How Hard Could it Get?
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All entrepreneurs start their journey with stars in the eye and hope to make a fortune. But often, there come times when their company hits a plateau or a near-crisis situation, from where, nothing but the company’s downfall appears as the only plausibility. Entrepreneur talked to various founders to know the strategies they deployed to resurrect their ventures from strenuous times.
Amit Damani, Co-Founder, Vista Rooms
“At the end of 2016, we had reached a point in our business where we were running a sustainable business but not witnessing significant growth. We were managing small hotels across India and were competing against the likes of Oyo and Treebo in partnering with hotels. Our growth trajectory was being affected because of the level of competition we faced. We had to make a do-or-die decision to continue in the hotel space or identify another niche in hospitality. We saw an opportunity in the vacation home rentals space, where villa owners required support in offering their homes to guests. Although Airbnb was getting popular in India, owners were unwilling to deal with the hassle of managing guests. Owners were willing to pay us for marketing and operating their villa as this wasn’t something they wanted to do at all. Thus, we took a conscious decision to build out our own niche in the Vacation home rentals space. Over the past two years, we are only becoming bigger and better. We’ve now scaled our network to over 150 Luxury Villas across India and Sri Lanka, and have now the largest luxury villa network in South Asia.”
Avneet Makkar, CEO & Founder, Carve Niche Technologies
“With a colleague from a previous job as a co-founder, I started my educational company. Together, we built a great product with huge learning content and immediately bagged two deals from two renowned chain of schools. By that time, we had also raised a round of funding. Thus, to expand, we hired a big team spread out across six cities with an experienced sales head. We spent huge amount in training the sales team. And then reality stuck. Our team was not able to do any sales. We waited for months and realised that the hiring had gone wrong. We ran out of funds, the sales team disappeared one by one, and the final blow came when my co-founder quit.
It was the lowest point in my journey but I was determined to not give up. We restarted with four people left in the company. We decided to focus on Mathematics as that was my interest area. We also decided to stop selling to schools and move to a consumer based model. I invested my personal funds and it took us two years to re-launch ourselves in the market. Today, we are growing 100% year on year.”
Harsh Shah, Co-Founder, Fynd
“We launched Fynd in January 2016. Back then, we were a hyper local online-to-offline fashion e-commerce platform based out of Mumbai. Five months since the start, we scaled our orders to 20 per day, but couldn’t move beyond. Our daily traction wasn’t feasible to sustain the business. We noticed that we were increasingly receiving feedback, mostly negative, from consumers who wanted to buy products but weren’t in Mumbai and thus, couldn’t purchase. This nudged us to ponder what was holding us back to expand to other cities. Therefore, we expanded to Delhi and took the daily orders to 30 per day. But, 30 orders were below our expectations. Moreover, the complainants from cities apart from Delhi and Mumbai only rose. This forced us to rethink that why we were constraining ourselves as a hyperlocal company. Based on the feedback, we decided to supply to consumers from all cities, irrespective of the location we were operating in. Thus, from 30 orders in June 2016, we successfully scaled to 250 orders a day overnight. And since then, we supply to all locations in India and there has been no looking back.”
(This article was first published in the May issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)