Go Mobile: The Phirbol Franchise

Case Solution

Rajiv Lal, Natalie Kindred
Harvard Business School ()

To grow Phirbol, a telecom retail franchise chain in Delhi, India’s underdeveloped markets, the founders looked for ways to add more value to franchisees. As of mid-2009, the Phirbol franchise consisted of around 150 franchisees who had converted their small “Momandpop” stores into Phirbol brand stores. Entrepreneurs Meghna Modi and Glenn Wong started the franchise in 2007, two years after founding Go Mobile, a proprietary mobile phone retail chain. While the Go Mobile stores were located in high-income neighborhoods and focused primarily on the sale of mobile phones, the Phirbol stores were in less developed areas, most were inaccessible by car and focused on the sale of service points ( SIM cards) and recharges. Phirbol brought value to franchisees by optimizing some of their business processes, providing them with consistent product offerings, sales support and incentives, and educating them on the ever-changing dynamics of the Indian wireless market. But as the founders expanded, they knew they needed to expand their franchisee offering to recruit some of the more established “momandpop” stores they wanted to target as franchisees. They would also have to adapt their business model so that more responsibility is delegated to franchisees and employees. What should Modi and Wong do to ensure the success of Phirbol?

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