For These Founders, The Startup Idea Was Just Outside The Coffee Shop Essay
Motivated by the immense scale of India’s unorganized operations, Bhavyassh Agarwaal was always inclined towards working on something big and making a larger difference in the ecosystem.
Entrepreneurship for him was the medium to do so. His first startup Concrea Communications Private Limited, which he started at the age of 17, was bought over by DDB Mudra in 2010 and post that the entrepreneurial spirit never faded in him.
Eventually, he moved back to India, leaving behind his highly paid jobs, to reconnoiter opportunities for him as an entrepreneur.
Birth of an Idea
Ebrahim and Agarwaal have been friends since 2005 and were equally bitten by the entrepreneurial bug since then. It was February 2015 when they met for a coffee with two other friends and brainstormed about doing a business together. However, the discussion ended up in perplex about what they wanted to do.
When they stepped out of the Andheri coffee shop, Ebrahim looked through the glass doors of a beauty parlour and he nudged Agarwaal to notice how bored the practitioners were due to the lack of clients. That was ‘THE’ eureka moment for them.
“The basic problem with beauty and wellness businesses is that unless it’s a multi-store chain or international brand, their scale is too small to have sufficient marketing budgets and thus there are hundreds that open and close everyday. Having said this, our core idea has remained the same but the characteristics of the product have pivoted and transformed tremendously over the past year and quarter,” said Bhavyassh Agarwaal, Co-founder, TheChairr.
TheChairr, an aggregator for the beauty, grooming and wellness businesses, embrace multi-store chains, stand-alone outlets, freelance artists as well as at-home service professionals. Their revenue sources are defined and tested and commission on bookings isn’t one of them. They have a huge array of vendors that have validated their business model and concept by partnering with them even before the website has gone live.
This is what makes them different from others
TheChairr is touts to become the ‘go-to place’ for customers looking for any beauty, grooming and wellness services. It’s one of its kinds as it gives equal importance to male audience as well. “We have Salons, Spas, Beauty Clinics, Integrated Wellness Centers, Tattoo Studios and Freelancing Professionals for users to search from and call directly for appointments without any online booking channels. The vendor can collect the payment from the client directly without any commission charged for the lead,” informed Agarwaal.
Friends and family become their seed investor
To start any venture all you need is funds and to pool in those funds you need people to invest in your idea. Same applies with the TheChairr. The startup founders were lucky enough as their friends and family infused money and became their seed investors to help them develop their product.
“We’ve made a few practice pitches to friends who are either venture capitalists or working in the startup investment space,” said Agarwaal.
Every organization passes through this phase. They have to overcome the challenges to make their venture a successful one. In this initial journey of tackling challenges, some sail through it while others drown. It is all about how you look at problems and what steps you take to handle it.
“I don't really believe in going by rules laid down in literature. Experience aces all, and that's why speaking to as many people about it is my best solution, irrespective of whether they’ve been there done that or not. That way you'll get closer to the perfect solution quicker without having to re-invent the wheel. Also I believe that communication solves most problems, so Ebrahim and I make sure we speak to every person involved with the challenge and 90 per cent of the times the solution is found there itself,” said Agarwaal.
Learnings from Entrepreneurial Journey
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Whenever an entrepreneur embarks on his entrepreneurial journey, he carries no experience with him. It is completely a different ballgame altogether which helps them discover lot of new things. Post this, an entrepreneur realise that how different he can be from his current role and the same happened with Agarwaal.
“I’ve learnt that nothing is ever is a bad or good idea till someone's tried it. You'll be amazed when the things you thought made no sense give you better results than the most tried and tested ways. My most important learning so far has been that along with a great product idea and excellent marketing strategies, good people-management is the key to success,” said Agarwaal.