24 year old Ruchi Chopra isn't exactly your ordinary NIFT Graduate. When her friends and classmates were opting for big brand names and established firms, Ruchi was busy establishing a firm of her own. "When you start a company, you don't start it thinking that you will simply help you make money. You begin with a vision and you want to transform your dreams into a living reality," says Ruchi.
When one looks at her Company ASAP, which is an acronym for Any Surprise Any Place, one recognizes the value of her statement. Any Surprise Any Place is for all those people who truly care about their loved ones but don't know what presents will make them really happy.
"The reason behind creating my own Company was to make it accessible to the target clientele,"she says.
"After all, if you haven't surprised your wife, parents, boss, girlfriends, sons, daughters or even your colleagues, all you will need to do is to pick up your phone and call us and we will do the rest for you."
Founded in April 2007, ASAP began to create an impact almost immediately after hitting the Entrepreneurship Scene. A six member team worked hard to establish a company that would look into the specific needs of each of its clients. For instance, if a client wants something sophisticated to be designed for him- anything from a holiday to a personalized limousine to a violin- ASAP is willing to go to great lengths to fulfill his dreams.
However, every dream has its challenges and ASAP is no exception. "Of course there were challenges, "says Ruchi. "When you start anything that is new, there are challenges which you must be prepared to overcome. When you start your own Company, ever penny must be saved and every decision contributes to your learning curve. As far as I am concerned, I am terrible at banking but I have learnt quite a bit about logistics and banking after having been on the job." The obstacles and the hurdles that came her way were not very easy either. "A big problem that we face as far as ASAP is concerned is sampling. This is because a lot of vendors make quality products but they do so en masse. However, since we cater to the individual needs of our clients, they find it very difficult to work with us because we have only one piece for one client."
Self belief was not an easy thing to sustain either. "There were moments when I would get frustrated and think of going back to a regular job, one that would pay me and also one that would mean a lot less responsibility. One summer when there were two bad business phases back to back I seriously considered quitting and going back to a regular job."
However, Ruchi decided not to give up on her Dream Project. "There comes a point of time when your mind is not off work. There are no weekends and no holidays because if you are a self-employed Entrepreneur, your business venture ceases to be merely a business venture and becomes one of the pivotal points in your life."
ASAP works with individual, taking great care to create something special for each person. "Each and every client is important for us and we lay great emphasis on that."
Ruchi believes that every organization must keep in mind that one should never give up, that one should work harder than one's competition, one should hire honest, trustworthy and competent people and one should start small but keep in mind the areas where the company can expand and gradually build on those areas. Also there is no point in reinventing the wheel- no matter what mistakes a young Entrepreneur makes when he/she starts out it is important for him/ her to remember that he/ she is definitely not the first one to come across a problem such as this. "Someone or the other has gone through what you are going through, so ask someone who knows and it will help you avoid costly mistakes in future," says Ruchi.
So here's wishing Ruchi Chopra and her team a lot of luck and here's hoping that Ruchi' venture becomes a true community venture.