Do you need a Business Plan?

As we prepare WYO.in for the next stage, I am now required (I assume ūüôā ) to at least have an business plan. I am personally not a very business plan person. I am sure it has it’s advantage. It’s just that I am not into it.

We never made a business plan for WYO.in . We also did not do extensive market research. The business model was clear: We produce quality goods at an production cost that is less than selling cost leaving us descent or acceptable spread. The differentiating point was clear we offer people designs/prints that make them look SOCIAL SMART with excellent T shirt quality at an very affordable price. We build an online experience that is young, quirky and something that an regular Indian youth could relate too. We build trust by providing customers good service and be completely honest and transparent as possible. We try and put together a good team that would persistently work towards achieving the above.

Like any student who has done his post graduation in US, I worked on many business plans, project presentations.. yada yada yada. I realized that I would try and rationalize an idea so much that I would not be able to execute it. As a result I would spend a lot of time on researching so many ideas, spending lot of time exploring each on of them and in the end dropping it for some better idea. ūüôā

So when we hit upon the WYO Idea, I felt that it had the basic elements required to start a business like: Good Idea, Business model, Value proposition. So I decided to jump into it without spending lot of time on research and chose to rather learn and improvise by executing instead of creating a business plan. I just followed my intuition.

I know importance of DATA but I thought that rather than breaking my head on assuming some random numbers to populate my business model excel sheet, I did really build a light weight website and a product to my best ability and try and sell it. Do this for six months and then use all the possible real data that I would then have  and along with what I have learned to make an calculated call.

We know what kind of designs we wanted but we were neither experts in designing nor had expertise in manufacturing. ¬†But we ¬†just took to it. ¬†We just convinced our family to give some basic capital to execute it like a pilot project.¬†Is that a great idea assuming all the risks? I don’t know.

Fast forward 10 months, WYO.in is seeing descent traction, has numerous press mentions, customers are loving it, there are also complains , financial numbers make sense and huge scope for improvement.

WYO.in is¬†purely driven by the fact that somewhere deep down we want to believe that we can make an awesome product and provide people with an amazing online experience. We are learning every day and trying to execute things to our best potential. ¬†In theory we might not know what is exactly the “right way” of doing things but we just focus on doing things to best of our ability and do it honestly without cheating our customers or vendors.

So coming back to my original question, can an business plan account for the passion and the drive a founder has to create, innovate and build a product that would touch the lives of his end consumers ? Can it account for  the willingness of an founder to learn, re-learn, un-learn and work with relentless focus to achieve his dreams?

We @ WYO.in know that we have chosen to build a brand that is “SOCIAL” in real terms. A brand that would help consumer to communicate what she/he – really is, thinks or believes. ¬†By “SOCIAL” we mean connecting every Indian to his culture, roots, society and his country – ¬†the good, the bad, the ugly and¬†definitely the FUNNY side ūüôā and by “SOCIAL” we ¬†also mean inspiring the youth of this country to make an difference.

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Speeches

I have always had this thing for speeches. I have always imagined myself delivering inspiring speech to an eclectic and intelligent audience. Wherein in the end off-course the audience is awestruck by what I had said :).

Well till the time this happens, I did like to share some of the best graduating speeches put together by mukund mohan (well if you are a entrepreneur and not subscribed to his posts, I did suggest you to do this soon) here.

Dealing with competition – a mindset

Now that WYO has survived 6 months and surprisingly seen a good response considering our not so excellent efforts, I have started thinking about competition in the market place. Innovative tee sites are coming up with great designs, good fabric and good team. Teams that seem more organized, focused and planned better. This suddenly put me in reverse gear as I started to think on how to deal with competition better, stay on top, how do I start building a better team, better plan my marketing efforts, focus on how to execute things better etc etc.. I suddenly started being more stressed out and sometimes discouraged when you start seeing competition doing better than you.  You start thinking on their lines and suddenly you are no more innovative :!

I think competition is always going to be there, new companies are always going to come up, do things better and we should keep a close eye but at the same time one should not loose his USP, Vision and importantly focus on Innovation. Competition is good, it makes you work harder but focusing too much on them might take away the fun, innovation and vision you initially founded your company with.

Be Yourself.

I know there is a lot of gyan on this from everyone you want or dont want to hear from. But I keep wondering why is it so difficult to be yourself? I think pretending is just the way of life here in our social system. It is kind of wired in us from childhood. It is like unless you dont pretend to be “Something” you are either looked down upon or your work will simply not get done. Unfortunately “pretending” just grows on you and at somepoint it just becomes part of your personality. You pay for it sometimes because you promise things that you cannot fulfill or forced to fulfill because you out of your habit just blabbered it out! I think it can be a difficult habit to get out off.

Would it not be just more simpler to be yourself? People will know the “real” you and most probably you will be in the right network of people that works for you and them.

Do you have a child in you?

I always wanted to start something of my own, I tried too, couple of times, before I took the big leap with WYO. What prevented me all these years to start? goes something like this:

  1. Business IDEA: I really did not know what I wanted to do. Always kept looking for ideas and when I got one, I spent some time on it and then moved onto other. Sometimes was just fickle minded, sometimes they were not that good and sometimes I was not confident about them. In nutshell, I just kept on going in loops trying to find the RIGHT idea.
  2. TEAM: Most important factor for any business. Finding the right people to start with.
  3. FINANCIAL RISK: Now leaving your job and starting something from ground zero brings in some self doubts, insecurity, social pressure etc etc
  4. Experience/Expertise:  Do I really know what it takes to execute an idea?  Do I have enough education and experience? The honest truth for me was that this was just a layer under which I was hiding, somewhere I was not confident enough or may be did not have lot of self belief.
I can go on with the lists but that is not the point of me writing this post. What I want to get to is as you keep growing older you keep adding layers of complications to anything and everything you want to do. At least that’s what I did and do sometimes. We start rationalizing everything, trying to see a point or meaning to do something, trying to make sure you are not taking lot of risks, you become lot more fearful.
I think sometimes to do something you really want to, needs you to be like a CHILD. For simplicity sake look at a child who wants chocolate. ¬†He ¬†knows he wants chocolate because he really likes it. His immediate action is to ask for chocolate, if you don’t give it – he will crib,cry, even do his homework, cancel his play, behave nicely, do whatever to ensure that you hand him the chocolate. He has a unbelievable desire to fulfill his want and is literary unstoppable and fearless. He does not think – will I look stupid? Is this a good idea? what will happen if I don’t get it? ¬†Is chocolate really good for me? The only thing on his mind is ¬†– He likes chocolate and he wants it.
One can argue that a child does not have the knowledge of repercussions. Off course there are repercussions in life for everything but you do have the knowledge  to make a choice about what can you live with and what you cannot.

like really

Well I just felt like writing but did not know what to..likewise I did not know what the title of this post would be and the above two words just kept ringing on my mind so….you know what!

So since I am writing let me try and make this meaningful. ¬†For the past few days the dotcom’s in India have gone heavy on advertising on the TV. Like Snapdeal, myntra, flipkart,olx,quikr…and so forth .Man with the amount of visual bombardment these .com’s are doing am wondering the amount of mulaah these guys are spending.¬†Off course¬†they all are very well funded and some of them are also getting a lot of transactions. ¬†To me it seems that the dotcom business has just started in India and I don’t know why but I am getting this feeling that India right now is like US 10 years back. There is just so much to come to Indian consumer’s online. Off course Indian consumer is still weary about buying anything online but it is certainly easy with books, deals, coupons but the scene is changing fast. Players like flipkart started with books and now earned the goodwill and have moved on to electronics, movies, music, games etc… Myntra is also doing great in retailing brands. People have always known brands and ¬†already know what they are buying and what they are gonna get. So ¬† But what does all this leave WYO¬†at? We just want WYO to be a place where you get awesome tee’s at affordable price. Designs we think you don’t really get elsewhere. WYO started of with something that was not necessarily solving a big problem but something that just makes you sound or look so cool when you wear it. There are lot of things that we are going to do to differentiate ourselves. Other than our rocking designs, we recently launched WYO Bajao¬†where we want people to vent out their opinion on things in our system that disgust us. We would also be working on comic video series. But most importantly today we are working on refining our product. We already thing it is real good for the price but we will not stop till we think it is ten times better than our competitors.

Well for now I will sign off, it’s late and I gotta sleep :!

I am Anna Hazare

Last 11 days, Government has seen the power of Indian people under the leadership of Shri Anna Hazare. Massive movement, people rallying in large numbers, leaving their day jobs and protesting against corruption. This movement just amplify’s people’s frustration against corrupt politicians who have massed plethora of public wealth and built themselves pleasure houses. What does the common man really get from this government – poor roads,¬†exorbitant¬†prices on food, fuel, land and everything that common man requires to fulfill his basic needs. I mean do these politicians even have a number that they can be content with?

Government has requested ¬†Anna to end his fast and let the Lokpal bill follow democratic process. They thank him to bring this issue at the forefront and making it priority. But did the government really need such a massive movement to make them realize that how unfair they have been to the common man?? Now they talk about democracy, peaceful process, multi-layered bill to tackle corruption across all levels and how Jan Lokpal drafted by Anna’s team alone would not be sufficient. I mean if you knew all these were you sleeping for freaking 42 years!! ¬†It’s not that I like BJP a lot but I think India has officially been Congress’s FAMILY BUSINESS for the past 5 decades. I do not want to keep on lamenting but am glad that people have broken their silence and supported this issue. It is like people were just waiting for this moment and Anna was someone whom they could trust. ¬†I am proud to say that I am Anna and support this movement. WYO offered TEES at manufacturing cost to a local rally. We are glad people liked the Design.

Below is a design that WYO launched on Anna’s event based on popular game series – Angry Birds! ūüôā