Tired of your boss and the looming fear of being laid off? Want to start your own business? But how do you start? What are the pitfalls you need to watch out for? Is it a good time to invest your money in a venture?
To answer these and various other entrepreneurial queries, young entrepreneur Ruchi Chopra hosted a chat with GA readers on March 04.
For those of you who missed the chat, here's the unedited transcript
bala asked, Hi, What is your take on business plan stage funding ?
ruchi chopra answers, at 2009-03-04 15:34:57the funding is needed but once you have already proved your business model works or a small scale as well
ds asked, hi ruchi. Congrats for your success. How do you manage to send surprises to all diff. locations in India. When you started this venture, How many are working with you. Do you have any specific business plan. Did you reach out to any venture fund
ruchi chopra answers, Hi.. we have people working in 7 cities. other cities, we send out personalised gifts on courier. I Started this venture in April 2007. We are a team of 9 ppl today but we have the entire world who freelances with us from limousine owners to chefs and guitarists etc.Yes, we clearly have a business plan. We will take venture capital funding but at the right time.
KAPIL asked, what indiction, if any privete insurance co. permoter share is nill...
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Kapil, could you please re frame you question, am not clear!
Don asked, Hi Ruchi, Congrats for ur success!! I also want to start on my own. Could u please tell me how to design the business model and do market survey?
ruchi chopra answers, Thanks Don. Before you start a business of your own, you have to have something in mind, what are you keen on starting the business on?
akansha asked, Where did you get the initial Fund ? Do you have any investor initially and now ?
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Akansha, i started from my own savings of just 50,000 to get the website started off. even now, we havent taken any investor. We might consider doing so in a year.
prashant asked, hi ruchi
ruchi chopra answers, Yes, prashant. what would you like to ask?
saara asked, How did you plan things before starting out?
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Saara, In my case it was a flaw i saw in the market. i realised there was no one to provide something for which has a demand. i simply create the supply for the same. So the planning was all based on the idea that struck me!
Parvez asked, Hi Ruchi, good day. well what are the technolgy items can be good in trading in rural india and B & C class cities?
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Parvez, Good day! your question is irrelevant to the chat. Let me know how can i answer your question on entrepreneurship
asp asked, Madam I know my civil eng stuff well now. Can I Jump into Enterpenurship.
ruchi chopra answers, Ofcourse you can jump into entrepreneurship. There are no rules, nothing stops you but however you must have a thought/ an idea of what kind of a business you'd like to start before moving away from being an engineer.
sree asked, Hi ! Ms Ruchi, Congrats, I wanted to start a chemical Import business from China, How to go about ? Waiting for some tips,Tnx * Rgds,Sree
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Sree, you need to first understand the market india has for these chemicals- are they different from what is already sold? if not, why would someone want to buy from you? what is your USP- these questions need to be answered before you start getting into something that requires so much investment
Subhash asked, Hello Ruchi, I am IT professional wrking with MNC, Tokyo japan.but now i want to start some bsns in education domain like language & behavioral trngs, career and clinical counseling, any suggestion ?
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Subhash, sure. i think its a great idea. Education is a field that will never stop doing well. Remember when you start something new, ask your self what is different from what is already in the market.
sanam asked, How was it from being a merchandiser to a boss?
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Sanam, it was a very different experience. it was my first job, so i was the juniormost merchandiser. From there learning to manage a team of a few people took time, but when it comes to us, we all are able to handle it well!
abhisek asked, hi.. i want to start retail store of designer rugs & mats in east India. Do you see potential? I know few vendors who are ready to prvide stuff for display & sale. plz guide
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Abhishek, clearly a potential. how many good brands for rugs do we know in India. Your carpets need to be either exclusive or need to have something different in them in terms of design, quality.
Soni asked, Hi Ruchi, Congrats!! How did enroll other freelancers into your business? How did u find them? How do you share ur revenue?
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Soni, when need be we get in touch with various vendors depending on what we are looking for. This is a slow process, you find people when you go out there looking for them.
Radha asked, Hi Ruchi, is this a good time to invest in a business, given the economic scenario?
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Radha, its a great time to invest into business as jobs - if they are not firing, they arent really paying great either. Its a great time to plan and you growth into the market will be slow due to the econommic scenario but that will give you the right speed to enter the market.
kingkong asked, what are the initial obstacles you faced ?|
ruchi chopra answers, Hi. how to manage people elder to me, when am so young. Making a team if the tuff part.
karan asked, Hi Ruchi,First of all congrats on your success.You have done really well I would like to know how many are working under you..
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Karan, thanks very much. we are not currently hiring.
dang asked, hello ASAP is nice idea but how do you compete with more players in market
ruchi chopra answers, Hi dang. ASAP has a USP of doing just customised personalised products and surprises. we dont have any players in the market as we are personalised to every client. No one does the kind of things we do:)
AkshayR asked, Hi Ruchi, You said that you are using web portal but have you ever thought using your own Web Developement team with you which will save your Huge Money as well as a Quick Updates. It's a lit bit personal question but as i have tried that in past i am asking you the same...
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Akshay, we will soon be doing that. everything needs time and the right time and focus.
Rahul asked, How long does a business usually take to start making profits?
ruchi chopra answers, depends on the kind of business. if its food related and you have invested into making a huge restaurant in a prime location, myabe a year or 2. If you have started a concept , maybe just 6 months.
sangi asked, Hi Ruchi ,What are the threats in the business from compitator
ruchi chopra answers, None! we are trying to win hearts by surprising people. Only another person who can do a better job, can take away from our business
rishi asked, During this recession , is it advisable to start a new business? if yes then in which field will be better option to start with
ruchi chopra answers, it is advisable as you will enter the sea from the shallow. If you start in the boom time, you will suddendly be exposed to the deep sea with so much happening and you might not be able to handle it al of a sudden.
SATISH asked, I WANT TO START A DESIGN ENGINEERING SERVICE CAN YOU SUGGEST ME THE PROCEDURE
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Satish, what kind of a engineering concept is it?
abhisek asked, what your company portal address
ruchi chopra answers, www.asap.co.in
sam asked, Hi Ruchi i have started my own placement agency. Kindly let me know your suggestions on the same. Thnax
ruchi chopra answers, Hi sam. what kind of a suggestions do you want?
prabhat asked, Hi ruchi, Congratulation first of all. I am a software consultant with 4 yr exp . I want to start up a IT firm first to take up projects as a freelancer and then converting this to a small organization. As I am now working with some MNC now, so initially when i shall leave the job and start my own, do I get that much money which normally i used to get as salary. What is your view on this? what else can be done as to become enterpreneur to use the skill of technical knowledge i have ? Please suggest ? Thanks in advance.
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Prabhat. when you think of starting your own business- its best to try and use as much expertise as possible. Depends on the kind of business you want to start and thats a decision only you can make. You have to put it an initial investment depending on what kind of a product/ service you are keen on selling.
rajul asked, how i should go about converting an idea into a startup.
ruchi chopra answers, Hi. you get the idea out in the market. if its a service or a product, you have to see do people really want to buy it?
PrashantKumar asked, Hi Ruchi, I'm working with a software company in B'lore for 2.6 years.I want to shift to my native Bhagalpur(Bihar).Could you please suggest me about any business there?I can invest maximum of 8-10 lakhs.Thanks
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Prashant, Bihar is great with agriculture. why dont you start something with a new product of manure
kiran asked, Ruchi...any small business ventures other than real estate brokerage requires capital..and they say you need to have a 1:3 ratio capital for any business to run soundly..i have plenty of ideas but the problem seems to be intial capital..Whats ur say on this..
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Kiran, its best to start small. Throw your idea / service/ product in the market, see how ppl / your friends think of it? will that want to buy it.. if your ratio of demand and supply is good. go for it!
Saurabh asked, Hi Ruchi. This is the era of mobility and virtualization. I have an idea of having a virtual office (work from home) with my close elite professionals. Please let me know your views on the same, and according to you how practical or productive this concept can be? I am basically looking from consultancy perspective.
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Saurabh, its the world of internet revolution. Internet is the best way to market, its so easy to sit and home and work for many.
bhavesh asked, hi ruchi ,do you think artificial jewlerry bussiness is worth doing
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Bhavesh. definately. as long as its different and you have USP of either making the best looking products or the most lasting ones. something has to be better than the rest!
ds asked, one more query, Do you feel MBA degree is necessary in venturing into own business? Do u felt, in this years, MBA would've helped you
ruchi chopra answers, An MBA is not definately needed for starting a business.
ter asked, Hi Ruchi, congrats.. I want to start a training center for cisco certificatiosn.... in M.P... what is ur suggestion on going ahead? i m in a decent job in MNC... and do not want to leave and then try?
ruchi chopra answers, You have to take a risk to try something in life. It might work, it might not work. But till you try, you'll never know if it worked at all
Paresh asked, Whats your advise who all are venturing into business first time? n yea, r u married? bit personal n weird question, Its okay if u answer the first question...
ruchi chopra answers, 1. start small 2 take advise 3 remain focussed
abilash asked, hi ruchi,i am planning to start a Mens apparels and accessories Retail Business under a new brand name. plz telll me your opinion
ruchi chopra answers, its a great idea. you should totally persue it
Jaypal asked, Hi, I also started my own venture last year. Initially nothing worked out inspite of working hard. It created a problem as I had no more money. So how to sustain in initial days of business?
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Jaypal, every business goes through ups and down and a start up, surely requires you to be very patient. you need to save every penny and put into it to survive the rainy days of business
Islaam asked, I want to start business as Medicine distributors..... How can i start it. PLease reply....... Thanks
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Islaam you need to have a good location to start a business such as a medicine distributor.
mayur asked, hi ruchi. i am a MMS (finance) fresher from mumbai university. i want to start a new business. my business idea is to start a agriculture consultancy services. my vision is to empower the individual farmers by organising current agricultural sector. but the start up cost is very high. it is around half corore rupees. please guide me how i can go ahead with financial matters. also guide me on legal aspects of starting a new business.also point out some entry barriers and ways to overcome them. thank you.
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Mayur, you have to have a plan before you start something and go to a VC for funding. make a report of what your vision is , on why you think it will work.
dipak asked, hi ruchi, can u tell me something about how to start retail chain business...?
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Dipak, firstly for a retail chain, you would need a lot of investment. What product are you thinking of?
saurabhtyu asked, hi ruchi do you think its important for a fresher out of college to have job experience before starting your own business
ruchi chopra answers, there are no set rules. its not about the time. its about the idea. its about believing in a product
Sonal asked, How long does it take before a business yields profits?
ruchi chopra answers, depends on the kind of business. For some business like a chaat stall, just a few days. but for something to do with chemicals, maybe 3-4 years
SINHA asked, In this time companies are reducinging the employee strength....than what is the best for s/w professional
ruchi chopra answers, This is a time when many people will start their own business as the markets are down
Rishabh Mukesh asked, I want to expand my Lucknowi Chikan shop to a chain store and want to establish my own chikan stores in almost all the metro cities.
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Risbhabh, great! you have to start then identifying locations where more people walk in. malls with good foot falls
mehta3 asked, hi ruchi i am interested in gaming and animation business for Indian market with Indian content .. whats ur take on this..?
ruchi chopra answers, i think its a great upcoming field for india and has great scope. you should totally go for it
VinayKumar304 asked, Is it necessary for any entrepreneur to think of an Idea which never existed...
ruchi chopra answers, not necessary at all!
SANJIB asked, IAM WORKING IN CHEMICAL MANUFACTURING ORGANISATION AS A MANAGER. NOW I WANT START A BUSINESS IN SAME LINE.IS IT WISE, IF SO WHAT THYPE OF BUSUINESS SHOULD I START.
ruchi chopra answers, If you keen to start chemical business, you must realise that the investment is huge!
Santhosh asked, Hi, Can you tell me a small business which i can start in my Home Town?
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Santosh, there are so many ideas. If you look around, you will see so many things that sell really well in big towns, are still being missed by people in small towns. Start a gym, start a counselling business.
jyoti asked, Hi Ruchi, My wife does some decent(not expert) warli and Madhubani paintings and quite sellable. But we are not sure how to search and explore the market to sell our paintings. Can you please advice how to create market for our paintings?
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Jyoti, its a talent you must take it up as a business. Have an exhibition at a decent location in your city, and let people know about it, slowly the word will spread and she will be in business from home.
ibjha asked, hi ruchi ! can u give some ideas about that business that can start in a small town in a short investment?
ruchi chopra answers, start a fast food joint you could also start a tiffin system
amita asked, shall I do MBA or Enterprinuership course to gain business knowledge. What are the pros & cos of each?
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Amita, you can either but remember you have HAVE TO DO AN MBA to be an entrepreneur
gary asked, Hi i am based in china and would like to export some products which are not yet popular in india.What do u advise.
ruchi chopra answers, great idea. if its new, people would want to take it on.
Prajwal asked, Generally speaking, how would u calculate the Return on Investment in advance if one decides to start up his/her own enterprise? Usually, the investments would from be his/her life-savings.
ruchi chopra answers, Hi . You always start and test the market to see if your product works well, you dont have to start it with getting a huge investment in a big location
rano asked, i am been given the pink slip, is it advisable to start off my own
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Rano, depends.. what are you qualifications? if you are out of choice, its surely something you should consider
Thunder asked, Hi ruchi... asap is a brilliant idea...anyone can bring manpower & investment in Business? but if someone lack of ideas & willing to do a business..what is the solution?
ruchi chopra answers, Hi. Then its best that they work in an organisation and not start their own business.
Sahil asked, does doing mba from a good insti lyk iims matter much if u want to become an entrepreneur neways ?? I have a feeling that it might be a waste of two years. I m a 3rd year b tech at ISM Dhanbad
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Sahil, It can be an add on but its not absolutely necessary to do AN MBA to be able to be an entrepreneur
M K Dubey asked, I am a mechanical engineer with MBA.Is there any perspective of doing small business with 3-4 hrs time?
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Dubey, definately but you need to think of what that small business will be.
Sanjay Garg asked, I am website Designer and I have started my own small company in 2007, though i have got projects but i am not getting the big ones i mean corporate ones. What to do
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Sanjay, It hasnt been long. as a graphic designer, continue to put in all your work, do classy work for even the small projects you get. You will soon be noticed.
sandyera asked, I have seen the site and the product but your products are bit expensive.do you hve plans to give economical pricing products.
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Sandyhera, we do customised products. our produts start from a range of 1000.
BUNNY asked, Hi Ruchi - I have heard from friends about ASAP and how successful a company it is- my question to you is - what is it that made you believe that this concept will work in the Indian markets? What is your motivation? What makes you wake up and feel like working everyday to make other people happy?
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Bunny, I tested the market before i formally started this company. I floated the idea among a set number of people. When i saw a demand in them for my service, i then increased the scale. The motivation in a business like mine is that its making people happy. It brings happiness to anyone to make another person happy and thats what we do by our surprises.
Ramu asked, Ruchi, Which business can br started without capital and without risk?
ruchi chopra answers, Hi Ramu. No business can be started with risk and without capital.
Thunder1 asked, Thxs a ton ruchi for quick responce... I wanted to try my luck in business...what about real estate field? means some sort of contractor or so.. also I have good knowledge in the same field along with good contacts...what will u suggests? pls answer..this is the last question ...
ruchi chopra answers, It was great chatting with you all. Hope some of your queries have been answered!