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Living Greens Organics Pvt. Ltd.: Combating Growth Challenges*

CASE STUDY, ENTREPRENEURSHIP & STARTUPS
ET Cases - FLAME, 16 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Dr. Kavaldeep Dixit, Professor & Vice-Principal, International School of Informatics and Management, Dr. Tanjul Saxena, Associate Professor, IIHMR University, and Prateek Tiwari, CEO and Founder , The Living Greens Organics Pvt. Ltd

Case Preview

Living Greens Organics Pvt. Ltd.: Combating Growth Challenges

“The doctor wore a grim expression and announced, ‘We can either save the child or the mother. You decide.’ His words froze my blood and I realized that the menace of pesticides in food, about which so much has been talked about, had come right at my doorstep and was jeopardizing the lives of my loved ones. Although my wife and child came out unscathed from that harrowing episode, I decided to wage an unrelenting war against pesticides in food and my passion for Organic Farming was born”, recapitulated Prateek Tiwari (Prateek), CEO, The Living Greens (Exhibit I).

It was this difficult choice between life of the unborn and death of a life that led to life-changing decision of first-generation entrepreneur, Prateek. The answer to his dilemma was: to offer an innovative and cost-effective solution to urban consumers as a substitute to vegetables with harmful pesticides. People, Planet, and Profit are the three Ps at the core of sustainability. For Prateek, the order of Ps in which they appear was as important as ensuring that his child does not face the same question as he did, that determined his life script then onwards. The vision (Box I) was clear, the mission unwavering. And thus came the Business Innovation: Living Greens Organics Pvt. Ltd................

Living Greens Organics Pvt. Ltd.

“You are what you eat”1 (Martin, 2017). Since the beginning of life on this earth till the beginning of last century when we became so termed ‘modernized’, ‘industrialized’ and ‘developed’; we were, by default, ‘organic’. Life was uncomplicated, built around nature and natural offerings and free of the so called lifestyle diseases of today. Even as much back as half a decade, the incidence and prevalence of diseases like cancer, diabetes, hypertension, cardiac disorders were rare and sparse.

Headquartered in Jaipur, Rajasthan, Living Greens Organics Pvt. Ltd. is an urban farming firm led by a young team of agri-entrepreneurs. It helps people grow their own safe food on the rooftop, in their kitchen garden, in their balcony or at their farmhouse. The company is committed to bringing nature’s freshness into customer’s daily lives with offerings ranging from fresh organic vegetables on rooftop to living green walls2. The company is taking shape with employee strength of around 20 people. Besides offering plug-and-play kits, the company also brings in robust science to offer on-site, after-sales service to its clients.....................

Idea Generation and Development

Organic farming reflects, connotes and promotes “harmony with nature”. It is a way of life. Living Greens Organics Pvt. Ltd. (LGO) conceptualized its value proposition as “enabling customers to grow their own fresh and safe food within their homes, using organic farming principles and to bring the freshness of nature in their daily lives by growing plants on their bare walls” woven around ‘A lifestyle of ease, finesse and free-ofdisease’ (for a detailed value proposition see Exhibit II).

An earlier entrepreneurial stint of the CEO, through a start-up organic farming company, with an assumption that if farmers grew organic products, the market will be willing to accept, ran into trouble as the farmers were suffering from many misconceptions related to organic farming and hence unwilling to experiment. The farmers had become “psychological slaves” of the chemical inputs and were ready to abandon long-term sustainability of soil in favor of immediate profits..............

Target Customers

The experience of the entrepreneur and mentor, observation of lifestyles of people around them and internet search converged to segments of market they decided to target. The Primary (P) and Secondary (S) target customers were identified as.............

Value Offerings

They decided to position the concept as a lifestyle statement which offered ease, finesse and at the same time addressed the vulnerability to diseases because of direct and indirect consumption of pesticide embedded foods. The clarity of vision crystallized into the following offerings by the LGO (Box II).........

Most offerings by the LGO are either innovations or have unique elements that makes it a distinctive urban farming proposition and also differentiates it from other models......

Operational Dilemmas and Strategic Decisions

To deliver what was envisioned required a lot of operational jobs to be done. The internet did not offer all the answers. In fact, in this case, very few indigenous options were actually available thus necessitating lot of brain storming at every step. Some of the strategic decisions included.............

Financial Feasibility and Sustainability

Every business is built upon financial viability as well as sustainability of the business proposition. The management team of LGO has its vision pinned on to both short-term and long-term financial sustainability.

Revenue model primarily indicates how much money can be made by selling the offerings, i.e. price times volume. It is also indicative of market size, market potential and volume off-take in each transaction. Since the venture is a startup company, it’s too early to comment on any of these factors. But innovativeness of the concept with almost zero primary competition, assures that volume or potential is not a challenge, at least for the next few years. The product is generic and since LGO has the first mover advantage, market development can be infinite depending on resource availability and generation. Also since the offering range is pretty wide and also consumption pattern can be one-time to multiple times of different offerings, there is reasonable assurance of a favorable revenue model....................

RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

LGO is developing a resource model wherein most inventories are procured just-in-time thus controlling the holding costs. A few items are stocked for which availability of suppliers is not yet streamlined. Besides, a proper stocking system based on demand projections, turnaround time and economic order quantity has been developed to optimize resources. The ratio of stocked to just-in-time procurement of raw material is about 2:9. Many of the products and raw materials like saplings, bio-fertilizers, soil-less medium, etc. are produced in-house in the farms of promoters..........

Processes Management

LGO is advantageous to have qualified technical people on board who have not only professional qualification both technical and management but also cumulative experience of about a century in managing and running business ventures (Refer Exhibit VI for Organizational Chart). The Chief Mentor, Naren Bakshi (Exhibit VII), is himself a first generation entrepreneur who graduated from Haas School of Management (Berkeley) and then went on to create VERSATA. At LGO, he plays multiple roles as mentor, coach, motivator, conscious keeper, challenger and continuously guides the team towards scientific and systemic practices...............

Future Strategy

To sustain and thrive in business, LGO is devising futuristic strategies to be implemented including commencing community-supported agriculture on rooftops, garden-maintenance services to institutional clients and individual houses, rooftop organic farming and vertical gardening courses to rural youth for converting them into trained horticulture technicians. The organization also plans to develop a network of Organic Agribusiness Centres from where organic inputs would be retailed............

Conclusion

Consumers of LGO are sure of consuming fresh organic vegetables with no fear of pesticides utilization of light weight soil-less medium. Company also has specially designed leak-proof containers for rooftop organic farming with water saving technology applied where only a bucket of water is being utilized for watering around hundred plants. Distinctiveness in product offering is also brought by growing grass on roof which contributes to cooler houses and lower electricity expenditure.............

Assignment Questions

I. Discuss the macro environment nuances in which the case operates.
II. Deliberate upon the seven elements of Service Marketing Mix and suggest growth strategy using Product Life Cycle concept.
III.............

Exhibits

Exhibit I: Pen Picture of Prateek Tiwari, CEO, Living Greens Organics Pvt. Ltd.

Exhibit II: Value Proposition of Living Greens Organics Pvt. Ltd.

Exhibit III: The Marketing Mix of LGO

Exhibit IV: Pricing Strategy of Living Greens Organics Pvt. Ltd. (Indicative Price points; may change with time)

Exhibit V: Summarized Resource Layout for the LGO

Exhibit VI: Organizational Chart of Living Greens Organics Pvt. Ltd.

Exhibit VII: Pen Picture of Naren Bakshi, Chief Mentor, The Living Greens

Teaching Note Preview

Living Greens Organics Pvt. Ltd.: Combating Growth Challenges

Synopsis

The case, Living Greens Organics Pvt. Ltd.: Combating Growth Challenges, describes a passionate agripreneur’s journey, who treaded several paths at different points of time only to come back to his first love and dream of promoting and sustaining organic food consumption by the public. After his first failed stint with the farmers/producers, he changed the target group as end consumers of organic food and encouraged them to produce their own food through his unique product offering. The journey stewed with ups and downs also resulted in innovative by-products which created an integrated bundle of products and services to facilitate organic rooftop farming, vertical farming and farm to fork convenience of fine food for healthy life. During the journey, several dilemmas and debacles sprouted which necessitated strategic decisions. The case is based on narratology of the founder members, stakeholders and content analysis of corporate documents and presentations.

Pre-requisitive Conceptual Understandings

• External and internal environment of Business
• Porter’s Model of Competitive Advantage
• Concept of STP in marketing
• Seven Ps of Services Marketing
• Appreciation of Branding Advertising and Communication Mix

Case Positioning and Setting

This is a diagnostic cum prescriptive case intended to be approached in a manner to explore challenges and opportunities in entrepreneurship, studying the feasibility of a business idea, assessing customer needs, designing product-service offering, being unique and developing sustainable competitive advantage based on the uniqueness. The case relates to organic farming and the organization under consideration is Living Greens Organics Pvt. Ltd. The case has a dual focus; one on organic food industry, which is in growth stage in India and second, the strategic business model elements chosen by the protagonist.

The case is expected to be appreciated by a range of serious to leisure readers and would specifically help students, faculty and learners of Management, Business Management, Strategic Management, Strategic Marketing and Entrepreneurship. It can also be of use for budding managers and entrepreneurs to ‘learn by example’ the nuances of running a business. The small group approach of 3-5 students discussing on the issues and comparing and encouraging elaboration on other groups ideas will be ideal way to approach the case...............

Exhibits

Exhibit (TN)-I: Porter’s Analysis

Exhibit (TN)-II: Positioning Mfap

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Abstract

Profit, People and Planet are perhaps the most delicate balance every entrepreneur strives to achieve in his/her business venture. The Living Greens Organics Pvt. Ltd. (LGO) is one such business ventures based out of Jaipur, Rajasthan and led by a young agripreneur to make greens a way of life. With a mission to bring fresh, safe, organic food direct from rooftop to tabletop, the urban farming firm is challenging the conventional way food is grown, brought and served today. LGO strives to offer innovative solutions to bring nature’s freshness live on consumer’s daily lives without disruption and contamination.

The case, Living Greens Organics Pvt. Ltd.: Combating Growth Challenges, captures the odyssey of a young entrepreneur facing personal professional didactic spilt at various junctures of his life with questions such as, Job or Own venture? Commercial or Sustainable? Self-Financed or Angel Funding? Private, Partnership or Public Holding? The questions were gnawing and many in the beginning. But the vision and the mission topped it all. Undeterred by the thorns stewing the entrepreneurial journey, Prateek Tiwari, the protagonist, kept trotting the path less travelled till his venture achieved stability and started getting returns on investment that promised sustainability. However, growth brought its own set of challenges and today a full blown business model is gaping at the bigger challenges such as strategic dilemmas in scaling up the business, competitor activities eyeing the fertile ecosystem created by LGO and communication strategies to reach the existing and new customer segments at optimal cost.

Case Positioning and Setting

The case is expected to be appreciated by a range of serious to leisure readers and would specifically help students, faculty and learners of Management, Business Management, Strategic Management, Strategic Marketing and Entrepreneurship.

Pedagogical Objectives

  • To enable undertake desk review on organic food production and consumption industry and perform an external environment scan for the industry
  • To use Porter’s Five Forces framework for analyzing competitive advantage of the business under consideration
  • To strengthen knowledge of strategic options flowing from environmental scanning in terms of value creation
  • To apply knowledge of consumer segmentation, target and positioning in a specific industry
  • To appreciate importance of integrated marketing Communication strategies and explore cost-effective communication mix


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