What it takes for start-ups to be in the longevity game
While the global pandemic has bought economies to a halt and massively disrupted businesses, it has also fuelled start-up dreams and we even saw several Indian start-ups achieve Unicorn status during the pandemic period. The times have never been better for the budding entrepreneurs to give wings to their start-up dreams.
The Government, too, has come up with various schemes to support its ‘Vocal for Local’ drive. A case in point is the recent Rs 1,000 crore Start-up India Seed Fund announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Start-up India International Summit 2021 held earlier this year.
Adgully is turning the spotlight on the entrepreneurs who fought against all odds to bring their dreams to fruition in our special series – START-UP STARS. We at Adgully wholeheartedly support the ‘Vocal for Local’ movement and over the next few months will be featuring all local/ homegrown businesses, brands and Apps.
In this interaction with Adgully, Maddie Amrutkar, Founder, Glad U Came and Glad We Met, speaks about his journey as an entrepreneur in the PR industry, staying on top of the game, importance of having an online presence and much more.
Please take us through your journey as an entrepreneur. What motivated you to establish your start-up? What were you doing prior to turning into an entrepreneur?
Before becoming an entrepreneur, I worked as a PR and Communication Strategist in a PR Agency. My background in journalism helped me develop a strong bond with celebrities and media. I absolutely loved my work and thought it best to start my own venture in the PR industry.
The drive within me to build an agency that offers effective communication solutions to brands motivated me to launch Glad U Came in 2015. My entrepreneurship career has developed since. Today, 6 years after launching my own agency, I’m proud to say that we have run successful campaigns and communication strategies for Lakme Fashion Week, Lotus Make-up India Fashion Week, and Cover Story.
I along with my team launched ‘Celebrity Gifting Services’ at Glad U Came in 2016, which has now been adopted by many agencies. Celebrity gifting services is one of the most effective ways to gain exposure for a client, especially when they need to make an impact.
The pandemic was definitely tough on all of us, but we chose to rise above it and introduced a unique Pay-By-Results (PBR) service in India for everyone, irrespective of brand category, size, or industry.
My journey as an entrepreneur has been great so far. I try to implement the things I learn every day and ensure to grow along with my team.
What need gap did you want to fulfill with your start-up? What is the core business proposition?
Through Glad U Came, I wanted to bridge the communication gaps that existed between the brands and their audience. I wanted to start an agency that provides personalised solutions to all its client and help brands fight the battle for relevance.
Today, Glad U Came offers the best-in-class services to enhance the reputation of your brand through celebrities, influencers, content, media, and publicity. Our goal is to devise effective communication strategies to ensure that the brand maintains a positive public perception.
How did you identify your TG? Did you carry out any feasibility study prior to starting your business?
We are a Lifestyle and Fashion PR Agency because we wanted to build an all-inclusive client community and not restrict ourselves to a particular industry. We try to understand a brand’s needs, their goals, and how to facilitate planning for them before signing them on as clients.
My experience as a journalist and a communication strategist helped me acquire knowledge for setting my own PR agency. Apart from that, I used to read up a lot on retail and study existing market trends to get a better understanding of the industry.
What were the challenges that you faced in your startup journey and how did you overcome them?
Building a competent team that shares a similar set of values and supports my vision, was one of the challenges I faced while launching Glad U Came. Hiring a reliable team of PR professionals, who are passionate about the job was my main focus during the initial days. I was keen on setting up the right systems and processes for my business and hiring an HR department definitely helped me with it.
What were the clearances that you required for your venture from various authorities?
We had to apply for a GUMASTA license, get a company PAN card and set up a GST account before launching the agency.
Funds/ finance is the prime issue of almost all start-ups. What can the industry and the Government do to address this issue and ease the capital requirements of start-ups?
Cash crunch remains an issue for start-ups, especially in the post-pandemic world. We even launched a Pay-By-Results service for our clients to help them during these difficult times. Leverage on GST and Tax benefits from the government can definitely provide some amount of relief to new businesses and help the start-up ecosystem in India grow.
Prime Minister Modi announced a Startup India Seed Fund earlier this year. How do you see start-ups benefiting from it?
The government’s announcement of the Startup India Seed Fund is definitely good news for the start-up ecosystem. Providing initial capital for start-ups is a great way to boost new venture creation in India. I hope this scheme proves beneficial in the long-run for new entrepreneurs.
How is digital helping you further your business?
The digital space has witnessed exponential growth in the last few years, especially during the pandemic. It has become imperative for all businesses to have an online presence and make the most out of it. Keeping this in mind, I have delved into the digital space and launched a new Digital Marketing Agency – Glad We Met – a month ago. We aim to help our clients with all things digital by designing brand experiences that touch lives and create a positive brand impression among the audiences.
What were your key learnings from 2020? How do you see the start-up ecosystem progressing in 2021?
2020 has taught me that innovation is key to all successful businesses. It is not just necessary for staying relevant, but also important for coming up with creative solutions to a problem.
I have realised that nothing remains the same forever and companies that react and adapt quickly have higher chances of survival than those who do not. Being flexible and adapting to new ways of doing things is essential, especially during a pandemic.
I understand that the pandemic took a toll on businesses, but it has also played a critical role in accelerating the rate of technology. This has provided new opportunities for start-ups across various categories. The start-up ecosystem will definitely progress in 2021, if entrepreneurs understand the importance of a digital presence and inculcate this practice while developing their business.
What would be your message for the budding entrepreneurs?
Conduct in-depth research about the industry and its trends before developing your business strategy. Start-ups can enjoy longevity if you, as entrepreneurs, conduct regular market research and identify consumer problems. Ensure that you have all your logistics, IT, and financial needs in place from the very beginning. Keep additional funds separate, to help you in times of crisis.
Lastly, do not let your impulses die. While it is extremely important for you to strategise, it is also important for you to trust your instincts while making business decisions. The first few years are going to be tough, but do not get discouraged, do not give up and never take no for an answer. Follow trends, analyse new business opportunities to stay on top of your game, and develop a successful business.