Monday, December 23, 2013

The Perfect Ecommerce Customer

We are a very customer oriented company and try to provide the absolute best service possible. Companies that have ECommerce as their primary channel cannot afford not to give their customers the very best service. It is well accepted that Ecommerce can bring great benefits to customers be it discounted or competitive prices, convenience of shopping from home, options like returns and refunds which are usually unavailable in traditional retail or commerce. As a small company with sustainability dependent on timely cash flows, we also have a perfect customer in our mind.

The perfect customer for us exhibits the two traits below :

1)  Responsible : As Customers, many a times after we buy, we tend to think about a few questions after we buy it - do we really need it ? Will it fit my sense of style etc. Since Ecommerce is not touch and feel as traditional retail, it is important to look at product details, the size, shape etc and how it fits ones needs. This can minimize any chance of returns. A return is not a happy outcome for both the customer and the retailer, especially for the retailer, because there are multiple costs related to a product - marketing cost, operational costs, logistic cost, cost of capital etc. An ecommerce transaction is based on mutual trust and shared responsibility between a customer and the retailer. Here's where a responsible customer helps the whole ecosystem to be cost efficient and provide benefits both the customer and retailer.

2) Reasonable : There are multiple parts in processing an order e.g Payment, packaging, labeling, delivery, receipt etc. Though some of the bigger Ecommerce companies can sometimes provide all of this in a single day in some cities, most deliveries require a lead time between 2-5 days. The perfect customer understands this and provides the right information (e.g availability for receipt of goods to Courier person) to facilitate this. She also understands that everyone in every industry be the manufacturing industry or the logistic industry have holidays (e.g Sunday) and is respectful that business is conducted on business days. As a owner of a business that employs bottom of the pyramid artisans and painters, I consider it extremely important that my employees have reasonable work timings and work days.

As a company, we focus immensely on not just finding customers for our products but also the perfect customers. Thats why we have had great customers, some of whom have become great friends as well. We get to hear a lot from them, especially via Ebay and Mouthshut.



I know it is kind of difficult and maybe controversial to be picky about your customers but I need to make sure that we run a sustainable business so that I can pay my employees on time and that's the only way. Thank you to all KraftInn customers. You have been perfect. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Startup Funding India

Startup Funding India

When I decided to become an entrepreneur, I had zero capital - absolute zero, in fact I had quite a few bills to pay - Credit Card Bills, small loans from friends etc. I had already exhausted my limited amount of savings on traveling around a bit and looking for the right ideas. So, I did what most people would do - I reached out to friends and family and got the very initial funds to kick start my business. The place I would start my business at,  had to have the absolute minimum cost for me in terms of personal expenses - what better than staying with Dad and Mom and So, I started at my home town in Assam.

India is a land of entrepreneurs if you look at the countless number of small businesses - the neighbourhood grocery stores and the thelas, but for reasons perhaps related to western influences or maybe demographic, the word 'startup' is often spoken in conjunction to a few select businesses - these are usually related to Electronic commerce, tech products, education and somewhat lately, with sectors like healthcare. Traditional Manufacturing and Services companies typically don't come to mind when you talk of startups. This being the case with KraftInn - because we started out basically with the idea of making ecofriendly home decor items that we could hopefully sell to the bigger retailers in bulk made us somewhat of an business rather than a startup. However, a year later, when we decided that we would primarily focus on selling online - we also started getting some attention as a small ECommence brand. This is when we figured out that it may not be such a bad idea to try approach for some angel or institutional funding. I reached out to a few angels and venture capitalists. I really had no idea how much money I exactly wanted but then, I gave it a shot and managed to meet a few.

Here are a few things that I found out (experienced) :

There are various types of investors available, two of the important ones include :

a) Angel Investors - They usually invest at an early stage and provide seed capital and usually is a high net worth individual or a group of them. They seem to invest primarily based on the strength of the business idea or the pedigree of the team

b) Venture Capitalists -  They usually manage a fund which is pretty big (hundreds of millions) and invest in somewhat mature businesses (compared to angels - maybe some initial success story or prototype)

There are numerous other ways to get funded, but usually that is based on debt or more attuned to established businesses. Funding from Angel investors and VCs make a lot of sense because they are equity based instruments.

Based on my interactions, I have noticed a few things :

1) Team/Pedigree - This is something that matters a lot. Different people have different methods to gauge this - but good degrees from Ivy league colleges seem to help, previous startup experience seem to help, family background etc.

2) Scale - At this moment, In India, investors dont seem to care much about profits - a lot of the conversation usually is around revenue scaling - A business that can show the potential of growing by 500 percent a year in a large market is likely to get funded as opposed to a niche profitable business with more modest growth targets. VCs are probably looking at a business that can scale to 80-100 Million dollars in 4-5 years. This is probably the right thing to do from a investor standpoint because a business that goes from 0 to say 2 Million USD in 4-5 years is still very small from a investor return standpoint

3) Exit - Currently there are two possible exits for indian startups - first is an acquisition and the second is a IPO. For an angel investor, probably there is a third option - which is offloading stake to a bigger investor. So a business that looks likely to provide more exit options is likely to get funded - hence it is difficult for certain niche businesses like say a technology product company to get easily funded - because the exit is not clear or there isn't much precedence.

4) Market Size - Investors seem to love the idea that the addressable market is big - it is somewhat of a strange argument in itself - because every business can always expand with the right capital and success metrics and address a larger market - I mean a successful tea stall can probably become a restaurant and then a chain or restaurants and potentially the biggest chain of restaurants in the world. However, if at the outset the initial market looks very small, investors seem to lose interest.

From the above funding kind of scenario, our business is not really a favourite for such kind of investment probably at this point - our location is too remote, our business focus is too narrow and our addressable market is somewhat small. Maybe once I reach the first significant economic milestone that I have set for myself, I will give it a wider canvas.

Have you spoken to any investors or got funded ? What has been your experiences ?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Offer Your Home the Natural Look with Bamboo Home Decor

Offer Your Home the Natural Look with Bamboo Home Decor

Guest Post by James Patrick

Thank You James for the wonderful Article

People usually look for innovative home decorating ideas. But, at the same time, they feel the urge of being a little closer to nature. With the pollution around us gradually increasing, it is obviously a better idea to stay as close to nature as possible. It is quite impossible to stay anywhere near a forest and attend your workplace. Therefore, you need to think smart in order to avail yourself a natural way of living.
How about customizing your home while giving it a natural look? Doesn’t it sound great? Bamboo can help you accomplish this task. With time, the demand for bamboo decor along with bamboo accessories is increasing rapidly. So, if you are interested in home renovation or add a fresh new look to the rooms, bamboo can be of great help to you.
The first thing that comes in mind after hearing the term bamboo home decoration is the traditional Asian houses with various accents of bamboo around it. Many people would think of it as an absurd idea but, with the rising rate in people craving for a piece of nature within their house, bamboo home decoration can add a great amount of elegance to your house.
Recently, the market has experienced a great demand for the traditional materials when it comes to the purpose of home decoration. Many people are opting for bamboo in order to create furniture, garnishes, window applications, flooring, and even curtains from it. There are many effective ways in which one can use bamboo to decorate their home for a natural yet elegant look.

Bamboo as a Wall Garnishing Option

Wall decoration will be nothing like before if you add bamboo to it. The wall sides can be easily covered with various kinds of bamboo applications that are available in the market. This is one of the smartest ideas to save a lot of your money without wasting them on various paints. Moreover, the guests will definitely have a reason to appreciate your rooms.

But, the room should have the appropriate size and accessories if you are planning for bamboo wall sides. Therefore, if you think that the walls would look better with paints on them, remove the idea of bamboo from your mind. Instead, go for various handicrafts manufactured from bamboo like wall hangings, curtains, photo frames – a few to be named.

                             Bamboo Lamp Covers – An Innovative yet Elegant Accessory

Bamboo Furniture

This is a very popular option in most of the tropical as well as sub-tropical areas. Furniture made of bamboo is available in various designs and can probably meet the taste of almost any individual. Moreover, they can increase the beauty of your room like never before.

Bamboo Accessories
If you make a quick search online, you can find a local market filled with a wide range of bamboo accessories that go well with almost any kind of environment. From vases to show pieces, curtains to bowls, you can find almost anything to enhance your home beauty.
Therefore, choose bamboo as the main component of your home decor accessories and live as close to nature as possible.

Decorating your home can be fun if you add some innovative ideas to the accessories. Bamboo has emerged as one of the greatest components for home decoration that can also provide your home with a natural look.

Author’s Bio: James Patrick is an absolutely proficient author. He loves to write on various Home Decoration topics and contributes them to in Charlotte, NC.

Summary: Many people want their room to have a natural and fresh look. At the same time, they want their room to be elegant. All these purposes can be served if bamboo home d├ęcor accessories are used.

For more do visit