Introduction The three big cities of Tamil Nadu, that are growing by leaps and bounds are Coimbatore, Tiruchirapalli, and Madurai. These three cities also have very good tourist potential. These three cities are connected by airports and they are being expanded. So, in the next few years, the scope of export business is also likely to increase, more so, when the tourists visit these cities and show interest in certain aspects of arts, or traditions or whatever. Even food. All this needs to be understood in some context or the other, for the businesses to thrive.
Let us take only about a few businesses, for which there does seem to be tremendous potential. Invariably, the service sector is the main focus area as these cities are becoming very highly urbanized and the people are now adapting to new ways of dressing, shopping, eating and spending time.
Across the cities, the businesses that are known to have terrific potential are: a) English language proficiency businesses with proven experts b) The food business with North Indian cuisine and a fusion of North and South Indian food c) Agriculture, specific to Madurai and Tiruchirapalli d) Trading in textiles through direct channels and e) New wave higher education courses.
English language proficiency businesses with proven experts Though Tamil Nadu has one of the largest or possibly the largest number of Engineering colleges, it also has a huge multitude of first learners hailing from agricultural families. They flock to the engineering colleges in the three cities, particularly Coimbatore, which has a very good climate for ten months in a year. There is enough scope for a branded institute, with real-time ( that is full time) experts who can convert the huge population of students of engineering, arts, and science into very good English language experts. The initial focus should be on spoken English and then written English. The objective should be to draw the students from the colleges and the fees should be so reasonable. For example, Rs. 5000, that can be paid in six equal installments.
Please do note that the students who hail from South Tamil Nadu are quite poor. The objective should be to make a start and then take it to its logical solution. The entire city should have centers in various places and these can be rented out too. The so-called English proficiency classes conducted in the engineering colleges are not of a very high standard. There is very good scope for serious entrepreneurs to make a dent in the market. Please do note, it has been a volume game. No less. For instance, you should have centers in Saravanampetti, a suburb, Ettimadai, Gandhipuram, Ramanathapuram and Vadavelli. These are fully developed areas where a huge number of colleges are concentrated. In Tiruchirapalli, the areas could be Srirangam, K.K. Nagar, Palakkarai, Vayalur, and Samayapuram. Only after making a big survey, the center should be started. However, after the results are proven, students will come flocking.
The food business with North Indian cuisine and a fusion of North and South Indian foodIt is one thing to cater to an established market giving the same variety of dishes that are anyway available elsewhere. It is another to create a market and keep the word-of-mouth publicity going. One should try variations of the North Indian and South Indian food. The variety in the vegetarian arena is very good. For example, there are very few places, where the Mumbai vada pav is sold. The trick is to take someone from Mumbai, from the numerous outlets who make so good vada pav. This is a trade secret. No one still knows how to make it as good as what it tastes go at Dadar or Mulund. Or Thane for that matter. That guy should be on your payroll or as a partner. Later on, one can introduce new dishes and then try out new varieties. For example, a particular variety of Dosa called the Neer dosa is famous in Mangalore and in the neighboring Kerala areas. One should bring such dishes to customers everywhere. One should introduce sixty varieties of dosa, after sort of exploiting the expertise of local housewives. They are dime a dozen. They could even be employed full time to introduce a new variety and teach the cooks. The limits for innovation is very huge. The fusion thali as it could be called could be very unique. For instance, give them the bisi Bela bath first and then serve a dosa and another one piece of adai, a favorite Tamil Nadu dish. Follow it up with two different varieties of rice, for example, coconut rice. Keep on changing the menu. Introduce chappati and the local chutnies as add ons. Price the food at Rs. 120. Even if it is unlimited, the guys will stop after a while and you can make enough money. The key is innovation. Please do note that over this price, you will not the volumes. When you give good food in a good ambiance, you can create a new market. Do not give nimbu paani. Give them something like what is called the "nannaari" juice to finish it off. Once you innovate, the sky is the limit.
Agriculture, specific to Madurai and Tiruchirapalli These two cities are zooming in terms of the new gated communities. The service sector employment is increasing in the migration to these two cities. New beauty parlors are coming up everywhere. There is the young crowd, raring to go. As an entrepreneur, you should buy at least five acres of fertile land, some thirty kilometers away from these two cities, find out local people who can guide you, and grow a huge amount of vegetables. You could employ organic methods to prevent pests. The teaching of a very native environmentalist, called NamVaazhvar ( he is now no more, but his disciplines are there throughout Tamil Nadu), is very relevant here. He had even done agriculture in areas not even considered okay. His organic farming methods could come in handy. Go out to the local gated communities in the cities and get the buyback arrangements in order. Since they will get fresh vegetables, the people will readily accept your offers. Once you are assured of the market, setting up the infrastructure becomes that much easy. Go for the market studies and then do it. You have to be very sincere that the product produce is really organic. People should believe you. Well, it is possible. Please do note that this income is still not taxed. ( it is very unlikely that even GST will even come to this business).
Trading in textiles through direct channels There are already a good number of entrepreneurs who buy directly from suppliers from Surat and directly sell to the customers in villages in around a twenty-kilometer radius. However, entrepreneurs from even Surat can also do this business by themselves. Or entrepreneurs from places in Andhra Pradesh and Kerala could do it. Of course, knowledge of spoken Tamil is a must. Hindi is not accepted at all in rural places. However, this is a big business and the scope is very wide. If you have a relative who knows Tamil, fine. Go ahead. Setting up this business is not very difficult. The initial capital can be even Rs.50,000/- to start with.
New wave higher education courses All the three cities lack courses in interior design. Or in fashion design. Or in food and nutrition at the advanced level. If you are an expert in the field, you could easily tie up even with the State Government Universities and start diploma courses. However, your level of expertise should be so good that you can offer a big difference. For instance, you need to take big lessons from the Chaitanya group of Hyderabad who are still in the coaching business. They are branded. They produce results. Similarly, you need experts who can deliver and locate full-time to these three cities. Please do note that all the three cities are fabulously connected to Chennai through so many trains and thousands of overnight buses, both Government and private. The number of private sleeper buses to these three cities is multiplying with each passing day. Hence, since these three cities are too good in terms of infrastructure and culture, the experts may not find it so difficult to migrate to these cities. In Management, the time is ripe for some good HR professionals to tie-up with deemed Universities and introduce the Post-graduate diploma in Human Resource Management, in each of these three cities. SRM could be an ideal vehicle for a tie-up. You must note that there is not a single deemed University or State Government University offering the PGDM course in HRM full time. as equivalent to the MBA. Getting the AICTE approval may not be difficult. You could even conduct negotiations with a local college to rent out their premises. If Symbiosis is able to either take over or tie up with a deemed University here and offer its courses, in both Tiruchirapalli and Coimbatore there will be many takers. Innovation is the name of the game. Introduce materials management courses. And in interior design. In Taxation and Finance. And such other job-oriented courses like Applied psychology or Behavioral Science.
Conclusion Please do note that there is massive scope for more business. This author cannot provide all details due to constraints on space. This could be subject of another article.