How I started My First Business & Lost Entire Money

After completing engineering in the year 2010, I dreamt of getting admission in one of the world’s most renowned universities such as London School of Economics, Harvard University etc. in a post-graduate course in Business Management. I wanted to learn skills and knowledge necessary for surviving as an entrepreneur. I realized that work experience would be an essential ingredient in my CV and my application to be able to get admission in any of these universities. This becomes more important when my bachelor education was purely technical. This motivated me to earn experience at ground level and understand the core of business. I did unsuccessfully applied for a reputed internship program in business and marketing which made me more adamant to first try my hands on real business.

My parents were quite concerned about my career. They suggested me to either get an IT based job or apply for admission in any of Indian business institutions. They believed employment is the best option for secure life and earning a regular income.

My father is the owner of a small enterprise. He with his long experience advised me that business is not a cakewalk. It requires patience and complete dedication. But, it was difficult for me to accept his proposal because I had already made my mind. On the other hand, the college I studied in and thousands of colleges like that were offering very poor quality of education and I did not want to fall into such a pit again. I wanted to go for a better college and preferably in a developed country.

Just like me, my brother also wanted to start his own business venture but he was already settled in a job and it would be a tough decision for him to leave his permanent job and go for a business venture in the beginning of his married life. I suggested my brother for start his own venture and hire me as Managing Director to help him smoothly run all the functions (including that of bringing in business) while he is switching from his settled life to that one of an entrepreneur. He agreed and thus Raiden Design Xpress was born.

Luck was with me and just within 3 days, I got the first client for Raiden Design Xpress. I used social network and my professional contacts which helped me get three projects for Raiden in just thirty days. My brother had an idea of starting a parallel business for selling life style products such as -shirts, mugs and designer handy craft through physical outlets and website. We both gave it a try by starting Raiden Life Style in November 2010 and decided to start with T-shirts with attractive youth oriented social messages. I designed many such T-shirts and also studied about cloth material, sizes and colours. When we were quite confident, we launched our product in market.

I believe the idea of selling T-shirts with social message presented in a comical way was definitely out of the box. My vision was spread awareness on social issues through our products. I studied a lot on the cloth material of our T-shirts before ordering them for manufacturing. At that time, we were providing really good quality of cloth material as compared to the other brands in the market. We were pretty confident that the product will not fail in the market. We were really happy to get good response in Kota city when young customers were purchasing like five T-shirts at a time. After seeing the response, we decided to expand our business and launch it on website ASAP. But, unfortunately we had to close it down in its infancy due to lack of funds for continuing the business and further expansion.

I borrowed Three Lakhs Thirty Thousand Rupees from my father for Raiden Design Xpress. We spent Thirty Thousand Rupees on the registration and opening bank account. With just three lakh rupees in hand, it was a big challenge for us to start a Life Style brand.

When I remember that time again, I feel some decisions could have been avoided:

  1. In the beginning itself, I choose wrong way of selling t-shirts. I preferred Kiosk Mode which was quite expensive than a website based online e-commerce platform.
  2. The location for launching the product in Kota as well as the city itself was not suitable for starting the product line.
  3. I spent heavy budget on Radio Marketing. Now I understand that I could have adopted more effective and less costly marketing strategy for selling the product.
  4. In the beginning itself, I started selling the product at two locations in Kota for launching the product. It would have been better to launch it at one place in first phase. It could have saved money spent on Kiosk Manufacturing and heavy logistic costing.
  5. We entered in the business without alternative funding options. So, when we ran out of money we had no alternatives left to raise money in a short time.

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