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Biz lessons from Indian Matchmaking

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

‘“YOU HAVE TO WATCH THIS” my phone screamed at me. Like a Frankenstein's monster, the world’s obsession with Netflix’s “Indian Matchmaking” was following me. Ranging from Instagram leftists to Facebook Modi-bhakts, it seems to be the rage. So, I decided to check it for myself if the hype was worth it. Social lessons aside, what intrigued me the most was the business model which was run by Sima Taparia(match-maker) who likes to remind us she is from Mumbai.

She is a powerhouse of optimism, perseverance and most importantly compromise. In a world which is dynamic, her healthy marriage and personal beliefs offer credibility to her business underscoring the importance of the image of the business head. She believes in diversification, as shown by her clients, who are spread far and wide and come from different backgrounds. The range from goat-yoga on a first date(Aparna) to Piri-Piri foxnuts (Pradyumna) is wide.

Essentially functioning as a human Tinder without the use of complex algorithms or even an excel sorting function, she has a set of biodata that she uses to match people. However, the process is interesting in that it essentially functions as horizontal integration, where she provides an ancillary set of life-coaches and astrologers for assistance. She comes off as a traditional matchmaker with good business sense enough to make an alliance with a rival matchmaker who services a modern clientele. Yes, even the humble match-maker can understand that out-sourcing can not only reduce hassle but also help better meet the customers’ demands.

Not exactly a “blue-ocean strategy”, the real credit she deserves is for reinventing her business in a seemingly orthodox “sector” like marriage. Her business is a mix of the traditional Indian sensibilities related to caste and culture but also the modernity of people choosing their own life partner. She knows the realities of the field she works in. She has built the business from the ground up and knows the machinations. Constant evolution and adjusting to the currents of time is a lesson all business owners should imbibe.

“My profession is based on goodwill” she likes to say fondly as a one-woman army of not exactly a scalable business, but maybe that’s the secret to save hiring costs. She is not without her faults, though. Customer is king as they say, even if they are “negative”, a pejorative employed by Mrs Taparia for independent women. Her background checks are not exactly flawless as non-serious people in marriage are not filtered out. This underscores the importance of due diligence in business to avoid embarrassment later.

Keeping the moral quandary of her profession and generally, the Indian society as a whole aside, Mrs Taparia shines in her role as matchmaker. As she likes to say, “I have to do my best. Rest is destiny.”

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