Alekh believe that Indian education sector is on a growth path and hence, sees tremendous scope for the offerings of Lazy Bone Publications. The team developed the first-of-its-kind handwritten book called SMART NOTES and has big expectations from it.
Alekh had the streak of entrepreneurship in him for a long time – he started Feel Mumbai in Bengaluru that would sell the ‘Mumbai Sandwich’ to cinema halls, supermarkets, race course, corporate canteens in Bengaluru. However, the business did not work out even though it gave him a good exposure to selling, networking and managing businesses.
Vinesh was a financial consultant with Future Education Ltd prior to starting-up Lazy Bone Publications. He also teaches CA students at a coaching class and hence, is more in touch with concepts and students which in turn helps us in business. At the publication house, Vinesh handles content and operations while Alekh handles marketing and delivery. “Of course, we do exchange roles when there is a need”, they added.
We have converted my room into an office and all the team members are owners in the company. So, we have very little fixed cost as there is no rent or big amount of salary. However, break-even is something we cannot comment about right now. Of course, as we grow, there will be fixed expenses and then break-even will become relevant.
We wouldn’t term our business a ‘success’ as yet because we have not even spent six months on it. However, for whatever small successes we have got till now, it is only because of great content quality of our notes, the handwritten feel of the book (our book, SMART NOTES, are actually handwritten, scanned and printed) and the dedication of the team to make the venture a success.
What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them?
We have identified a few challenges and are also gearing to meet them head-on.
• Changes in education syllabus might render stock of books useless. We overcome this challenge by taking informed decision, discussion about changes in syllabus with people in the education industry and printing lesser number of books if we feel that the syllabus is expected to change next year.
• Second hand market of books affects fresh sale of books. We have planned to bring about additional features in the book in every edition so that students buy the new books.
• Our concept of handwritten books can be copied. We are in the process of applying for a patent on our books. Apart from that, we have also set various entry barriers which will avoid anybody from coming out with books like ours.
• There are various intellectual property issues that arise in education publishing: We constantly ensure that we do not breach the copyright of any other person. All our authors are mostly chartered accountants and they study the subject thoroughly before making notes.
• The e-learning concept is soon catching up and it is already affecting the print industry: We publish SMART NOTES for college section where, we believe, the advent of e-learning will take some time. However, being aware of the challenge, we are thinking of various avenues of entering the online education space.
Do you have a mentor who guides/advices you on matters of the business?
We do not have any mentor to guide us on a regular basis. However, we have got an opportunity to meet some really great people in the education sector and other industries and we have received advice from them & learn from their experiences. In the near future, we do plan to set up an advisory board consisting of experienced people to guide us on various issues that we face during our entrepreneurial journey.
Have you benefited from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations?
Our book “SMART NOTES” wouldn’t have been even close to what it is today had it not been for technology. As mentioned earlier, SMART NOTES are actually handwritten, scanned and printed. The high quality scan is what makes SMART NOTES look exactly the same or even better than handwritten notes. We give full credit of the natural look to the team at our “Repro India Limited”. They made this possible and have been constantly supporting us in as many ways as possible.
What strategy do you follow for Customer Satisfaction & Expansion?
Our final customers are the students. We supply SMART NOTES to coaching classes in Mumbai and also our books are available over-the-counter at certain major book stores. The only thing that can satisfy the customers in education publishing business is simple, relevant, concise content given in a manner that it makes studies a stress free and fun experience for the student. Our books do exactly that.
We started with books for first year of commerce in Mumbai (more popularly known as F.Y.B.Com) and we are soon going to release our books for T.Y.B.Com. Over the next two years, we plan to cover the entire commerce stream in all the universities in the state of Maharashtra.
What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
According to me, the following skills are needed to be a successful entrepreneur:
1. Planning: Planning includes not only planning the execution but also planning the steps to be taken if the execution doesn’t go the way it is planned. At the same time, I think having the bigger picture in mind is always important.
2. Execution: An entrepreneur has to get down to the field. Nobody can have the same passion for the business like the founder and it is very important to be involved in the execution.
3. People skills: This includes not only managing the people in the organization but also managing people outside the organization i.e. clients and vendors. Selling should not be the only aim while approaching a client. Building relationships is what helps in the long term.
Website – www.lazybonepublications.in Facebook – www.facebook.com/smartnotes