Kay Koplovitz Doing Business in India
By Rieva Lesonsky

What are the challenges and opportunities involved in doing business in India? At the
Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network 2012 in New Delhi this past June, experts and entrepreneurs shared their insights and advice. I thought this session was fascinating—underscoring how much entrepreneurial opportunity exists for global entrepreneurs in India.
 
“The growth in the middle class that is happening in India creates an incredible opportunity for entrepreneurs,” said Amit Midha, President, Asia Pacific and Japan at Dell. The Indian luxury market is expected to grow 25 percent annually, and 65 percent of the population—or over half a billion people—are under age 35.

With more than 1 million people expected to enter the workforce in India every month for the next 20 years, the country is ground zero for entrepreneurial activity. “Every sector has growth opportunities,” says Kay Koplovitz, founder of USA Network and Chairman and CEO of Koplovitz & Co. LLC. Indeed, India-based women entrepreneurs say they expect their businesses to grow by 90 percent in the next five years.

When starting a business in such a diverse country, where do you begin? Panelists shared five key takeaways:
  1. Create infrastructure and positive synergy between states. The lack of infrastructure throughout much of India poses a potential problem for new businesses trying to take root there, and regional diversity makes it difficult to find a common center.
  2. Start creating institutions. Lakshmi Pratury, host and curator of The INK Conference, argued that corporations must forget industrial-era ideas of what it means to be a corporation, and instead start from the ground up, building new institutions that will stand the test of time.
  3. Expand your customer universe. With a population of more than 1.3 billion people, most of them under 35, and a growing middle class, there are huge leaps to be made in terms of reaching potential customers.
  4. Understand Indian legal requirements. Before starting businesses in India, entrepreneurs must carefully research the different legal requirements there.
  5. Perform your own market research. Don’t rely on analyst research—do your own preliminary research before starting a business in India.

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Follow Rieva at Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.