On The Highway To Success
June 3, 2008 10:19 AM
The Man Who Transformed The Cab Industry
He started with an auto workshop in 1998 that was set up with money borrowed from his wife. Thanks to the good service provided by this workshop, it soon had a list of elite clients with annual maintenance contracts. Neeraj gupta, who started this workshop, had bigger dreams; he was eyeing the transport business. He pursued his dream with dedication and soon bagged 5 - year contract to operate 18-seater coaches with Tata Infotech. This led to start of Travel Link Group (Later V-Link group).
When Tata Infotec tied up with Sitel to set up its call centre, the travel Link group seized the opportunity and started operating cab services to the employees of the call centre. At that time, Travel Link had about 600 cabs (taxis) in its fleet. "The biggest motivation was to enter an industry, which was not much explored and then to try and emerge as the leader. The biggest challenge was to give competition to Black and Yellow cabs," says Mr. Gupta. Today, as the MD of V-Link Taxis Pvt Ltd, he explains why he chose the cab industry. "This sector had huge potential and was waiting to be tapped," he informs.
With the number of cabs in his fleet increasing, Mr. Gupta then launched a company website. The business soon spread to cities like Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad. "In 2006, we were given an offer letter by the transport ministry to introduce radio enabled taxis. The company kept on growing in leaps and bounds and provided services to some 35 odd blue chip companies on contractual basis." He recalls.
One of the key reasons for success in any business is way you differentiate your product or service in the market. "The USP of V-Link Taxis Pvt Ltd is the GPS and the GPRS facility, which it has in all its cabs thereby making it different from the other cabs," remarks Mr. Gupta. Incidentally, V-Link is also the first company in India, which enabled customers to book cab through its call centre and through the internet. "All this taken into account V-Link Taxis emerged as a leader in this industry," says Mr. Gupta.
An organized taxi business was indeed an excellent idea. Equally excellent was the way it was executed and built upon. Its not easy; but its not impossible too. "The business model has to be well planned so that there are no glitches in its implementation. Also, what matters is the support from your subordinates and peers to make it work," says Mr. Gupta.
Becoming an entrepreneur was a conscious decision for Mr. Gupta "Being a commerce graduate and coming from business family; it's always the preferred choice to start one's business," he says. Moreover, his father motivated Mr. Gupta to start his own business. Of course, entrepreneurship is not an easy journey. "To gain something, you need to lose certain things," says Mr. Gupta. And spending quality time with family is one of the things that an entrepreneur usually has to sacrifice. "As far as my life is concerned, I have a pretty understanding family who also supports me in my difficult times," he says.
With a fleet of 1600 taxis across India and presence in Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi and Hyderabad, Mr. Gupta aims to make his company the leader in cab industry. He has a simple mantra of success - self belief, focus on goal and giving 100 %. His advice to budding entrepreneurs is the equally same. He says, "Avoid all shortcuts as they always lead to dead ends. It's only your hard work and true efforts that give result."