Mr. Manohar Wagle
Q1. Name, location?
A1. Manohar Wagle – Located in Mumbai - Maharashtra.
Member of CAIT, Small Business Owner, Vice President of the Federation of all India Sports and Fitness Dealers Association and Head of the Maharashtra Sports and Fitness Trade Association.
Q2. Name of business, type of business, date of founding?
A2. Own a sports store called Wagle Sports. This company was incorporated in 1865 by Mr. Wagle’s ancestors [ in the British Era] and has been in the family for four generations.
Q3. Future business plans
A3. Yes, we want to expand. We have already taken initiative by setting up a pop-up store at a prominent club in Mumbai. We are thinking of opening more stores in country clubs and gymkhanas all across Mumbai as you have many sporting people coming there, so it would be a more targeted audience.
Q4. How many of your family (if relevant) work in the business and who are they?
A4. Currently my son, Vaibhav Wagle has just joined the business. My elder son used to also work with us but has now ventured out into another field. Vaibhav used to manage our store in Khar but now that we’ve shut that down, he’s back at our flagship store in South Mumbai and helps manage that.
Q5. How hard has it been to access finance?
A5. My company was originally self-funded venture started by my ancestors. When I came into the business, we already had a strong foundation set in terms of capital and had our financials very well managed. That said, in terms of business borrowing, the few times we’ve required urgent financing, we have had to borrow from friends and family.I have also approached lenders when I was buying my house and car. However, because of the structure of my business accounts, this has always proven to be an issue. Majority of my income is tax-exempt and while I declare all my income and have a robust balance sheet, the lenders seem to only focus on my taxable income. This has been the biggest obstacle for me in raising finance and feel lenders’ should look at the overall picture.
Q6. How digital are the operations of your business on a scale of 0-10 if 0 = completely analogue and 10 = completely digital?
A6. We are at level 7. This mainly includes all our internal operations which are carried out digitally. These are accounts, payroll, inventory management and so on. Our sales are completely offline right now which we hope to change in the near future.
Q7. Where do you think you will be on a scale of 0-10 in three years’ time?
A7. In the next 3 years we hope to be on a scale between 8-9. Along with our internal operations being digital, we want to launch a company website through which we can sell all our products. We also want to start a digital bar-coding system to better manage the sales and record keeping of our sports articles.
Q8.Any other information that you would like to share?
A8. I think the future is very bright as the field we trade in, sports and fitness, has gained tremendous popularity. People have become conscious of their health needs hence I think we should grow. One reason for so many shops cropping up is merely because of the interest. At one point all the shops were located in South Mumbai where we are, but now these shops have outlets in the suburbs too which is a good sign.