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Hardeep Singh, 7-Eleven CEO: Business Value Creation Comes From Solving A 'Real' Problem 7-Eleven is an international brand of convenience stores, and by the latest count they have approximately 85,000 stores in over 20 countries.

By Kabir Singh Bhandari

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Hardeep Singh, 7-Eleven CEO speaking at the event.

7-Eleven is an international brand of convenience stores, and by the latest count they have approximately 85,000 stores in over 20 countries. India was the 19th country and operations started in the country two years ago. Recently they opened their 45th store, all of which are in Mumbai and a few in Pune. But what can others learn from so that their businesses are successful too? According to Hardeep Singh, CEO of 7-Eleven, whatever business you start, it has to solve 'a real and large problem.'

"As simple as it sounds, business value creation comes from solving a problem. The point here is when you solve a problem in order to create business value it has to be a real problem and it has to be a large problem. Both of these factors are extremely important. In fact, I'm reminded of an ex-colleague of mine from private equity who said, 'Most of the young start-ups in India fail because they try to solve a problem when none exists,'" Singh had said at the 13th Indian Management Conclave which took place at SPJIMR, Mumbai.

He spoke about how regardless of whether the brand is an international one with its own format and a prototype, the challenge of business value creation is always there. Every market has its own challenges and opportunities and sometimes it becomes more difficult to adopt a template which comes with such strict guardrails for a country and a market like India.

"There are some pretty smart frictionless models available all around us, be it the morning newspaper delivery, the milk man or even those doing their pooja every morning- with these ecosystems being well oiled and sorted out. So ofcourse there will be some enterprise will try to solve the next big challenge with these models. But the important point is to solve a problem which is real and also to keep it simple," Singh said.

He also made an interesting point about how experience should not be mistaken for wisdom. "I remind myself and also my team that how many years of experience that you may have. I would always suggest data first approach- the structuring of a problem has to start with that. Of course insights are important, but insights come after data," Singh had advised.

Kabir Singh Bhandari

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