For his fellow mates, he may only be a 2nd year student of XLRI School of Business and Human, but for the rapidly globalising world, which is in constant need of people with caliber and innovative ideas, Saket Sanganeria is among the few who can make their dreams come true. He dreamt and gave wings to Dream4Others, an online market research website. And now, this undergraduate aspires to take his firm to a level where it becomes the largest player of its kind in the country. Wonder how? Well, that’s where Saket’s entrepreneurial skills lie. While other online firms attract customers with small cash prizes and gifts, Dream4Others will do it differently and for a social cause. Find out how in this exclusive interview with this budding entrepreneur
Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur and not pursue a regular job?
The best thing that could have ever happen to me was getting admission in a premier business school. The kind of industry exposure and expansion of mind it allowed me to have been immense. I got to know my potential. It also gave me a sense of security and the confidence that successful completion of the course will at least ensure that I’m not left completely jobless. These two ideas and the desire to do my own thing helped me become an entrepreneur.
Can you tell us what kind of challenges you faced during the initial years?
The idea for Dream4Others came from a dream. The idea was vague, just a belief that it will work. Being a student without sound financial backing and support for the undertaking, we nevertheless went ahead to gather the resources. Help and support, though not entirely wanting, came slow. The main challenge in floating a business based on something that has never been done before is that you need to devise the whole process yourself. The only tools we had were preparation and reasoning. Chalking out a map based on possibilities is very different from actually following one.
I appreciate the support of everyone we contacted — the users, our financers, industry guidance, professors from XLRI and everyone else including the media. They initially had their doubts about the project, but yet decided to go ahead with our dream initiative. That motivated us to put in extra effort.
What was the turning point in your career?
It was the faith and support we received from the XLRI alumni’s social entrepreneurship trust. They are our financiers, supporters and our real strength. Had it not been for their faith in us, we would not have been able to think big.
Did you, at any point, feel like giving up on your venture?
A majority of my friends and fellow students are focusing on securing a good gob but I haven’t really thought on those lines. Taking up a job looks attractive but does not excite me so much. If I try jotting down the pros and cons of being an entrepreneur and an employee, I will probably have countless things to write about each. But even if the scales weigh heavier in favour of doing a job, I would still opt for the former. Nothing’s more addictive than working for myself.
What drives you?
Challenge, ambition, freedom and well-being of my family. Dream4Others is just that.
Could you please elaborate on your business model?
Dream4Others stands for our firm belief in creating a social change in a self-sustainable manner. We plan to become the largest online market research player. Like any other online market research firm, we post questionnaires on our website for the visitors to fill up. But what makes our website unique is our motive: instead of attracting visitors through gifts or small cash prizes, we donate money (somewhere between Rs. 100 to Rs. 200) for each survey filled. The surveys are very short and it barely takes five minutes to answer them. The response we receive is then used to answer the marketing problems faced by corporate enterprises. The revenue generated from the sale of such reports is in turn donated for a social cause.
We differentiate ourselves from other market research agencies by providing a variety of customised and syndicated, cost effective solutions. The companies can also avail tax benefits accruing from these donations and promote these as CSR activities. We have a large pool of respondents from all over the nation registered on our site. They have been segregated into groups depending on their lifestyle, preferences, age, gender etc.
Dream4Others is also very cautious in deciding where the proceeds are donated. Only registered charitable organisations, having a good track record, are being considered as of now. However, in future, respondents of the surveys can decide to donate to an organisation of their choice. In addition, we also publicise the activities of these NGOs on our website in a bid to help them gain popularity.
Can you give some tips to budding entrepreneurs?
For any entrepreneur, the two most important things are faith in your ideas and the courage to go ahead with it. Everybody has ideas and even the ability to materialise them. But what set entrepreneurs apart from others are their business sense, faith and willingness to make their dreams come true. After all, you have to take a plunge to learn how to swim. Moreover, there is no substitute to hard work. Although, I also strongly believe that luck has a say in your fate, hard work can reduce its comparative effect on the overall outcome of your success.