Enfield Riders: A Premier Adventure Lifestyle-Experience Company
The favourite option being the roadways, the couple used to succeed in getting the motorcycles every time they travelled to newer locations. But to their surprise, at times, it was really difficult for them to procure motorcycles and have faced several logistic issues on multiple trips. "That's when the idea struck to us. And, there was no company in India at that point in time, who actually provide an organized motorcycle platform, where in people like us might enjoy road trip and could go out any where in the world, hassle-free," avers Baljeet.
In April 2012, the duo looking on the brighter side of the horizon and walking the extra mile, quit their high paying jobs and ventured into creating a unique platform for renting motorcycles and curating weekend getaways. "We became our first customers," says Poornima.
The Birth of Enfield Riders
It all began in a house parking lot. A small covered parking space in the heart of Mumbai city. Since there wasn’t much space,the cars were all parked outside and the entire parking lot was later converted into a garage. Within no time, the parking lot was occupied by a fleet of six motorcycles. Soon, the co-founders realized that they were running out of space. “We wanted to avoid unwanted expenses and cost at the initial stage of our establishment. So, our major focus was to build a brand that created wonderful memories and experiences for our clients,” mentions Baljeet.
Riding against the wind, in a short span of time, Enfield Riders attained positive responses from the clients. The word of mouth publicity and social media platforms did the trick. In fact, their clients became the brand ambassador for the company and started to promote their experience with Enfield Riders to others on various channels. Baljeet explicates “We didn’t have an office. All we had was our garage and a home, where we used to work. So, from motorcycle renting to consulting, and giving advice to people for weekend getaways, we slowly started to realize that there is a much larger market to cater to. Therefore, we started organizing bigger trips, say, Goa, Rajasthan, and the Himalayas, which would easily last for 5-10 days. Ironically, this was our strength!”
Further, Poornima adds, “Because, we had done so much of touring, across the country. We knew most of the routes inside out. And, we said, why not?”
The First Milestone - The Start of Motorcycle Touring Company
In 2013, the company finally decided to move out of the small parking lot to a 1000 sq. Ft garage and a bigger office space. Therefore, increasing the capacity and strength of the operations, the team also grew from 2 to 5 members. "This is when we became a full-fledged structured motorcycle touring company," asserts Baljeet.
Since then, Enfield Riders has only been growing. Needless to say, the company has zero percent attrition rates, and has grown to 40+ member team. And, the majority of them come from a varied high profile corporate background, where they have worked in media, IT, banking and other sectors, for more than 10-15 years. Most importantly, travel and motorcycle being their passion, the entire team has a common goal, that is to make travel segment more organized and provide the experience that speaks for itself. The core team comprises of Deepak Chandrashekhar (Head Touring), Hussain Jariwala (Head Business Development), Shreenivas Patel (Head Client Experience)& Animesh Tripathi(Head–Customisation) who run the key operations in the company since inception.
The Turning Point - Gaining Momentum & Stability
In any business, once the company begins to expand, there is always a multitude of challenges along the way. And Enfield Riders was no exception. The first problem that they encountered was in maintaining the fleet of their motorcycles. Since the motorcycles used to go on extreme adventures and change hands more often, servicing and maintenance became a critical problem.
"I was a banker early on in my career, and it was my job to ensure we are not running into losses. We had to keep a tab on the excel sheet as well. So,numbers became important as well," says Baljeet. Connecting the dots, the man with a financial eye, Baljeet always viewed challenges from a business perspective, and with sufficient resources and seamless execution, he successfully set-up a full-fledged service station; a Royal Enfield garage for internal maintenance purpose and external owned motorcycles.
This was the major turning point for the business. Because, at times, the owners, who used to leave their motorcycle for repair or service, always were a little curious about the weekend getaways, tour dates, and trip itineraries. So, they became Enfield Riders prospective clients. Overall, this created an ecosystem for like-minded people to get connected, travel and explore places. "Not every body is a member of motorcycle riding clubs. Seasoned and experienced motorcyclists would need very basic services from us like logistics assistance and back up support. Our expertise lies in, we providing a full-fledged support mechanism, and end-to-end solution to our like minded clients who want to explore and have an experiential vacation at ease," mentions Baljeet.
Further, Poornima elaborating the scene of the usual weekend getaway rides, narrates, "Every trip of ours will have road captions, who will lead the group, so that nobody overtakes them. At all times, the speed and the lane discipline is maintained. The group is accompanied by a tailing vehicle, which will carry all the technical support, and essentials, be it water, first aid kit, mechanical spares, and tools, in case of any breakdown or medical emergency. At regular intervals, we stop for lunch, small halts, where refreshments are provided by us."
The whole essence of Enfield Riders relies purely on building services around the core businesses, which albeit around motorcycles. From successfully creating motorcycle renting platform, curating weekend getaways, providing domestic & international tours, Royal Enfield service station, in 2013, Enfield Riders forayed into customization of motorcycles, where the company has built many motorcycles from scratch.
Growing 8x times since inception, Enfield Riders has served close to 8000+ clients across different verticals
In addition to this, the company also provides motorcycle gears and accessories to its clients, an e-Commerce platform where one can buy helmets, riding gloves, jackets, shoes and other accessories. Among all these services and solutions in 2014, the company ventured into serious and a unique service offering that changed the whole dimension of Enfield Riders subsequently.
Training Women's to perfect the Art of Motorcycling
"In India, women are sort of becoming isolated to adventure because the motorcycle is more perceived as men’s hobby," asserts Poornima.
Breaking the stereo type Enfield Riders became the first company in India to start a coaching academy to train and encourage women to ride motorcycles like Enfield and Harleys among others. Baljeet speaking about the team that handles this particular division, says, "We’ve got a team of amazing, young talented women motorcycle coaches on board, who have experience in the motorcycle arena and have participated in various rallies and dirt races."
Further, Poornima, explicates, "We don't push our clients and say, get on the bike and start riding! Instead, we provide them the combination of theoretical and practical sessions that get them riding motorcycles in no time. Surprisingly, 95 percent of the women learn to ride within a day or two days time. However, the remaining 5 percent requires hand-holding, but they also learn quickly within a week time."
Since the beginning of the coaching academy, Enfield Riders has trained close to 1000+ women's. Today, many women have become an integral part of the motorcycle riding trips curated by Enfield Riders and have achieved unimaginable milestones.
Motorcycle Travel Solutions for All
Enfield Riders at present have carved a niche in the space, where they have become experts in organizing motorcycle tours, both domestic and international. In the domestic tour services, the company offers offbeat motorcycle rides to Rajasthan, Goa, Ladakh, Spiti, North East, and others. In International trips, they offer trips to Bhutan, Nepal, Srilanka, and ASEAN Route amongst others. Since past 3 years the company is organising international trips from India to Singapore in 45 days, where they cover nine countries, including India, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. The same has been taken by motorcycle enthusiasts on Royal Enfield's, Harley Davidson's, Triumph's and Ducati owners.
"Our strength is our logistics and operations, whether it is about getting a permit, getting visas, partnering with the local players, or providing value-added services. Our motorcycle touring solutions has become an important part of our business," states Baljeet.
A Corporate Premium Services to Boost Productivity
A year ago, Enfield Riders ventured into another interesting vertical, the corporate offsite experiential services. Here, the company offers a complete end-to-end service to the high-end corporate and expats foreign community. Right from the accommodation, to transportation, hospitality, and motorcycle riding adventures to the unseen destinations. A complete experiential trip is what Enfield Riders guarantees to its clients.
Also, for corporate clients in India, who are looking for weekend getaways or team outings, Enfield Riders has special adventure packages planned just for them, which includes the luxury of staying at premium resorts, hotels, concerts, deejay nights, barbeque, camping, and stand-up comedy act. "We felt like why not include a road trip and a little bit of adventure that would eventually be memorable and fun. Most important of all, this overall brings a positive reinforcement and refreshes the entire team by boosting the productivity of business to a whole new level,". The new vertical is called as Bucket List Experiences.
The Road worth Riding
In the first year of establishment, Enfield Riders generated revenue of about 5 Lakhs. This was purely on the motorcycle rentals alone. The growth story there after increased tremendously. In the second year, they generated about 22 Lakhs. In the third year, the revenue jumped to 97 Lakhs. Consequently in the fourth year, after the customization service and coaching academy was started, the revenue generation spurred to 1.95 Cr. And, as per last year, the annual turnover was around 2.7 Cr. "This year, we are looking at 4.2 Cr revenue generation," says Baljeet, enthusiastically.
Growing 8x times since inception, the company has served close to 8000+ clients across different verticals. In terms of rental services, at present, they have a fleet of 50+ motorcycles. Currently the Enfield Riders has its brand presence across India and other parts of the world and operates from Bombay, New Delhi and Bangalore. Additionally, the company has a representative office in Brussels, Berlin & London. Furthermore the company has eminent industry experts and veterans backing the success story. One of the investors includes Mr. NJ Singh; a renowned businessman, who is one of the top 10 construction industy veteran and visionary in the country. Excited Baljeet, further looking for an expansion plans says “We are in talks with a couple of vcs for our next round of funding, which will probably happen in the upcoming months.”
"When we started this company, we just said to ourselves that, we will be the most preferred adventure travel company across the globe. Like, the so-called 'Apple' of lifestyle experience! For us, the volume is not the only agenda here; it's the whole experiential thing, where we become our client's travel partners for life," concludes Poornima, on a positive note.
Baljeet Gujral & Poornima Gujral, Co-Founders, Enfield Riders
Baljeet prior taking the entrepreneurial plunge has spent more than 8+ years in the financial industry and has worked with premium banks like UBS, Standard Chartered Banks, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank& RBS, at Associate Director level. Poornima, on the other hand, who is an academician, before venturing into Enfield Riders has spent more than 10+ years working for premium IB schools in Mumbai.
The Success Mantra: Enfield Riders Way...
The Co-founders, Baljeet and Poornima believe in one common motto, which is 'Freedom to work and liberty to execute.' At Enfield Riders, the first and foremost thing that the company offers its employees is the complete freedom of micro-ownership.
'Whether it is the manager heading the motorcycle rentals, service station, weekend getaway, women coaching, customization or other divisions. They are the ones who are running the show. So, obviously, from a strategy perspective, we do give inputs. But, we believe that they are the ones who are actually taking the initiatives and working towards achieving the goal. As long as they have a common goal of building the brand. We give them the Freedom and liberty of work to be pushed from down to up," says Baljeet.
Further, Poornima adds "Hence, we believe in micro-entrepreneurship, where every body within the organization is an entrepreneur. They are building their own enterprises. They execute it the way they want it, keeping inclined the experiences as a core aspect. At the end of the day, we make profit or loss, it becomes irrelative to us. Because, on a long run, we have entrepreneurs working within the organization that will outshine every body else in the market."
Business is not just about scaling. And, it is definitely not about the volume either. In fact, a lot of things are experience driven and technology is just an enabler here. But, one must truly understand that travel is one component, where people take wonderful memories back with them. So,going on a trip every year. That's memory. One should cherish these memories, and not consider it as a tick mark.
Baljeet sharing his concern says "Technology should be used as a tool. In terms of service delivery, we also have payment gateways, tour booking options and other features that simplify the process. This should not be made as the whole essence of business. The core element of travel is that it needs a human touch. And, don't miss out on that human element. That's what makes everything worth while and memorable."