The year 2020 has been harsh on so many, rendering fear, anxiety and uncertainty. Overall, a catastrophic year but few still managed to earn a fortune out of it. It has pushed so many to dream big, to do different and to fight back. As per Industry statistics, from having handful of tech companies to dozens and now thousands of innovative new ventures, India’s startup ecosystem grew immensely in the past decade. From 29k startups in 2014, to a whopping number of 55k startups by the end of 2020.
Though dreadful, somehow this year has pushed me into several new fields apart from blogging that I had never imagined earlier. “Every dark cloud has a silver lining “, cliché quote but true. Couple of months back, I had faced a life-changing situation when my husband faced the threat of losing his job, being the sole bread earner, the very thought gave us sleepless nights. We were completely lost as to where to begin with, how to sustain life, education of two growing kids, aging parents and an endless list of responsibilities that dangled from our shoulders.
Pandemic further had completely made situation from bad to worse, declining job opportunities, shrinking economy made everything looked murkier. We were absolutely clueless as what to do next .
After a two year stint in Investment Banking, I had a long gap but had always managed to do something productive that helped me to earn my own pocket money. But, running a household is a different story altogether.
The ongoing pandemic had definitely played foul restricting our movements and had curtailed our freedom in many ways. When the real world started shrinking, the horizon of the virtual world widened and looked rosier. Being a blogger, I was well aware of the power of Social media and how it has changed the fortunes of several helping them to earn name, fame and money.
The rules of the game of online business are different and varies from the regular business model but I had no other option. Being a MBA, it was my dream to have my own startup someday but that dream was lost somewhere in the humdrum of life. This time the jolt had shaken me and to take things in my own stride, I thought of venturing into eCommerce. Time was running out and we had nothing in our hand. My spouse was trying his best for other opportunities but hardly things materialized our way.
During those rough days, I stumbled upon a news that said 140 families of Patachitra artist are hit financially from the pandemic showcasing few paintings from the artist and then like lightening it struck me why not to showcase this dying art in apparels and household decor items. This idea gave birth to “Swarna Utkala”, meaning Golden Odisha. A venture was born that would showcase age-old temple paintings in apparels as well as home décor items. Handpaintings of ethnic designs is the new bae in apparel and home décor Industry. Why Patachitra* for our new venture? Being a proud Odia always wanted to highlight the rich culture and heritage that this ancient, mighty land possessed. Secondly, this art is unique for its intricate designs.
*Patachitra is being derived from patta meaning cloth and chitra means painting in Odia. Painting that originated as mural painting in temples depicting the life of Trinity or Krishna and highlighting the lifestyle of people during that era.
But, just having an unique idea or a skill set it’s not enough to have your own start up. You need to consider so many other factors before you have your own business. So, here I am sharing a STEP by STEP roadmap that can help you launch a Startup if you are planning one.
STEP BY STEP ROADMAP TO LAUNCH A STARTUP
1. Unique Idea or Skill
A Business thrives only when there is a demand so before getting into the waters. Its important to know what people are looking for, whether its a product or service. An Unique idea or skill set would only help if you have a near fool-proof plan.
My Experience – When the idea struck, we three sisters were very excited but to our surprise there were many players who were already there in this field exactly doing for last few years what we have just conceived. So, we diversified a bit and also catered other ancient art forms like Kalamkari, Madhubani , Tribal painting etc.
2.Have your own USP (Unique Selling Proposition)
Today’s world is highly competitive. To stand out in the crowd you need to deliver something unique or extra that sets you apart.
My experience – When we discovered that there were several established players in our business line . We made our designs bit trendy by fusing it with other arts and catered home décor items that were in fashion. To mention few like plates & kettles for wall décor, plant pots, Coffee mugs, tea cups, table runners, name plates and many more products that our competitors have not ventured for.
3.Brand your Brand
Brand name is very vital for any startup and few important things to keep in mind.
- Your Brand name should be short and easy to remember.
- The name should be reflective of your brand
- Unique and catchy
4. Funding –
Another important and essential aspect of starting your own venture. Either you invest a part of your savings or borrow from friends and family. Weigh the risks of money that you invest or borrow before taking the decision.
My Experience – I did not want to invest a big chunk of my savings so I pulled in my sisters who are always there for me. Our individual investment was less but the total investment was 20k and till date we are rolling the income that our venture generates in the business for expanding it without any additional investment further.
5. Online Marketing –
This quote harps on the power of community and most of us have experienced this, how helpful facebook groups, What’s app groups, Blogchatter etc are for our growth .
We, are well aware of the powers that Social media and online communities possess. Being a part of a community can make us feel as though we are apart of something greater than ourselves. It can give us opportunities to connect people, to reach for our goals, and make us feel safe and secure.
For having a legal identity of your startup, registration is the most vital especially if you want to sell through an online or e-commerce platform.
Register your startup business
- Apply for the Director’s Identification Number (DIN)
- Make sure you have your Permanent Account Number (PAN) and Digital Signature Certificate.
- Apply to the Registrar of Companies
- After receiving a confirmation on the name, you can incorporate the proposed company within six months.
- Apply for the Goods and Service Tax (GST)
Once you are listed and have a GST number you can sell through various apps and other e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Etsy etc. The basic requirement is a GST number.
Above mentioned pointers are the secret ingredients required to launch your dream startup off the ground and be the lady BOSS.
Currently, eCommerce business in India is a great idea as it’s blooming. The opportunities are infinite and as per industry statistics, the right time to reap the most out of it. But a word of caution, everything won’t be rainbows and butterflies, brace yourself to face challenges and hurdles.
You would face initial challenges of legalizing your online business and getting a face for your startup, after initial challenges all you would face is a fair share of competition.
What are you then waiting for? Jump in, to give your dreams a chance to become a reality.
10 Startup ideas that you can start from your home with minimum investment
- Online Tutorials ( Make-up, creative writing, storytelling, bakery, etc)
- Artificial Jewellery
- Hand-painted Jewellery
- Hand-painted apparel
- Upcycling of Old sarees
- Gift boutique
- Home-cooked food
- Crochet items
- Handmade dolls
My Startup along with my sisters (Swarna Utkala)
And here is the sneak -peak of our Startup ” Swarna Utkala”, where Art Meets Apparel.
A venture of three sisters, who are trying to craft and curate each handpiece with utmost care and devotion. All the works are hand-painted and are inspired both by contemporary as well as ancient art. The uniqueness of design, intricate work and fine craftmanship makes each artwork exclusive and masterpiece of its own kind.
Watch this Video to have a glimpse of few of our products.
WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF SWARNA UTKALA.
You can also visit us at https://www.instagram.com/swarnautkala
Before I wrap this blogpost, an ode to Devi energy (shakti) that is there within all of us. Devi is not somewhere else, not in some other world. It is within us. That amazing power of being able to stand with total courage in the face of total power and not be afraid. That is stri Shakti.
Cheers to Womanhood !!
I am a part of the #WSWBlogHop and I truly believe that we should support, empower each other and grow together. Thanks Urvashi and Akanksha for coming up with a wonderful theme for the Blog hop.