From shop owner to an entrepreneur earning Rs 60 lakhs as a Flipkart seller, this former banking professional has cracked the secret to success
The rapid penetration of smartphones and mobile internet have been game-changers for India for multiple reasons. But, one definitive impact has been the rise of India’s e-commerce sector.
The boom of e-commerce marketplaces lead to a fundamental shift in how India shops. But, that’s not all. According to India Brand Equity Foundation, the e-commerce industry has been directly impacting the micro, small & medium enterprises (MSMEs) in India by providing means of financing, technology and training. E-commerce has boosted employment, increased revenues from export, and provided access to better products and services. Not surprisingly, it has led to a remarkable rise in the amount of micro-entrepreneurs. For many, e-commerce became their gateway to become successful entrepreneurs. One such story is that of Gaurav Nagpal, a former banking professional, who left the stability of a banking job, to pursue his dream of becoming an entrepreneur.
Not the one to give up on a dream easily
“I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, “ says the Delhi University graduate. But, completing his graduation and following it up with an MBA led him to a job in the banking sector. “It took me four years to be able to find the courage to follow my instinct. I opened a small retail shop in New Delhi in 2015.” The first year, the business functioned without any major hiccups. But soon after, business went downhill so much that Gaurav was compelled to call it quits by the end of 2016. “But, I refused to give up on my dream so easily.” Taking a cue from his friends and online ads, he decided to start his entrepreneurial journey 2.0 as a seller on Flipkart in 2017 with his venture GN Enterprises.
Lessons he learnt as an online seller
As someone who had a basic understanding of the workings of an online business and digital technologies, Gaurav says he did not have much of a challenge taking his online business off the ground. Taking help from his friend who manufactured soft toys, Gaurav started his stint as an online seller with life-sized teddy bears. The business picked up and there weren’t any major challenges or red signals.
“That said, I knew I had to be equipped better. So, my wife and I attended the many online pieces of training and webinars that Flipkart hosts regularly. The online seminars and webinars helped me understand the nuances of selling on Flipkart and how one could leverage promotions and advertising to boost the business. Now, even if you are not tech-savvy, these training sessions make it easy. In hindsight, that decision was instrumental in helping me grow my business online.”
He adds, “For instance, I learnt it was important to expand my offerings to other categories because customers always want something new and trendy. If you are not able to cater to that demand, you get edged out.”
And learning led Gaurav to expand his portfolio from just soft toys to electronics like trimmers and hair dryers. Today, nearly three years since he began selling online, Gaurav sells across multiple categories including kitchen appliances and beauty products. While he still sources the soft toys from his friend’s manufacturing unit, for all the other categories, he sources from manufacturers across India and China. “It took me a lot of time and effort to make the connections and build the portfolio. But, the effort has been worth it. One must understand that you can’t build a business in a day,” adds Gaurav.
Considering that Gaurav sources his products, the entrepreneur says he makes sure to check the quality of every order that is dispatched. However, he admits that he learnt the lesson the hard way. “Initially, I observed there were a lot of returns. I was clueless about how to address the issue at hand. That’s when I realised that quality issues were hampering my business. So, I stopped sourcing from manufacturers whose products led to returns due to valid quality issues. Today, none of the products are dispatched without a thorough quality check.”
From shutting his business to running a growing business with an annual turnover of Rs 70 lakhs, Gaurav feels he has come a long way.
“Flipkart has been the silver lining in my story. They not only helped me recover my losses but also helped to fulfil my dream of running a successful business. Had it not been Flipkart, I can’t imagine if my business would be as successful as it is today. My story is perhaps a living example of how one can achieve their dreams with the help of hard work and a platform like Flipkart. Life feels good today,” concludes Gaurav.