How do you launch a quantity surveying consultancy in India? The co-founders of London-based QS Box Associates will be writing a diary of their attempt to crack the market
It may have been the aromatic Bhuni Makai Ka Shorba or perhaps the more classic Murg Khatta Pyaz but, looking back with a clear head it was more likely to have been the Kingfisher beer. Yes, we can conquer India, we decided as we shook hands with our new joint venture partners who had come from Mumbai to the Bombay Brasserie restaurant in South Kensington one blustery day in May.
We had been investigating the Indian market for a while but then, spookily, an Indian project management firm, Panora, contacted us through our profile on the RICS website (ah, value for money at last!). They had identified an increasing requirement in the market for professional quantity surveying services - as a result of the global downturn and credit becoming more restricted, there was an increase in the focus of controlling costs.
We met briefly with Panora in Mumbai 2008 and followed up the dialogue via emails and telephone calls culminating in this formal launch meeting in London two months ago.
Our companies turned out to be very compatible. Panora had experience on a range of projects in India over the past 15 years, and we could add professional quantity surveying services with our experience of the international markets.
The Indian construction industry reminds us of UK the 1970s, where bills of quantities were the order of the day and bushy moustaches were rife. Culturally, the approach to marketing material is also quite old school, based on flooding the recipient with generalised information about projects, employee CVs and photos, how many table spoons of sugar would they like in their chai etc.
With an outline business plan hastily prepared (well, there’s only so much you can do on a napkin) and the analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis looking particularly favourable after the Tikka sauce, we set about deciding on the company name. Keeping it simple, we went for Box India. With a plan of action duly decided, our new business partners, Panora, returned to Mumbai and our great adventure began.