To appreciate the importance of carefully carving out a unique target group of customers and differentiating the offerings by establishing a brand born on the internet. To appreciate the criticality of balance between growth and quality. To appreciate the entrepreneurial dilemma of growth vs control while making difficult business growth choices. To analyse the alternative growth options in the context of the Su and Ta’s concerns and offer decision choices to go with the organizational ethos and business goals.
Three years back in Mumbai, India, Sujata and Taniya took a decision to quit their well-paying jobs and launch Suta, their small yet dynamic entrepreneurial venture of smart office wear for women. Sales had grown rapidly from INR 1.5 crore in 2016 to INR 5 crore in 2018. In March 2019, they found themselves at a crossroads: Should they bring in investors to accelerate their plans for growth and risk losing control or depend on organic growth? That would mean depending on operational cash flows to scale their business at a pace that would ensure that they did not compromise the quality of their operations, products and hence customer experience. The sisters had nurtured Suta’s brand image in the minds of their customers, through distinctive designs, quality processes, exemplary customer service and experience. All this through a strong yet responsible supply chain that nurtured weavers in rural India. They wanted both the brand and the many weavers who were dependent on them for work and livelihood, to grow. They had seen enough examples where the pursuit of growth had resulted in the quality of product and customer service suffering, along with employee attrition and process failures. They were very apprehensive of adopting the greedy for growth model through investor funding that many start-ups had followed and which eventually compromised their customer experience. The question clearly was not if they should grow, but how should they grow.
Complexity academic level
This case is designed for use at the postgraduate level in courses on entrepreneurship, business strategy, strategic management and strategic marketing, as well as in executive management programs. It can be used at the beginning of a course or toward the middle, to set the context for the course. The case will help instructors focus on the unique situation of a company “born on the internet,” which has to manage the current growing business while making a choice for growth in an emerging market where e-commerce channel is rapidly becoming popular.
Teaching Notes are available for educators only.
CSS 3: Entrepreneurship.
The authors would like to thank Sujata Biswas and Taniya Biswas, co-founders of Suta for their support and sharing their journey with us to enable us to make an academic contribution.
Disclaimer. This case is written solely for educational purposes and is not intended to represent successful or unsuccessful managerial decision-making. The authors may have disguised names; financial and other recognisable information to protect confidentiality.
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