Tell us about yourself?
I am a Hotel Management entrepreneur from Delhi, India. I have always been passionate about food, and like to think of myself as a taste enthusiast. Finding the right balance of taste, smell and flavor is an ardent hobby. My small business is an attempt to introduce farm-to-home spices all over the country and, hopefully, the world someday. We let people understand the value of pure spices and the magic they can do to food. My vision is to expand a small spice distribution firm to an outreach program teaching youngsters and future generations about some fundamental rules of cooking and making the whole process fun.
What do you think is the single biggest misconception people have when it comes to startups?
All talk and no action. With over 50,000 startups a year in India, every organization is driving huge capital towards digital marketing and brand awareness. When a customer has over 100,000 thousand options to choose from, they generally don’t have a choice. They just pick the closest one and move on. I plan to introduce a little tradition into brand familiarity. I try my best to hand deliver all products myself or by my close staff so we can talk to the customers first hand and take their experience and reviews. This will get more difficult with time but I intend to keep this up as long as possible.
If you could go back in time to any moment from your journey, and give yourself one tip, what would it be?
Preparation. My entire team made a lot of mistakes setting up the business initially. Although we learned from our mistakes, and have come up more vigorously and successfully, we lost a lot of time in the process. If I were to look back, I would have wanted to be as ready in the beginning as I am today.
What makes you stand out as an entrepreneur?
My penchant for quality and connection. As we grow, I try to take monthly meetings with my team and call out every single customer in our roster to thank them personally for using our services. A great deal of attention I pay to customer feedback and constantly keep upgrading our services is what I think, in my opinion, my greatest strength
What are some of the best working habits you’ve gained over the past couple of years?
My firm is barely a year old. But in this short period of time, I have become a little street smart. Business meetings, material purchases, bargaining deals, focus on logistics and finance have all made me a wiser and smarter man and I am forever grateful to my family and team for this.
Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?
My mother was the biggest influence behind this company. When I expressed an interest in starting this firm, she did not hesitate to give her blessings. She helped me set up the licenses and permissions and the home set-up to begin my functions. Also, a huge guiding factor was my brother. The logistics and business skills that he has gained in his professional career helped me a lot in keeping all the paperwork, logistics, accounting, and resource functions well managed. He has been my side all this time despite his busy work schedule, and continues encouraging and assisting me in carrying on with my vision
Where do you see your business in five years?
I obviously want my business to be a household name in the next 5 years. Not only do I need the people of India to use my brand, but to also get involved in my goal of spreading joy through food and experiencing the rich taste, smell, aroma that I always aim to bring out with Spices by Debis. I want to enlighten the taste buds of every individual on the planet!
What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you in getting there?
Market perception. Considering the vast number of firms in the same industry, it will be really difficult to shine through. Gaining the trust of customers who have been used to sub-par products due to lack of choice and guidance would also be one of the biggest challenges that I hope to overcome soon.
Talk to us about your biggest success story so far?
Considering our humble beginnings, we had hoped to capture our immediate locality and market in the first year and steadily grow across the world over the course of the next few years. However, thanks to our word-of-mouth and digital marketing efforts, we have made our presence felt as far as West Bengal and even the United States of America. We have gained a few customers who have lauded our products highly which led to getting recurring customers in far corners of the world. I believe this is a huge achievement for everyone involved in this vision of mine.
How do clients and customers find you? Are you much of a salesperson for yourself?
I have never had any formal sales training and had very limited work experience before I started this venture. My only talent was to be able to talk to people and build rapport. This helped greatly in building the connections I have today. I speak to all of my customers as if they were relatives/ friends and try to learn as much about them as possible. This connection hopefully strikes a chord with customers and they keep coming back.
What one tip would you give to fellow startup founders?
Gain people, not customers. Talk to your people actively and bring familiarity with yourself and your business. Be enthusiastic about criticism and use it to better yourself. Always remain friendly and humble with your end-users and always appreciate them for using your services.
And finally, what do you hope the future brings both you personally, and your business?
Personally, I envision being a successful entrepreneur and having an impact on the world. For my business, I hope to reach as many people as possible within this lifetime and share the value of purity and good taste. This world deserves a better class of food essentials and my business hopes to deliver the same.