In today’s interview we had Ramesh who is the Co-founder of Huppme.com. Let me tell you a little bit about Huppme. Huppme is a group of young and dynamic people working towards adding happiness in everyone’s life through the art of gifting and celebration. Huppme is not the biggest gifting company but the most sincere gifting team.
Ajeet: Tell me about yourself, like from where you started your entrepreneurship journey?
Ramesh Maurya :
My parents belong to UP. My father came to Delhi in the 80s. He was from a very poor family and he had to struggle a lot in his life. I can say that I have got entrepreneurship by blood as my father started working from his initial days.
After coming to Delhi, my father worked here and afforded our education and other needs. I have always been a science addict and I wanted to be a scientist. I used to do innovations and I used to represent my school at state level. But in the back of my mind, there was always a fact about entrepreneurship and money so automatically, I got the way for the same.
I started making money from my initial days when i was 6th standard. It was about book binding. I binded my books and I did it so well that I offered my classmates to get their books binding done in one rupee per book. (it was a profit not a price)
Almost 60% of my classmates got benefited. So, I had started earning money from my 6th standard. After that, I did other small things to make money.
I started a home tutor business during my college time. I worked for an agency along with my friends. I did clothes trading on Flipkart, Paytm and Amazon. So all these small things went on and there has always been a goal on my mind that I have to be a great innovator.
I always wanted to innovate things but sometimes destiny takes you to the other level. I had so many ideas but all of a sudden one day, I got a call from Abhinav and he told me about an idea to work on. I could not connect with it at that time because of my examinations. After 2-3months I connected with Abhinav.
Meanwhile Abhinav had already started with his friends but things were not going as we had expected so we worked along with 7 to 8 people. It was actually good but it was not up to expectations hence we both separated ourselves from those people and started again from zero.
Then, there was no looking back and we kept on going. And now, I don’t think that I would find opportunity for innovations again because it requires time which I do not have. But anyways, I have got my way now. There is stability in our business and it is going good now. We are doing so many projects right now.
So, I have my background like this. I was not a topper material but always scored decent as student . I have always been an above average student. I was popular among the students and teachers as I used to participate in the competitions. I had an image of an innocent and good boy. So, all these things I am having in case one wants to know about me.
Ajeet: How did you validate your idea like from where you got the idea of Huppme.com?
Originally, the idea of Huppme.com was not mine, this idea was given by Abhinav when he had some gifting issues. So the idea was initiated by Abhinav but as we know that giving birth is not the complete stage.
There comes so many responsibilities after giving birth to a child and that we have done together. When we left our partners with whom we had worked and then we started from zero again, then we had three things – first Huppme.com as a website, then the idea that we have to go to the gifting industry and third was courage.
We had no money when we started from zero. After when we started again, we clearly knew what we were supposed to do. The major thing which we had identified was the opinion of the people. People who buy gifts online have some fear of having defected pieces although big companies like Flipkart or Amazon have refund policies. The point is that what will be the importance of return or refund when the special occasion has already gone without a precious gift?
That special moment will be totally ruined. So we focused on the same point and we went for quality control and we actually made this our USP. We assured that if something is being sent to any person then it must not be a defected piece at all. It must be fresh and it must be delivered within the time period.
In case if we feel that we would not be able to deliver the things at any pin code within the given time period, we simply apologise.
We do not make false promises like many e-commerce industries/websites do. If you search for the feedback about huppme, you would rarely find any complaint because we maintain our quality.
Actually Abhinav got the idea from an event. He had to give something to his friend which could be good as well as budget friendly. Plus, he had to send the gift to his friend in the other city. So likewise we analyse and found that problems exist in the market and people are facing this. After that we identified that the problems are existing but at the same time we also observed that there is a good scope in them in terms of solutions.
We analysed that there is no specific or a special company who is working on the same concept. Everyone was just going with the flow. So we identified the factors and worked on the same. Right now we are serving at the initial point, it is not so huge but this market actually requires a lot of funds. So we will continuously work on the same and make our name to the world.
Ajeet: Alright, so how do you mainly generate revenue for your business and what is the Huppme Business Model?
Ramesh Maurya :
We basically generate our revenue via two modes – firstly, we sell gifts online, secondly institutions and corporate industries require gifts for their colleagues and employees so they order gifts in bulk.
Another like decorating places in Christmas and sending a Santa! So all we have like this but the basic of revenue generation is sending gifts online.
Ajeet: How did you retain your customers for your business?
Retain! There are two things to retain and acquire. To acquire the customers, we used multiple sources. To begin acquiring the local response, we visited India Mart and other stores.
Also visited Google. Gradually, we started using digital marketing.
For retaining the customers, our biggest plus point was that people were happy with the quality of our products. People appreciated our customer service like how we resolve the problem. All these things, our customers take in consideration and refer other people to buy the products from us.
Our retention cost is very low because customers automatically retain themselves for us. We have made our quality stronger
Ajeet: How did you build your initial team and what is the process of hiring a team right now?
initially, there were only two people in the team, me and Abhinav. We were looking for such candidates who can help us in making the products and managing the office. I knew some of the people who needed a job and they were trustworthy as well.
So firstly, we hired them because we were also in the startup phase so we were not able to pay much. Hence we hired these hardworking and trustworthy people in our team. After this, some people approached us as we had done some events in the colleges. So, some people showed interest in joining with us but we had no vacancies at that time.
However we let them join with us as an intern. We never looked if they were able to do work or not instead, we often saw if they are honest and hardworking.
We mainly saw if they were willing to learn something or not.
Also we used to see if they are willing to do something big in their lives etc. it is because when we start any company, we are not supposed to find teammates as our employees rather we have to assure that we are founding this company, so we need a founding team which is actually very much strong.
A strong person always has firm determination and big ambitions. If a person has nothing but he has courage and he wants to do something big in his life, that may be a suitable choice for our founding team. So, likewise, we had built a team of 4-5 people. Most of those people are still with us. Some of the people had to be apart from us due to their personal reasons but they are doing good in their lives anyways.
Currently, we do visit job portals and HR companies to find out people but even today, we are having the same criteria that we firstly see how that person actually is. After this, we see his skill sets. Definitely, if we have to get the work done, it is mandatory to see its skill sets.
For example, if we require a graphic designer but the person does not know about graphic design then it will not benefit us doesn’t matter how good the person is. Still, our first priority is a good person because if he or she does not know about the work properly then we can train him or her accordingly in sometime but we cannot make a good person in the company.
There is a possibility of skill development in the company but there is no possibility of making a good person there. Hence it is a mandatory part to look into. So this is all how we build our team.
Ajeet: Alright, great! So what is the biggest challenge you have faced while running your business and how did you overcome with that?
The biggest challenge which I have faced while running my business is lack of knowledge and marketing. We did not do marketing because we have no knowledge about it. So, the biggest problem which we had to face was this. See, I would not categorize lack of money as a challenge.
Most people believe lack of money is the biggest challenge but in business, it is a common phenomenon. Where there is business there will be this problem so this is by default. For example, if you are riding a bike and the bike is losing the fuel then this is not the problem, this is the basic need. Likewise in business, lack of money is not the problem but it is a basic need. While running a business, there will be a shortage of money and it is totally up to you how you are going to manage it.
Main thing is that you have to earn money and if you are earning money, this problem will automatically be rooted out. So, we did not suppose lack of money as a problem but we did not do marketing and this is the actual problem we believe.
One more thing is there, and this thing is actually done by most of the people so as we did the same. one should not try to do so many things together at the same time. It must be done one by one and grow gradually.
Things get delayed when they are tried to be done at the same time, our monthly fixed pay gets affected and ultimately we have to suffer from financial problems. So, we must try to focus on one thing at a time to make that successful and then step to the next thing.
I believe the biggest problem or challenge in any business is marketing and one should focus on sales and marketing. If the person does not know about it, he or she should learn about the same.
Although he or she can outsource this thing yet it can only happen succesfully when the person is having the knowledge otherwise today, people make fools of the other person easily.
Ajeet: What are your future plans for Huppme?
I have big plans for Huppme. We have to make Huppme as the biggest gifting company in India and then for the world. Frankly, I do not know how much time it will take for this. My next 10 years vision for Huppme is that I have to make it as the biggest gifting company.
It is like a person from a very small place who wants to buy gifts then it must go for Huppme, likewise a person from a big background must also check out to Huppme if he or she is willing to buy gifts online.
How it is all going to happen I do not know but I have my visions for Huppme like this. There will be so many things coming on our way, some unique things also will be there which are already in our files but we are not disclosing them in the market right now because we are waiting for the right time for them.
Ajeet- Cool, okay so what kind of tools you use to manage your company and work?
Frankly, there is no specific tool that I use but I simply go for Google spreadsheet. I use this tool most of the time and I manage all types of things via Google spreadsheet including team and business. There are a few things like accounting and all so for them we use proper software like QuickBooks etc. RestI do not use specific tools rather this simple one. The reason is that if we use a certain tool, we are restricted to work accordingly but if I talk about the spreadsheet, I am quite into it and hence I make it as my tool. We do our inventory management, partial part of communication, HR management, operations etc via the spreadsheet.
Ajeet: Would you like to recommend any book to the people who want to do a start up or enter entrepreneurship?
To be honest, I do not read books so often. Although I do read yet I don’t actually read books. I have read only a few books so I might not be the right person to recommend a book but among the books I have read, there is “Think and Grow Rich” which everyone should read.
I also believe in “The Secret” and I believe even if it is not the truth still it can give you confidence and when you have confidence, you can do anything. So, I do things accordingly. One more book is there which everyone says that it must be read and I also tried to read it but could not complete it. This is Bhagwat Gita. All these books are recommended, rest is on interest.
I mostly like to read articles, blogs, question-answers on Quora because I believe if we read any book, we actually read just one topic and the opinions of the particular author for the same. Although we learnt so much from them yet we do not learn the distinct things because it takes too long to read 100 to 150 pages of a book.
Also, books are intentionally extended because they are supposed to be a book and there are so many things which are not actually in real sense. I would rather suggest going for audiobooks or reading the summary instead of reading a thick book.
It is like to read only those things which are necessary and beneficial because there is so much knowledge in today’s scenario and we cannot gain them all.
Ajeet- What suggestions would you like to make to a person who wants to be in entrepreneurship after college ?
My first suggestion is, plan properly for your business before anything, even before investing a single coin.
From the moment you start making investments, you would not be having the time to fix or regret if you make any mistake without having proper strategy. So plan your business carefully. Include the expenses and ups-downs which are supposed to come while running the business in your plan. Learn marketing and focus on the resources which are already available to you. In case needed, do a job in some industry to learn about the same. For example, if someone wants to open the shop, it must work in such a shop having same category.
It will help you to learn the things easily. The reason is that, when we do start up, we do not hire employees to get our work done rather we ourselves have to manage the work. When we do things, we make mistakes and it takes us to the loss.
This loss may not let us regret or manage such things again and that is why some of the start-ups or companies automatically lose in the initial point itself. So, better to know about the things before entering and investing money on a particular start-ups.
Second thing, I always recommend people to arrange a fund for upcoming six month or one year. It is believed that after doing a start up, we just start making money so soon but this is not the reality. In the beginning of any startups, we do not earn but we invest and face many losses. Two things are there – either you invest and face losses before making money or you continuously do investments to establish a strong empire. This is for all industries.
You are always required to have both conditions in your plan so always set your backup otherwise in case you are not able to arrange money at that time, you might have to step back for your dream. Then, you will see yourself as a file failure so better to take some back up. Calculate the amount and take tiny steps.
If you think you are not having a source of money, then you can do a job as well, even a small shop like a tea stall may be an option to make money for your dream start up. Step-by-step, you can collect the required amount without any extra burden. There will be two benefits from it, first, you will be having your fund and second, you will get to know the on ground reality of making money. So whenever after this you go to start a business, you will do it with more maturity.
Ajeet: Three key learnings which you came to know after running your business, would you like to put them in light?
Yes, three key learnings are here – sales are the most important thing in business, without sales, business cannot be imagined Operations and perfection comes later but sales is at the first priority, number one.
Number two, start from small. Do not try to expand your business so much in the beginning rather doing it gradually and in a particular segment. Diversify or expand it only later. Number three, always watch your numbers. Take notes on your sales, money and everything. Don’t forget to collect data on a daily basis. This will help you in realizing the actual thing and then you will be able to make decisions. So focus on the numbers.
See, the thing is that whatever you feel is not the reality but in the end whatever the conclusion is coming from numbers is the actual reality. So that is all.
Ajeet- That is great to hear. I had a great time with you. Thank you!
Yeah, thanks a lot.
Who is the Founder of Huppme.com
Abhinav Prateek Aka Abby Viral is the founder of Huppme.com
What is Huppme Turnover / Net Worth
We don’t know the actual turnover of huppme.com but in one interview Abhinav Prateek said that his company’s net worth is more than 5 crore.
Personally, I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback for huppme.com but you can still check it here: Google My Business Review.