In today’s world, everybody is hard-pressed for time. For homemakers and working women, it is a huge challenge to accomplish simple tasks such as paying bills, depositing cheques in banks, purchasing postal stamps, paying school fees and other such huge routine tasks that eat away into their precious time. Though the online medium has stepped in to the rescue, we are still not able to do away with personal visits to execute certain tasks. Kumud Sharma launched concierge services to help families handle such regular tasks.
How many times has one lamented about paucity of time for doing personal activities? Simple tasks have become challenges; one has to shelve travel plans, due to a delay in booking and one has to miss movies due to the serpentine queues at cinema theatres. Balancing one’s personal and professional lives is a trapeze act today, with commitments overlapping; deadlines and due dates clashing with one another. This is where people like Kumud come in.
Even employers are constantly using her help for handling errands at the office. To keep valuable workers engaged in more productive activities, employers are constantly upgrading and out-sourcing services for handling small errands at their office. Kumud’s SuperSeva, is one such concierge services provider and serves individual and corporate clients. This has been upheld as a welcome change in a society starved of one-stop solution.
For many, the concierge program is an ultimate solution, which helps and saves their time and energy. SuperSeva is the flagship product of SuperSeva Services Pvt. Ltd, headquartered in Bangalore. Founded in June 2000, the company is promoted by Srishti Software Applications Private Limited to enhance productivity by restoring work-life balance. SuperSeva uses the power of the Internet as a vehicle to make one’s life easier-by delivering the ultimate in e-convenience. SuperSeva.com is an online personal assistant dedicated to taking care of one’s personal errands, giving you more free time, fewer headaches and fewer worries.
“Kumud stepped in the role of SuperSeva CEO in October 2006. After taking over she has revamped the technology platform responsible for the service delivery of SuperSeva by integrating corporate service agents.”
According to Kumud, her husband was aware of the hectic life of an IT professional, since he was already running one. He knew that IT professional hardly had time for their personal lives due to professional commitments. IT saw a down-turn and the idea was born that they should have a business independent of IT fluctuations. Thus SuperSeva Born!
Kumud stepped in the role of SuperSeva CEO in October 2006. After taking over she has revamped the technology platform responsible for the service delivery of SuperSeva by integrating corporate service agents, end users, corporate decision makers, back office, and external partners of SuperSeva. She ensures that proper people and processes are put in place along with a great technology platform so that there can be continued service delivery excellence with the high growth that SuperSeva is witnessing.
Prior to joining SuperSeva she was taking care of many corporate functions in Srishti Software as VP- Corporate affairs and before that she had worked as a system analyst in a German company for a few years. Under her leadership, SuperSeva has registered 100% growth rate on year to year basis. SuperSeva has expanded from 4 to 18 cities and she has handpicked city managers and groomed them to act as profit centres along the way.
Kumud is a B.Tech. (Electronic and Communication Engineering) from BIT, Sindri and has done a one-year executive Management program from Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore. She has taken advantage of her education and experience in developing her company into a major national player in the field. That gave her great visibility and the ability to scale-up quickly in her chosen field. She claims, “Without IT if we manage a service like this manually, we would not have been able to cater to so many clients at the same time.”
Initial Problems and their Solutions
Kumud took over when SuperSeva was 5 years old. She talks about the challenges she faced when her company was taking baby steps. She recalls, “Resource Management – finding the right person, for the right job and getting that job done has been a challenge. Particularly more challenging is handling operations in the other cities. How we remotely manage, control and deliver the quality that we had promised to our customers has indeed been a continuous challenge. For this we got our company ISO 9001:2008 certified.”
Kumud adds, “We have also been taking the opinions of people we have on our advisory board. We are interested to know what the best marketing practice is. We would also like to know what the other service outfits like ours are doing. Above all it is our own gut-feeling.”
Current Problems and their Solutions
Kumud insists that there are always problems, while growing and scaling up. She says, “But these are ‘good-to-have’ or positive problems. There were same challenges, which were present, may be 5 years before. Earlier we had the challenge of managing 20 lakhs capital. Now we have to manage a capital of 3 crores. The challenges are the same, but the quantum has gone up. If we bag an order of 5 crores, we need the working capital two months ahead because the payment will come after three months. Since the amount has increased, we have to arrange this regularly and that is a challenge. Ours is a self-funded enterprise. We have not taken any external funding from Venture Capital sources. We have our plans for raising funds in place. Most of the time, our bankers are always there to help us. They give us a good over draft and the challenge is met with easily.”
Initially, having been brought with a middle class value system, Kumud had problems tackling household chores like cooking. She would feel guilty when she would have to travel to other cities on business leaving her home and children unattended. Having a supportive husband, she has been able to accomplish a lot in the business. Personally, she says that she has good resident maids to take care of her home, while she is away.
Professionally, she says that she would want financial support system in the first place. She says, “Secondly, you need to have the second level ready, if you want to scale up rapidly. We have the second and the third levels ready in our company.”
Kumud says that when they were giving concierge services only, clients would come and ask for other services, too. Thus slowly, they started diversifying into other non-core support services like HR, admin/facility, legal and finance and enterprise event management. HR involves employee concierge services, employee engagement services. Admin/facility deals with managed front office services, facility management services, mailroom and travel desk management and other support services. Legal and finance services consist of stamp paper franking services, procurement solutions, tax and accounting support, etc. They support an online ticket platform, corporate event management and individual party planning among other services.