It`s a challenging task to set up one`s own venture. ISB alumna Minnat Lalpuria, who quit a cushy job in a multinational to turn an entrepreneur, discusses her switch with Prachi Rege.
Minnat Lalpuria, founder and owner, 7Vachan
For setting up a business, one needs to have a strong research base. I did a lot of research before setting up 7Vachan, a wedding aggregator and a consultancy firm, late last year.
Why did I bother to set up my own venture? There comes a point in life when you want to grow and achieve higher goals of life. Keeping this in mind, I signed up with the Indian School of Business (ISB). It was during my stint here that I took up a subject on entrepreneurship which helped me to understand the viability of a business idea.
I studied the wedding market in detail for a project I was doing followed by a lot more indepth study of how wedding preparations are conducted in India, post ISB. Personally, I have always found weddings to be a lucrative area.
I graduated last April and signed up for campus placement. After ISB, I did not pick any job as no job profile interested me.
While I was making up my mind about the job offers, I continued my research on the matrimony market. It was then that I decided to start my own venture 7Vachan. My professors, peers, friends and family told me that the Indian wedding market was a complicated space. But my research had given me a different insight.
The wedding market is astonishingly huge - Rs 200,000 crore approximately in white money, and is growing at 25 to 30 per cent annually.
I found out that 90 per cent of Indian couples are self dependent and often confused when it comes to searching for marriage venue, shopping and honeymoon packages owing to the huge options available in the market.
Couples end up making make 300 decisions in roughly about three months in the run-up to the wedding. Such market intelligence helped me to build my concept of bringing in convenience and saving time by doing the homework of getting right options for the couple depending on their budget and requirements.
7Vachan is not a wedding planning firm. We are the people who help you shortlist and finalise the three core aspects of a wedding - venue, shopping and agencies (photographers, makeup artist, honeymoon packages etc.).
Our USP is that we provide our customers a detailed list of the brands, venues or any other service that they are looking for within three working days.
That way we save them the rigmarole of personally visiting each and every place.
We help couples shortlist their options based on their geographical and budgetary requirement. A wedding coordinator is assigned to the client and help is given through phone and email.
We not only cater to Indian couples but also have managed to tap eligible NRIs doing their wedding arrangements in India.
We have operations across India but mainly focus on eight major cities in eight major cities, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Indore, Goa and Chandigarh.
We have a legal agreement with all vendors that helps in quality control. If there is a breach, we take them off our list.
We haven`t really gone for any marketing yet. But as proof of concept we have coordinated weddings of 75 couples across budgets, religion and geography in the past 9 months.
We plan to handle 1000 more weddings in 2013-14 and reach the target of 10,000 weddings in 2014-15. After all aren`t thinking big and planning ahead important traits of a business person.