One of those, who gained this advantage and built over it, is Premanand Eswarapu.
Hyderabad: First-mover advantage is one of most talked about concepts in business. However, without a proper strategy to tackle the new entrants, probably with loads of cash, the first mover advantage can fast evaporate. One of those, who gained this advantage and built over it, is Premanand Eswarapu.
About 17 years ago, he founded McLean for undertaking cleaning services to hotels. Soon, the company’s clients spread from hospitality to pharma and IT sectors. The operations expanded to 17 cities, albeit on a smaller scale.
“I was born into a family of doctors and did my masters in computer sciences from the United States. But I soon realised that my passion lies in business. After my return to the US in 1996, I took up the distributorship of professional cleaning equipment of Germany-based Taski. Some high-end premium hotels became my customers,” recollected Premanand.
He set up his company after some premium hotels offered to outsource their cleaning services. “Some premium hotels in Hyderabad offered annual contract as they had some issues with buying our high-end cleaning machines.”
“Our client list expanded to IT and pharma companies in Hyderabad after our hospitality-focused business took a hit after the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York. Now we service 189 companies.”
Despite staying away from limelight, McLean employs 6,500 people across different sectors.
The secret to success, according to Mr Premanand, is the quality of their work. Though McLean has managed to beat the competition in the last 17 years despite several companies popping up, he said the margins have gotten thinner.
To address this issue, Mr Premanand said McLean has decided to expand its offerings to business-to-consumer (B2C) space from the current business-to-business model. “Cleaning and housekeeping business in B2C space is very big market. Unlike some current service providers, we will not be following market aggregator model. We are doing a pilot project now. After plugging all the possible loopholes, we would go live with full-fledged business model.”
The service is currently live in Bengaluru and Hyderabad, and has served more than 10,000 homes. The service is targeted at households looking for quality house maintenance services.
The company sees great potential in B2C space because of the growing urban centres and the increasing purchasing power of individuals. “There is a shift from cleanliness as a luxury to cleanliness as a necessity, shift from cleaning provided by maids to that provided by trained professionals,” Mr Premanand said, adding that the new business would be under a new company.
As part of vertical expansion, Mr Premanand said the company is also planning to commercialise its in-house professional cleaning solutions and cleaning tools through ecommerce portals.
Until now, the company that never had any marketing executives to acquire new clients is planning to go full-throttle on expansion into other cities. Speaking about the funding, Mr Premanand said the money would come from internal accruals though several investors have evinced interest to join hands with the company.
This heralds yet another major company in the Hyderabad market.