Pradyot Mukhopadhyay: Successful business requires diligence
– You have been working in the Russian market for eight years. How would you describe your business route in Russia, what did you rely on?
– According to me one can never be a successful entrepreneur without a positive attitude, because one is certain to experience difficult times. Success or failure is determined at these times. Nothing comes without sacrifice and hard work. I have faced many challenges due to devaluation of ruble, changes in rules and regulations, in importing goods and in distribution. But as I am deeply influenced by the teachings of Bhagavad Gita, I keep positive approach and never give up. I never felt defeated even in unfavorable and hard times.
– How many Russian cities are currently covered by your company? Are there any plans for expansion?
– Mostly all the big cities in Russia are covered by our company. Yes, we are looking forward to expand our network. We have 65-70 people who are working in this area. We are preparing plans and budgets to launch out a basket of products which includes herbal cosmetics, fast moving consumer goods and other herbal products from Indian Ayurveda. But I feel that a lot of awareness about these products needs to be created among the people. Promotion is really a costly affair. As the doctors and physicians do not practice privately here, they are bound to promote only government products.
– Do you feel that the attitude of Russian consumers to Indian medicines has changed? Has the level of confidence increased or was initially favorably treated with these drugs?
– Russia is a difficult market to enter due to high taxes on operations and the high degree of consumer loyalty to established brands. Yes, the Russian consumers with awareness about the products demand for the same more and more.
– The share of Indian medicines in the structure of Russian imports is not more than 10%. What do you think should be done to increase the share?
– Yes, about 10% of Indian medicines are imported to Russia due to low prices. New products get a good launch during the times of crisis. As during that time, the prices for the European goods rise high and a customer looks for an alternate economical product. Such situations turn out to be beneficial for Indian companies. In order to increase the same, a lot of awareness has to be brought about among the people.
– The market of medicines is characterized by high competition. How do you survive on it, how do you fight for the buyer?
– Yes, no doubt the competition in the drug market is quite high. I have completely relied on the OTC (over-the-counter) product, outlets at Indian shops, etc. We bear the increasing ban of marketing campaign. But the increasing ban of marketing is complicating the movement of goods. Only those who know about the product appreciate the product.
– What share of the Russian market do you currently occupy? How do you plan to increase it?
– My market share in Russia is smali. We have our product Boro Plus cream as number one in the category list. We are planning to introduce more products and brands like saffola oil, parachute oil, Britannia products, tea, dates etc. The products will be introduced in the market at affordable prices.
– Are there any plans to launch production in Russia?
– The vast economic reforms that have taken place in Russia over the past few years have created many opportunities for us. In order to examine which markets are most attractive to enter, I usually analyze the market demand for various goods and services. I feel those markets which feature a high demand and a relatively limited supply offer strong opportunities for success. Yes, regarding starting of our own production in Russia, though the cost of production is cheaper in India as compared to Russia.
– Not so long ago you started to develop a restaurant business. Why did the choice fall on this niche?
– As cooking is my passion, I used to invite friends at home and cook delicious food for them quite often. My evenings used to be busy with friends. Slowly, I discovered that it would be a wonderful idea to start a restaurant of my own which would cater to both the needs of activating taste buds with desired Indian delicacies and have business meetings with friends and clients. We have two restaurants in Moscow at present. Very soon we are planning to start one more in the center of Moscow and the other in Saint Petersburg.
– This year the diplomatic relations between Russia and India are 70 years old. How would you rate the relationship of countries in terms of business? What, in your opinion, is not enough? Why do you think the trade turnover between countries is growing at such a slow pace and what needs to be done for its significant growth?
– It is a matter of pleasure and happiness that we are celebrating 70 years of diplomatic relations between Russia and India. Over the last seven decades, our relationship has blossomed into a special and privileged strategic partnership. Russian-Indian bilateral trade is worth less than $10 billion due to same reasons like inadequate transport connectivity, unawareness among Indians and Russians about each other markets etc. I feel there is a requirement to expand and diversify the trade basket.
by Swarn Lara Sharma.