We catch up with Dhaval Seth, who founded the portal along with Akshay Ingole. Excerpts from the interview – What made you start your venture? The world changes every minute and the biggest contributor to this phenomenon is information technology. We felt the need to understand the critical role information plays in so many aspects of business and life: it drives our communication, our decision making, and our reactions. Keeping that in mind, Khojmaster.com was born, with a clear sense of purpose i.e. to provide accurate, timely, and relevant information to individuals, business owners, service providers and organizations that enabled and empowered them to make informed decisions. What has been the key to your business’s success? We started in August 2012 and have covered Amravati City which has a population of 1 million. So, it’s too early to gauge whether our business model will be financially successful. However in terms of acceptance and benefits to business owners and consumers, it has surpassed any targets that we set for ourselves. Our vision is to find business services from a city centric online platform rather than looking on global or national level search engines. Before Khojmaster.com, for a tier-III city like Amravati, there was not a single local platform which could bring businesses online or showcase services or products over the internet. We definitely have the advantage being the FIRST entrant. Apart from that we constantly provide new applications to the users to make our platform more interactive. This is yielding excellent results.
What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them? Initially family and friends were not sure about this venture, as there was a huge opportunity cost involved. They thought it would be better if we concentrate on a “tried and tested” business. To convince them was difficult but our minds were made up! We wanted to bring a positive change to our home surrounding, because the Vidarbha region(where Amravati is located) is under developed. We envisaged an online information and advertising platform as a starting point for future growth. One of our toughest challenges was to convince the businesses about the viability of going online; they were used to traditional channels of advertising like newspapers and hoardings. So we had to explain from basics how it worked and how it could be beneficial for them. This was a very difficult task. But slowly we convinced them and in due course, they saw the positive impact it had on their businesses. Do you have a mentor who guides/advices you on matters of the business? No, I don’t have a mentor but I did learn a lot from my former boss in Mumbai. He showed me the ropes on running a business and taught me how to manage people, build relationships, visualize situations and find the right solutions. I will always be indebted to him for his instructions. Have you benefitted from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations? We planned for a very long time but finding the right mix of technology was tricky. But after a few consultations and some research we found the correct fit for us, one that gave us the flexibility to maneuver our application development. What strategy do you follow for Customer Satisfaction & Expansion? We are in constant contact with our clients and we take their feedback seriously. We are also very prompt in adapting their ad campaigns. We’ve also been talking to Angel Funds and VCs to expand our services to other tier-II and tier-III cities of the Vidarbha region like Nagpur, Akola, Yawatmal, Wardha, Washim, Achalpur, Buldhana and Chandrapur. What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? • Develop a Vision Entrepreneurs should begin with a dream. They should start by taking small steps towards their goals. With every step, entrepreneurs should try to get closer to attaining their ultimate goal or vision. • Be Highly Self-Motivated and Confident Entrepreneurs are typically intense personalities. – They should evoke change through their thoughts and actions. – Entrepreneurs should be driven by a more complete vision or goal than simply the task at hand – They should be able to think in terms of the big picture. – They should be passionate about their ideas and even when the road gets rough, they should not steer off course. – They also need a strong sense of self while not being too proud to order tea for the team, empty the bins or do the bank runs. • Plan Everything Planning every aspect of business is an essential habit every entrepreneur should develop, implement, and maintain. The act of planning is important because it requires them to analyze each business situation and make accurate decisions going forward. If you’re looking for a business service in Amravati… Visit Khojmaster.com or https://www.facebook.com/khojmaster