When Akbar (Batch 14-16) approached us with news of his new venture Rahi Crafts of India (RCI) – a platform for handicrafts manufacturers, suppliers and exporters, we thought it was a story worth sharing. Reading through his experiences might inspire other entrepreneurs from the university to follow their passion and dreams.
Alumni Team: What made you take the leap into this venture?
Akbar: For a long time I thought I had to develop something that had never been done before to be successful. In a decade I traveled in multi-states (Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kolkata and N-E states and so on) and I found that in each state there are local artisans who are making good and valuable crafts product but they are unable to sell their products due to unavailable of market, poor connection and transportation. These artisans always get exploited by agents and middle persons and they are unable to gain the profit.
Too many times I’ve thought about this and then contemplated various scenarios and how it could play out. I analyzed every aspect and tried to guess and estimate all the contingencies. Then I have decided that I will create an online platform and put together the most basic form of the handicrafts product designed by local artisans and start selling. This process will help me to estimate how the product might fare in the marketplace and provide real feedback which will help me to enhance my enterprise.
Alumni Team: What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your venture and how did you overcome them?
Akbar: To being an entrepreneur I need to nurture my ability to develop and cultivate relationship with others because that skill is essential to the growth and success of business. For starting of a business not only enough money will be needed but also support of friends, family and others will be required during lean startup months.
Alumni Team: How do you plan to deal with competition?
Akbar: I think as long as the products offers value to customers, it’s ready to launch, everything else will come in due time. Many times, most of the entrepreneurs get caught up in trying to make everything perfect, but I think focus more on getting the business out there and then improve as long as go on.
For the successful business uniqueness is essential hence I have decided that I will not copy other, people have a need for variety, so if I have the same products as the other, I’ll have nothing to compel customers to choose my products versus my proven competitors. So, modeling other successful products, keeping good quality at moderate prize will help me to succeed in the competitive market.
7. What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
Akbar: Three things:
Capital is a backbone of every business without that no one can’t proceed. Likewise, I had a plan, idea and talent but I was unable to proceed due to lack of finance.
- Registration and process
It was very difficult for me to register as a proprietor in NCR due to lack of local identity proofs, rented home and so on.
- Banking & Security Challenges
To open a current bank account and maintain Rs. 25000 balance was very difficult initially and due to lack of finance, local id proofs and other documents.
– The Alumni team