to technology, and taking on the might of the ‘Big Boys’ of the spices world—Everest, MDH and Ashok—was on top of the agenda. “I was not prepared for the grind,” Goenka tells Forbes India.
There were other irritants as well. Implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to manage the business, and importing power generators from Japan was done on war footing to fix some of the nagging issues. Meanwhile, Goenka’s brother Sudeep joined the business in 2006. The following year Shubham, son of Surendra Gupta, followed suit. Though the trio had much on their plate, the determination to make Goldiee big in scale, size and sales made them hustle relentlessly over the next decade.
The efforts started to pay off. In FY18, Goldiee posted revenue of ₹591 crore, became debt-free, and had a presence across 18 states. Though the top line had almost doubled in six years—from ₹275 crore in FY12—it masked two crucial problems. One, sales had virtually stagnated in the FY16-18 period. Two, although Goldiee had spread itself wide, the three states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttaranchal accounted for most of its revenues. Goldiee was still struggling with the ‘stigma’ of being a regional brand.
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