Entrepreneurship

Startup: Make your Dreams a Reality

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Startup: Make your Dreams a Reality

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.

Note:

*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 –

The power of a community

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.

6.Legal Identity

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
  • Bakery
  • 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.

A Startup of Hand-painted Apparel and home decor items .

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.


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35 thoughts on “Startup: Make your Dreams a Reality

  1. Debi, what an inspiring journey. You are right we all have Devi energy is all of us. Being an entrepreneur is a big milestone. Bringing tribal art into limelight and giving it a way to reach people is very thoughtful. Good luck for your new venture!! Proud of you.

    1. Thanks , Alpana. I have big aspirations regarding this venture. Let’s see how far I take this. Your support and love means a lot.

  2. Superb action plan Debi. I have been so lost as to how to set up an entity in India. This has come as a great help in time. You have added an amazing personal touch with your experience to each step. Wonderful take on how to set up a startup for dreamers like us

    1. I am so happy that this post is a helping hand to so many in making their dreams a reality. In my next post, I would also speak about my challenges, you won’t believe we are three sisters in three different parts of the World. I am up in Chandigarh, my sis in Hyderabad and my youngest sister in US. All the best dear for your dreams. Would love to see your startup someday.

  3. True Debi, Pandemic has hitted many dreams, damaged many futures, I believe no damage is irrepairable until your courage is standing firm to bounce back! As a woman so proud of you who chose to stand strong with her partner in sharing responsibilities. All the pointers for starting a new venture are so helpful guidelines for budding entrepreneurs. I have seen the beautiful collections of your venture and I am definitely going to grab to gift my family members. Best wishes to you and your sisters!💕

  4. Dear Debi Di, what would I say after reading it. I am lost in words. Such a great informative post you have shared with us. So amazing ideas. I always love the idea of Gift Boutique. Reading your journey and the useful tips to start a start up, it’s just an honor to be a part of this blog hop. Thanks a lot for sharing these with us. I am grateful to you Di. Lots of love and best wishes to your entrepreneurial venture.

    1. Thanks, Swarnali. Would love to see your venture too, you two sisters are powerhouse. You just need to take that first step.

  5. This is such an insightful post and an inspiration for so many. Especially during the current times, and as you have mentioned ‘Every dark cloud has a silver lining’, a step-by-step guide to a successful startup is quite a silver lining to the dark clouds of the pandemic.

    It was wonderful to see ‘THE WORLD OF SWARNA UTKALA’. The hand painted fabrics and home decor items are beautiful.

    Very helpful writeup!

  6. You have given some great tips here , Debi. Usually finances are the biggest obstacles for women entrepreneurs . This is the age of entrepreneurship . It is much easier to set up a business now than any other time. You and your sisters have made some very beautiful products and they certainly have USP!

  7. I’m hoping to start something on my own. This is a perfect blog to do my initial work and research. The USP is something I need to work on because they are several sellers like me.

  8. I’m thinking of starting something on my own but I’ve to still work on the initial research. This is perfect for me to get things done step by step. I have to work on the USPs though.

  9. Whoa Debi..this is an incredible journey and just look at your spirit girl. I am very inspired. And yes the DEVI is within us. I have also ventured into Kaur’s Kitchen without any planning though. I am going to follow your tips to polish my start-up skills. You are lucky that you have supportive sisters. Do cherish them always. Wish you all the best and God bless u always.

  10. Wow Debi loved the post. Many many congratulations for this new beginning . I had read about your venture on instagram before and loved it so much. In this post, you had shared all important aspect of starting new business so well. Wishing you lots of good luck for great success. I also have a dream like you. Your post has made me Inspire to work on that.

  11. I am aware that Odisha is rich in culture and taking it further to future generations in a form that captures it beautifully is truly an inspiring tale for us. You three sisters are doing a great job. Liked the way you listed steps to start own venture .

  12. Inspiration from women can come in many forms. And this is one Inspiring blog talking in such nice details about a startup and not just that step-by-step guide along with those 10 ideas to start a start up something every housewife should look into

    1. Thanks to Urvashi for organizing this blog hop where we are learning so much from each other.

  13. Congratulations to you on your new venture. The lockdown was instrumental in me increasing my earnings and garnering a better focus of my professional energies too, but it was not through a start-up like business, it was simply by getting recognition for my writing skills and being paid to write for newspapers and publications. Hence, I completely agree that we must explore the digital medium and everything that it offers.

    1. Thanks, Noor. I love your articles and have read most of them published in the “Guardian” .I also love your fiction work.

    1. Thanks,Niyati. We are also collaborating with weavers of Odisha for world famous Sambalpuri handlooms both cotton as well as silk.Anyone interested do let me know. You would get at much cheaper rate than retail market.

  14. Wow.. such an informative and honest post Debi.. I loved how you talked about the investment and everything with so much honesty.. As an aspiring entrepreneur this helped and inspired me to work harder for my plans..

    1. Thanks dear, trying my best to showcase the ancient art of my homestate .Lets see how far I am successful.

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