How I Started a Parking Startup in India

Today’s interview is with Nimesh Damani, founder of Let’s Park. So let me tell you a little bit about Let’s Park. Let’sPark mission is simple: To perfect the parking experience. So let’s Start Now.

How I Started a Parking Startup in India

Who are You and What Kind of Business You Started (Your Backstory Also)

Hello everyone, my name is Nimesh Damani. I am the co-founder of Letspark:Smart Parking Solution. Let me tell you my story of how everything started.

Earlier I was totally unaware of the term – Entrepreneur

I was born and brought up in Kolkata. After completing primary education I moved to Bangalore to pursue Engineering.

It was only here that I first encountered the word – Entrepreneurship through my college’s ‘Entrepreneurship Development Cell’.

So, my mind clicked at once for the very first time that it could be a good career opportunity for me in future. So, I joined the club and became an active member of the club to dig deep about entrepreneurship.

This club has helped me a lot for building my initial understanding of entrepreneurship. I used to attend all the seminars and guest lectures of renowned entrepreneurs who used to come to our college.

After that, luckily I got an opportunity to do an internship in my 8th semester of my engineering. Fortunately, the company in which I was doing my internship was a newly established startup itself.

So, from there I got to know and learn more about entrepreneurship. After completing my internship I was offered a permanent job there although I quit that job on the very first day of my joining.

After completing my college, I went to meet one of my idol entrepreneurs to seek his advice on how I could start my own business.

He being very straight forward replied to me that entrepreneurship is not like getting ‘bread and butter’ on your table, you have to be well prepared and must learn all the marketing skills before jumping into this arena.

I took his advice positively and convinced him to hire me in his firm so that I could learn all the qualities of a successful entrepreneur.

So, for the next one and a half years I worked under his guidance in various departments like sales, analytics, marketing, etc.

Very soon, I was in his good books for my dedication towards the company and he raised my payscale and at one instance also offered a partnership with his firm. But, deep inside I knew that I had to start something of my own.

Till now, I had made my mind that I will do something in mobile application development. So, I quit that job and returned to Kolkata. In Kolkata, I had to deal with some of my personal commitments after which I again shifted to Bangalore to take my first step for my startup business.

I then again approached my boss cum mentor to hire me for a part time job. This was needed to meet my day to day expenses.

Then after few months I shared my plans with him and this time he showed some interest in my plan and offered me to build some applications for his company.

As I started this very soon I was getting an adequate number of clients including The Reliance group. So, this startup ran smoothly for the next two and a half years.

But as we know things will never remain the same forever. At one point of time, my partner moved out of this business and decided to settle down with a job in a renowned company.

But, I was very clear that doing a desk job is not my cup of tea.Luckily, I met one of my close friends from my college who has just returned from London after completing his masters degree and was looking forward to starting his own business.

Hence, we decided to collaborate and start our business.

We were looking for something which will be in demand in the coming 5 to 6 years and that’s how we launched our company “Let’s Park” in November, 2017.

How You Validate Your Idea

According to me the most important thing that matters the most in validating one’s idea is how well someone has designed his business model according to the needs of the customer.

Initially, it was little troublesome for us as there was more investment in the product which we provide as compared to the profit which we earned. We had to contact various owners who will provide us the parking space and we also had to pay the rent of parking to them. So, the profit margin was very low.

Since, I had a very good team as well as a wonderful mentor which is a key to success of any startup. So, he advised me that I should take up an entire parking like those of shopping malls, hospital, etc instead of small and scattered parking whose revenue is very small.

Although, I was not very much convinced and was not sure whether this will work or not but deep inside I knew that his idea is more practical and profitable.

For a second opinion I went to my mother who always used to guide me on the right path, and she also advised me to go on with my parking business model.

When we want to bring another product to the market we generally search and analyze current market trends, meet new clients, explain to them about our model, survey among customers using google forms, and understand customer needs.

All these things have to be checked before validating any business model. In general, we look upon the statistics of one thousand customers in a B to C business model and for B to C we use to go through the statistics of one hundred customers.

What is Your Business Model/ How do you Generate Revenue for Your Business

Basically, we provide A to Z parking solutions to the owners of malls, hospitals, corporate offices, etc.

Since, there are a lot of systems which are to be installed in a well furnished parking lot like CCTV cameras, lighting, fire and safety, security, automatic gates, etc. We generally build our own software that is to be installed but for hardware items we place orders to other agencies.

Hence, we provide a one stop solution to all parking facilities. This helps the client get rid of the hectic need to deal with multiple agencies. We here in ‘Let’s Park’ assure the total facility from installation to management under one roof.

This way, we receive contracts for parking solutions and that’s how our startup works.

How You Build Up Your Team

We all know that a building stands by the support and strength provided by its pillars.

Similarly, a startup is established with the help of combined efforts of its founder, cofounder and its whole team.

In my previous company I had a close friend as my cofounder. But, with the passage of time I realized that he was not that concerned and motivated towards the growth of our startup.

From the very beginning, I used to believe that a cofounder should share equal risk in establishing a startup and he/she must be determined that they have to put all efforts in this direction only.

All these qualities were found in my best friend ‘ Nirav’ who is the current cofounder of our startup.

Initial teammates were mainly comprised of my earlier colleagues from my previous workplace who shared a good professional bond with me and on whom I could trust blindly.

Thus, it took a good volume of time and effort as well in building a core team for my company. It is like finding a needle in a stack of fodder.

What is the Biggest Problem You Faced Till Now in Your Business Journey and How You Overcome it

The biggest problem which I consider worth sharing with you is the building of a core team for smooth functioning of any startup.

To overcome this, I work really hard in choosing the right person with the right capabilities for any position in the company.

I was very selective while choosing a candidate for our startup. I used to go through a minimum of a hundred resumes critically to find the appropriate person.

We also conduct multiple dedicated interviews for our hiring process to check all the necessary requirements for our company and find the most suitable guy for that.

I firmly believe that if you have a good and supporting team with you dealing with any problem will never be so difficult.

What are Your Future Plans for Let’s Park

Since, we have just stepped into the market but we are willing to bring revolution to our startup.

Our aim is to establish it as a brand not only in India but in foreign nations also. We are focused on our vision and will work, leaving no stone upturned, to achieve our goal.

What Kind of Tools are You Using for Business Growth

  1. We generally prefer to divide our work into small fragments or targets for our employees.
    2. Also, we use various team management, statistics, evaluation, employees performance with the help of “Zoho” software.
    3. We use video conferencing to conduct our meetings and presentations. This helps our employees to do their job from their own comfort.

This makes them realize that work is their responsibility and not just following your superior orders.

Which Books for Young Entrepreneurs Do You Want to Recommend?

I firmly believe that an emerging entrepreneur must have the skills of a salesman . This helps in convincing your clients about your products.

One such book i would like to suggest is – The Psychology of Selling. This book helps you to learn the fundamentals of selling and convincing your clients.

Other books that will encourage young entrepreneurs include biographies of renowned entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs.

Another very inspiring book I would like to suggest is – Alchemist. This book inspires you to think big and never settle for anything less than what you deserve.

What Advice do You Want to Give Budding Entrepreneurs

Use your common sense. Keep your eyes and ears open. Look around for yourself and find opportunities in the market and develop such products which give solutions to existing problems.
Learn from your experiences. It is not always mandatory that your first idea will turn out to be successful but you have to believe in yourself and find new solutions keeping customer demands in mind.

The most important thing is that you should not only be focused on earning money from the very beginning. Instead, you should try to learn how things work in a startup and how to manage it.

What Kind of Changes Do You Find in Yourself

This decision of mine has amplified me from that of my previous version of myself. Earlier, I used to be introvert but while working for my startup I had learnt several skills and the ways to communicate well before anyone.

So, I can proudly say that I am not an introvert anymore.

The second most important thing is that you have to come out of your comfort zone and do certain things that will help you to build your personality.

I hope you get to learn a lot of things from this interview. Please share it with your friends over social media and tell me in the comment section what you learned from this interview.

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