Start-ups soar and how!

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India has witnessed the emergence of over 40,000 start-ups in the last five years, which have created more than $130 Bn of value. As start-up initiatives get a boost from the government, and penetrate into Tier 2 and 3 cities, India`s start-up ecosystem is scaling new heights, writes Manu Shrivastava.

That India has a colossal start-up ecosystem in the world, and is all braced to witness year-on-year growth of 10 per cent to 12 per cent; and of the total number a fourth are technology-led start-ups, and almost 3-4 tech start-ups are born on an average every day, is phenomenal to say the least.

There are a series of factors that make India appealing as a start-up nation and these include: Cost of doing business, size of domestic market and proximity to customers and vendors. Following a survey of 150K young Indians, it was revealed that for a nation having a whopping seven million college graduates per year, 55 per cent of its youth prefer to work in start-ups over corporates. Not surprising, the median age of start-up founders is 31 years.
With 462 million internet users of which a whopping 80 per cent are mobile-based, India is the second largest consumer internet market in the world and offers the best opportunities for start-ups.

Start-ups that are thriving

There are a string of modest, easy start-ups viable in India and available to all and sundry. Top of the list is the quintessential ‘Tuition Class’ that doubles up as the first low-cost business and works well across genres. Besides being a great business idea to fetch decent income, all one needs to do is buy a white board and marker pen. A tuition class can be offered to an individual or larger group, and all it requires is some basic knowledge on the subject being taught and a passion to teach. Advertising can be done through social media or by word of mouth. And then, there’s Multi-level marketing (MLM), also called pyramid selling, network marketing and referral marketing, which is a marketing strategy for the sale of products or services where the revenue of the MLM company is derived from a non-salaried workforce selling the company’s products/services, while the earnings of the participants are derived from a pyramid-shaped or binary compensation commission system.

Here, you need to sell a product of network marketing company by making a new member directly through you. You get commission for selling the product and making members as you go along. MLM is a great module to ensure good earnings. Products like Amway, Tupperware, Herbalife, Avon and others work on these models and are huge hits.

A Travel Agency remains a great business idea and one with low investment too. The industry thrives without being affected much by the vagaries of economics and political scenarios. People across the world need to travel for various reasons. To help them with lodging, boarding and travel, one can start a travel agency, and run it from home.
And, if you have a camera — better still a DSLR, you could initiate a professional photography calling. Professional photographers are in big demand. For this, you just need a high-definition camera, invest time in learning professional photography and, then, marketing your business. With social media providing the perfect platform for photographers to showcase their work and seek clientele, what better and easier start-up then provide a professional photography service.

For the common man, the best start-up remains the ‘Tea-Coffee Shop’ , which almost tops the list of low-cost business ideas. For this one, all you need is to rent a small place or stall to sell tea-coffee. Apart from the basic stove, you will need raw material for tea and coffee. Proximity to a college or a place of business can get you guaranteed business and swift success.

And, close on the heels of a tea-coffee shop is the Fast Food Joint that is almost always spilling over with customers. Today, a lot of people love snacking on fast food, whether it’s vada pav, idlis, bhajias sandwiches or momos. This start-up if managed well is almost always a success. In order to start a fast food outlet, one needs to have a place of their own or rent a place. The rentals in metros, especially in a city like Mumbai are high. Then, you need to procure permissions from the local authority to start your business. You also need to budget your raw materials and groceries before drawing up a menu for customers. It’s always a case of trial and error before you hit success in this as in most start-up business.

Among easier start-up business is ‘Candle Making’ that’s a home-based low investment business. Candles are used by everyone for religious purposes as well as decorative items. And, it’s extremely easy to make candles at home. All you need is paraffin wax and colours. And, nothing like it, if you have some fragrances to boot.

With the surge in migration of students and work personnel across India, particularly in urban zones, and good ‘home-made food’ being the ultimate casualty, Tiffin Services have grown to become a promising business model. Most working professionals and students have little time and lesser inclination to cook food at home. They prefer home-made food, and if you have expertise to make good food and at low cost, you can start a tiffin service. All you need to do besides cook the food is to invest in a person to deliver the tiffins.

The earliest start-up that may come to one’s mind in India remains the ‘insurance agency’, which is the best low-cost, low-risk part-time business solution. All insurance agents need is to possess adequate information about their product, communication skills and convincing prowess which can earn a fortune depending on the number of policies sold, amounts insured and types of policy.

In the last decade, hand-made gifts as a start-up initiative has gained popularity. With a tradition to gift something to someone on some occasion or the other, and the preference for handmade or customised gifts, this start-up has thrived like no other. For those creative and capable of making gift items at home, you have a start-up from home itself which, once established, can be converted into an online store.

Start-up India Learning Programme is a free online entrepreneurship programme initiated by start-up India. The aim here is to help entrepreneurs get their ideas and ventures to the next level through structured learning. The programme covers lessons on key areas of starting up by 40plus top founders of India, in an extensive four-week programme.

It may be mentioned here that start-up-friendly promises were a major part of the ruling government`s manifesto, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been called the start-up Prime Minister of India. In just five years, India has witnessed the emergence of over 40,000 start-ups, which have created more than $130 Bn of value from January 2014 to September 2018.

The start-up India scheme has penetrated Tier 2 and 3 markets as well. With a number of initiatives from the central and state governments, start-ups and early-stage businesses have been given every encouragement and incentive to grow and innovate.


Manu Shrivastava

Manu Shrivastava is a Media Legal Researcher with DraftCraft International, and co-convener of ‘The Woman Survivor’ initiative that documents abuse of women and children within families.

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