Aditya Chauhan, Owner, Cornucopia Weekend PlanersTeam YS
Cornucopia Weekend Planners (CWP), an initiative to help people maintain great work-life balance, was conceived and actualised by Aditya Chauhan, an MBA grad from Symbiosis Institute of Telecom Management, Pune, who empathised with the working professionals, and decided to help them add more fun to their lives. Chauhan’s grit and his coming together with like-minded people culminated in the formation of CWP in October 2008.
Being a part of the corporate world, Chauhan his team realised that people slog at work all throughout the week and look forward to a rewarding weekend. But, by the time the weekend arrives, they are either jaded or simply get too lazy to plan something exciting.
Most of them end up visiting a nearby mall, multiplex, restaurant, or a pub without really exploring other viable options. This triggered Chauhan and his team to come up with an initiative that would help people plan their weekends in a better way.
CWP endeavours to ensure that its clients have enough options every weekend to explore and rejuvenate themselves. The first step towards achieving this goal is to ask new members to fill the membership form and provide their preferences out of a universal set of twelve activities (Turn-ons as the company calls it) which they would like to do on a weekend. The list includes nightlife – discotheques/ pubs, restaurants, movies, theatre, art/exhibitions/concerts, yoga/meditation, adventure sports, hobby classes, spa/ salons/health and fitness, events, social work, outings/ resorts.
After understanding member’s interests, CWP then sends a customised weekly e-mail to them every Wednesday, updating them about various options they have for the coming weekend. This helps our members to plan their weekends ahead of time and hence try newer options every week.
The company intends to build a community of people with common interests, initially in a few big cities in India and then in abroad as well.
“Within six months of launch, CWP managed to acquire a huge database of over 3,000 members in Mumbai alone, and the number is increasing continuously at a fast pace. We plan to launch in Delhi and Pune by mid-May,” said Chauhan.
CWP’s vision is to form a global CWP community where member folks have loads of fun and maintain a great work-life balance. Its aim is to treat each and every CWP client like a superstar.
“The biggest differentiator of our business is that we are fulfilling people’s expectations to spend a refreshing weekend every week,” Chauhan informed.
CWP works on a simple business model of providing high value services to its members. Since its inception, the company has kept its services free in order to generate interest among Mumbaikars.
From May onwards, the free service facility will be removed and new members will have to pay a small annual amount of Rs350 to avail the services.
While talking about the company future plans Chahuhan said, “For us sky is the limit! Starting with Mumbai, we plan to expand within India to other cities like Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Hyderabad and Chennai. After this we will look forward to international expansion too. CWP also has plans to partner with travel, tourism and hospitality sectors for providing services to the tourists visiting these cities. It also plans to conduct one national and one international level meet/event in order to have all the CWP community members together for a stronger global connection.”
And why did he choose to become an entrepreneur? “I realised that if I have a dream and want to get away from the rat race, I will have to leapfrog. This can only happen when everything is under one’s control.”
Well CWP was not Chauhan’s first entrepreneurial venture. The first was what he now calls a mistake. “I was an amateur entrepreneur and attempted to start a firm with a few friends. It’s not easy to get professional with friends, and I realised that it could ruin my relation with them. It was a big mistake.”
It’s the everyday challenges and the confidence of overcoming them smartly that helps Chauhan stay buckled on to his venture. Customers’ overwhelming response is the second reason.
Tips for budding entrepreneurs, “If you have the passion, patience, pragmatism and precision to work towards your goal, success is all yours.”
Update on Aditya's Entrepreneurial Journey
CWP since the story first appeared here, has initiated a number of creative and first of its kind events in and around Mumbai. CWP came up with Community Events like Marshal Arts on Beach, Trek to Pethgarh, Discover Scuba Diving, Communication Skills Workshop, Be MEAN this Weekend, Musical Trek, EROCKTICA - Tribute to IRON MAIDEN and many more..!!
The response from Members as well as rest of the Mumbaikars has been overwhelming and that kept the team spirits high inspite of many operational difficulties faced. News daily, DNA, approached Chauhan to feature CWP in the paper on its own, looking at the highly innovative ideas the team was coming up with every alternate weekend. And, CWP was featured in DNA on 4th July edition. That was followed by Radio Mirchi approaching Chauhan for an interview and hence for the first time CWP Founder and CEO went 'on air' on 5th July between 4:00 to 4:30 PM..!!
Many Angel Investors and Seed Fund organizations have shown interest in investing in the business, but Chauhan is still looking for an investor who would like to invest in CWP not just because of Financial Gain but also because of the VISION of the firm to make sure that the fun-loving and like-minded people who are a part of the growing CWP Community should have very exciting, fullfilling and rejuvenating Weekends leading to a great Work-Life Balance. This is the current basic need of the society and Chauhan is quite rigid on not loosing focus due to the other interests of an Investor.
On a more personal note this highly passionate entrepreneur says, "CWP is my baby and i feel like a Father already. Just the way a new born baby doesn't let its parents sleep at night, CWP also doesn't let me sleep at night. But, i am loving it because i know when it grows up, it will be strong and fearless. Getting an investor as a partner is like getting married and i rather marry someone who loves the baby rather than being more interested in knowing how much will it earn when she grows up. Because if you feed it well, selflessly, the fruits you get would be beyond your imaginations and DEFINITELY beyond your Excel Sheet Projections."
CWP is launching its services in Pune in the month of August and then the next destination is Delhi. Pune newsletter registration has already started and giving a good response there as well. If you are in Mumbai or Pune, do visit http://www.cornucopiaindia.com and register yourself for a CWP Membership and then be ready for a long joyride..!!