Attaining the Next Orbit: Dilemmas of a Family Managed Business - Natural Ice Cream

Mody, Pallavi; Chittoor, Raveendra. "Attaining the Next Orbit: Dilemmas of a Family Managed Business - Natural Ice Cream", 2017
Discipline: Entrepreneurship
Industry: Dairy products
Length: 12p
Subjects covered: Entrepreneurship; Family businesses; Innovation
Publication Date: December 31, 2016
The case is about the concerns of second generation entrepreneurs in a family managed business who aspire to attain the next orbit, the next level of success in the business. Natural Ice Cream was started by the father in 1980s. The passionate ice cream maker made two small innovations; one, a product innovation in the form of using only natural ingredients. He was so creative that he could come up with 125 combinations of fresh and dried fruits in ice cream. Two, a marketing innovation in the form of selling ice cream only in exclusive ice cream parlours. Both were novel ideas of the time and became the 'Unique Selling Propositions' (USPs). The business expanded over the three decades and with the help of his sons changed the scale and adapted best practices of management. The expansion path was carefully drawn up by preserving the USPs of the business. The franchise route for expansion was used. Manufacturing remained at a central location to keep strict quality control. Having taken their business from a small dream to INR 1 billion niche brand in the artisan ice cream segment, the owners at Naturals were dreaming big. They were restless and anxious to enter the next orbit and aspired to become a pan-India and global brand.

Learning objective:
  1. To understand the significance of passion and 'follow your dream' attitude in entrepreneurs.
  2. To understand the importance of 'small innovations' in product or marketing that turn into USP and critical success factor in small businesses.
  3. To understand the role of professional management to take the family managed business to the next orbit
  4. To appreciate the importance of conflict resolution between the generations in family business.